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July 12th, 2007

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02:57 am - Musings on reading and learning
I was talking with teaotter a few days ago, and was discussing the fact that I find well-written books on occult techniques interesting, and I will occasionally find a technique or two in them that I will adopt, I rarely read one cover-to-cover and have difficulty even imagining going through on as a step-by-step series of exercises (which is how many are designed) and that I learn occult techniques vastly better with an teacher. Becca not only understood, but suggested that because of my unusual perceptions and ways of dealing with people, that if there we no people associated with something, that on some level I don't assume it is real or valid. Upon thinking further about this, I find that it applies to far more than just occult studies.

I happily real fair amounts of history, ethnography, travel writing, and occult history (as well as vast amounts of SF & fantasy), I will also occasionally read books about astronomy and cosmology, natural history, or various predictions about the future of technology, society, or space travel. However, the vast majority of these non-fiction works are descriptions of people and places in the world, or occasionally discussions of other possible people or places – ultimately, they are facts and discussions of facts, and most are facts about people and the environments they live in and the tools they use.

However, despite having studied great deal of math and a fair amount of physics, I never pick up books that in any way involve learning more about either one, because ultimately both involve the sort of learning I have no interest and generally no ability at doing as a reader – problem solving, step-by-step learning, studying and practicing techniques, or any similar form of learning are things I require some form of real-time teacher for. Recorded information neither engages nor motivates me.

The only exception to this rule is cook books, and in part, that problem can be answered by the sorts of cookbooks I greatly prefer – cookbooks with pictures of ever dish. I already know all of the basic techniques of cooking, having picked them up from a mixture of practice and casual instruction. Cookbooks merely provide me with ways to use these techniques and illustrations of what the finishes result should look like. It also helps that a single recipe rarely requires more than an hour or two (at most) of work. I'd likely not be inclined to bother with anything lengthier just from a cookbook.

This is also why I have studied a great deal of bodywork, but I own one never-used book on yoga and other equally disused book on kiatsu and don't plan on acquiring more. In vivid contrast, teriel recently started a class on occult bodywork and I am very much enjoying it, because the connection formed by in-person direct interaction is necessary for any learning for me that isn't purely based upon absorbing facts and processing them in my own fashion. I'd never actually consciously worked this out before, but it does make some of the patterns of my life considerably clearer and also very much sets out things to look for and things to avoid.
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[User Picture]
Date:July 12th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
I very rarely work through a book cover to cover. I tend to be more likely to pick up concepts and adapt them to my own practice.

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