Thinking about questions

Gif of book turning with question marks inside it
via giphy

The more absurd questions, the better.

It’s as if people hold back their inquisitiveness to avoid the pedestal of ridicule. Shying away from raising your hand backlashes over time. Playing it safe merely postpones fear, submerging us into a habit of permanent hesitation that flinches instead of flourishes.

The infinitely curious never left school as an efficient automaton — they entered life as a creative enforcer.

A true explorer of the world calls on themselves to challenge the status quo if only to understand why certain conditions and fixed truths exist in the first place.

Questions are triggers for experiences. It is the inertia of others that presents an opportunity to keep pushing forward.

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Do we have to be sad to be creative?

According to a recent study, you are more likely to be creative when you are sad. The researcher examined the personal letters of three artists -- Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt -- which revealed a link between their melancholy and peak creativity. Whether it was financial troubles or death of loved ones, these artists coped with their problems by producing more work to express themselves. #gif #happiness #creativity

According to a recent study, you are more likely to be creative when you are sad. The researcher examined the personal letters of three artists — Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt — which revealed a link between their melancholy and peak creativity. Whether it was financial troubles or death of loved ones, these artists coped with their problems by producing more work to express themselves.

Using econometrics, he calculates that a 9.3 percent increase in negative emotions leads to a 6.3 percent increase in works created in the following year.

Is negativity a prerequisite to creativity? Not exactly, but it helps.

In Nancy Andreasen's book The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius (Amazon), she finds that the writers reported increased creativity from their ability to detach themselves from their negative states.

they could look back on their periods of depression or mania with considerable detachment. They were also able to describe how abnormalities in mood state affected their creativity. Consistently, they indicated that they were unable to be creative when either depressed or manic.

Mood does not dictate an artist's palette. Depressed people are not necessarily more creative, but they can use their pain to fuel new ways of thinking — the same way a happy person converts their cheerfulness into increased productivity. Perhaps both happiness and sadness result from deploying our human intelligence to act creatively.

Related: In another study, people that post bluer, greyer, and darker pictures on Instagram “reveal predictive markers of depression.”. However, what if that is just the way those Instagrammers see the world, especially if they are colorblind? Moreover, it could be the fame-seeking that's at the root of their unhappiness.

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The malleability of it

Creativity beats the normal out of you by opening up all possibilities. Why does there always have to be one answer?

The malleability of it — the sheer nature of its plasticity is what draws the creator toward a multitude of solutions.

Maurits Cornelis Escher 1898 - 1972 Sky & water I ( 1938 )
Maurits Cornelis Escher 1898 – 1972 Sky & water I ( 1938 )

Should a level of confidence give, what works is eventually meant to be broken anyway.

How we rival certitude with curiosity — a myriad of options is the sign of genius.

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The World According to Garp

Below is an excerpt from John Irving's 1978 novel The World According to Garp:

Garp threw away his second novel and began a second novel. Unlike Alice, Garp was a real writer—not because he wrote more beautifully than she wrote but because he knew what every artist should know: as Garp put it, “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.” Even if these so-called endings and beginnings are illusions. Garp did not write faster than anyone else, or more; he simply always worked with the idea of completion in mind.

Finish what you start, or throw it away and start something you'll finish. Ship it.

On the other hand, you can put it aside and let it marinate.

Everything comes to use, eventually. You can only connect the dots looking backward after the experience.

art via giphy

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“Let’s circle back.”

A gif of circles

A circle assumes that something is working. It has a nucleus. So when something is broken, we ‘circle back' to make the shape whole again.

The reason we hit rewind is to reconsider things that went misunderstood or to regroup on items that were never discussed in the first place.

But was there even a completed circle to begin with? Going through a reversible door reveals what's on the other side, at least.

But a circle is too large, too ambitious and dense to accept in the incipient stages. Like an EP, there's plenty of space left to make ideas, plans, and desires overlap into a full album.

An ideal 360 degrees ensures all holes are filled and there are no open parts.

Yet, the circle is always restarting, going round and round to reveal its true itself: all viable spheres of influence persist as sine waves. Evolution creates variables, peeling off the layers to queue up a vicious cut.

gif via reddit

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All together, alone

The clock calls for synchronization.

Where would the modern economy be without the factory mindset?

It used to be that in the mid-1800s the only way to hear a song was to see it played live.

One music file or MP3 today can be streamed thousands of times a day on the same server with a click from anywhere on the globe. Digital inventory is infinite.

Time, once scarce like music, eschewed individualism to harness a community built on the same wavelengths.

Outward, we turn — knowing that our world is shared but distributed unevenly.

Inward, we strive to make the world wild again.

“I read books to read myself,” Sven Birkerts wrote in The Gutenberg Elegies.

So we cut chords with the tyranny of the clock and build our own experiences in a place called home.

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Refusing technology

Technology intends to make the mind sharper by acting as our second brain — it intends to provide all the answers while preventing cognitive overload.

Instead, what technology and more specifically, artificial intelligence does, is make us lazier.

Having all the answers to your next playlist, destination, and text means that you don’t really need to think it all. All of your tastes, road routes, and words get decided for you.

There’s no A for effort in the digital world. There’s only a perfect grade for how well you manipulate automation. Swaddled into predictive recipes, humans transform into non-thinking robots themselves.

Letting the computers do all the work is a modern-day addiction. And while tech streamlines communication, it ensures that a body can live without a full brain.

What makes one feel like an automaton is not the outsourcing of thinking, no matter how painful, but the elimination of effort itself.

You need to struggle a little bit to find the answers. After all, God gave people brains to escape from the prison of biology.

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A blank screen, an external reality

A blank screen, an external reality. To project oneself as an influencer of good.

The unemployment rate is at its lowest since 1969 — but is it masked by the gig economy?

The side gig wants to survive in a world rather than know it. Instant gratification is the latest raison d’être. But it also comes with financial gain — selfies put food on the table.

Writes Rosie Spinks for Quartz:

“The internet influencer is the apotheosis of all this striving, this modern set of values taken to its grotesque extreme: Nothing is sacred, art has been replaced by “content,” and everything is for sale”

There's no surprise that in this culture of meness is a whole lot of sameness. Such simple thinking gets amassed and deduced to pictures on a retina wall.

So we keep slouching, in the hopes that a little text neck prods us beyond permanent mediocrity.

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