SPYING FOR A LIVING
Yesterday I saw "Harriet, the Spy", a new movie about a girl in 6th grade
who spies on everyone in order to learn to be a writer.
She often says, "I want to see everything, I want to learn everything."
Her schoolmates find out what she has been writing about them in her
notebook, and that's the center point of conflict in the movie.
After seeing the movie, the thought came to mind of how useful a spy's
knowledge would be. In some sense, we (on the list) tend to advocate
openness and fair play, everyone getting a fair chance and everyone, as I
see it, rising. And we hear from time to time (and possibly know quite
well) that things don't always go that way. If we'd only had a spy's
Yet a spy's knowledge is, in a sense, unfair. I could not say all such
work is unfair, yet we think that certain moments are our own and need
time for rest from opposition. Being constantly at risk from spying or
being a spy and "doing what it takes" to spy better seem to be real
negatives in regard to "learning everything".
The other day, I wondered about how decisions really get made in
businesses. "We can talk all day, but when it's all over, my nephew XYZ is
going to be making $100,000, and nothing's going to change that." Or, to
put it in a drastically different rumination, what will someone do who
intends to commit adultery?
Knowing stuff like that could be very problematic (though gossip makes
such things seem like common knowledge).
Sensationalism aside, for some time I've wanted to learn more about "brain
food". I've heard of possibilities like fish, fruit, peanut butter, and
Raisinettes, and I've seen reference to printed material that treats the
idea as partly imaginary.
I've seen that eating fish seems to boost my capability for doing
technical work, though there are other factors and evidence involved.
Recently on the WWW, possibly through a search for learning, or
techniques of learning, I found references to smart drinks and smart
drugs. Those substances include ingredients that are supposed to
enhance mental activity. I found a reference to a multi-vitamin
called "Mental Edge". At a local GNC, I found a multi-vitamin called
"Sharp Edge" that includes amino acids, vitamins, and herbs and have
made two purchases of the product. To make a direct effort NOT to
sensationalize the vitamins, I am willing to quit taking them and
would believe it if told that a simple healthy diet would serve me
better and for more years than these vitamins :)
It's possible that there are more caveats here than I could imagine.
Evidently there are some obvious ones such as caffeine content of
some of the herbs and warnings about taking amino acids out of
natural balance. (On a related note, as I understand it, Nutra-Sweet
is basically phenylaline, an amino acid that is considered necessary
for brain function, though now made available at levels far beyond
what humans have ever had before.)
I've noticed greater alertness (that is noticeable 10 hours after
taking the herb (1) and multi-vitamin (1) pills), possibly better
vision, a more "robust" state of mind (well that didn't work, ha!),
probably being less prone to sympathy or emphathy, and less concern
that I might not be able to complete a task. The first night after I
took the vitamins, I remember lying in bed thinking that I had
heightened senses (particularly related to visual acuity) like an
animal. (Yeah, I know, yuck.) Eventually, I realized that whatever
"increased power" the vitamins might bring, they didn't bring
knowledge and they tended to strengthen capabilities that weren't
dedicated to values. (So, if I finally learned "when You make
somebody cry, say You're sorry", my heightened awareness would not
TEND to serve that understanding.) I could not knowingly say that
these vitamins have made a productive difference or a difference that
has produced any tangible result.
I was thinking about posting these comments to a newsgroup at the
local university, and thought that maybe I should check it out with
some other people first!
Comments are welcomed.
Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton
"John Paul Fullerton" <email@example.com>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>