Friday, July 20, 2012

Turpentine and Hawthorne

"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine."
    ~~  Pablo Picasso

I encountered today's quote at a ribbonfarm in a fascinating piece called The Turpentine Effect.  Here's a brief description of the phenomena -
When you practice a craft you become skilled and knowledgeable in two areas: the stuff the craft produces, and the processes used to create it. And the second kind of expertise accumulates much faster. I call this the turpentine effect. Under normal circumstances, the turpentine effect only has minor consequences. At best, you become a more thoughtful practitioner of your craft, and at worst, you procrastinate a little, shopping for turpentine rather than painting. 
The Turpentine Effect is an interesting theory, I've seen it at work in the BDSM community in a number of different ways.  Some folks, having accumulated the tools, actually believe they've also mastered the craft.  For others, the tools themselves become the obsession, a path I've been down in other pastimes, but have thankfully avoided in my own practice of BDSM.

And I do consider BDSM, like medicine, to be a practice rather than an absolute science.  While I learn a little bit from every BDSM scene in which I've taken part, my knowledge will never be absolute or comprehensive.  There's always another technique to understand and master, another new way to get inside my submissive wife's head and spin it around for our mutual enjoyment.

Which brings me to the other piece from ribbonfarm that caught my attention called The Generalized  Hawthorne Effect  which is postulated as -
The effectiveness of a tool depends almost entirely on the amount of mindful attention being devoted in its use, not the specific form the attention takes. 
This would seem to be a useful piece of information for most dominants.  Use it as you wish . . .

1 comment:

  1. I see this in the IT world all the time. Somebody gets really good at using tools or programs without understanding the underlying structure and suddenly proclaims to be masterful. Knowing the right tools to use is different from knowing why the tool is effective. The difference can be subtle yet powerful.

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