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Culture Life & Philosophy Postaday Psychology

From your mouth

Words signify a consciousness, of which a newborn or pet can only hear. The baby goes on to break a word up into its individual sounds, eventually coalescing into a communicative language of memes while your dog relies on its own form of internal narrative.

There is some form of mental awareness in all creatures. A body without a brain contains zero working neurons and a dead narrative.

Words are tokens, pictures drawn with letters

Words are a different animal than pictures, perhaps the most effective at harvesting attention; humans use words to propagandize, market, deceive and spread evil. Said Nikola Tesla on the potency of language: “If hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.”

Words are sensory stimulants, made of information to which you supply order. They carve out emotions for which both the bad and good stuff sticks. The more you use a word, the more you’ll be charged for it. “Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words,” wrote William Faulkner in his 1927 novel, Mosquitos.

We invent words, best exemplified in lists, because we don’t want to die. Words cue action, form, and follow-through. Yet they also slip the leash — it is their existence that also poses the most threat to our everyday consciousness.

To make meaning and deeper complexity, we need better mental processors.

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Postaday Psychology

Worrying is a waste of time. Greet your anxiety instead.

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It is human nature to ponder anxieties that do not exist.

The mind is a fabrication machine, developing worries before they deserve any attention. Wrote Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan (Amazon):“To worry is to become accessible… And once you worry, you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.”

The only way to assuage the nerves is to focus on what’s in front of you, to do the work regardless of the way you feel. Progress happens to the relaxed.

Don’t worry before it’s time

Writes Eric Barker on his life advice blog:

You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in “Mind, Inc.” But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action. So when a worry is nagging at you, step back and ask: “Is this useful?”

As a survival mechanism, anxiety pushes us to take action — the most basic fear is that we need to eat and have a place to sleep for the night. But anxiety is also a thinking problem that needs to be neutralized by greeting it at the door where it appears wearing the same costume as it did before.

Everything is going to be alright, just like it was yesterday.

gif via Jason Clarke

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Culture Postaday Tech

The internet is peanuts

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Said filmmaker Orson Welles in 1956: “I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.”

We’re at a crossroads with the internet: How can something be so good but bad for us at the same time?

Part of the problem is that we use computers and phones for everything. We depend on technology to act as our wallet, camera, work, and entertainment device. Everything converges into the smartphone, yet we use it less to talk and more to navigate our everyday lives.

The addictive trills of the rectangular glow are just beginning. Tech promises to become more pervasive. From driving cars to learning languages, we will offload all our work into the unconscious but competent machines. AI portends to obviate human labor.

So what are we to do once the robots do it all for us? The line between productivity and doing nothing will blur. Some of us will entertain ourselves into inanition; others will work with automation to keep developing the future.

Either way, we are compelled to become the Jetsons. As long as we stay interested, we can keep the wave of the future interesting.

PS. I discovered the Orson Welles quote in Tim Wu’s fascinating new book The Attention Merchants (Amazon).

art via giphy

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Photo Challenge Photography Poetry Postaday

The car with a dragon tattoo

Photo by Wells Baum

The leaves grow sideways, unimpeded from the downward force of nature.

The car with a dragon tattoo also roars its way into the future.

2017 is the end of the past

Revisiting the roots, 2018 promises to bend into unusual shape.

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Culture Postaday

Why food chains are non-places 🍔🌮

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gif via Poly

Chains are the least memorable places we flock to, yet we always know they are there, clustered like neighbors amongst each other. Next to an Applebees is a Target, a Burger King, and a Starbucks. In “Dear Olive Garden, Never Change,” Helen Rosner writes:

“What it means to be a non-place is the same thing it means to be a chain: A plural nothingness, a physical space without an anchor to any actual location on Earth, or in time, or in any kind of spiritual arc. In its void, it simply is.”

Chains are like cues, they remind that they are but they don’t produce a valuable experience. Their strangeness lies in their hookable consumption and their immediate forgottenness. They are just utilities that in the long-run that meet nothing but our hyper-speed desire to eat or drink something quickly.

