Tuesday, September 14

mind the mess

There's the proverb about cleanliness being next to godliness, but I'm not really sure what it means to be godlike. I've also heard some spiritual teachers say that keeping an orderly home helps you have an orderly mind. That makes more sense to me. But I'm not sure if it's true.

A study in New Scientist (Aug. 28) says that "messy homes lead to messy minds." This much was already known, but Stephen Petrill at Penn State and colleagues controlled for genetic and economic effects and found that chaos in the home still led to less intelligent children. One explanation (cited in the article) is that if the world is too confusing for kids, it makes it harder for them to learn.

William James is famous for saying that for infants, the world is a "buzzing, blooming confusion." How he knew this, or claimed to know this, I'm not sure. But regardless of what it's like for kids, making the world as intelligible as possible seems to help.


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