Quest for Our Individual Talents

I am of the opinion that we all have a number of personal resonances (talents?) that if discovered give great emphasis to our life’s satisfaction. Those individuals who discover and exploit such a personal resonance can find great self-satisfaction. If that particular resonance strikes a social resonance then the accompanying social display of appreciation can add to the personal satisfaction to the individual.

I think a successful artist is a good example of what I speak. The singing artist who happens not only to discover a particular musical talent and, if that talent is in accord with a public musical taste, that individual would reap great personal and economic satisfaction. The actor or painter, or any of many possible talents, that are appreciated by the public would serve as examples of what I mean by resonance.

Few individuals discover and display a talent, a personal resonance that can truly excite public appreciation. Those who do display such a resonance are truly rewarded. However, I am not particularly interested in those few but I am interested in considering all the rest of us who have resonances (talents?) and especially all those that remain undiscovered by ourselves.

It seems that society and all its institutions are focused upon making everyone of us efficient producers and consumers. Nothing prepares us for self-discovery when such discovery is not supportive of a drive to produce and consume. I think that most social pressure from birth to death is directed at the drive to make us effective producers and consumers.

I chose to use the word “resonance” rather than talent because I think our sense of the meaning of the word “talent” will distort the point I wish to make. “Talent” is such a ‘produce and consume’ word. In fact we have little vocabulary available when discussing what I mean.

At mid-life when our career ambitions dim and our family are cared for is the time that is available to us to begin to de-emphasize the world of ‘production and consumption’ and begin exploring the world of the intellect directed as an end-in-itself’. Our intellects have been so totally directed as a means to an end that we will have some difficulty thinking of knowledge and understanding that is considered as an end-in-itself.

Our first encounter with resonance, as the word is normally used, might have been when we first discovered on the playground swing that a little energy directed in synchronization with the swing’s resonant frequency would produce outstanding movement. What a marvelous discovery. We might make similar marvelous discoveries if we decide, against all that we have learned in the past, that the intellect can be used as an end-in-it-self.

I think that when people manage to get some hobbies going that flow from their talents or their interests (and then Im talking about the hobbies that are unique for that person… For example, many people like gaming, television, reading, etc, but those are common interests, and not interests that are shared only among a few. These common interests seem to be the interests that prevent us from develop ourselves most), then they become able of creating something perfect in an imperfect world. Of course, this perfect thing they create is only perfect to them, it is a purely subjective thing, kinda like how everybody has diffirent opinions on what kind of art is beautiful and what kind of art is rubbish.

It is of course a pity that consumer society has caused us to ‘pick’ recreations that are offered by those in control. Many ads on television encouraging many activities, but I have yet to come across an add that encourages philosophy or the persuit of knowledge. Of course, there’s always ads that encourage us to go to school, but I don’t think school necessarily adds to our quest of self-discovery.

We should stand still from time to time, to think…

Sado

When we speak of talent we are inclined to think of our standard popular things like sports, music, etc. I have been trying to think of what the basic categories of talent might be. Of course if I were a football coach I could easily define these categories for that sport but when thinking about talent in an overall sense especially non physical talent what would you think might be the essence of talent?

I have never read a book about talent have you? I think that finding a means for cultivating the elements of talent, if there is such a thing, would be very important.

With non-physical talent I assume you mean something along the lines of being gifted, or at least being ‘brighter’ than the avarage human being. In that sense, I think that non physical talent isn’t always beneficial. I know many people who are considered ‘gifted’, but many of them can’t cope with social pressure. This is a great waste, I think, because these are very bright people that can give new perspectives on old problems, but their ‘talent’ is causing them to fall behind at some point, many of them becoming unable to keep up with the rest.

I think the source of talent lies in self-reflection. I think that people who encounter problems in their lives become people who are more ‘charged’ to discover themselves and their capabilities. Whether people are born with talents, or whether they develop them while they grow, I don’t know. I guess you could say that some talents are developed, others you are born with. The gifted people, for example, are born that way. A talented baseball player can train to increase his talent in that given area, so in a sense he could’ve started out as only a moderate player, but he’s grown so much thanks to his training that we have come to speak of him as a talent.

There are of course people who also discover what they are good at without having to go through a phase of self-reflection. For example, since soccer is such a popular sport, many people who are a natural talent in that sport will discover that early on. If you are, however, exceptionally good in for example sculpture, you won’t be able to discover that unless you really think over what you like to do and what you dislike to do.

I’m mainly speaking for myself here, though. I didnt have interest in anything when I was still in school, but since I ran into some personal problems, I’ve developed many hobbies that at first I didnt even think of. For example, I absolutely enjoy tall buildings, even though I didnt care for them at an earlier stage in my life. My love for philosophy also developed as I tried to solve the personal problems. That’s why I think self-reflection is a great tool in determining what you are good at.

Sado

If you have time I would appreciate it if you would read and comment on my essay “September Scholar” at:
septemberscholar.com

I agree that we should focus on people whose talents are not discovered by the general public. However, I am of the view that however to a certain extent how many people see your talent is inconsequencial, provided that the fulfilment of that talent brings joy and satisfaction to the person who posseses it.
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Exactly the point of my post.

Good

I liked reading that one. Especially since I happen to be a self-learner myself, but not an old one. Along the lines of Einstein, my education is (in my case: was) preventing me from learning something. I think that the point you make about ‘public’ education is a perfect one. Education can turn our minds to gold, but they become so heavy that we can’t lift them anymore and turn them to something else. This is where potential is lost.

Another thing I agree with is that people come up with technology without asking themselves what they are setting loose. I don’t know if you are familiar with Virilio, but he basically says that society has become so obsessed with light-speed technologies, that we are just unable to cope with the swift advances made. But also, we are reaching a point where space no longer matters, and everything only revolves around time (seperating spacetime through virtuality). For example, the only thing that matters on a computer screen is time, never space. It doesn’t matter one little thing that your website is hosted maybe thousands of kilometers away from my home, because I can make contact with it in less than a second.

I might be young, but most people say that I sound like their grandpa. I got all kinds of principles that are pretty ‘old-fashioned’. For example, I refuse to get my driver’s license and get a nice car, and I’m also boycotting the entire cell phone thingy. Doing this might make little sense to many people, but I’m convinced that these technologies transform you into somebody that becomes obsessed with time, and in that way develops stress, etc.

I think we all should just stop and wait at some point in our lives…

Sado

Thanks for the comments. I am pleased that already you are becoming a self-actualized individual through self-learning.

I have recently began to study “Understanding Media” by McLuhan. I think the book is marvelous. It speaks to your ideas about technology. I suspect you will think highly of the book also.