The NYT article, How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect, by Benedict Carey, hits home here at i could cry but i don’t have time. Was Mr. Carey writing this article specifically for me, the Magnet for the Absurd? It is almost like he is directly promoting this blog by telling my readers that they will be smarter if they read me everyday.
A stretch? Maybe. Feeling a little egocentric these days.
Mr. Carey reports on a study by Travis Proulx of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Steven J. Heine of the University of British Columbia that suggests witnessing the absurd may cause people to feel the need to rid themselves of the uneasy feeling by getting highly involved in something else which appears to improve some kinds of learning. The brain gropes for something that will bring a person back to anything that makes sense. The study gives college students an absurd story to read and then uses a test that is a standard measure of what researchers call implicit learning: knowledge gained without awareness. The students performed quite well compared to a group who had read a coherent story.
I love this quote from the article:
“Still, the new research supports what many experimental artists, habitual travelers and other novel seekers have always insisted: at least some of the time, disorientation begets creative thinking.”
Hey, don’t know about you, but I am surely no stranger to disorientation.
Ok, so here is my test. Think about it. Say you wake up in the morning and read a blog post about the mirdle,or the mansierre or maybe even Uranus underwear. Perhaps the women in a parking lot with her pet bird or kids on leashes and dogs in strollers. Maybe you read about Relations Auto Body or a drive through Prozac Country. Or better yet, for those who were not here from the beginning, bathroom branding (wow I am getting a nice portfolio of this stuff, right?)
Now take a look at how you perform a difficult task or learn a new skill right afterwards. Perhaps you are a student, you read one of these posts and then take an exam.
Don’t laugh, I could be on to something.
Now, how can I monetize this…