Displaying Mastery by Breaking Convention

There are two types of displays of mastery that I enjoy watching. First, is when a person does something simple better than millions of others that dedicate their life to it. This means they have taken the conventional path, but have taken it to an elite level through a all-encompassing obsessive pursuit of perfection. Many Olympic sports are a good example of this. I don’t know much at all about gymnastics but in 2012, McKayla Maroney (of “not impressed” meme fame) was the perfect example of this:

The second display of master I enjoy watching is when the person takes a different approach, breaks convention, and perfects it such that it no longer looks so foreign and “wrong”. This is the more interesting one to me but it first requires understanding of what is conventional in order to appreciate the breaking of such convention. One example of this that comes to mind is postmodern piano. Here’s an accessible piece by Carl Vine. It embraces “dissonance” and chaos: the very thing that music so desperately ran away from for most of its recorded history.

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