Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Psychology

Enjoy the silence

Silence is the loudest sound — unprovoked, it can screech worse than nails on a chalkboard.

The pursuit of distraction is man’s attempt to escape the cacophony of a deaf monkey mind.

To break from mental prison, we conjure up an oasis of sound: Facebook or TV, dual-screens, infinitely scrolling through feeds and channels without remembering a thing.

The content Ferris wheel never ends. The circus rages on, burning into a dead-end of doldrums.

Perhaps the noiseless, originally our worst fear, is the pocket of sanity we needed all along.

gif by Carolina Costa

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Work x "Work"

There are two types of work:

  1. Work that you do for fun
  2. Work that pays the bills

The first is sexy and fuels your creativity. These are typically side projects that you wish would one day turn into a long-term job that pays the bills.

The second type of work is the one you do to live. These are your standard projects and office jobs that support a commercial company. They’re not sexy but they’re reassuring and provide enough cash flow to do more creative work.

The difference between the sexy and the dependable types of work is what Hugh MacLeod calls the Sex and Cash Theory.

There’s always friction to create stuff that matters, at least to you, versus creating stuff that maintains someone else’s bottom line. Both nonetheless complement each other as an influence of skills. It’s all practice, anyway.

The end-goal for all creators is the fusion of sex and cash, to get paid for doing what you love. But even that sometimes runs its course. Whatever you end up doing, at work or on the side, make it a good one!

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Tech

Making meaning removes meaning

gif by John Walters

Making meaning removes meaning. What we make is what we want to make. The only supervisor is ourselves.

But we do need signals — something that tells us that we’re moving in the right direction.

“The muse has to know where to find you.”

Billy Wilder

Accept professions but don’t become them

Tied up in labor, we forget that the day job is the means of survival. Home is where the real sex happens, where we enjoy the liberty to play and rage into our work.

Doing the work we enjoy is the best use of our time. After all, more time is better than money.

Paradoxically, everything we don’t want to do feeds our basic survival. That’s why such priorities always feel somehow aslant.

Categories
Arts Creativity

Unoriginal and creative

We build careers off of clever hybrids, sampling the treasure trove of the Internet’s archival content to remix and recast as our own.

With a quick copy-paste, anyone with the tools can replicate a beautiful photo, record a song, or publish a book on Amazon.

Originality is dead. But that’s not to say it ever existed in the first place. Every piece of art, music, and writing we swallow was based on something before it. We continue the fad, bending genres and jamming stems into each other to create something novel.

Even the great Vincent Van Gogh adopted the style of Japanese prints and incorporated them into his work.

When we have access to slices of culture, the world (thanks to the internet) becomes our oyster.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Psychology

Imagination is a mental scratch pad

Imagination is a mental scratch pad, a place to delve into the urges of the non-existent. It is only there can we see what’s more captivating than reality’s everydayness.

Imagination not only protects us from boredom, it also protects us from ourselves. It acts as a neuroprotective stimulus for brain expansion — we are only as good as what we can envision.

Imagination helps us slice through the bedrock of the present. It moves us behind the boundary of facts. It screams yes to life, even when there’s darkness.

“Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get you everywhere.”

Albert Einstein

What is the imagination good for? Absolutely everything.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Keep them guessing

They say write to be understood. But what’s the point in spelling it all out?

Said author William Faulkner in an interview with the Paris Review:

INTERVIEWER

Some people say they can’t understand your writing, even after they read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?

FAULKNER

Read it four times.

Write to be misunderstood?

It doesn’t hurt to make an arcane reference here and there to keep the reader guessing. Obscurity is luminosity.

Said author Jonathan Franzen in lunch with the Financial Times:

“I think you have to have a few things that you have to kind of chew on to get.”

When you first listen to a new Radiohead song, something about it sounds off. But after a few listens, the sounds in between appear and ameliorate Thom Yorke‘s mystical voice. Nothing makes sense, but the emotional tug works, the same way laughter doesn’t need thought.

It shouldn’t be the author or musician’s goal to demystify everything. The maker is often still figuring it out himself, recasting their own interpretation.