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Effort Versus Aptitude

Dreamed 2017/8/23 by Wayan

THAT DAY

Work on the World Dream Bank. Sketch the crumbling castle for my dream Ermine. Work Tritonian Foxtaur too; still needs focusing. For The Foam Furs, a photoessay on the interplay of autism, art, giftedness, healing, and a furry sexual orientation, I photograph Vixtoria on deck. Treat her as finished, though her headpiece & an ear-lining are just pinned. Add a final table with two photos, rewrite the conclusions. One more huge project done online, if not quite in real life. But a week away, after five years...

Sculpture: sculpt a cat figurine out of a Monster High doll. Cut and straighten her neck. Braid & plait doubled pipecleaners till I have a tail long and stiff enough to be a third tripod-leg. The unaltered dolls--like Barbies--just fall over, but my reinforced catgirl stands up on her own!

Another blow for fetishism feminism!

THAT EVENING

Charlie Rose on PBS interviews billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Buffett argues emphatically that "education's not enough, and it's government's job to provide healthcare and basic income for unemployables--they aren't fuckups, just a growing segment whose skills aren't needed: robots can do their jobs cheaper if not better."

As I watch Gates and Buffett avoid debating what's needed (beyond education) for the plight of the normals, I thought of the flood of plaintive emails I've gotten over the years--from lonely prodigies unable to find friends, and from normals longing to be prodigies. Like geniuses are jes' folks with good study habits! Sure, they get more done if they're disciplined. But a genius isn't just a hard-working student, any more than an autistic is just a neurotypical with odd hobbies.

Buffett urges a big earned income credit or negative income tax. But how to get there? Neither guy addresses how you TAX the rich, given their effective control of governments. No surprise, I guess, from two zillionaires. But Rose could have asked those hard questions, and chose not to. His questions are well-informed, but he often defers to rich, white, famous, and male... and Gates and Buffett are all four.

2018 NOTE: months later, accusations of sexual harassment got Rose fired. Some regret the loss of Rose's admittedly intelligent interviews; this journal entry shows his sexism hurt not only female co-workers but viewers, too. Rose didn't just disrespect women; he overrespected men. Two sides of one coin!

THAT NIGHT Tarot card reader. Dream sketch by Wayan based on an old painting by Balthus. Click to enlarge.

I'm in a cafe. I'm attracted to a teenage girl with a narrow face. Unusual for me. Is it her strong aura?

She says "I work here part-time, but what I really like is reading Tarot for people on the side."

I ask other staff, "Is she good?" They say "Yeah." Confirms my guess she's psychic.

I urge them to give her some paid hours as a reader and healer; it'll draw in customers. There's a raised booth with a tiny table that's ideal for Tarot readings.

But the manager discounts my advice, for two reasons:

1: "You just think she's hot." True, but why do I like her? I'm pretty sure it's not physical beauty--it's her powerful energy tugging at me! He has it backward. I don't see her as capable because she's attractive, I'm attracted because she's capable.

2: "Tarot is a religious practice. So we'd have to give EVERY faith a booth." He adds "Besides, psychic reading isn't a talent--anyone can practice and develop second sight!" Innate talent is irrelevant; it's all about effort. American egalitarianism.

But he's wrong. Yes, most people have diverse (if rudimentary) talents they could develop--though usually don't. But people vary a LOT, and some have powerful inherent gifts. Music, math... ESP. She's got a visibly radiating talent--even if only a sensitive minority can see!


Now my mom shows up, alive again. We start arguing about effort versus aptitude. She too assumes achievement is just education plus hard work; she ignores that you need innate abilities to tackle some hard fields--you need spatial/quantitative visualization for math/science, or language/mirroring for writing & acting, or strength/coordination for sports, dance or music, or facial recognition, mood-sensing and a grasp of pecking order, for politics and business. I have the first two of those four clusters, and lack the second two. Can you develop them? Only within limits--often severe limits.

"Mom... my music teachers assumed I was a piano beginner after 10-15 years of practice, and my bandmates thought I DIDN'T practice--since I didn't improve. I hit a plateau--the best I could do with brain damage from Lyme. I suspected an infection all my doctors overlooked, took antibiotic herbs & drugs, and suddenly my coordination and playing improved! THEN my friends believed I practiced! So don't tell ME it's all effort not aptitude. My aptitude changed. I know it's real, and it matters."

She's shocked to hear all this. Why?

Oh. Right. She wouldn't have heard. I tested my Lyme hypothesis only after she died. I'm arguing with her ghost. The ghost of American rationality...

NOTES



LISTS AND LINKS:
DAY: sculpture - the Foam Furs - sexy creatures - centaurs - foxes - cats
EVENING: TV - money & social class - economics - sexual exploitation & bias
NIGHT: Tarot - witchcraft - religions - auras - revenants - my mom -
NEXT MORNING: perseverance vs. innate differences: genius, autism, chronic illness - ESP in society - ESP examples

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