We cultivate boredom the same way we incubate attention, that is, we latch on to things until we no longer see them. They camouflage into our awareness.
The internet user runs into the cornucopia of visuals on Instagram. Liking becomes desultory, numb to the perpetual sting of dopamine. Are we not entertained?
We are sloppy internet users
But we are also creatures of habit, where behaviors online and off are one of the same. In reality, we visit the same people, talk to the same friends, and share similar viewpoints. Yet, simplicity is often in the sophistication of an opposing view.
Challenges make us reconsider our everyday perceptions. We don’t need to keep refreshing into a ludic loop of variable results. Instead, we need to expect completely different answers. Such novelty is how we stay curious, albeit sane.
We live in the age of robots, where machines powered by AI can drive your car, deliver you breakfast in your hotel room, or reorder you diapers on Amazon.
But automata isn’t new. As craftsman François Junod points out in the video, “the oldest known automatons date back to the Egyptians.” They gained popularity as entertainment for royalty in the 18th century.
Obsessed with mechanics and automatons at a younger age, Junod felt compelled to make what he calls ‘animated sculptures’ himself. Today he works out of his studio in Switzerland and ships out all over the world.
“It’s that I’ve always liked automatons because we can create new things…There really isn’t a limit. We can continue and discover new things. We can always go further.”
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There are very few moments in the day when we pause. Instead, we latch onto the sugary obsession of tech and its distractions, awaiting the next shock of dopamine.
But we can have tea with ourselves, going through what our worries and wishes are in the quest for ever-fleeting presence.
Man is more versatile than a machine. Robots are one-trick ponies unable to combine disciplines, like doing the dishes or driving to work, all the while contemplating the color blue. Yet, we too become blinded by linear thinking.
We confuse busyness with productivity. We falsely believe that money brings wisdom while in reality, it cultivates hubris. Humans are smart, agile, but fragile thinkers.
The search for meaning starts with a face-to-face conversation with ourselves to bring life back to our senses. Thinking about thinking verifies that the noise in our head is more than just alive.
What if you woke up one day and had a brand new second hand that moved on its own?
This is what happened to Karen after she had brain surgery to help cure her epilepsy. After her operation, her left hand immediately took on a life of its own. For starters, it immediately began to unbutton her shirt on the hospital bed while the surgeon pleaded her to stop.
After she went home the hand started to do other things like slapping her, which reminded me of the self-beating Jim Carrey famously gives himself in the movie Liar Liar.
What caused her alien hand syndrome?
Apparently, the surgery had to split her brain and removed her Corpus callosum, which ties the left and right brain hemisphere together. Basically, the operation caused the opposing sides of her brain to switch roles.
Fortunately, Karen has come to appreciate the moral authority her left hand tries to impose on her decision-making. Any time she tries to smoke, for example, her left hand puts the cigarette out and even flicks the ashes around.
Karen’s come to appreciate the magic discipline of her hand. However, she still gets in a smoke or two. “I understand you want me to quit,” she tells her hand, “but cut the crap!”
It is human nature to ponder anxieties that do not exist.
The mind is a fabrication machine, developing worries before they deserve any attention. Wrote Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan (Amazon):“To worry is to become accessible… And once you worry, you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.”
The only way to assuage the nerves is to focus on what’s in front of you, to do the work regardless of the way you feel. Progress happens to the relaxed
You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in “Mind, Inc.” But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action. So when a worry is nagging at you, step back and ask: “Is this useful?”
As a survival mechanism, anxiety pushes us to take action — the most basic fear is that we need to eat and have a place to sleep for the night. But anxiety is also a thinking problem that needs to be neutralized by greeting it at the door where it appears wearing the same costume as it did before.
Everything is going to be alright, just like it was yesterday.