Kurt Vonnegut: ‘Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God.’

Kurt Vonnegut: 'Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God.'

“Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.”

Kurt Vonnegut

You can hear Kurt Vonnegut repeat this quote in the beginning of 1 Giant Leap track ‘Daphne’ below. You might feel a slight prickle the skin.

Advertisements

“Stare at the world, not at your model.”

jose-martin-651.jpg
Photo by José Martín

Continually learning, constantly changing. The human mind is as fickle as the seasons. It is not mathematical models that predict the future but the law of nature.

Writes Richard Bookstaber in his book The End of Theory“The world could be changing right now in ways that will blindside you down the road.”

Nothing is linear and predictable; rather, everything emerges from its highest, heuristic probability — the upshot of the freedom of trial and error.

“Humans are not ergodic, however. We move through the world along a single path, and we get only that one path. Where we are on that path, our experiences, our interactions, the view we have of the world at that moment all determine the context for our actions. That path is not repeatable; we are not taking draws from a distribution.”

Even the rare anomaly becomes the impetus for our actions. People try stuff on a whim to check their pulse.

It is futile to aggregate behavior so we can algorithmicize systems. The world is unpredictable, especially the economic one.

“Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man.”

— Henry Adams

Read The Practitioner’s Challenge


This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.

Donate with PayPal

ORGANIC

We’re all weird

we_are_all_weird
We’re All Weird by Seth Godin

Inspired by Alain de Button’s tweet, below is a collection of highlights of the word weird from Seth Godin’s 2011 book, We’re All Weird.

Weird by choice, on the other hand, flies in the face of the culture of mass and the checklist of normal.

The epic battle of our generation is between the status quo of mass and the never-ceasing tide of weird.

It’s human nature to be weird, but also human to be lonely. This conflict between fitting in and standing out is at the core of who we are.

The way of the world is now more information, more choice, more freedom, and more interaction. And yes, more weird.

The weird are weird because they’ve foregone the comfort and efficiency of mass and instead they’re forming smaller groups, groups where their weirdness is actually expected.

The next breakthroughs in our productivity and growth aren’t going to be about fueling mass. They’re going to be relentlessly focused on amplifying the weird.

Pre-historic cultures, not nearly as productive as ours, show little evidence of the weirdness our culture has recently developed.

When you don’t feel alone, it’s easier to be weird, which sort of flies in the face of our expectation that the weird individual is also a loner.

We don’t care so much about everyone; we care about us—where us is our people, our tribe, our interest group, our weirdness—not the anonymous masses.

The weird are now more important than the many, because the weird are the many.

There’s a long tail of channels, and at least one matches every person’s precise definition of weirdness (if there’s no match, go ahead and start another channel).

My proposed solution is simple: don’t waste a lot of time and money pushing kids in directions they don’t want to go. Instead, find out what weirdness they excel at and encourage them to do that. Then get out of the way.

It’s human nature to be weird, but also human to be lonely. This conflict between fitting in and standing out is at the core of who we are.

The Lindy Effect

giphy (62).gif
via giphy

Similar to the Zeigarnik Effect in resuming motivation, the Lindy Effect in economics explains the likeliness of durability. Lindy’s deli/restaurant, which the effect is named after, is celebrating nearly a century of existence since its Manhattan debut in 1921.

As the author Nassim Taleb describes it:

“If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years . . . Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy.”

Writer Walter Isaacson recently alluded to the longevity of books in his chat on Leonardo Da Vinci, arguing that anything in print will always outlast a Tweet.

Hat tip to Ryan Holiday who’s new book Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts examines the reasons why some art endures while others disappear. PS. No one will be listening to Taylor Swift nor caring about the Kardashians in fifty years.  

You can quote this

When they asked all graduating seniors to record their favorite quote for the high school yearbook, I pulled one from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

Even at that moment, I refused to conform. The irony, of course, is that I used a quote to help express myself.

I still have a love/hate relationship with quotes. They are first and foremost someone else’s thoughts, and while they can motivate us, even relieve us, and sum up how we think, they can often be as cheesy as Pinterest. They make words look trapped in between a prison of quotation marks.

“Quotation marks” de-energize quotes, just as much as using them as substitutes for our own thinking de-individualizes us. Call it cynical, but we’re living in the Internet era–the world’s greatest copy-past machine– where everything can be reduced to a shared tautology.

What if, instead, we listened to ourselves rather than allowing others to validated our neuroses. Quotes are merely thought starters; even children like to originate their own opinion.

Seneca: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

Copy of Copy of Social Media (1)

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality,”

— Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger


This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.

Donate with PayPal

ORGANIC

Nabokov: “The pattern of the thing precedes the thing.”

Intelligence is really a kind of taste- taste in ideas.”- Susan SontagFailure is notan option (1)

Most people start something until it becomes something else. But Susan Sontag stuck with her creative impulse. When The Paris Review asked her where she came up with writing prompts, she said:

From the beginning I always know what something is going to be; every impulse to write is born of an idea of form, for me. To begin I have to have the shape, the architecture. I can’t say it better than Nabokov did: “The pattern of the thing precedes the thing.”

This runs contrary to the belief that we don’t know what to think until we scribble it down first. For Sontag, she wrote the book in her head so all she needed to do was solidify it on paper.

“Nothing is my last word on anything.”

henry james.png

In an interview with The Paris Review, Susan Sontag revealed what helped her get motivated to write:

Getting started is partly stalling, stalling by way of reading and of listening to music, which energizes me and also makes me restless. Feeling guilty about not writing. There’s a wonderful remark of Henry James: “Nothing is my last word on anything.” There’s always more to be said, more to be felt.

We’re never finished, only stalling. Postponement, aka the Zeigarnik Effect is a catalyst for productivity.

A professional author may complete books but the act of writing resumes.

Snatch

 

giphy (14)
gif via giphy

 

Our inner narrative is alive 24/7. Most of our thoughts are garbage, random and unintelligible. But we can dictate some of it, to write the book in our head we want to hear.

That’s why it’s so critical to surround ourselves with things that reinforce the way we want to think and live. When author Ryan Holiday got stuck on his last book, he walked the streets of New Orleans to reboot his mind.

New Orleans was really the perfect city to write in. I said at my first book signing that writing a book is really a series of long walks. There’s not a better city to walk in in America. It’s old and beautiful and slow. There’s a history of great writers there—a connectedness to the past that was inspiring. I was having trouble finishing this book I’ve been working on and I actually just went and spent 10 days there to recapture it. Worked like a charm.

In reality, we’re never stuck. When it comes to the mind, there is no such thing as talker’s block. We are in continuous dialogue with ourselves. But we decide to catch, ignore, emphasize, and act on is what makes all the difference. If we want something, we have to extract meaning from both external and internal worlds.

We become the person we look and listen to. To quote author Charles Bukowski: “Yes, it’s the dream that keeps you going then and now.”

#NationalDonutDay: The history of a donut in a GIF (plus some life advice)

source (2).gif
gif via Kyle Victory

I’m not one to celebrate national trends but this gif tells you all you need to know about the history of the donut.

And you know those brassy looking pink donut bags at high-end donut shops? It’s a marketing gimmick; a trigger for emotions.

How the pink box has persevered so long may be about more than just dollars and cents. Experts say the color triggers an emotional connection to sweetness that makes doughnuts more irresistible than they already are.

If you’re a writer and you like donuts, you may also find this Steven Pressfield quote handy.

“As you travel through life, let this be our goal: keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.”

Steven Pressfield