Thursday, December 3, 2009
This drawing that I did when I was in school back in 1977 (yes! The Year Of Star Wars!) is not a drawing of Robert Sapolsky, but of a friend of mind named James Kenney. But I thought that James looks kind of like Sapolsky, so here it is!
Lately while painting in our studio, Boris and I have been listening to lectures on youtube by Robert Sapolsky. Not only does he present information that is 500% fascinating, but he's just such a great speaker. So entertaining and fun to listen to! Anyway, one of the things he talked about was that the act of anticipating getting something you want is going to give you a higher endorphin blast than actually getting the thing. The reason I'm bringing this up is that it explains so many things--he used the example of gambling addiction or compulsive shopping, for instance. I could never understand how these things work as an actual addiction (although the fact that they do is obviously true!), but Sapolsky explains that the feeling of knowing you might get the reward you seek is like a powerful shot of an addictive drug.
Boris and I have always had a related experience with our painting. When working on a painting, we actually often enjoy the act of climbing towards the goal of doing the painting even more than when we finally finish it. The moment the goal has been realized, the feeling changes into a good kind of satisfaction, but it doesn't have that intense excitement that climbing does. I had always thought that this was because when the painting is still being formed, it contains all kinds of unknown possibilities and then, when it's finished, it's kind of nailed down into one spot. I do think that's part of the difference in feelings, but also knowing a change of chemistry is taking place, and not a letdown, makes you accept that it's just the way the system works. So then you can start getting excited about the next goal and the next one after that! I love it! Keep painting!