Friday, October 12, 2007

What is this Innate Phenomenon ?

What is this innate phenomenon called repetition? As children we love to hear the same stories and songs again and again, we like wearing the same maroon jeans with the rainbow bright belt, we like our hair in our signature braids. It is common knowledge that one of the most ancient and effective learning tools ever devised by man is the powerful principle of repetition.

But here is my question World, is it really true that human beings somehow need to see, hear and do things again and again and again in order to acquire any kind of growth or self-improvement?

I teach the same lesson to basically the same group of teens seven times over a period of two days, then I repeat the process over and over again. Every hour and twenty-five minutes I, in a sense, repeat my life seven different times.

Are all people asked to do this? Do you make the same decisions, have the same conversations with co-workers, do you follow the same routine every day, or is it just me? How do you feel about this? Is there something to be learned from all of these daily tasks of repetitions? Does it make you appreciate the moments that are truly unique? Is it possible to have a job and a life where every day brings a uniqueness? I am not talking about the chance we all have to create small moments of uniqueness each day, but truly doing different things every day. Is it possible? Would we like it?

Or do we like wearing the same warm, lush, striped socks to bed every night, having the same cereal for breakfast every morning, getting on that same flight to London every month, styling our dreads in the same fashion for Latin dancing every time, getting the same phone calls from people who need to change their flight reservations, telling the same young man to read his Charles Dickens, teaching the same Sha-Sha summer camp song again and again and again….

We watch movies with the same story lines again and again and again.

We listen to the same music, or a particular song a thousand times…why?

As a people are we not really looking for "fresh" as much as we are looking for "familiar"?-


Michael! Muffins! said...

You are Mary Kay Letourneau! I swear it!

I'm just kidding. I still hold the reputation at Snowcrest for your favorite student! WOO! I checked out those two guys--they are hilarious.

I love the one where he has to make up where he had met the woman before, and the woman finds out he is the wrong man. Hahahahaha.

Well, my Sweatband (puntastic!) is performing at Mojo's on Friday, November 12th, 8:00.

Going to be great.

Get back to Snowcrest! How is NUAMES?!

--Muffin Man.

Chelle said...

Very interesting post D'Arcy

I had to think about your post for awhile before I could comment, because I feel like my life has a lot less repetition in it than is typical. Sure, my work is repetition. (HOW do you want your coffee?) But where I live and what I do and seek out I feel like are seeking the opposite in a lot of ways.

However, lest it seem like I am trying to take some kind of false high road here, I have my repetitious moments as well. I think many of the things we repeat are merely because we truly love them, or because of the memories they bring back (music for example).

I think another major reason we repeat things is out of desire to feel comfortable. You minimize risk, you don't have to get out of your shell, you know what to do, you don't have to look stupid, all of these things can be very attractive.

D'Arcy said...

That old student is joking, world, in case you question his first line. He is mocking me because I have told students in the past who have wanted to by my friends that the answer is "No, because I am NOT Mary Kay Letourneau!" it's more of an inside joke than an actual accusation. Watch yourself Michael!!

Chelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chelle said...

Thanks for clearing that up Alice. :)

Now I am going to go upstairs in the Newark airport and get myself some white pizza, which is repetitive, but only half as repetitive as going to Au Bon Pain, where I eat at least once a week.

Dann said...

I have long waited for a chiasmus-based blog post; well done!

I've discovered that I hate repetition or at least I squirm uncomfortably when I find myself in a cycle. Even my favorite songs, movies, or books need a considerable buffer space before I can enjoy them. It blows my mind how Rebecca can listen to the same song over and over and over...that would make me hate it forever.

I cannot still process that Stella actually had the Sha Sha songs in her car stereo. I was scared for her just then.

D'Arcy said...

Yeah, hearing the Sha Sha song on Stella's radio actually made me think I could do justice to Marlon Brando!

Chelle said...

okay, the fact that i keep thinking about this post is repetitious enough. it haunts me...

but my initial thought is the same. i am utterly bored with repetition. unless it goes for the my above mentioned reasons.

Moonbird said...

This goes back to something a friend in eighth grade told me. "One of the hardest challenge for humans to do is remember."

Of course, there's the contrasting argument with that, just as valid. But her words calmed me. I wondered why we do the same actions, think the same thoughts, forget the same things over and over. It frustrated me. But I feel better about it now. One example why: I used to pride myself in never reading the same book twice. My stance was that there were too many books to read in the world to repeat one. Until I repeated a book. It wasn't the same book at all! I had completely different ways of relating... it was a fresh new adventure.

Another friend a couple of years ago felt frustrated with how often a person needs to cook and clean. What's the point of mopping a floor that you'll just have to mop again and again and again? We discussed something I had learned in my spiritual practices. If I can turn every monotonous act into a meditation, then I am continuously progressing. Mopping the floor, doing the dishes, driving to work can turn into a 10, 20, 30 minute mental meditation...

This post is so interesting in its timing for my own life. I'm doing an experiment: I'm staying put. I feel like I'm living someone else's life! That sense of "fresh" and "new" is what I've tasted for the last decade. Now I'm attempting to see the joys of repeating the same day...for years. We'll see what happens!

D'Arcy said...

Yes! Good, meditation.. I really like that. Thanks Em!