Friday, February 8, 2008

Just like the cake

-You should learn to dance.

-I can't dance.

-Uh, yeah, that's why you should learn.

-I can't learn. I'm just not a dancer.

-That doesn't make sense. You can learn, just like I did.

-Yeah but you have an aptitude for dancing, you just "get" it.

- . . . So you think I'm good dancer because I have a natural ability to dance?


-And it has NOTHING to do with me spending all that time at lessons and dance nights, being taught by experienced dancers and getting pointers from girls I danced with?

-Well . . . there's that, but you were able to learn it in the first place because you just understood the concept.

-Let me get this straight, you're saying that every person has a preset list of things that they "get," and those are the only things they can learn how to do?

-Yeah, either you have an aptitude for something, or you don't.

-And you believe this despite the fact that everyone you know has learned how to divine complex meaning from little figures scratched on a piece of paper, operate large pieces of machinery to take them safely across hundreds of miles, and remember thousands of details about the natural, economic, and social worlds they live in?

-But those things are easy!

-No they aren't. They're all incredibly complex. Yet you can do all of them. What happened, did you just get lucky and wind up having an "aptitude" for all of them?

-It's not the same. Dancing and music and other creative things require you to understand them from the beginning.

-That's even more ridiculous. No human society has ever existed without music and dancing, they are one of the most natural things for a human being to take part in, and they're a hell of a lot more natural than long division. The only difference is that you decided you HAD to learn how to read, you HAD to learn to drive a car. You never stopped to think that you COULDN'T. Where, in the course of learning all the things that you know, did you decide that certain things were IMPOSSIBLE, were MAGIC. And why are you letting that abominable idea rob you of something that could be beacon of your life, stirring your soul and connecting you to other people in a way that's as intimate and real as the deepest conversations you've ever had? "Aptitude" is a lie. It's a horrible lie and I am sick of people using it to forget how amazing they are. Anyone can dance*, anyone can write, anyone can sing. You may never be Mario Andretti, but damn it you can learn to drive, and it can take you anywhere.

- . . . Left, Right, Rock-step, huh?


*Except for that one guy. Sheesh! Dude is NEVER going to get it.

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