Architectural einstellung.

Feel a little better today, 6 radiotherapy treatments down 27 to go. It’s a long haul. Coping better with claustrophobia, tried a bit of ‘mindfulness’ today and was trying to be both relaxed and aware of what was happening. Kept my eyes open, listened to all the weird sounds. There are a few different sounds, one is like the repetitive low level sound in Terminator of machinery moving. The X-ray zapping is high pitched and sounds ‘penetrative’, appositely onomatopeic, it feels like it’s burning into me even though I feel nothing.

Got to start thinking about looking after my skin as it will be damaged to some extent.

So the Einstellung effect, basically means how when faced with a problem we tend to use what’s worked in the past, or whatever our predisposition is to solving problems. When I think about this I realise that it’s pretty ubiquitous, and we all tend to suffer from it to greater or lesser degrees. On one level it fits with the scientific model and through repeatable experiments and observations we think we understand stuff. As Oliver Burkeman suggests it can be dangerous, for example a doctor may jump to deciding on a treatment based on past experience and patients not necessarily on what the new patient is presenting with. Experience can be detrimental.

Pretty depressing, can’t trust the experts! But I think there’s something really useful in this. Over my teaching career I developed approaches that I began to call forensic in that I was trying to understand any child I was working with (I’ve worked within special needs for many years). A danger I began to recognise was that with a ‘new’ student it was dangerous to think such as: “they present just like a previous student x so we should do what worked with them”. Every one of us is different and certainly every student that ended up in my class arrived with a unique make-up, history and behavioural profile. I would then set about trying to understand them as individuals, what motivates them, what their fears and worries are and as time passed what works with them. Thinking that a child is like another we’ve worked with is dangerous as we think we can work with them the same way. Of course there is the possibility that the same approach might work but often it doesn’t and can lead to immediate complications for the student, frustration for staff and a delay in finding effective ways of working.

What I’m trying to discuss here is what Burkeman describes as 2 levels of expertise: “one in which people are simply guided by experience, and a superior kind in which they’re hyper-aware of the limits of expertise itself”. This is what Buddhists call “beginners mind” in which the real expertise is seeing beyond the received expertise and the ignorance beyond.

Discussion on radio 4 now about grammar schools. New research from University of Bath looked into comparative earnings between areas that had and didn’t have grammar schools. They found that in grammar school areas those who went to grammar schools earnt more but those who didn’t earnt less than those who went to comprehensive school areas. So hey, like we all really knew already a selective system is unfair, wrong and time we moved on from this stale debate.

So YouGov market research has found that those who like sweetcorn are more right wing than your average Ukipper. Well it is fairly indigestible, just like sweetcorn.

So it is sweet to hear the Tories and Ukippers  at each others throats, latest from the Tories that a UKIP win in Rochester will lead to a fall in house prices.

Credit where it’s due but BoJo is supporting, apparently, the New Era estate tenants.

Manifesto 21:

  • let’s have a revolution in architecture and allow people to be far more creative with their homes as well as public buildings. Too often new houses built in this country are boring and we have a very narrow definition of what is good. Certainly not the shit that is Poundland in Dorchester, Charles’ weird creation, walk and drive round it and you’ll feel what I mean.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


One thought on “Architectural einstellung.

  1. Glad book’s technique is worth a try; had my head in Sufi archives all day – several steps beyond mindfulness – wonderfully esoteric stuff. Hope you’ve got space for the broad beans and Kate ate the chocolate!

    Staying outside Paris in the property where Noor and her family lived and which is still the centre of the international archive – – fascinating story and person,speaking of challenges, and this is the family of the founder of the Sufi Order UK. Just thought you might like something apolitical to read, though of course nothing is.
    Glad feeling better, must be something all this mind fullness. Keep it on xxx


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