Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not too much

Ruination and death by your favorite tool: antlers can lock a pair of fighting deer together to the point the pair can't function and they die.  Shells can trap turtles and imaginations lead people to diversions , loss of concentration and visits all over time and space and imagined-land, to the point, they don't concentrate on what they really should.

You know the old saying: live by the sword and die by the sword.  Stags depend on antlers for protection and mating rights, turtles depend on shells to protect them and people depend on their imaginations to enable planning, sympathizing and other good things.  But the imaginations can mislead and the other specializations can turn out to have a high cost.  Specialization has negatives as well as positives.

The book The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser is about the increasing specialization by web sites.  They try to note the sorts of their books, music, news that I like.  Then, they try to send ads of more items along my preferred lines to me.  You can see that if I specialize in French cooking, I might enjoy more books, magazines and implements for doing that.  But Pariser's point is that too much specialization can keep me in a bubble of my specialization, my interests, blocking me from other things.  I haven't read the book and I may get to it but just getting the idea seems valuable.

I am reminded of some girls I have known who were so good and so popular that there was no room in their lives for anyone or anything new.  I have read that some Zen masters offer a student a cup of tea but keeping poring the tea after the cup is full, over flowing it.  They are trying to show the need for room in a cup or a mind. Despite Mae West's maxim that too much of a good thing can be wonderful, it may not be.

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