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Thread: Is it possible and can you step up to the plate and hit it out of the ballpark?

  1. #1 Is it possible and can you step up to the plate and hit it out of the ballpark? 
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    To be a thinker, to be a free mind. Is this not worth something? To be uncontrolled and let the mind roam freely unconfined. Great ideas and all, I think, maybe excellent goals, but are we actually seeing any fruition of these goals happening here? Are we really stretching our minds, or are we rather holding on to old programs that have been instilled on our brain's hard-drives, many of them seemingly infected by virus's which appear to be slowing down the neuron-connections and taking up valuable virtual memory?

    So maybe it seems that sometimes drugs or a sense of power or money or accomplishments or sex or favor of others or such give some momentary relief of the symptoms but they do not really alleviate the causes.

    So - How to set the mind free of it's self imposed restrictions? I say self-imposed but even then, is it not more like our minds have been programmed by DNA and by society and friends and family and teachers and all?

    I feel that there is free will but maybe not so often easy to use because it goes against the grain of the accepted and of the conventions of the patterns of thought/feeling/attitudes that our internal hard drive is filled with by now. How do we go about breaking free of this? How do we ignite that nitroglycerine so to speak? Certainly that cannot come about by protection of the ego-as-is as the ego-as-is seems to be a limiter - a protector of the old ways, rather than a tool used for mutual benefit and learnings and mind-expansions so what do we have here on this forum, really? Desire to rise above the limitations, desire to ignite the Nitro?

    Maybe she (I) waits for someone else to step up to the plate? Anyone gonna? Certainly one person alone cannot fulfill the ambitious goals of this potentially ground-breaking manifesto?

    We are pushed to the limits of our minds, and now can we blow those limits off of the map? Some here may answer and I could be umpire and call strike out after strike out, can someone at least bunt if you can't take a good swing?

    Sure, it a science forum, and I expect someones to use their usual scientific brilliance/sarcasm - to call me a crank so you can seem smart to your friends, but really I don't even want friends that would like me for doing something like that, but have your fun as you wish.


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    So - How to set the mind free of it's self imposed restrictions?
    It's pretty simple. Never stop learning and continue to take formal and informal classes through your life as well as take up challenging hobbies.


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    And learn how to think.
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    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    To be a thinker, to be a free mind. Is this not worth something? To be uncontrolled and let the mind roam freely unconfined.
    This is proposed in the philosophy sub-forum!

    As it happens, we have two friends who are/were professors of philosophy at their respective universities. Philosophy is not about letting your mind run free at all. It's about rigorous argument and deconstructing others' arguments to find the flaws. In fact, I find it restrictive, even a bit dreary at times. They would rip this kind of approach to shreds - they'd do it politely, they'd get tutors to do it for them, but they'd do it. Uncontrolled or freely unconfined thinking is anathema to the discipline of critical thinking and rigorous argument.

    I might add that their conversation away from teaching or designing coursework requires a fairly high level of familiarity with recent developments in physics, in maths - and in art and in music and in biology - just to follow the thread of their thoughts.

    The only place I've found this kind of approach to thinking - which is more like feeling - is in creative arts fields. Not in fine arts or similar courses where you need an understanding of historical and cultural contexts, but in doing stuff or making stuff.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    To be a thinker, to be a free mind. Is this not worth something? To be uncontrolled and let the mind roam freely unconfined. Great ideas and all, I think, maybe excellent goals, but are we actually seeing any fruition of these goals happening here? Are we really stretching our minds, or are we rather holding on to old programs that have been instilled on our brain's hard-drives, many of them seemingly infected by virus's which appear to be slowing down the neuron-connections and taking up valuable virtual memory?
    What do you mean be a free mind? Free from what? Do you mean should a physicist be a free thinker and ignore all the knowledge previously found in physics and just do his own thing? Obviously there's nothing stopping a person doing that.

