Sunday, June 3, 2012

the more I see the (more and less) I know

I don’t consider myself a fan of pop culture.  I appreciate art, music, drama and like many people my taste’s fluctuate  but simultaneously stay the same.  I have a mark, a code that calls and describes me.  I follow some artists and the interest usually wanes.  I rarely attach much meaning to one icon.  
But I’ve got to admit that I’m a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Sure, like anything, I’ve lost interest and the guys have certainly had their share of drama.  But who doesn’t love Blood Sugar Sex Magik?  They played from the gut terrifically tapped into the primal. And now as they age, they play with a softer edge buttered with insight.   

This year, I have a burning desire to see them in concert.  I booked tickets to my husband’s delight this November.  I can’t wait to see Anthony Kiedis and Flea and expect an unforgettable show. 
I have so many memories attached to these guys; high school parties, broken hearts, Southern California surfing, college road trips, unforgettable odysseys , mountain camp outs, ferris wheels, rich evergreen forests, red canyons and deep swimmable springs. 

And now, parenting?
As I drove Dana, Snow played on the radio.  Anthony Kiedis sang:

The more I see the less I know, the more I like to let it go.

Dana exclaimed, “What! That’s not right.  The more I see the less I know?  It should be the more I see the more I know.”

As in many parenting moments, many things went through my mind. 

·         Crap, my daughter is really listening to the lyrics of songs.  I’ve got to edit some of our favorite Pandora playlists that stream through the house and get rid of songs like Lily Allen’s “Fuck You” 

·         What?  My daughter is really listening to the lyrics of songs!  I shudder to think about what is she learning from pop media's cultural bombardment and misaligned values. How can I get the funds to buy that island we will live on until she is 21?  Please help.

·         What?  My daughter is having a conversation with the lyrics of songs?   Not only is she listening, she is processing and aligning those lyrics to her own meaning making and amazingly her own meta-cognition, she is thinking about how she is thinking.  And if it doesn’t align, she resists it and attempts to correct it.  Anthony Kiedis got the lyrics wrong and broadcast them publically.  Shame on him.   

·         Dana is right.  In her world, the more she sees the more she knows.  That is the way a six year old learns.  The sponge analogy is accurate.  She absorbs every experience and extracts the learnable moments in the instant.  She is building a knowledge bank filled with writing, reading, vocabulary, math, geometry, science, history, culture, love.

·         Anthony Kiedis is right.  The more I see the less I know.  Adulthood is a process of unlearning all the assumptions and habits of mind we acquired in childhood.  Personally, I have unpeeled an unknowable number of layers of assumptions.  When I learn something new it simultaneously uncovers that I know very little.  I’m learning how to let assumptions go and just be open to the world.  It is a process with an unwinnable goal.      

I told her that she was right.  But It will happen when she is an adult.  The more she sees the less she will know.  It is a way adults learn. 
I wonder when that happens?  When do we switch from acquiring knowledge and assumptions to unlearning them?  There can’t be a singular moment.  But can it be identified? 

Likely, it is like the ebb and flow of the ocean waves.  As the tide rises we acquire knowledge and as the tide lowers we unlearn and deconstruct meaning.  Then the tides of acquisition rise again and we create new buildings of meaning only to be wiped away by another tide.  We take two steps forward and one step back.  Learning is a process of construction and deconstruction. 
Dana had a conversation with Anthony Kiedis and it opened up her understanding of the world and how she interacts with it. Maybe it widened her understanding of her learning, meaning, adults, songs, and her mother.   It certainly deepened my understanding of the learning process.    

And I have a new memory of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.