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Culture Life & Philosophy Poetry

The business of living

The temptation to linger in maximum comfort — life isn’t a warm shower, you know.

One typically extends a staycation at the sight of pleasure or during a pandemic, displeasure.

People are adaptable, prepared to extend or narrow their comfort zone in various situations.

They’ll even attend to simultaneous entertainments if it means they can get on with the business of living.

Moving across the stream, pinging into and around rocks, life thrives when you stop looking for happiness and absorb all the scars—reality bites.

Where there is joy is pain and lots of courage in between.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

If you’re struggling to get started, do it badly

“Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly,” advises the author Alain de Botton

Perfection is the antithesis of inspiration — it prevents you from getting started.

The trick to getting going is to do it badly. To do that, one must be intentionally messy. The art of spontaneity asks you to start before you’re ready. Don’t over-think the process; intensify the habit of doing.

The emancipatory power in getting started helps jumpstart creativity. 

Producing crap isn’t the end-goal. There is no quality without quantity — first, we get going, then we deduce. 

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”

Margaret Atwood

The point of taking small actions is to create enough momentum to feel like we’re winning. You’re looking to go from one pushup a day to two the next week, four thousand steps a day to five-hundred. 

You’ll need to write one-hundred words day after day before developing the muscle to consistently get down two-hundred words. By the way, there is no such thing as writer’s block!

Do small things to get started — no matter how poorly — to avoid second-guessing yourself and prime the motivational pump.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Dealing with everydayness

Distraction takes us away from the stresses of everydayness. We keep our phones nearby because screens help entertain our worries away.

But an excess of interference comes at a cost. When we fail to experience things with our senses, the virtual and reality become one. Irreality calcifies into callousness, much to the detriment of human necessities: emotion and touch. 

Always on is a kind of psychological enslavement. There’s a correlation between digital plenitude and the pressure we feel of a world closing in on our heads. 

The ebb and flow of boredom, pain, and pleasure are healthy aspects of life. They keep us hinged, reminding ourselves that each wave requires versatility unstuck from the ludic loop of attention. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Photography Science

More than a job

The photographer’s job is to capture. They get a pass on intrusion despite a face of expressive flesh. So too does the scientist who uses their more elusive hands to dabble in a dangerous experiment.

The maker needs no excuse to have skin in the game, as they should feel free to explore via an aura of invisibility to discover and connect the seemingly unconnected.

Creativity is an imaginative process that makes one bolder. Both the artist and scientist live to be more than proactive, to think and feel something beyond the sheath of obviousness.

Should palette beget the pedestal, fame and earned respect follow from doing what matters.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Don’t adopt other people’s anxiety

We rely on other people’s testimony. It’s no wonder, therefore, that their anxiety becomes ours. We then cognize every piece of information to fit our nervy narrative.

Worries spread like viruses. And they provoke an unwarranted shock into mass health scares, money problems, and job pressures.

Humans are a strange and contradictory animal who can barely see through the apparition of fear. The brain’s chemicals are so easily triggered and duped.

Society is just the storyteller. It’s the citizens who exacerbate panic.

To avoid falling ill to anxiety’s publicity machine, we need to convert the abstract energy of positive motivation into something with meaning. We have to put a mental finger on the synchronicities between facts and hope.

People who can stay light and grounded without falling into the trap of the mind’s filmic productions know how to separate truth from fiction.

It’s the obedient clerks that manufacture all the negativity. It’s the interested folks that refuse to buy into the algae of stress.

Keep our perspective. It’s a passport to freedom.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Psychology

Avoiding the losses

Every story needs a villain that disobeys the rules. Bereft of the drama, we lose interest in the hero’s tale.

Every single event that occurs in one’s life prepares them for a moment yet to come. Life begs for a beautiful struggle, where an exaggerated sense of faith begets a David versus Goliath triumph. 

When we overcompensate for our vulnerabilities, we harden our determination. “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” wrote Nietzsche in the Twilight of the Idols.

The last scene may culminate in success, but the movie goes beyond the screen into new chapters. Even the victor with impressive persistence rarely goes undefeated. Every hero meets their maker, accepting risk as to the possibility of a loss. 

The protagonist expects the ebb and flow of living. All the scars reinforce a type of fundamental competition. A confident attitude brings us closer to the winner’s circle than surrender does. 

Knowing we’ve got nothing to lose avoids all the losses.

Categories
Politics & Society Tech

Collisions of thought

It’s not about how much information we consume. One can suck all the information out of the Twitter firehouse and learn nothing. 

News makes our brain fat. 

After all, it was Aldous Huxley who forewarned that we’d drown in excess entertainment and not care about anything else. Writes Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Neil Postman,Amusing Ourselves to Death

TV and social media silence thought — our opinions quickly become someone else’s. The attention merchants intend to monetize on such passivity through ads. Retweets are endorsements.

But we can still take a proactive stance on the balance of ideas thrown at us.

An ambient awareness keeps the excess noise at bay as we learn to listen and absorb the world’s texture. Our goal is to replace the enormous dent that screens instill in our thoughts with a perspective we call our own.

The more ideas collide with one another, independent or externalized, the tighter authenticity clicks into place. The thinker makes their own rules.

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

From seeing to believing

Obvious to you, not to others.

It’s the human condition to see patterns but leave them to abstraction.

Identifying the gaps is only the start. No one gains from keeping silent on the puzzle of opportunity.

What occupies the rest of the grey space is doing the work.

Creators play the dual role of keen observer and competent persister. They control the master switch between idea and reality, optimizing their time, energy, and luck while never having all three simultaneously.

Anyone can learn how to see — how to build off a concept, sell the story, and contribute something meaningful is the worthiest challenge.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

The becoming

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question,” quipped film director Jean-Luc Godard back at Shakespeare’s most famous line.

To be is rather a false start. Not to be precludes trying. Becoming is more like it.

We think that success happens, but it’s the mistakes along the way that build up our future. 

Struggle makes us human. Similarly, the impairments that deem to weaken us end up making us stronger. 

As we overcompensate for our flaws, we excel in creating unique survival methods that are almost impossible to replicate.

Humans thrive in a slow march, detached from the cult of action and the tyranny of business and competition. Progress embraces the tortoise’s quiet and extensive route, inching forward and sometimes backward, gaining perspective bit by bit.

Said Malcolm Gladwell: “A lot of what is beautiful and powerful in the world arises out of adversity. We benefit from those kind of things,” but “we wouldn’t wish them on each other.”

We are all underdogs in something, a compromise that gets us out of bed in the morning and back to work.

We become the person we are, over time, wading into discomfort by building confidence out of effort and bouncing off our handicaps. To be or not to be, the real question is if we can keep going.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology Science Tech

Information is the sum of parts

The brain is just a collection of tangled wires with neuron connectivity levels. We call its output ‘information’ because we need some way of describing chemical synchronicity.

The computer works the same way.

On the inside, it’s a collection of chips and wires with various voltage levels. What we see on screen is what we label as information.

Information is the same name we give to brain chemicals and computer voltage to describe organized chaos. While negative beliefs and rusty chips impair memory, the function of the thinking mind or active motherboard set rules for action. 

Furthermore, the conflict and synchronization between man and the machine (i.e., science fiction) continue to be the mother of invention.  

Information is the sum of parts, and it allows us to go beyond the robot.