worship with 100 candles part two

Bloged in worship by rod Tuesday June 22, 2004

The intensity of a sensation varies by a series of equal increments (arithmetically) as the strength of the stimulus is increased geometrically; if a series of stimuli is applied and so adjusted in strength that each stimulus causes a just perceptible change in intensity of the sensation, then the strength of each stimulus differs from the preceding one by a constant fraction; thus, if a just perceptible change in a visual sensation is produced by the addition of 1 candle to an original illumination of 100 candles, 10 candles will be required to produce any change in sensation when the original illumination was one of 1000 candles.
What?
It’s the old frog in the boiling water illustration. As each candle is lit, it affects the overall illumination less than the one before it did and is eventually imperceptible. The reverse must be true – often at the end of the day, I find myself sitting at my desk oblivious that I’m straining to see when someone comes to my door and says, “why are you sitting in the dark?” Thus, I allow unwanted things to accumulate and clutter and distract, while I fail to notice the slow, incremental disappearance of necessities.

In learning and teaching the guitar, one of the greatest obstacles to overcome is tension. Tension contributes to poor tone and intonation, inefficient movements, lack of finger independence, fatigue, and injury. Tension most often results from failure to rid one’s self of the effort needed to perform a previous movement. Therefore, the effort needed for each subsequent movement is added to the effort used for the previous until there is so much isometric effort taking place that I am fighting myself and motion stops. We feel this in our day to day as the build-up of tension and stress as our daily tasks are piled on top of one another.
In my guitar experience, I’ve found that once an efficient and healthy level of tension is surpassed, it is virtually impossible to release just enough tension to return to a productive level. According to the Weber-Fechner law, those increments are imperceptible. So it requires a little more effort to use less effort. I must release all tension and then add it back in perceptible increments until I am using no more than is needed to perform the task. In that way, I monitor the amount of tension, and control it, rather than letting it control me. In the end, I find that little is needed. It is a major part of my training to learn to use only what is needed and maintain that level. Ironically, one of the most popular devices sold to guitarists who combat fatigue is designed to build up hand strength, and thus allow the guitarist to play with more tension, indeed, even create more tension. Unthinking players then will actually intentionally accumulate that which impedes their ability to perform the desired task.

I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You.

2 Responses to “worship with 100 candles part two

  1. gwill Says:

    Is part two your own reply to part one, or did I impose something into your thought process that wasn’t there? I know your own survival (and personality) requires such abstract metaphors, but I’m still just trying to cut through some of the vagueness for my own sense of understanding…

  2. rl Says:

    well, I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking g. The two do go together though. And in fact, I wrote them backward. Part two actually began with the subject, not the metaphor, and then I just eliminated it. hmmm.
    This morning I considered adding a part three that would be what I edited out of part two. Jesus did this sometimes, I guess. Maybe I’ll explain it.
    I’m thinking it through.

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