So here's how it was: Three years ago, at my first Motor Control Summer School, I kept a journal. I documented my conversations and impressions, but also my ambitions and concerns. Foremost among these concerns was the fear that I do not have what it takes to make it in Motion Science. I wrote, for example:
"One thing that struck me is the high level of contention about control
schema...the discussions are heated, with well-supported arguments that are
simply above my head. The professors kept bringing up the difference in
philosophies; maybe someday I’ll have evaluations of philosophies?"
A legitimate question, hinting at a deep sense of self-doubt. Scary stuff.
Now, three years later, it turns out that yes, I do actually have evaluations of philosophies. Which is nice.
For years, even after poring over innumerate papers, parsing through their arguments sentence by sentence, still I have been left in confusion. Yesterday, sipping coffee with one of the big deals of Motion Science, we went over his brain-child, the Equilibrium Point Hypothesis. We talked about its applicability for different movements, about the attempts to refute it (unsuccessfully, he would contend), and about the empirical evidence that supports it. And I really, really got it.
I got how Equilibrium Point flows logically into Uncontrolled Manifold analysis. I could see how to apply this scheme to experimental evidence presented by other professors with alternate conclusions. It makes sense to me now, in a fundamental way.
Not everyone agrees with Equilibrium Point Hypothesis. That's okay (the professor I had coffee with would disagree). That leads to debate - sometimes heated, always loud - and debate forces better understanding, mental acrobatics, and the capacity for polemic. That can only be good.
So here's how it is. These days, I am known to race my bike, and to partake in Karaoke, and even to post on this here bliggity-blog. Not that it's all I do, but these are typical activities of mine that serve as a convenient gauge. Like you, I want to be at my awesomest, and so I measure myself by, well, everything. The most convenient, most frequent metrics include how fast I ride, or how well I sing, or how cleverly I write. It is no surprise, of course, that I am thoroughly mediocre at all three, which hurts just a bit.
It is rare indeed that I can measure myself as an academic. Especially in real-time, face to face interaction. Especially in terms of Motor Control.
This weekend is a long-awaited opportunity to gauge myself. How heartbroken I would be, were I to find that I am also mediocre at this, the focus of my, y'know, future. So far, my dear friends, results are... promising.
Happy happy happy Don.
"how did your race go?"
"i considered my entry fee a donation to the cause"