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Are Dead Stops Energy Drains?

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of May 28, 2007

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Ed D.]
  • Are the effects of Dead Stops cumulative?
  • Is Learner’s Block a necessary part of learning?
  • Does the act of seeing a Dead Stop create momentum?

Do you know?

[Question 1] Are the effects of Dead Stops cumulative? I ask because it seems my life is a riddle of mysterious Dead Stops. In effect, I have changed roads many times, always looking for new energy, but without even knowing it.  Every book I have not finished. Every dream I have ever abandoned. Every unfinished goal and idea. All these things seem to me like Dead Stops. 

My question is, do I need to gather up all these lose ends and finish them? Do they short-circuit my energy? Or can I simply put these things behind me and focus on what is ahead?
[Answer] Let's start by defining Dead Stops. What's a Dead Stop?

A Dead Stop is the experience of exceeding one's capacity to learn while attempting to learn. In the Cycle of Learning States; [1]Learning by Unknown, [2] Learning by Momentum, [3] Learning by Emergence, and [4] Learning by Extension, Dead Stops occur after Learning By Extension and before Learning by Unknown. Why? Because piggybacking on learning which has emerged in you is easy and a lot of fun. Every time you revisit this experience, in fact. This fun then is part of the lure which keeps you going back for more. Including Learning by Extension.

For example, I recently realized that the mechanism of the mind body connection lies in the way we perceive time both in the body and the mind. From this I discovered a number of interesting things. Including that stuttering and dyslexia mirror the problems in digital systems when there are clock sync problems.

The thing is, were I to try to push this learning in such a way as to force more discoveries, I would very quickly end up in a Dead Stop. Why? Because there is a limit to how far you can extend an emergence. Even one as significant as my recent discovery. And because this limit comes into play whenever you attempt to extend what you Learn by Extension, whenever you do this beyond a reasonable distance from the original discovery, you very quickly fall into the labyrinth of mental digressions. Result. A Dead Stop.

So are the effects of Dead Stops cumulative? Ed, I doubt it, although if you remain in one long enough you can get pretty discouraged. This thing is, if someone comes along and inspires you, you can often get right back into the swing of things.

Even when this does not happen though, if you simply get out of your seat and go away and do something to clear your mind, your slate will empty, and your potential will be restored.

The thing to remember here is that Dead Stops are essentially times wherein we have exceeded our capacity to learn. This almost always comes from having tried to learn too much too soon. In other words, from forcing yourself to learn. Thus, the thing to remember here is that, if you give yourself the room, you can pretty much always learn more. But if you don't, then you will usually end up in a very uncomfortable state. In the experience of the dreadful labyrinth of digressions. In the experience of a Dead Stop.

[Question 2] Is Learner’s Block a necessary part of learning?
Ed. It would be easy to say yes, that Learner's Block is just a necessary step on the road to learning. However, before I leap to this conclusion, give me a minute to think about it.

Is Learner’s Block a necessary part of learning? I guess the word that is putting a run in my attention is the word, "necessary." This word implies that there is but one road to learning, and that on this road we must meet dragons who will eat up our energy and steal our fire.

So is this true? Often, it sure feels this way. And if we statistically explore this, I'm sure it looks this way too. But is it truly necessary? I'm not convinced. Moreover, I'm not convinced that we cannot come up with better ways in which to learn and teach which may minimize our chances this will happen.

At this point then, and based largely on my theoretical gut reaction, I'd have to say, no. Learner's Block is not necessary. Even though at present it sure feels this way.

Time will tell, Ed. We're working on it.

[Question 3] Does the act of seeing a Dead Stop create momentum?
Not really. However it puts you in position to build up momentum.

What I'm saying is, momentum comes only from piggybacking on the emergences of another. An inspiring teacher. An interesting fellow student. A enthusiastic therapist. And so on. Whatever the source of this inspiration though, it always holds the potential to motivate us into doing. Into taking some kind of steps toward the goal we wish to reach.

So do Dead Stops kill our momentum? In a way. However, by the time you hit a Dead Stop, you've pretty much run out of steam already. And if you hit a Dead Stop, everyone around you will feel it too.

To answer your question though, does seeing we are in a Dead Stop help build up momentum? No. But seeing this happening in ourselves does allow us to escape the gravity which is killing the momentum we do have.

[Question 4] Is the conscious use of Momentum Learning a form of “connection" warm-ups? In a sense, a kind of learner's foreplay? What I'm asking is, are the free-writing exercises that English teachers suggest we do as warm-ups to writing an example of using and harnessing Momentum Learning?  A sort of writer's "batting practice?"
Interesting questions. Is the conscious use of Momentum Learning a form of “connection" warm-ups? Off hand, I'd have to say yes. However, this same practice can also lead to Dead Stops.

The thing to remember here is the idea of free writing exercises. This contrasts sharply with the feeling of forced writing exercises. Forcing oneself to do warm up writing exercises. In other words, as long as the free writing exercises you do are truly freely coming from you, then great. But if they are merely another form of self induced torture, then they will probably do more to kill your momentum than to increase it.

In essence what I'm saying is, freedom is the opposite experience from being forced. Thus, if you can freely do these warm up exercises, then fine. But if you do them as rote rigid penance, then better to skip the whole thing and go out and play ball. Or climb a mountain. Or sit by a stream. Why? Because these kinds of things do inspire feelings of freedom in us. Without forcing anything.

Moreover, if you bring a pad, who knows. Maybe the great American novel will begin to emerge from you. And what the heck. You never know what Nature is capable of. Or you, yourself. Given the freedom to be yourself that is.

[Question 5] Where does the fear to start again come from?  The fear of admitting I am at a Dead Stop?  It seems this experience categorizes my entire school career.  I would be out sick for two weeks at a time twice a year due to asthma attacks. Then I would dread returning to class; fear it really. But never know why.  Is this connected? In other words, is my fear of Dead Stops somehow connected to my fear of returning to school?
Where does your fear to start again come from?  Ed. I'm not sure. I say this as the kind of fear you describe can come from so many places. For instance, you may have once had someone criticize you for the opening lines of something you wrote. Suddenly and unexpectedly. Or you may have sat staring blankly at a page and had someone walk up from behind and startle you.

You also might have once had a teacher mock you for returning to school unprepared. Or you may have had this happen entirely within your own head and been startled by your own thoughts.

Whatever the case, you do have a point. These two experiences may well overlap. Or even be injury and symptom. The thing is, it's simple enough to find out which. Simply use emergence to explore Dead Stops may have occurred in you during school. Especially after having been out sick for a week. Then see how these explorations affect your having Dead Stops. Do they lesson or not?

Finally, I have to say, you asking this is very insightful. Wounds can thread together so insidiously at times. Thus when you find what may be a thread of similarity, you should always follow it to see where it goes. And how knows. You might unravel a grand emergence in the process.

Good luck.

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