    Whether you think freely or whether you follow the current established knowledge rather depends on what you are trying to achieve. Your basic assumption is that people are either one or the other and that clearly isnt so (and usually when its found the base assumption is incorrect, what follows is incorrect too).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    So maybe it seems that sometimes drugs or a sense of power or money or accomplishments or sex or favor of others or such give some momentary relief of the symptoms but they do not really alleviate the causes.
    Symptoms and causes of what exactly? You sound like you are suggesting that not being a free thinker is somewhat of an illness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    So - How to set the mind free of it's self imposed restrictions? I say self-imposed but even then, is it not more like our minds have been programmed by DNA and by society and friends and family and teachers and all?
    Read lots of different books, enjoy lots of different activities and break established routines often and do things differently - go to work a different way, learn a new skill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    I feel that there is free will but maybe not so often easy to use because it goes against the grain of the accepted and of the conventions of the patterns of thought/feeling/attitudes that our internal hard drive is filled with by now. How do we go about breaking free of this? How do we ignite that nitroglycerine so to speak?
    There are some behaviours that are unconscious that are the product of years of repeated cultural exposure - for example in free association thinking of food and animals, people from the UK and USA will generally respond 'cheese' when given the word 'mice'. In reality mice will eat anything and everything including walls and wood. Free thinking comes from not taking that first thought to be the only acceptable response.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    Certainly that cannot come about by protection of the ego-as-is as the ego-as-is seems to be a limiter - a protector of the old ways, rather than a tool used for mutual benefit and learnings and mind-expansions so what do we have here on this forum, really? Desire to rise above the limitations, desire to ignite the Nitro?
    The 'ego-as-is' - what is that? The ego is an internal construct of an individual person the part that mediates between desire and internal and external moral values, roughly equating to the self. In effect you are saying an individual is self-limiting which can be true. Not all people are though.

    You seem to assume that because people here arenot bursting at the seams with energy, insight, brilliance and a new way tosave the world every 5 minutes they are doing nothing - in fact this part looks like a teenager throwing a bit of a strop because the adults aren'tmoving quick enough. Your basic assumption seems to be that people are either free thinking or rigidly stuck and thats just not true. Free thinking is a tool to be used just like conventional wisdom is a tool to be used - there is a time and a place for both.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    Maybe she (I) waits for someone else to step up to the plate? Anyone gonna? Certainly one person alone cannot fulfill the ambitious goals of this potentially ground-breaking manifesto?

    We are pushed to the limits of our minds, and now can we blow those limits off of the map? Some here may answer and I could be umpire and call strike out after strike out, can someone at least bunt if you can't take a good swing?

    Sure, it a science forum, and I expect someones to use their usual scientific brilliance/sarcasm - to call me a crank so you can seem smart to your friends, but really I don't even want friends that would like me for doing something like that, but have your fun as you wish.
    ???
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    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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    ~ It's a fine line to walk the tight Rope and step past the indoctrinated conceptions that have been ingrained. Taking the 'safe' road is always easy.. stepping across a mine field can just get you into trouble.. and be very disappointing.. You can not propose 'NEW' thought without due care and knowledge. When you have a imagination and a idea, yes you should table it. Talk of it, watch it get ripped apart and murdered.. This is good science and is how we move forward.. We should all feel free to speak and suggest the ideas we find and see..
    But we must also be mindful of the years of experience we are pushing aside.. I do not see any issue with sounding out 'new' ideas.. just as with respect.. and a thought of humility when shown as in error. That, that does not sound as encouraging as I intended.. I support the new and different view..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    To be a thinker, to be a free mind. Is this not worth something? To be uncontrolled and let the mind roam freely unconfined. Blah blah blah
    Isn't it funny how most people who call for "free thinking" are seemingly incapable of actually thinking.
    Such calls are usually - as Adelady has so succinctly noted - rather a rant against rationality and clear precise thought, promoting some sort of "stream-of-consciousness 1 I'm thinking out of YOUR restrictive box" crap.
    The fact that humans are capable of such "thinking" is not a valid argument that they should indulge in it - especially in public.

