See, this is what I missed about the Google ‘ole diatribe. The ability to find a crazy ridiculous article and post a few good thoughts about it!
Ahh, it’s good to be back.
In case you missed it (and if you’ve seen my Facebook recently, you probably didn’t), there was a great article in Today’s NY Times about how Nonsense can actually make you more intelligent. I think this is extraordinary!
Being a gigantic fan of the absurd (and I’m sure my fellow diatribe cohorts would agree), I’m happy to learn that my absurdity (and the absurdity of my friends) is actually improving society at large. The next time I’m at a pizza joint, and I convince a guy to order a specific meat topping (just for the heck of it) or use olives for what they’re really intended for, I will know deep down, that I am helping out the human race.
So, the article talks about how after witnessing absurd behavior (or reading an absurd story in this case), people were more apt to identify patterns in chaos than those people who read a more traditional story.
In the most recent paper, published last month, Dr. Proulx and Dr. Heine described having 20 college students read an absurd short story based on “The Country Doctor,” by Franz Kafka. The doctor of the title has to make a house call on a boy with a terrible toothache. He makes the journey and finds that the boy has no teeth at all. The horses who have pulled his carriage begin to act up; the boy’s family becomes annoyed; then the doctor discovers the boy has teeth after all. And so on. The story is urgent, vivid and nonsensical — Kafkaesque.
After the story, the students studied a series of 45 strings of 6 to 9 letters, like “X, M, X, R, T, V.” They later took a test on the letter strings, choosing those they thought they had seen before from a list of 60 such strings. In fact the letters were related, in a very subtle way, with some more likely to appear before or after others….
But perform they did. They chose about 30 percent more of the letter strings, and were almost twice as accurate in their choices, than a comparison group of 20 students who had read a different short story, a coherent one.
I can definitely agree with this. I’m constantly looking for patterns in all sorts of stuff. Patterns on the wall. Patterns of a row of bikes. You name it! Maybe you do too, I don’t know.. I don’t live in your brain, but considering my general nonsense mindset — I think there’s something there.
So, you heard it here, folks.. now, go stand backwards in an elevator and make some people smarter.
Update: To prove my point, this post was filed in a category known as “Nonsense.” A category of which, this now becomes the 69th post (get your mind out of the gutter). The nonsense category is also the most posted category, followed closely by the Internet. But I mean, c’mon… where would The Diatribe be without these two things? I rest my case.