stupid [off topic]

David Bergdahl bergdahl at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue Apr 18 14:22:47 UTC 2000

>         The current issue of Baseball Weekly quotes a young minor leaguer
> speaking of a team-mate, a pitcher:  "He's stupid against
> left-handers."  The context shows that this is meant to be a
> complimentary remark, and evidently translated into prosaic English
> it means "he's very effective against left-handers".  I've not
> encountered this transvaluation of values before.  Anyone else
> familiar with it?
>         I would guess that it is a development of the idea expressed in the
> baseball use of the word "unconscious": "He's just unconsious right
> now" = "He's playing so extremely well he must be unaware of what he
> is doing, because if he were aware, he would know that what he's
> doing isn't possible."
>         If there is a lexicographer in the house who wants the exact
> citation, let me know.
I just want to comment on the role cognition plays: I should think a
pitcher's goal is to internalize the decision making to such a degree
that he didn't think about it; thinking is so slow that it is a sure way
to screw things up.  Batters know the ball comes too fast to "think" how
to hit it: you have to rely on your body's knowing the proper swing.

We are so used to thinking consciousness is superior to unconsciousness
that we don't understand the accuracy of the quoted statements from a
cognitive viewpoint.  See the discussion of Benjamin Libet's research
Tor Norretranders' The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size
(Penguin 1998)
David Bergdahl
tel:  (740) 593-2783
366 Ellis Hall     Ohio University  Athens, Ohio 45701-2979       fax:
(740) 593-2818

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