I've written a summaries on the Barbara Strauch's book on middle age brain in the last article. There is a point about matured people excel due to their experience. I haven't seen a convincing neurological basis to support this. Even the author said in the book that it is a cliché.
In the last few days I happened to embroiled in a community discussion for exposing an obscure connection between an art academy and their religious cult backers. I surprised myself to have sniffed the connection base on some faint clues. Can this be an demonstration of how 'experience' works? I try to retrace my thinking to see how the academy raised my suspicion that led to my research that confirmed their connection.
First of all some background. The institute in question is Fei Tian Academy of the Arts California. It opens in my neighborhood a few months ago. Its core activity seems to be a classical Chines dance school. In addition it offers Chinese language, cultural and academic classes.
2 years ago I ran into some promotion of a big classical Chinese dance performance in New York. I did not attended. But it has nevertheless left an impression. Later the show has came to my home town in San Francisco. When the school has opened this year, I immediately recognized it as the institution behind the dance performance. Once again I am surprised by the reach of this one art group. (Don't artists supposed to be struggling?)
It is one thing to see a one time show, it is another thing to put your children to some afterschool program that you don't know well. This prompts me to research the school and I quickly find its connection to Falun Gong. I am not a fan of the cult. Needless to say I decided I will have no involvement with the school.
What I'm really interested in this article is to reflect on how I detected this suspicion. The school facility actually looks quite attractive. They are also riding the wave of rising interest in Chinese language from main stream US students. It looks like they are well positioned to play an important role here. There does not seem to have anything inappropriate with the school. Instead there are only a number of faint clue I have sensed:
- The performance claim to show case the essence of Chinese culture. Yet I have not seen performance of this kind, a dance extravagance that claim to present Chinese tradition, put on in China before. It gives me a familiar yet foreign feeling. (Although I admit my exposure to dance is limited.)
- There is much higher than average amount of promotion for this performance. It was pushed as a must see show. I found the promotion borderline as hard sell.
- There seems to be a lot of grassroot involvement in its promotion. (Those people either do it for ethnic pride, otherwise grassroot mobilization is also a hallmark of Falun Gong.)
- I am not able to readily find the history or heritage of the Fei Tian academy. It has just parachuted in San Francisco. I expect every institute with merit to have a history or a founding story. (Actually once I dig the web, it is easy to find that they are established by Falun Gong partitioner around 2006.)
- They appear to be very well funded, big show, state of art facility. Who fund them? (Looking back this is one of the most suspicious clue, although I have probably only consider it subconsciously.)
I feel vindicated to have identified the Falun Gong connection. I wonder if this is a case of being experienced as it is described in Barbara Strauch's book.