    1 For variable values of "conscious" 2
    2 E.g. leave out any awareness of the ridiculousness of the premise to start with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    ~ It's a fine line to walk the tight Rope and step past the indoctrinated conceptions that have been ingrained. Taking the 'safe' road is always easy.. stepping across a mine field can just get you into trouble.. and be very disappointing.. You can not propose 'NEW' thought without due care and knowledge.
    I'm yet to be convinced that taking the "safe" road is easy at all.

    Getting your head around a developed field of knowledge is, in fact, quite demanding. Learning critical thinking and how to frame a rigorous argument is a substantial undertaking all on its own ... and you have to do it anew for every field you encounter. Critical thinking in biology is not the same as critical thinking in history, in both cases you can only be competent at the thinking if you're already on top of the knowing.

    I do not see any issue with sounding out 'new' ideas.. just as with respect.. and a thought of humility when shown as in error. That, that does not sound as encouraging as I intended.. I support the new and different view..
    My big problem with encouraging novices in a topic to be original and come up with new and different ideas is that it's setting an unrealistic target. It's near self-defeating. How can you know what ideas are "new" or "different" if you're not familiar with previous work by others? In some cases, like philosophy, ideas may have been worked over by hundreds of experts (as well as all the dunderheads) for thousands of years.

    I know that formal scholarship can be restrictive and inhibiting by its insistence on demonstrating how your work fits in with long-dead people with ideas you'd rather be done with. That doesn't apply to casual conversations here - but you do have to show that you know what you're talking about nevertheless.

    Waffling and wondering and faffing about with portentous sounding words are no substitute for logical thinking and clear writing. You start that stuff in the student lounge at university, fine. Being a bit silly and self-consciously clever is what students do. Keep it up and you end up in the horror of being in the company of the Deepak Chopras of the world.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    To be a thinker, to be a free mind. Is this not worth something? To be uncontrolled and let the mind roam freely unconfined. Great ideas and all, I think, maybe excellent goals, but are we actually seeing any fruition of these goals happening here? Are we really stretching our minds, or are we rather holding on to old programs that have been instilled on our brain's hard-drives, many of them seemingly infected by virus's which appear to be slowing down the neuron-connections and taking up valuable virtual memory?
    Guess you need to heat up the brain. To do this perform the yoga headstand for at least 5 minutes in the morning.
    At least India's first PM Pandit Nehru thought so, and he had his ministers doing this in a line.
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  11. #10  
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    Structure is what keeps free thinking from becoming useless day dreaming.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    ~ It's a fine line to walk the tight Rope and step past the indoctrinated conceptions that have been ingrained. Taking the 'safe' road is always easy.. stepping across a mine field can just get you into trouble.. and be very disappointing.. You can not propose 'NEW' thought without due care and knowledge. When you have a imagination and a idea, yes you should table it. Talk of it, watch it get ripped apart and murdered.. This is good science and is how we move forward.. We should all feel free to speak and suggest the ideas we find and see..
    But we must also be mindful of the years of experience we are pushing aside.. I do not see any issue with sounding out 'new' ideas.. just as with respect.. and a thought of humility when shown as in error. That, that does not sound as encouraging as I intended.. I support the new and different view..
    New ideas can be a lot of trouble to develop and build a consensus. Most of us probably have new ideas, but just don't have the time, will and resources to take it anywhere close to acceptance. But I know for a fact that if a new idea is properly outlined and expressed on a science forum will be seen by thousands of browsers and lurkers. Every year there are thousands of graduate students looking for original ideas for a Theseus. Who knows when an ideas time has come. I personally wouldn't have a problem with anyone liking one of my ideas and doing something with it. As a note, I have seen ideas for the first time on a science forum and then a few years later on a science channel, that same idea developed and presented. So I know that these science forums do provide raw ideas that can be harvested and developed for use by others.
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    Structure needs balance just like logic needs intuition. I was at this beach party last night - tons of good natured fun and well lots of libations as well. After everyone else had gone home or slept out or passed out, just this one other girl and I were laying on our sides and looking into each other's eyes and wondering about the magic of it all. We decided to roll over on our backs and star gaze. Can mankind structure structures like that? It is like we live in a ridiculously structured world beyond human apprehension, but not beyond our appreciation. The ocean, the beach, the unique people, the sky, the stars - so beautiful and mind boggling - but do they exist just to exist and pass away for new existences to come to be just as we?

