Absence…

…makes the heart grow fonder, or so they say.  It can also make the plants seem like they’re growing faster, if you leave at the right time of year and the weather cooperates.

.img_2201 … and 11 days later…   img_2309

Things can happen when/because you’re not micromanaging them.  My elation at the size of the plants upon my recent reminded me of that, along with something I heard on Radiolab some time ago.  The episode was about sleep, and in one of the segments,  Guilio Tononi, professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin Madison, talks about practicing and practicing and practicing a piece of music and never quite getting it right, until enlisting sleep as a learning tool, or maybe a learning catalyst.  He wakes up and the music is there, ready to play flawlessly.

It’s worth remembering, I think, that sometimes things happen when one is not hard at work at something. The brain’s working all the time, fussing around with what we’ve been doing, what we are doing, what we’re about to do, and it’s a lot easier to think that learning something is a simple cause and effect process that happens predictably and reliably with time and effort commensurate with the time spent.  It’s so much more complicated.  What might the implications be?

Have a listen to the Radiolab episode if you’re interested in the sleep stuff, and/or how it helps with learning.

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