On Accidental Learning

Yesterday I accidentally learned about dodecaphony. Please note that I say "learned about." Do I understand it all? Not by a long shot; but I have new concepts floating around in my brain that have never been there before, and as a result, have discovered new thought-roads that will inevitably lead to more new and exciting concepts that are just waiting to be learned about.

But, oh dearest reader, through the portal that this text forms on my page, linking me to you, I can see you looking at me in an odd way. You're wondering,  "how in the world did she manage to learn about Schoenberg's method of composition that strives to equally utilize all twelve notes accidentally?"

Well, it all started when I was derping about the interwebs... on youtube, going to look up the theme music for the Redwall animated miniseries, (which, now that I think I about it, I never got to... whoops!) And as happens when you're subscribed to 33 channels, I was greeted by a slew of new videos and video suggestions.  I wasn't really in any hurry, so my slightly ADD brain and I chorused in harmony, "squirrel!" and clicked on a video from Vi Hart, about doodling fractal dragons in math class, which led to another one of her magnificent videos, this one about dot connecting. Before I knew it, I'd completely fallen down the rabbit hole of wonderful math philosophy, which landed me here, at Vi Hart's Twelve Tone video. (Its 30 minutes long, so  don't start watching it now, but please do plan to watch it. It's fascinating.)

Now, this post is about learning, not dodecaphony, so I'm not going to go into that at all, except to say that its kind of wierdly awesome. And strangely mathematical . Watch the video. Later.

This is how my brain works: something interests me; I look it up. In the course of reading about the first subject, I see something else that interests me and I look that up. And so on. Curiosity and distractibility are my modi operandi and Google is my weapon of choice. (P.S. Always Google with discernment.You're gonna need more than just a grain of salt... try a cup.)

Do I retain everything I learn in my accidental learning adventures? Not always. I'm no Sherlock with his vast mind-palace of useful information ready for recall; my mind is much smaller, more like a card catalog that points to the information rather than the shelves of information itself. (Though if I had a mind-palace I would like it to look like the Tardis library) Most of the time I just retain enough to make me dangerous... but even that little bit is better than nothing at all. As long as I remember that the information exists I can always go back and look up keywords to find it again. Sometimes one of these tidbits will be kicked around in my mind until one day it finds its use when someone asks me a questions relevant to that information; then I excitedly pull that card up in my brain and am thrilled to answer or point in the right direction. I guess you might say that I was born to be a librarian.

So, Where was I going with that? Nowhere really. Just musing over how my thoughts happen here. It's a wonderful, wide world to be thinking in. :)

 yours in accidental learning,
-S

1 comment

  1. Love this, Sarah! Your beautiful enthusiastic writing makes a compelling case for following your example!

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