One day we’re going to miss the powerful silence of the natural world, the way it smells and begs for an inquisition. That’s because “most people are on the world, not in it,” wrote the father of national parks John Muir.
In putting a “fence around nature,” we lock ourselves into a secluded wall of emotional current.
Nature nurtures, it humbles our deepest desires. Because we can’t control the skies, nor the mercurial blob of ourselves, we must give in to nature’s fickleness and beauty.
We’re going to be shocked when we wake up from digital’s second life and realize that becoming also means embracing the evolving whims of those things around us. We are overpowered by the Earth’s forces.
That’s how subtleties move along, transparent, through the chaos of abundant information for which the likes of Facebook and Twitter sell our eyeballs to the attention merchants.
As John Berger wrote in Ways of Seeing, “seeing comes before words.” Images overpower our digital world. Video maximizes these stitched images. People lose interest in thinking by themselves and using their imagination.
Said color photography pioneer William Eggleston: “Words and pictures don’t — they’re like two different animals. They don’t particularly like each other.”
Showing speaks louder than telling. One can intuit a concept quicker with a visual cue more so than a verbalized one.
If Facebook’s recent newsfeed changes are any sign, social media is in decay. It’s gone from connecting people to Buzzfeed’s linkbait to a nest of echo chambers where the likeminded and bots spread fake news.
The art done here by artist Andrei Lacatusu provides a metaphor for the chaotic and ruinous state of social media, which appears to be failing like today’s brick-and-mortar stores. While we can expect the social networks to stay in business, they need to spend 2018 rebuilding the public’s trust.
We all start out with a dream, a goal of someone or something we want to emulate. We keep that dream close, putting up bedroom posters and memorizing phrases that propel us to keep pushing toward our goal.
But then something else happens along the way? The creative gods tell us to do something else instead.
“The grind is not glamorous.”
Casey Neistat wanted to be a filmmaker, another Spielberg that entertained the masses. But he didn’t have enough money nor resources. So he chased the dream for ten years and succeeded: he entered Cannes and won some awards etc. until one day he realized he was pursuing the wrong end. “Fuck it,” he said. “I just want to make internet videos.”
See, when we hunt down goals, we usually get redirected to something else that’s more personal. Technology broke down all the barriers to traditional creativity, production, and distribution. YouTube is Neistat’s movie theater.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Sure, imitate at first and get really good — everything is practice. But we shouldn’t forget to reflect and dive deeper into a passion that excites us the most. As Jim Carrey said, ‘your vocation chooses you.’
Don’t fight what’s natural even if no one else is doing it yet. Give in to the original inclinations and push onward.
While cubicles emerged as the “action office,” they created an environment antithesis to work. Says Dilbert creator Scott Adams, ‘cubicles are like prisons.’ Cubicles are anti-work; they impede collaboration.
If companies want to create more office conversation, they have to make the conditions for more office collisions. Thus, the open space design became the standard model for companies looking to encourage idea-sharing.
Open spaces increase the chances of overhearing something important, clarifying a miscommunication, and leading to the next great business opportunity. Multiple bump-in discussions have replaced those at the water cooler, keeping potential email threads from getting out of hand.
Human interaction is still vital to the workplace. One gets more from speaking with a co-worker for a few minutes than they do via structured meetings and email recaps containing a list of myriad “next steps.”
Serendipity is the name of the game.
In theory, overcommunication should save employees from having to attend extra meetings and send superfluous emails. But open spaces do come with invasiveness that can “can cause workers to do a turtle.” No wonder coders and copy-writers throw on noise-canceling headphones to cancel out the extra noise.
Open offices have come to resemble a chaotic classroom. External conversations crimp the thinking voice inside a person’s head. Perhaps that’s why working from home is still the most productive space of them all
Working from home allows workers to build a space they can call their own. While the internet and email are always on, the door can be closed at any time for silence so that one can do deep work.
The cubicle and the open office beg for distractions. Isn’t the point of work to get stuff done and ship?
“But I got the same painful pleasure out of writing prose that I did out of writing poetry—the pleasure of trying to put the right words in the right order. And I took away from my experience with poetry something else. I understood that the reason people write poems is the reason people write. They have something to say.”
Art translates life. It takes us places. We need stories and memes in order to keep the everyday exciting.
Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private.
Use a smartphone journal like the Day One app or the ever-popular Morning Pages Journalwhere you write by hand. When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.
Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.”
