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Jackson Mac Low

COMMON SENSE corroborates what psychologists have noticed in recent studies: The human brain prefers unpredictable pleasures, and the imagination is best activated by puzzles. The mind enjoys having to do its own work of making sense rather than being presented with prefab meaning. What wakes us up is a combination of noticing differences and having something to do. If desire and aggression are two major drives, curiosity is surely another. This insight has implications for the design of children’s toys (infinitely combinatorial blocks are better than objects with a limited number of obvious functions; better, certainly, than entertainments that stun a child into apathy), and it also relates to art like that of Jackson Mac Low, who died on December 8, 2004, at the age of eighty-two. His forms incorporate functional indeterminacy, thereby drawing the reader or listener into an active, even

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