Categories
Life & Philosophy Tech

The loose gate of attention

Attention works like a loose gate. We can’t always control what information sneaks in, nor can we parse the data so it makes sense coming out.

We grind away at the information life throws at us, some of it tangible and worthwhile but most it nonsense.

Like a Google search, the stuff worth keeping is like finding a needle in a haystack. When we discover something of value, it sticks. We share the knowledge with others, recasting it as our own.

Yet, our minds remain terrible aggregators. Who’s in charge, the thinker or the thought?

It’s impossible to unhear and unsee things — conversations, teacher’s lessons, tweets — without getting sucked into the commercialization of attention. The public sphere promotes mindless chatter, so rationalization sinks to the bottom.

The race to become synchronized with the mainstream prevents the interrogation of ideas. The noisy flood of information buffers thought until finally, the chaos settles to the bottom. And pieces of clarity return, unstuck from the confident idiots.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society Social Media Tech

Face the facts

gif by Falcao Lucas

To weave through a world when there’s no anonymity and everything is discoverable — we are one google away from all the answers.

But it doesn’t matter how much we know. People cognize to fit what they want to believe, regardless of the facts.

We tend to throw all the information we don’t want to hear into a deep hole.

The more we deny the truth, the more it snowballs into a series of lies, rubber-stamped onto black screens of irreality. Call it the disinformation highway.

Upon further reflection, we should be forced to deal with what’s no longer pleasant: the real world.

Disagree with it. Run away from it. But live with the doubt that we could be wrong on many issues. Tribes are meant to be broken.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Tech Writing

The promise of internet niches

gif by Jay Sprogell

The promise of the internet was that unfettered access guaranteed a diversity of interests.

At first, it appeared true — the web broke down the masses into a web of niches. The accumulation of distinctiveness created a long tail that when combined outweighed popular trends.

But little by little, those niches turned into popular tribes where everyone started talking about similar things.

The standardization of tastes, political parties, and lifestyles spread like wildfire. Individuality lost out to group-think.

The anarchic mindset requires one to imagine a world not yet in existence. Who would we be without digging deeper and envisioning the non-existent?

Culture attracts sameness. But we can change the default setting. All it takes is reevaluating and encouraging the realm of distinctiveness.

It’s impossible to synchronize all the world’s attention with the nearest click. But life is way more interesting when we instruct ourselves to think different.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Social Media

The only reassurance you need

We treat fame and social media status like currency. We presuppose that anonymity or a lack of engagement trivializes what we do.

Even worse, we let TV and Instagram determine our self-worth.

But what and who matters is rarely popular. No one wants to pull back the curtain and see the sweat and tears of a Van Gogh, who toiled in obscurity his entire living life. He never knew publicity.

Even if you’ve achieved some level of recognition, what you consider your best work will almost always contrast with the public perception.

At the end of the day, humans want to feel necessary. They want to commit themselves to a worthy discipline, whether’s it’s expressed through art or driving an Uber to support the art or vice versa.

It’s a canard to think that fame predetermines whether you matter or not. The most important things in your life are provided by the most anonymous people.

Fame is fake stimuli. If you feel like your work matters, that’s the only placebo you need.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Social Media

What matters isn’t always popular

What Matters Isn't Always Popular

If you’ve ever published anything on the web you know what it’s like when all you hear are crickets. No likes, no comments, no reshares.

You think your content sucks because no one’s acknowledging you. But it’s a misconception to sell your work short, especially if it’s your labor of love.

There are 2.1 billion+ people on the Internet. If you’re writing, acting, or sharing your music someone’s going to connect with you. They may be a fan, a teacher, or someone you admire within your scenius. But you’re never going to appeal to everyone.

“The less reassurance we can give you the more important the work is.”

Seth Godin

All social media is based on reassurance. That’s why most Instagram content looks the same. If you want to guarantee success, you’ll share photos of beaches, dogs, selfies, and food.

“We were raised to do things that work.”

Seth Godin

But why not challenge sameness by trying something new? Go for some tension. Err on the side of being vulnerable if it means you get to make the stuff that makes you happy.

Unlike politics, creativity asks that you own up to being edgy, different. People that make change stand up and take responsibility for causing a ruckus.

“The internet could save your life because it’ll keep you from a lifetime of being told what to do.”

Seth Godin

Choose yourself. The rest follows.

All quotes above are from Seth Godin’s most recent presentation. Watch it below.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Tech

Idleness is technology’s life-force

gif by Mr. Cody England

Flipping through apps like we used to surf through channels, expecting a variable reward but more often getting caught in a ludic loop

Getting hugged in a web of inspiration porn and motivational quotes without actually getting off the computer to do the work is insanity.

The paradox is staring at us right in the face: Having unfettered access to an entire web is a recipe for distraction. 

Contemplating off the grid is free — it’s not a luxury. 

The optimistic expectancy that we can cut the cord and chase real life is a worthy endeavor. Most people can’t resist pushing buttons on the nearest screen, snacking on a perpetual hit of chemical satisfaction. 

Like placating a nagging worry with good thoughts, we tend to technology as an instrument for coping with idleness. But we experience a virtual suck of life beforehand. 

The inability to do nothing empowers the light.