Anaïs Nin: ‘We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.’

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

Anaïs Nin

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Have an exaggerated sense of curiosity

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We’re all fake artists, winging it to chase our dreams while simultaneously masking our vulnerabilities.

It isn’t a thorny question of attribution. We all steal ideas from each other and recast them as our own.


But having an exaggerated sense of curiosity pays off. The cash value of policing thoughts means that we can better sew the past, present, and the future altogether.

We are one, in mind and spirit. The only drawback is fabricating the best self that meets the lofty ambitions of others.

Nothing is fake if the desire is real. All we can do is float into the canvass of our dreams.

The philosophical zombie

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gif via Fran Solo

People generally see and believe only what’s in front of them, disconnected from the magic of their consciousness. Reality is separate from the chorus of chemical reactions inside our heads.

The prevailing theory ushered in by philosopher David Chalmers is that our conscious experience is considered the “hard problem,” a process so superior and mysterious it lies beyond the reach of science.

Do we even need a conscience?

The zombie persists without feeling anything. It is competent without comprehension.


The mind and the world are one of natural phenomenon. “We should get it straight once for all,” says philosopher and computer scientist Riccardo Manzotti, “there are no hard problems in nature, only natural problems. And we are part of nature.”

Is the conscious experience of an object identical with the object one experiences or is the conscience invisible to science and therefore thriving within its own “phenomenal mind?”

The debate goes on.

Read The Hardening of Consciousness

Mental orbit

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We are distractible, drawn away from our mental orbit into the wrath of flying tweets and other snackable debris.

We need reminders to sustain our attention: sticky notes, to-do lists, meditations, and positive mantras. As Simon Critchley writes in his 2015 Memory Theatre novel:

Memory is repetition. Sure. But it is repetition with a difference. It is not recitation. It is repetition that creates a felt variation in the way things appear. Repetition is what makes possible novelty. This is what Mark E. Smith meant. Memory needs to be imagintion. (Location 684)

There’s no sticktoitiveness without a magnetic force staged to prompt us along. We must surround ourselves with priorities and push.

‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.’

Photo by Wells Baum

Skepticism is the contestability of what’s insufficiently peculiar.

There is nothing that can’t be doubted and recasted anew, given the evidence.

Computers are just the tip of the iceberg. Technology shapes our thinking the same way the railroad and microscopes once did, still do.

The tools set free green fields of opportunity. The urge to find and prove something new is what drives science and innovation.

Truth be told

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We tumble into memories, hyperbolizing the truth to make a story more remarkable.

Fiction is the art of selling lies.

Did the apple really hit Isaac Newton’s head? Perhaps in his imaginary anticipation. He often sat around apple trees to gather string and ponder.

But what if we recorded the tale as it happened?

Notes exist, and the stories persist because the event wasn’t worth remembering in the first place.

Permanency lies within the first act. Only the recorded replay reenacts. The rest is shareable serum.

26 letters, 26 doubts

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Photo by Wells Baum

Do we really need a plan A or plan B when there are so many other letters left in the alphabet to try out?

It doesn’t matter how many times it takes you. 26 letters, 26 doubts.

From petty arguments to politics, do we really need to be right all the time?

Rightness is a quirk in human development. Our view isn’t valid until we can suspend judgment and try to entertain another person’s thought.


Yet there is one trait that we all share: the ability to keep learning. Self-improvement is the indispensable tool outlined in Carol Dweck’s study on work performance at Stanford:

The primary takeaway from Dweck’s research is that we should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential. The act of learning is every bit as important as what you learn. Believing that you can improve yourself and do things in the future that are beyond your current possibilities is exciting and fulfilling.

Permanency begets stagnancy, just as ignorance blindsides us down the road. Nothing is duller than a linear path to completion. Given the plasticity of a human mind, strengthening our ability to deal with uncertainty is priceless.

Not so fast 💨

gif by Miguel Porlan

We consume, drop, and run, looking forward to the next piece of music, article, or person to date.

We say we want to be successful, but we’re not willing to put in the work nor take responsibility for any hiccups along the way.

