Sunday, February 8, 2015

Creativity, Bee Language and Dyslexia


There are so many factors that determine creativity it is doubtful that we could ever make a routine that would consistently develop geniuses.  Creativity is not a single attribute signifying greatness in a field of interest.  Is it determined by number of successes?  Is it determined by skill or novelty?  Is it determined by I.Q. or genius?  I think creativity is a subjective attribute of a person and cannot be measured with scientific accuracy nor other objective measure.  Perhaps it is one thing that might be measured better than most things can be- with a popularity poll.


High intelligence quotients and genius are typically viewed in popular usage as synonyms or very similar, if not identical, superior mentalities.  This may be evident in a current TV program, Child Genius, in which astounding feats of memory seem to be a major measure of genius in the competition.  I do not think genius nor creativity are measured by speed of recall ability nor size of a set of facts.  Perhaps it is my own bias that thinks so because I am a mental plodder compared to many bright people, and, with age, the certainty of remembering something during a conversation is increasingly remote.

I.Q. has memory efficiency as a major component.  Breadth of knowledge is another major component.  Both can be measured with a suitable test that typically combines both components.  Ability to apply those mental skills is less easily measured accurately.  The general public, with some justification tends to label those in academia as being disconnected with the practical world and in an "ivory tower".  They also frequently apply the label "lacking common sense" to those in and outside of academia that proclaim themselves geniuses.


Bees have the ability to communicate with other bees, but it is more of a monologue than a dialogue such as we think is important in conversation.  The bee language was largely determined in its major aspects by Karl von Frisch many years ago.  Refinements have been found more recently.  The basic facts discovered by von Frisch were transfer of food substances for tasting to identify the foods to be sought, and dances that help the other bees find the sources of those foods.

Distance was communicated by a circular dance indicating it was near the hive so "go and find it".  Direction was communicated by a waggle dance on the face of the honeycomb with the direction angle relative to the sun being the straight up direction.  Distance in the waggle dance was proportional to the length of the waggle dance.

The first information, the food, was the first thing conveyed by the sample.  The last information was the direction and distance with the dance.  The amount of honey the workers consumed before departing on the foraging trip was determined by the distance.  Perhaps the amount was also determined automatically by feeding proportional to the flight distance communicated by the length of the dance.  The order of the information flow may be seen in the following section.


Last in, first out, may indicate a basic mental process as old as the bee language.  When letters come out in reverse order when we are dyslexic, it results in written language difficulties for a dyslexic.  But their brains are commonly thought to function at a higher than average level in other respects - perhaps even at the level of genius.  I don't know how many numerals of a large number could be recited backwards by a dyslexic, but I bet it would be many more than a non-dyslexic could do.

I've always wondered if I, as a child, was borderline dyslexic with the difficulty I had in distinguishing right from left.  The distinction could be in directions communicated or printing a capital N, Z and some other letters in reverse orientation.

The elements of switching order of things can come out as a "spoonerism" when switching initial letters of words in a two word phrase gives new words with a different meaning.  I'm surprised I didn't name the post of a week or so ago Ting Kut, instead of King Tut.


Pig Latin is a slightly more complicated transposition of word elements than in a spoonerism.  My brother was very proficient at it but I was quite slow in my processing of it.  Talking it was widespread fun for kids eighty years ago.  It had some use in World War II for communicating, perhaps with captive GI's, to keep their captors from knowing what they were saying.

Before "Pig Latin" dies as a language the basis for it as I remember it was- merely switching order of the first and the last part of each word, then adding something like -a, ay, or -eh.  It really garbles it up for those not having high proficiency with the English Language.


If the ancient process of storing and retrieving information in the nervous system began with a simple process, probably well before bees evolved (our closest common ancestor with bees was an annelid worm), then it is not surprising that there are elements of memory principles that are basic to our mental functions.  I sat down a little after noon to write this post less than an hour after thinking of it, mostly as I was showering.  I left the Sunday paper, that is one of my favorite weekly reading chores, to write this- now about two hours post shower.  I did it so quickly because remembering connections of thoughts diminishes rapidly with time and I soon have a difficult time seeing why what I thought was important really was.  The measure is better determined at a later time.  It would be best to wait a year or so, but I will probably settle for an hour or two (or after I've read the paper, especially the comics).

Joseph G. Engemann    Kalamazoo, Michigan     February 8, 2015, 2:29 PM EST

Final proof-reading question:  What is "igpay atinlay"?

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