    I had seen a sadness in her eyes and in her speech, but she lighted up when we saw a falling star. She had to go away somewhere for the weekend and we said goodnight - and I told her that when I look into her eyes, I see a sadness at first, but when I look more deeply I see just the pure expansive love and beauty of pure being that I believe to be in us all, all the time.

    Unstructured, maybe not. Just a daydreamer? Maybe not.
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    If you want to have a bit of exercise in changing your viewpoints and broadening your mind I suggest that once a month you should read one magazine or journal about some topic you have never heard of or ever had any interest in.
    It could be a trade journal, a physics journal, or a hobby magazine.
    Hopefully it would be something with serious content.
    The more diverse the magazines are the better.

    Last month I made the effort to read a magazine directed at the banking industry and the bankers.
    This month I read a magazine for people who are crazy about hotrodding diesel motors. Strange stuff indeed.
    I am putting links here so people can see what I mean.
    American Banker
    Diesel Truck Engines, Performance Duramax Parts, Trucks & Cars - Diesel Power Magazine

    I would note that I prefer paper copies more than internet editions.
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    You got it Dan. The trick is to look where one wouldn't. This begins with IMHO the most essential scientific act: inspecting one's own lenses, identifying biases and blindspots.

    And then one finds nothing but old chewing gum under the table after all.
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    Or possibly a poem about my Ox?

    I. Searching for the Ox
    Alone in the wilderness, lost in the jungle,
    the child is searching, searching!
    The swelling waters, the far-away mountains,
    and the unending path;
    Exhausted and in despair, knowimg not
    where to go,
    Only hearing the evening cicadas singing in
    the maple-woods.

    Where does the dear child go from here?
    She follows her heart, to freedom's shore, right?



    II. the trees, scattered
    are the traces of the lost; Seeing the Traces
    By the stream and under
    The sweet-scented grasses are growing
    thick -- did she find the way?
    However remote over the hills and far
    away the beast may wander,
    it's nose reaches the heavens and none
    can conceal it.

    III. Seeing the Ox
    On a yonder branch perches a nightengale
    cheerfully singing;
    The sun is warm, and a soothing breeze
    blows on

    On the bank the willows
    are green;
    The ox is there all by himself, nowhere
    is he to hide himself;

    The splendid head decorated with stately
    horns like a duplicatous Unicorn

    \-- what painter can
    reproduce him?

    IV. Catching the Ox

    With all the energy the child can muster
    she has at last taken hold of the ox:
    But how wild his will, how
    ungovernable his power!

    At times he struts up a plateau,
    When Lo! he is lost again in a
    misty unpenetrable mountain-pass.
    This ox is hard to herd or follow.


    V. Herding the Ox

    Now the child may seek to
    herd the Ox, but if she uses the whip and tether
    she will only succeed to separate herself with
    from him with that whip and tether,
    and cause the animal to wander away again
    and she will fall again into a world of defilements;

    BUT!, When the ox is properly tended to,
    with appropriate attention and love
    he will grow pure and docile;
    Without a chain, nothing binding, he will
    by himself be her leader and her guide
    and her follower
    Nothing could be stronger
    than this boundless binding
    Nothing could surpass its
    wondrousness
    Nothing else could
    touch her heart like this

    VI. Coming Home on the Ox's Back

    Riding on the Ox's back, they leisurely
    wend their way home;
    Enveloped in the evening mist, how
    tunefully the beautiful flute notes vanish away
    into the utter stillness of vanquished time
    Singing a ditty, beating time,
    her dear heart filled with joy
    indescribably!
    That she is now one of those who know,
    need it be told?
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Well (unsurprisingly) this thread's gone downhill 1: it's bugger all to do with philosophy.

