Thursday, 9 June 2016

Not really sure why...

I write here. I don't do it very often. Hardly ever now in fact. I read a couple of articles entitled "is blogging dead?". Inevitably it was followed by a flurry of articles stating (somewhat self-persuadingly) "Blogging is not dead!" The consensus appears to be that it lives yet but as our attention spans decrease due to tweeting and snapchat, we no longer have the stamina or inclination to read anything longer than a hundred or so characters
Hmm.. not sure. I know my attention span is infinitesimally small these days. But this is for different reasons. In my new world of understanding the concept of cognitive bandwidth, it seems many of us are occupied with thoughts and worries that may be unconscious and my yet still take up bandwidth in our limited brains. This leaves us less for other activities.

In my case, with my brain still not really recovered, and probably now as good as it is going to get, I find so many quirks in the attention circuits that frankly never worked very well. Yep! On any test I take for ADHD, I am right up there at the top. And that's ok. I probably would have been before. It's just more pronounced now as the general amount of resource in there is reduced. So older, more pernicious problems are exaggerated. Never mind. At least it's not boring.

But I would like to be able to read again for more than a paragraph. Reading is, alas, almost an impossibility for me now in any serious sense. (Though not writing, strangely) It's a bit of a handicap to be honest. But there it is. I don't seem to be able to do anything about it. But at least I know my limitations and their implications.
Also of course, there are the ongoing tribulations: I am currently getting divorced, moving house, changing jobs and dealing with the aftermath of my misanthropic grandmother's death. All presumably take up some bandwidth. Those are a lot of the major life events that one sees in lists of such things as "The Most Stressful Things that Can Happen To A Person."

Whatever. Maybe things will improve after it has all settled down, whenever that is.

What has struck me though is the terrible quality of most training materials. In my transition to my new job, there is a lot of "multi-modal material" that is: Slide shows with simultaneous voice-overs and animations. Research would seem to indicate this is impossible for anyone to successfully follow and absorb. Cognitive overload is an inevitability even for a focussed and healthy brain. And I wonder how it is that people have the production of these materials at the centre of their jobs and are so bad at it. Surely someone responsible for imparting information ought to have a grasp of how brains learn (and how they don't!). An understanding of cognitive processes would benefit everyone I think.

So, last night, I walked in glorious English countryside along the banks of a river in which trout were leaping to gobble up stragglers from the vast clouds of mayflies. And I reflected that amongst all this complexity, this interlocking and interdependent system that is nature, runs quite nicely thank-you-very-much without any thought whatsoever. Nature asserts temporary order, it flourishes and returns to chaos. And so it goes on for now as it has done for a few hundred million years.

In amongst the foliage and undergrowth were the remains of an old mill. I have no idea how old this was. Probably early Industrial Revolution age, maybe two hundred years old or so.

Once a triumph of human ingenuity and engineering, this complex and elaborate machine, built at presumably great expense to harvest energy from nature for the purposes of industry was gradually succumbing to the forces of nature. The iron, so long dug from the ground, smelted, refined, worked, is gradually returning to the soil. There is a touch of Ozymandias about such relics, I always feel. Oh, there was no hubris intended in the construction of the mill, merely a wish to facilitate production of some goods or other and possibly to remove the burden of toil from fragile people with their fatigue and limited strength. But eventually it was no longer profitable or competitive with newer advances and it was left for nature to reclaim, which slowly it is doing.

But in the millpond, now just a feature of the river, the fish continue to jump, as they did when the mill was its owner's pride and joy and the mayflies hatch, ascend, mate and die as they did then.

So, with this reflection,  I decided to stop thinking so much and just go with the flow a bit. And I shall hope there are no unanticipated waterfalls on my route downstream.