I have been blogging for years (click here to view my guide to setting up a blog on WordPress). It is harder to get an audience who cares to read your stuff today than it has ever been. You have to assume nobody wants to read your shit because he or she is busy or would rather be social networking or playing games instead. However, for those readers who do read your blog frequently, they have subscribed for a reason.
It’s all about having a meaningful presence and how you work your way to make it happen, to leave a legacy behind, to share your thoughts and ideas others can learn from just like you do yourself with other people’s vs. pretending to be who you are not…Just be yourself with your own thoughts and share them along! It is what we all care for, eventually. The rest is just noise.”
No, blogging is not dead
People like to say blogging is dead. But not only are new platforms emerging like Medium, but blogging is just writing. Words will always be a powerful way to say something meaningful, whether it is in print, online, graffiti, or the walls of a cave.
I started this blog so I could show the world what interests me. It is no surprise that what you read here is information I learned from other blogs. In other words, blogging acts like a canvass where you synthesize, remix and interpret in your words.
Blogs are like hammers. They are tools for building stuff.”
Above all, blogging is free, what Seth Godin calls “the last great online bargain.” Blogging gives you a voice, and it is an excellent incentive to think in a world that just wants us to consume.
Blogging is a bicep curl for the brain. Write daily, and practice the art of conviction.
Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.”
Digital art is easier to create. Photoshop, Prisma filters — anyone can be an artist by throwing a filter on an image. People associate handwork with hard work over hardware and software.
To quote journalist David Carr: “show me what you’ve made with your own two dirty little hands. I don’t really care what you say, I want to see what you’ve done.”
Digital art gets overlooked for a few reasons:
Digital art is easier to create. Photoshop, Prisma filters — anyone can be an artist by throwing a filter on an image. People associate hand work with hard work over hardware and software. To quote journalist David Carr: “show me what you’ve made with your own two dirty little hands. I don’t really care what you say, I want to see what you’ve done.”
Digital art is replicable. Anything digitized has an inventory of one. MP3s crushed the music industry because the same file could be shared a million times over. The same goes for art, which gets reshared on social media on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. Seeing the art on a screen rather than at a museum makes it feel less palpable. People like to touch things, or at least feel so.
Digital art is valueless. The auction houses put a premium on traditional art simply because it is scarce. Originals will always outsell copies. Would you rather own a piece Banksy drew with his bare hands or a copy?
“For decades, art and tech have done an awkward, fitful dance, never fully committing to each other”
But digital art is getting a deeper appreciation. Whether it’s 3D printed buildings, Pixar animation, or an Oculus Rift virtual reality film, art and technology are coming together to redefine the interpretation of art. Art is also getting more collaborative and remixed within a community of creators.
“Artists collaborate with a rotating cast of sparring partners all over the globe, not only other artists, but also writers, coders, fashion designers, electronica musicians, etc.”
Computers minimize the barrier to entry in creating art. The tool (your hand or mouse) and the palette (software) are at your disposal. In the words of John Culkin: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” What’s going to separate the amateurs from the professionals is how deep and deliberate the artist wants to do.
Digital art is blooming because it is evolving with technology, which is changing people’s tastes. Hand painting may always be pricier, but that does not make them more superior. The value is in the eye of the beholder.
That so-called ‘internet addiction’ you have is an evolution of what humans have been doing along — curating, collecting, and sharing. We just do it with more often with the assistance of our screens.
According to professor Kenneth Goldsmith at the University of Pennsylvania, “an educated person in the future will be a curious person who collects better artifacts. The ability to call up and use facts is the new education. How to tap them, how to use them.”
Professor Goldsmith named his course “Wasting Time on the Internet”– an incentive that gets his students to sign up. However, it has the opposite effect. Instead of screen-staring, his students are more likely to create and collaborate.
“They became more creative with each other. They say we’re less social; I think people on the web are being social all the time. They say we’re not reading; I think we’re reading all the time, just online.”
The web is the world’s biggest copy-paste machine. On top of this, Google is our second brain. The fear is that humans will lose their ability to think. However, what happens instead is that we allow more ideas to have sex. Remixing ideas is what Maria Popova of Brainpickings often refers to as “combinatorial creativity.”
“When a D.J. brings a laptop full of music samples to a club he doesn’t play an instrument, but we don’t argue that he isn’t doing something creative in mixing those sounds to create his own effect. In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things. I find it exciting.”
It turns out that wasting time on the Internet could be productive rather than harmful. To think the Internet also means the end of books and face to face communication is also an exaggeration. Of course, like any tool, it depends on what you are using the Internet for — playing games is not the same as sharing research and new ideas.
What’s your opinion on learning in the Internet age? Tweet at me.