    1 Not that it had far to go.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  18. #17  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    There was a young lady named Mayflow
    Whose content was consistently low
    All manner of woo,
    smelly bullshit too
    Her threads to the Trash can often go...
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  19. #18  
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    The Ox represents the mind, but not limited to the small-minded conscious mind. Hmm' Ox philosophy? I can maybe go with this. No worries about trash bins. Oxes like trash bins just fine. I could write more complex poetry there, I think.
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  20. #19  
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    Travel is the thing which broadens the mind. Just think how many books, magazines and journals you've read and forgotten.
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    Ok, I am not going to look at the fact that I was just replied to by someone called "ox" *giggles - (cute, though)* but yeah, travel seems good to broaden perspectives. I try to use the internet for this in ways - different people, different cultures, different philosophies. It is a very interesting and intriguing life indeed.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    To be a thinker, to be a free mind. Is this not worth something? To be uncontrolled and let the mind roam freely unconfined. Great ideas and all, I think, maybe excellent goals, but are we actually seeing any fruition of these goals happening here? Are we really stretching our minds, or are we rather holding on to old programs that have been instilled on our brain's hard-drives, many of them seemingly infected by virus's which appear to be slowing down the neuron-connections and taking up valuable virtual memory?

    So maybe it seems that sometimes drugs or a sense of power or money or accomplishments or sex or favor of others or such give some momentary relief of the symptoms but they do not really alleviate the causes.

    So - How to set the mind free of it's self imposed restrictions? I say self-imposed but even then, is it not more like our minds have been programmed by DNA and by society and friends and family and teachers and all?

    I feel that there is free will but maybe not so often easy to use because it goes against the grain of the accepted and of the conventions of the patterns of thought/feeling/attitudes that our internal hard drive is filled with by now. How do we go about breaking free of this? How do we ignite that nitroglycerine so to speak? Certainly that cannot come about by protection of the ego-as-is as the ego-as-is seems to be a limiter - a protector of the old ways, rather than a tool used for mutual benefit and learnings and mind-expansions so what do we have here on this forum, really? Desire to rise above the limitations, desire to ignite the Nitro?

    Maybe she (I) waits for someone else to step up to the plate? Anyone gonna? Certainly one person alone cannot fulfill the ambitious goals of this potentially ground-breaking manifesto?

    We are pushed to the limits of our minds, and now can we blow those limits off of the map? Some here may answer and I could be umpire and call strike out after strike out, can someone at least bunt if you can't take a good swing?

    Sure, it a science forum, and I expect someones to use their usual scientific brilliance/sarcasm - to call me a crank so you can seem smart to your friends, but really I don't even want friends that would like me for doing something like that, but have your fun as you wish.
    Adelady is right about the absence of philosophy in this thread.


    As for free thinking, of course this has a role in human creativity. However what should not be overlooked is that creative people use their creative moments to achieve something. This invariably involves subjecting their creativity to a discipline of some kind. This is true not only in science but in the arts as well. You wil find painters, sculptors or musicians all use rigorous disciplines in what they do.

    Without that discipline, to bring order to the ideas, you have worthless junk, or the doodles of an ape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Without that discipline, to bring order to the ideas, you have worthless junk, or the doodles of an ape.
    I'm afraid that what I can write about this has little to do with the thread - in fact I don't understand the title at all. But the above quoted comment did bring to mind something I was recently thinking about Rolf Harris, who is currently on trial in the UK. He used to be a popular slap-happy painter who appeared on television a lot. As a kid, I can recall him stepping up to a white wall with a large decorator's brush in his hand and splattering paint everywhere with abandon. The puzzle was, and is, that what emerged from this was often a quite astute portrayal of whatever he was painting. I have seen others with artistic talents do the same - but how they do it is a mystery.
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