We want everything yesterday without spending the time to chew on our experiences to-date.


We can’t afford to live up to somebody else’s imposed ambitions, that which undermines the sum total of our experience.

We can’t skip any steps, go zero to 100 miles per hour and intend to remember the journey along the way.

There are no shortcuts. There’s only patience, learning from our mistakes, and the accumulation of small victories to celebrate along the way.

To continue rushing into the future is madness! The tortoise gets there just the same.

gif by Miguel Porlan

Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ – Train Travel Scene


We all must confront our demons from time to time. We must let them pass through the millions of burnt light bulbs in our imagination.

Everything good seems to disrupt our life. Struggle ensures that nothing is transactional. It is felt, a lesson in disguise.

But where does the journey lead us?

There’s no clear answer other than staying on the one we’re already on, not enamored with uncertainty but pausing to realize life’s ebb and flow.

Watch below the beautiful scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s fantastical movie Spirited Away. 

Loving Vincent: When nobody becomes a somebody 

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The world’s first oil painted feature film: Loving Vincent

Vincent Van Gogh was a nobody. He only sold one piece of art while he was alive and it was to his brother!

But that’s who we all are at the core — small sprinkles on Earth in a vast universe. If the solar eclipse was any reminder, the cosmos operate whether humans exist or not.

Sure, we like to think we’re special. The neurological software in our head makes accomplishments feel significant. But as Zat Rana puts it: “We’re nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy.”


Aren’t we just all bits of code blindly riding the opportunity of free will? 

Art is just one instrument for coping with such human triviality. It’s a narcotic for nobodies. But so are distractions. The sterile glow of computer screens and pocket rectangles manufacture ‘busyness.’ Human minds have succumbed to habit design, never mind TV and shopping.

Given such meaninglessness, we have no choice but to seize the day. Perhaps Van Gogh was right, the real thrill of life is showing through our work what a nobody has in their heart.

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Artists painted 62,000 frames to pay homage to Vincent

Anxiety is a thinking problem

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Anxiety is a thinking problem. It is a presence in flux, stuck in gear between looking backward and looking forward simultaneously.

To better cope with the onslaught of worry, we need stronger cognitive tools or algorithms to live by. We need some cognitive presets and habits to inculcate them.

For example, a basic tenet of Stoic philosophy is that ‘What’s outside my control is indifferent to me.’ Another way to step back is to realize that imagination is always worse than reality.


What’ll make a more positive outlook stick are habits: meditation, journaling, and fear-setting. It’s these kinds of practices that reinforce beliefs like bicep curls for the brain.

It is no use to getting caught in the cycle of regret. Nor is it any use trying to look forward into a future we can’t control. The sooner we embrace uncertainty the more present we’ll be.

To err is human

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Technology evolves. Customer expectations change. Facebook tweaks its algorithm, again! All strategies and proven methods are temporary.

The pragmatist is always looking for a better way while following the practices that already work.

But there’s no way to identify what works without identifying what doesn’t work first. Strive a little toward imperfection.

Trial and error is the essence of survival. Consider doubling down on efforts that are showing promise.

We must remain in beta.

We’re rhythmic creatures

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gif by Wells Baum

We’re rhythmic creatures. There’s a reason we latch on to each other’s tastes and habits. Emulation begets automation.

But there’s always someone who comes along and challenges our beliefs, unlocking a Pandora’s box of attitudes and topics we never even considered. All of a sudden, everything we deemed to be true goes into question.

The echo chamber calls for cogs of sameness and lookalikes. Once we lose the urge to conform, we are free to rejoice in eccentric delight.

How about them apples?


They’re always there, surrounded by the good-looking ones. But we can’t always spot them.

Rotten apples wind up in our shopping cart not because we didn’t eyeball them but because we assume they’re just as fresh as the rest of them. Probability is in our favor.

Grocery shopping is a picker’s chance. But it is not worth scrutinizing every choice; most apples are good. Suspicion is not worth clinging onto in an unlikely game of chance.

Humans vote with expectation. The chorus of decision-making is already loud enough.