science doesn’t prove everything but

it seems that we learn more from success than failures, at least if you are a monkey.  There’s something that happens in the brain that keeps the neurons firing when the brain registers something went right.  But then again, the fact is that nothing happens when you don’t get it right, so it depends on how strong that firing is whether you remember it, and you may just not have a strong enough sense of it.  What is memory, after all?

And why does this interest me?  After all, it’s Ellul, when we’re supposed to be starting to think about what we’ve done over the past year and years, and assess and reassess what we are doing.  Do we learn from our mistakes because they are painful or do we value our successes more because they feel good?  Is is just Pavlovian or are we more in tune with G-d’s wishes/dreams/expectations/exhortations?

Why not all?  Why not whatever works?  Sort of the licking of the icing on the cookie to start the learning and then realize the sweetness of the learning itself.  But then remember to reclaim the sweetness if then when it  no longer appears sweet.

Or, more likely, our tastes change.  We can’t be expected to like the same things as adults, so the neurons need new charges and attachments.  So are we recharging ourselves in the best way for the coming year, coming off of the past?


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