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Life & Philosophy Psychology Science

Information is the sum of parts

The brain is just a collection of tangled wires with neuron connectivity levels. We call its output ‘information’ because we need some way of describing chemical synchronicity.

The computer works the same way.

On the inside, it’s a collection of chips and wires with various voltage levels. What we see on screen is what we label as information.

Information is the same name we give to brain chemicals and computer voltage to describe the organized chaos.

The squalor is why it works.

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Creativity Productivity & Work Science

Eureka moments are a myth 💡

In 1726, an Apple dropped from a tree and hit the elder physicist Isaac Newton on the head.  It was then he discovered insight into gravity. Or so the story goes. 

In reality, he had already done a lot of his thinking while staring at the surrounding apple trees. Newton’s friend and biographer William Stukeley wrote: “Occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood.” 

We polish stories, embellish them, so they’re more memorable and thus more shareable. To quote librarian Keith Moore, the Newton story is “an 18th-century sound bite.”

There is no such thing as a Eureka moment. Light-bulb moments arise because we’ve already spent a long time thinking about them and letting the subconscious do its work.

It’s no surprise that big ideas seem to happen in dull moments when we’re in the shower or doing the dishes. Ideas also come to us during rest. A resting mind still hungers for stimulation because creativity is always awake.

This is also why planning unscheduled time is so vital to the work process. We have to get out of our own heads so we can think with more clarity.

Eureka moments are a myth. They occur when we’re thinking without thinking. The right ‘creative’ brain is always on. It splits duties with the left brain to interpret various phenomena.

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Business Culture Photography Social Media

Taste at first sight 👁👀👁

rachael-gorjestani-154907.jpg

“The first taste is always with your eyes.”

Everything is contrived, from the glowing burger buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, to the juicy fresh meat. Video takes food advertising even further, making it come alive from its static state.

Table top advertising or food marketing is no different than any other product marketing: the illusion never matches with the reality of creating it. In reality, the food has been dressed up and augmented to look fresh and mouth watering like those lobsters in Red Lobster commercials.

Fashion advertising is similar. The model is always more enticing wearing makeup and sporting a six pack. When models make commercials, they never smile. Bad assery sells.

Not surprisingly, food porn and selfies are huge on Instagram too, the people’s marketing platform. A little bit of shoot preparation and filters make both food and faces look better than they actually are.

Today, anyone can use technology to create a Hollywood look. Everyone’s deceiving and buying lies at the same time. We all desire better versions of ourselves, including what appears on our plates.

Learn more

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Culture Music Social Media

Digging in the crates

It had that barbershop vibe, the relaxed atmosphere where people kicked back, dug the crates, and talked music.

There were posters and promotional displays but they couldn’t outshine the album artwork. Marketing started from the bottom up. Consumption was based on peer recommendations.

The record shop was a place of giver’s gain, where the information shared upfront by one crate digger to another got reciprocated down the road.

Back then, music collecting was truly social. Today, social algorithms make recommendations.

While the data is getting smarter, popularity reigns because the wisdom of crowds leans popular, making music suggestions more mimetic and less random. Pop music exists because people are too shallow, lazy, or genuinely uninterested in looking deeper.

You only need to listen to a few DJs and curators to know what’s good. These are the same crate diggers you used to speak to in the record stores which are now mostly nonexistent.

Taste is not universal. It’s personal yet relatable and trustworthy, especially if it’s coming from a respected source.

Stepping into a particular record store once meant openness and experimentation, the willingness to try new sounds and share tracks with others.

In the absence of music shops, music lost some of its frequency and culture fell on deaf ears.

Categories
Books Productivity & Work Tech

What do we read next?

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We suffer from the infinity of choice, to what type of books we’re interested in, all the way down to the format we want to read them in.

Amazon’s recommended book algorithms allay the frustration of making decisions by taking into account your past reads and what others have read to suggest what to consume next.