From New York to California, “chain begets chain.” Like tweets, when there’s too many of them, they drown each other out so that none of them are worth paying attention to until they disappear, like RadioShack.

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Photography photoJournal Postaday

Making dream states visible 📱

Photo by Wells Baum

It was surreal. Standing in the face of General Colin Powell at Madame Tussaud’s in DC had a dream-like quality too it.

A window stood between us, the reflective glare merging our bodies. See my arms?

Powell’s face seems to conceal my iPhone; the stage-lighting effect of portrait mode paints a dark outline. Yet, everything was unintended. There were no tricks, just a play on consciousness at the magic wand of technology.

Wrote Teju Cole in his piece Strangely Enough: “But the surreal image — which, at its most resonant, breaks through consciousness instantaneously and surprisingly — is an elusive thing.”

Strangeness is hard to pin down, so to speak.

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Photography photoJournal Poetry Politics & Society Postaday

Elements that remove the glare

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Photo by Wells Baum

The emerging reality that the ones glaring inside are too noisy to ignore, making space for the meek to inherit the earth.

The powers of nature can too be political. But the elemental energies lend their powers to the working citizens.

There is no expiration date on the freedom of the communal tact. The amalgamation of hope carries with it the elements of uncertainty. But it also slides confidently with a gust of wind.

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gif by Wells Baum

Categories
Arts Creativity Photography photoJournal Postaday

The curious method of a collage

Photo by Wells Baum

Nothing makes sense as individual pieces until they are put together as a collage.

Disparate elements appear stronger together rather than standing alone.

A melange of stickers mirrors the entire group who created them, assembling into a curious abstraction of unity.

Photos by Wells Baum
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Postaday

Watch it while it lasts 👀

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Below is a preview of this week’s newsletter of interesting articles and musical goodies. To read it in its entirety, sign up or go here to view it on site.

    1. As Oscar Wilde said: “When bankers get together they talk about art. When artists get together, they talk about money.” When both artist and capitalist align, it yields the golden ages. For HBO, it was the novelistic storytelling of The Sopranos which boosted its bottom-line and pioneered the popular episodic format for Netflix and Amazon streaming services. As Nassim Taleb likes to say, “trial and error is freedom.” Furthermore, sex and cash can coexist.
    2. Instagram has 700 million users, 80% which are outside the United States. Unlike Twitter, the platform is still growing rapidly and enriching its addictiveness with popular features like Stories. Instagram is an essential app with a trajectory that looks a lot like Facebook.
    3. The Godfather of photography William Eggleston explains how he sees “great pictures” that most people miss and why “words and pictures are like two different animals.” He also cares less about Ansel Adams’s work.
    4. If you’ve ever driven around Los Angeles, you’ll notice the none of the architecture is consistent. Some of this is the work of architect Paul Williams, the so-called architect of Hollywood. who gave LA its eclectic touch. But he was often overlooked because he was African American. The Paul Williams Project is making sure he gets the credit he deserves.
    5. The barber paradox: Imagine that you live in a remote town in the Austrian Alps that only has one barber. You either shave yourself or go to the barber. So who shaves the barber? The British philosopher Bertrand Russell explained why language confounds meaning.
    6. “My favorite records sound the worst, because I’ve played them the most.” Indie-musician Damon Krukowski’s new book looks at the listening experience from analog to the digital world.
    7. This made me laugh: For the Love of God, Stop Putting Two Spaces After a Period I got used to one space because of the Twitter restrictions. Now I practice it everywhere, from work emails to blog posts.
    8. “All experience is no more than a form of “reliable hallucination,” a movie in the head with only tenuous relation to the outside world.” Our sleepy head makes better movies.

Read more…

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Postaday

The gray space

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You don’t have to be creative to be open-minded. You just have to be curious.

An interested person understands the subtleties of both sides. They see the gray space, where both parties–artist and fan, politician and voter–try to understand each other.

Read Perpetual Reinvention and the Gray Space

via Daily Prompt: Gray