On Exercising


“The need for exercise is a modern superstition, invented by people who ate too much and had nothing to think about.”

– George Santayana

On the Progress of Doubt


“If you can doubt at points where other people find no impulse to doubt, you are making progress.”

– Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu)

The Destruction of Divergent Thinking


‘There was a great study done recently of divergent thinking. It was published a couple of years ago. Divergent thinking isn’t the same thing as creativity. I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. Divergent thinking isn’t a synonym but it’s an essential capacity for creativity. It’s the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of possible ways of interpreting a question to think what Edward de Bono would probably call laterally – to think not just in linear or convergent ways. To seek multiple answers, not one.

So there are tests for this, I mean, one kind of cod example would be people might be asked to say how many uses can you think of for a paper clip; one of those routine questions. Most people might come up with ten or fifteen. People who are good at this might come up with 200. And they’d do that by saying, “Well could the paperclip be 200 foot tall and made out of foam rubber?” “Does it have to be a paperclip as we know it, Jim?” Now they tested this and they gave them to 1,500 people in a book called Break Point and Beyond, and on the protocol of the test if you scored above a certain level you’d be considered to be a genius at divergent thinking.

So my question to you is what percentage of the people tested of the 1,500 scored at genius level for divergent thinking. Now you need to know one more thing about them – these were kindergarten children. So what do you think? What percentage at genius level? 80? 98%. Now the thing about this was it was a longitudinal study, so they retested the same children five years later aged 8 to 10. What do you think? 50? They retested them again five years later, ages 13 to 15. You can see a trend here can’t you?’

– Robinson, K. (2008, June 16) Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from Ted.com

Idiotic Division of Functions


‘According to the current way of thinking (or not-thinking), it seems that if we are to enjoy anything then we must not have to think about it, and, conversely, if we are to think about anything, then we mustn’t enjoy it. This is a calamitous and idiotic division of functions.'[1]

– Queneau. R. 1947. Exercises in Style New York, United States: New Directions (2012) p. xiv


[1] Excerpt of the preface by Barbara Wright who translated Queneau’s Exercises de Style in 1981.

Orwell on Orthodoxy


‘Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’

– Orwell. G. 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four London, Great Britain: Penguin Books (2008) p. 56