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Tech

Everything is sampled, including our DNA

It’s in our DNA to sample, to take existing slices from each other to build something new.

The internet is the largest cut and paste machine. A producer of novelty, it begs for recombinations, a collection of stuff we can remix and make our own.

Like a Tumblr page, we decorate our personalities with originality. But everything from our interests to our blood develops from outside sources like an amalgamation of sounds.

All one has to do is scour Twitter for the latest in curated novelty. When favorite something we like or find interesting, we should feel free to mash it up in new serum, in a new format, shuffling ideas into fresh architectures.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

In pursuit of the right stuff

The ignorant still absorb knowledge. Their minds are just cluttered with the wrong stuff, crushed with the contentment with misinformation.

So what is the right stuff?

The right stuff is a mentality of contradictions, where one practices disagreement not as a form of disrespect but as a pursuit of knowledge.

The right stuff is…

  • a preference for negative feedback since it’s more actionable than its positive sister
  • focusing on doing good no matter what the future brings
  • an outcome democratically reached
  • consuming and throwing away culture to remain unidentifiable
  • disassociating your identity with the things you own

“Being right is the enemy of staying right because it leads you to forget the way the world works,” writes Jason Zweig. Stare at the world, not at your model, they implore.

Patterns are the work of evil and the formula for stuckness. The wrong stuff seeks to pigeonholed with no way out. Invest in what is right: mutability.

Categories
Business Culture Fashion

A pedestal type of person

The best marketers bake their advertising into their work.

Whether you’re an athlete, an author, or a baker, the product speaks for itself. Your trade either breeds trust and gets shared by others or falls at the wayside.

Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, and Albert Einstein put their money where their mouth was.

But there are of course ways to exaggerate one’s abilities.

David Beckham was a good football player, not great. Karl Lagerfeld was a good designer, but no one amazing. The difference is how these two talked about themselves during their careers and strategically elevated their game by raising their awareness platform.

Performance is only half of the story. The other half of the story is smart marketing and for consumers, a self-fulfilling truth. As Seth Godin so wisely notes in his book All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World, “We drink the can, not the beverage.”

Buyers acknowledge the artifice but also stand on pedestals they too think they deserve.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

The flexible tattoo

Beliefs are impermanent. We can put them or take them off throughout the day.

Similarly, we can pull from while simultaneously resisting the sprouts of memes and cultural gestures.

We can switch channels and opt for something more compelling whenever we want.

Change is a kind of freedom.

After all, it’s the individuals that are most exciting, not the masses.

Categories
Culture Poetry Tech

Truth, discarded

Racing to get hack our organic operating system, to render us decision-less at the mercy of marketers and AI.

The feeds are distraction machines that intend to blind our own will. We are complicit in the media manipulation.

It is within these information-rich, consumption-based societies that the heart beats but the brain double-thinks.

As the chaos whirls around is, It rules out nuance and complexity. What we see is what get, the truth discarded.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society Social Media Tech

Face the facts

gif by Falcao Lucas

To weave through a world when there’s no anonymity and everything is discoverable — we are one google away from all the answers.

But it doesn’t matter how much we know. People cognize to fit what they want to believe, regardless of the facts.

We tend to throw all the information we don’t want to hear into a deep hole.

The more we deny the truth, the more it snowballs into a series of lies, rubber-stamped onto black screens of irreality. Call it the disinformation highway.

Upon further reflection, we should be forced to deal with what’s no longer pleasant: the real world.

Disagree with it. Run away from it. But live with the doubt that we could be wrong on many issues. Tribes are meant to be broken.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Tech Writing

The promise of internet niches

gif by Jay Sprogell

The promise of the internet was that unfettered access guaranteed a diversity of interests.

At first, it appeared true — the web broke down the masses into a web of niches. The accumulation of distinctiveness created a long tail that when combined outweighed popular trends.

But little by little, those niches turned into popular tribes where everyone started talking about similar things.

The standardization of tastes, political parties, and lifestyles spread like wildfire. Individuality lost out to group-think.

The anarchic mindset requires one to imagine a world not yet in existence. Who would we be without digging deeper and envisioning the non-existent?

Culture attracts sameness. But we can change the default setting. All it takes is reevaluating and encouraging the realm of distinctiveness.

It’s impossible to synchronize all the world’s attention with the nearest click. But life is way more interesting when we instruct ourselves to think different.

Categories
Culture Social Media Tech

Resisting the influence

gif by Rico Rose

The urge to do the exact opposite of what everyone is doing tingles the predictive soul.

To remain uninfluenced, resisting the harmonization of taste.

Everything interesting must be excruciatingly different — social media endeavors to trap uniqueness with templated styles.

The edited life is all chicanery, one stock cloud too many.

All places and poses scream with sameness, as do the viewers who stare at the screen cooking the mind for imitation.

Lemmings, are we not? Even the most-conscious person gets blindsided into a distraction of taste.

We are the perfect model.

Categories
Culture Tech

We used to pick up the phone

Tethered to the phone hanging on the wall, we forfeited our anonymity to the unknown stranger.

Every call felt like a cold call, with no indication of who was on the other line. Yet it felt surprisingly safe to answer even if it was a telemarketer. “No thanks, we’re eating dinner. Please call back later.” Hang up.

We used to pick up the phone

Now we expect every phone call to be preceded by a text, even if it’s our closest friends and family members. And we’re sure as hell never going to answer an unknown number because chances are it’s a Chinese spammer.

With screen time the default, if we’re going to answer the phone to take us away from whatever else we’re doing — emailing, texting, scrolling Instagram — there better be someone we know or think we know on the other line.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

Losing our edge


Being weird used to be lonely. But then the Internet happened.

The web connected the vinyl collectors, the sneakerheads, and the want-to-be Romance novelists. Niches came together, competed, collaborated, cheered each other on while a select few took their micro, macro until their weird became the new standard.

“Success blurs. It rounds off the rough edges.”

John Peel

We’re not all weird. We’re not all normal. But some of us are curious and forward-thinking. We search for what’s next before it even hits the trend spotters’ radar. We dig deep in the underground to avoid the peril of sameness.

The closer we get to normal, the closer we are to losing our edge.

Always a good reread: We’re Are All Weird