Scout + Forager

02022-03-29 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

The scout and the forager are two mental attitudes I try to incorporate into my life. The mindsets were informed by reading these three books:
The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef
HumanKind by Roger Bregman
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

The Scout
When it comes to what we believe, humans see what they want to see, writes Julia Galef. In other words, we have a “soldier” mindset. Tribalism, wishful thinking, and rationalizing, we are driven to defend the ideas we most want to believe—and shoot down those we don’t. The “scout” mindset is different. Unlike the soldier, a scout’s goal isn’t to defend one side over the other. It’s to go out, survey the territory, and come back with as accurate a map as possible. Regardless of what they hope to be the case, above all, the scout wants to know what’s actually true.

If I get upset over a news item, I try to remember this advice, pull back my mind on its leash, and ask myself what is that landscape like, what can I actually see and hear, what is real.

The Forager
The forager is the other attitude that I find helpful. As a forager I don’t expect to eat the same thing every day or sleep in the same spot. In fact I know that it is better for my body to eat a greater variety of foods. I have also learned to sleep in many different environments. When organizing accommodations for a tour I tend to book several inexpensive hotels in a row in order to afford a nice hotel once in a while. I much prefer this to staying in the same mid priced hotel every night. So far the band hasn’t complained. :-)
In a way, artists are modern nomadic foragers.

Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous.

This quote is sometimes attributed to Queen Victoria. Snopes reports that it originated, albeit in different form, from a letter to Queen Victoria from Belgian King Leopold.

It is true, artists cross a lot of borders. We travel to different countries and cultures. One evening we might eat in any restaurant that’s close to the gig and the next evening we might be invited to eat at Tetsuya’s (link to post from 1999), in Sydney, or at one of Michael Chiarello’s restaurants (link to post from 2011). In fact that post touches on the same foraging concept, as I wrote:

I joked with Houman about the ups and downs of touring… one day we perform in a club with a bad sound system and the next in a fabulous theater or performing arts center, one day we cannot find a decent meal in or around the venue and the next day we are invited to Tetsuya’s in Sydney or the Bottega in Napa!

Certainly, fans of artists span all divisions of mankind. Many years ago I met a lord of some kind, after a concert. Later I received a certificate in the mail, declaring me a CGLN – Commander of Grace, Lion of Nassau. I learned that there are Knights and Commanders of two groups, hereditary and by election. Okay. I put the certificate between books on a shelf, where it was found by Arko, my Tibetan mastiff. Arko took a liking to the wax seal–perhaps it had an interesting scent–and ate much of the document. Was the document real? I have no idea.

This is what today is like and tomorrow may not be like this at all. I observe the landscape, the options, the emotions, and I know that tomorrow will be different… maybe better, maybe worse. Tomorrow I’ll pluck the fruit that I will find then and it will be good.


  1. anne

    yep – “If I get upset over a news item, I try to remember this advice, pull back my mind on its leash, and ask myself what is that landscape like, what can I actually see and hear, what is real.” – sage advise.

    “Certainly, fans of artists span all divisions of mankind. “…sure do !! – great access.

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    Interesting, King Leopold warning Queen Victoria that artists are dangerous because they mix with all classes of society. Perhaps political personalities fear artists because artists are typically not afraid of them. It is artists’ prime directive to express themselves freely and honestly, no matter what anyone thinks of them, even people in high echelons of political power. Also, I think artists attract admirers on a visceral level that creates a devotion that few political big wigs enjoy. Though there are political figures that are artists in their public speaking and in their governing genius (of which we have seen few lately).

    Similarly, scientists are naturally devoted to the truth of their creative power and give little weight to political influences, other than to obtain funding for their work. Again, I refer to my experience working at NASA, among scientists of great accomplishment. Through the cold war and today, NASA scientists and astronauts have worked freely with Russian scientists and astronauts, all of whom are loyal to achievement in space exploration and resent any political constraints. Unfortunately, politics has choked off NASA participation with China, due to espionage.

    I am not a professional artist, but I am a musician, painter, poet, and I have the soul and perceptions of an artist. Scout and forager are great thought models… just look out there and see the world, also see your own thoughts and feelings; try to really see what is there and not be attached to a particular place or belief (if possible). This is why I think if music, art, and poetry could be held in high importance in our education, we would create an enlightened, aware majority in our culture rather than the one we have now that comes from training young people to win in the “rat race” or not really training them at all.

  3. JaneParhamKatz

    P.S. One politician-artist: V. Zelensky! And he is a former performing artist!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.



Concert Dates

Thu, Jan 18 2024 in Dallas, TX
@ House of Blues

Sat, Jan 20 2024 in Houston, TX
@ House of Blues

Wed, Feb 14 2024 in San Juan Capistrano, CA
@ The Coach House

Thu, Feb 15 2024 in Solana Beach, CA
@ Belly Up


@Mastodon (the Un-Twitter)