Algorithms (or recipes) therefore resolve two things: Indecision fatigue caused by the avalanche of choice and the wisdom of crowds.

Spotify Discover Weekly works the same way — after it gets to understand your habits and preferences it recommends prebuilt playlists to appease your taste.

Algorithms free up our brain space to do rather than toggle between the options. They are the antidote to the chaotic linear 21st-century feed.

The more time we spend consuming rather than selecting what’s next is time well spent. By outsourcing our digging, we create more time to learn.

Even the proactive tastemaker must yield to the occasional “if and then” statement to build on top of the symphony of algorithms. A remix is not always artistically lesser than its origins.

In an increasingly algorithmic world, there can still be an element of human touch to prove we’re not headed toward complete thoughtlessness after all.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Bounce back

Why does every new passion start off with a rush of positive energy and excitement and then die?

Alacrity lives for the short-term. What’s new becomes old. Boredom strikes, a new and superior product emerges that we have to have. We also give up on our passions. The work involved outweighs the sticktuitiveness to achieve it.

Passion is a tricky subject. We can cultivate it through gratitude, but it’ll never reverberate with the enthusiasm it once did. Maybe, it is time to try something new.

gif via Anna Salmi

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Be brave, clench fists

The quietest people have the loudest minds. That’s why introverts are more active than extroverts on social media. It’s easier to speak through screens than it is face-to-face.

But showing up offline is the only way to get anywhere. No one’s going to marry or hire you because you speak well on screen but not in person.

Fortunately, the Internet is the perfect training ground for building creative confidence.

It’s a place where you can show your work and strengthen the presentation muscle for your real life.

In some cultures, it may be ok to hide behind a screen and still get where you want to go. But for the most part success still takes being present.

So get out. Show up. Strive to be an interesting person online and off otherwise, you might not get the recognition you deserve.

Categories
Creativity

Facing the blank canvass

The blank page means to go. Attack. Write for five minutes straight. Put “TK” (to come) in for things that need to be flushed out or fact-checked. But keep writing, jogging the brain.

Once you have everything down on paper go back and dig through the trash. Keep what is necessary and discard the rest.

The writing process is like sampling music: we pluck the highlights and play with them, often recasting ideas, thoughts, and sentences into something new.

Never be afraid to get into the weeds, get more specific, and explore the deeper angles of a thought or a word.

Write it out

The writing process is messy. It’s supposed to be, like smacking paint on a canvass. Writing is observing, splurging, and then editing. It only knows work and process.

So how you do write? You spill your thoughts first, and then you go back and clean up the mess.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Quotes

Nassim Taleb: ‘The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking if you like variations.’

“The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking if you like variations.”

Nassim Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
Categories
Books Culture Psychology Quotes

Are you an egg person or an onion person?

A gif of eggs cracked in pain

Introverts are egg people. They’re not hiding anything (per say), they are mostly reserved. And once they start to get comfortable, they are as open and talkative as anybody else. “Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured,” writes Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Extroverts, on the other hand, are onion people. They contain so many layers of bombast that it’s hard to know when they are being authentic, showy, or just spewing flotsam. Yet, extroverts are most likely to be leaders because they talk loud and carry a big stick.

George Mason economics professor and Oxford humanities associates Robin Hanson sums up the egg and onion divergence:

I’ve sometimes been tempted to classify people as egg people and onion people. Onion people have layer after layer after layer. You peel it back, and there’s still more layers. You don’t really know what’s underneath. Whereas egg people, there’s a shell, and you get through it, and you see what’s on the inside.

Are ambiverts egg or onion people?

Ambiverts are more like salad people, easy to digest and mix in with all types of other folks and scenarios. They’re adaptable like a chameleon depending on whatever social situation they’re in.

We all contain multitudes. But it is the mouth that separates us apart, with different levels of signaling.

Words are the original memes, for which some things are still best unshared and unsaid. Sometimes silence does all the messy talking, reveals all that needs to be conveyed. As Susan Cain puts it: “We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.”

art via giphy