July 21, 2014

"Tall and thin all his life, he was partly drawn to study obesity because it lent itself to the pursuit of 'beginner’s mind,' a Buddhist consciousness concept...."

From the NYT obituary for Dr. Albert J. Stunkard, who "was the first to identify binge eating as a medical disorder, one of the first to link obesity to socioeconomic factors, and the first scientist to show why so many obese people have about as much control over their body weight as they do over their parentage [and] also one of the first medical professionals to condemn the stigmatization of overweight people."

The NYT links here for the meaning of "beginner's mind," which extols the book "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" and quotes the first sentence — "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few" — but gives very little basis for understanding what drove the skinny Stunkard to study the stout.

Searching, I found such awful garbage — like "How to Live Life to the Max with Beginner’s Mind" — that I had to end this post right here so I could begin somewhere else.

8 comments:

Ron said...

Althouse is "post blocked" this morning! Maybe some news roughage is needed...

sojerofgod said...

He may have studied enormously and well, and written an important book, but absolutely no one listened or believed him! Fat prejudice is THE acceptable bigotry among the underweight class.

Peter said...

Perhaps NYT writers would do better to read H.L. Mencken?

That is, perhaps what they're calling "beginner's mind" is just an encapsulation of Mencken's declaration that "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"that I had to end this post right here so I could begin somewhere else."

Totally.

Fernandinande said...

one of the first to link obesity to socioeconomic factors,

An error.

"Cross-sectional studies have found that obesity is associated with low intellectual ability and neuroimaging abnormalities in adolescence and adulthood."

more

Jim Howard said...

I couldn't lose weight for years until one day I woke up and decided to lose weight. And then I did.

But that's not why I'm commenting.

As a pilot and software developer, I've found the concept of 'Beginner's Mind' to be incredibly valuable.

It's really true that you can't learn something new if you think you already know it.

Just because you've flown another airplane doesn't mean you're not a beginner in this one.

The same goes for companies and just about anything that requires effort to learn.

In case you think I'm some kind of stoned leg tingling new age Obama fanboi, let me quote the Goddess Ann Coulter.

I take a back seat to no one when it comes to right wing wackery.

But I've found this concept from Zen to be really useful.

Paco Wové said...

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few"

Isn't that why beginners tend to suck at things such as, say, chess?

Goju said...

In chess, its likely that the experts actually see many more possibilities than the beginner. They also see that most of those possibilities are wrong.