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Unstuck 2.3: Fits and Starts

I can still hear my Quantitative Methods prof extolling the powers of smoothing algorithms. With them, anyone can construct a curve to represent a scattered collection of otherwise apparently random data points, and perhaps convince themselves that experiences really are related somehow. It’s a believable, often useful fiction.

Make no mistake, no moment provides smoothing algorithms. Creativity might depend upon their absence. They’re incredibly useful after the fact for making sense of—making up a soothing story about—the past. In real time, going forward, experience seems more fit-and-starty.

Expecting smoothed experience can transform normal into aberrance, qualifies as another dandy way to get stuck. If I find myself going awfully slow to go fast, clutch and brake feet working overtime, I’m most probably experiencing the normals, though I might be feeling awfully frustrated at how nothing seems to be flowing like it should. Before I construct the history connecting my serial frustrations into soothingly smoothed story, my experience might well feel like fits and starts.

We really are, it seems, stuck with fits and starts. They are, near as I can tell, eternal and universal features of normal human experience. But it’s one thing to be stuck with and quite another to become stuck in. Stuck with provides a perfectly cope-able companion while stuck in simply seems to stymie.

Recognizing expectations as something other than the universal performance metric seems like a reasonable perspective to adopt, but a damned difficult one to grok. Inspiration might emerge just on the other side of frustration, but not without me first tromping right through the middle of frustration, feeling like I really should have found a smoother bypass around the congestion.

Unstuck comes with recognizing the normals as the normals, even when I’m experiencing a particularly severe case of them, riding that damned clutch again, making slow but anything but steady progress; fits and starts.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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