A lot of people get dumber after college. It’s not entirely their fault. A job takes up all their time. Besides spending time with family and friends and doing chores — getting on with the business of living — a lot of free time is spent on staring at lite brites for entertainment.
As we age, we’re able to resolve practical matters with less effort. But therein lies a skewed perception. We accidentally interpret how things usually go as facts rather than acknowledging that’ that’s how the world works now. Change is constant, the possibilities infinite.
An educated person should never stop learning. They should revel in their ignorance, not as an excuse to know less but as a means of staying interested in understanding more.
Senior Art Critic for New York MagazineJerry Saltzposed an interesting question to fellow creators on Instagram:
What art-MAKING advice would your older-self give your younger-self? I’ll start with three.
1. Let go of being smart; don’t dismiss any idea as too dumb.
2. Bring the crazy.
3. Change the ways you use of making the same thing.
The advice in the replies blew me away. The common sentiment seems to be to push through CRAP (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure) and to keep making pieces true to the artist themselves. After all, the War of Art is a war with your own inner dialogue.
mepeterson.art 1) master the core skills and time honored rules of the old world painters. It will be boring but worth it. 2) Promptly forget the rules and routinely misuse the tools.3) Make YOUR art. Straight and unfiltered. 4) Don’t push so hard to sell. Let the art lead the way: it’ll find its own audience or not. 5) Stay curious about everything not just art and be bold. 6) Have a personal standard: make paintings that can stand on their own in the time honored tradition of painting. Many won’t know, you will.
mandelau 1. Be brave and fearless 2. Generously share what you’ve created with anyone who’s interested.
3. Don’t listen to (or read) criticism about your own work…negative or positive
johandeckmann Trust your gut. But before that be able to feel your gut in the first place. Then act accordingly
didihoffman4 As Auguste Rodin told his protege Malvina Hoffman, the reason for art is to show truth in nature – to express in whatever form the universal truth He believed one should first be a master of technique and drawing – from there the artist would then have the ability to express in their own way. He didn’t really believe in a specific style. He wanted the artist to be true to self and to express only truth. He saw art as a very serious craft that should not be trivialized.
studiollondon 1 – you can’t trust your eyes if you’re imagination is out of focus – mark twain 2- comparing yourself to others and not trusting your ideas leads to unnecessary paralysis and creating crap because you’re not being true to yourself. 3- go with your initial instinct and work it out. You’ll know what feels right to you and what doesn’t to work out in the end.
wanderlustyes You don’t need more space. You can work in your closet. You need time alone. Don’t spend your time trying to get money to get more space. Allow yourself the luxury of being bored. Allow yourself the freedom of restriction. Do it over and over and over again.
rosettihnw 1. Get a good well paying job. 2.Raise a family and save your money for retirement. 3.Retire and paint your heart out.
That last comment reminds me of what Brian Eno said about art: “Art is everything you don’t have to do.” It also reminds me of Hugh Macleod’s ‘sex and cash theory‘ which encourages artists not to leave their day job.
We need doctors who specialize in heart surgery and spend 100% of their time helping other people. But we also need polymaths (Newton, Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.) to combine ideas to push society forward.
As Dilbert’s creator Scott Adam points out, achieving excellence is rare.
If you want something extraordinary [in life], you have two paths:
1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.
The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.
The fox and the hedgehog
Said the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” When it comes to survival, all the hedgehog has to do is protect itself with the skill of its spines. But the fox is more versatile. It can adapt against a multitude of predators and different scenarios.
Furthermore, our success may hinge on what two or more things we can combine. We should think about our life experiences and how we can merge them with preexisting skills. We have the responsibility to create our own vocation if it doesn’t yet exist.
Both experts and practicians make the world a better place. One can’t exist without the other.
One of the main benefits of walking in nature is that trees inspire feelings of awe. According to research done by psychology professor Dacher Keltner at UC Berkeley, awe benefits not only the mind and body but also improves our social connections and makes us kinder.
Spending time outside is also vital as a destressor. One study found that camping gets the stress hormone cortisol back under control. Even sitting near trees at the office help calm us down with “softly fascinating stimulation.”
Spending time outside has many benefits including improving short-term memory, sparking creativity, lowering blood pressure, reducing fatigue, strengthening focus and more.
Nature is a higher power
Knowing how little we stand in a swathe of gigantic trees also puts life in perspective. Wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Nature:
“Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.”
Nature soothes the sense of self. It reminds us that we are less significant we are, and that fact may make us happier we’re here.
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” said Andy Warhol. That was certainly true for a broccoli tree in Sweden, whose anonymity disappeared due to its popular Instagram account with 30,000 fans.
In a world of surfeit images, people actually spent the time to look at this broccoli tree. It became a tourist attraction, even hosting its own photography exhibition. But according to a heartless individual, it may have overstayed its welcome. Someone suddenly sawed off one of its limbs.
“You can’t unsaw a tree, but you can’t unsee one either.”
The broccoli tree went desist, but its fame lives on through calendars, prints, and its Instagram feed. “To share something is to risk losing it,” especially in the era of social media.
It’s a harsh world for something that seemed already untouchable.
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!”
What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income?
For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.
“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”
Of course, not everyone can afford to remain jobless; the harsh reality is that work pays the bills and keeps us alive. But as more jobs get outsourced to robots and artificial intelligence, humans will need new ways to think about their responsibility.
What will we do when there’s no work to be done?
Work defines who we are. It forms the nucleus of our identity. However, a jobless world may encourage more innovative thinking about ourselves and our role in a secular, globalized world. Perhaps it’ll compel some people to pursue more passionate work, the type of vocations that choose them instead of the other way around.
In such a world, we’ll be makers instead of cogs, thinkers instead of algorithmic lemmings. Writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote:“There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life.”
To work on something we actually enjoy is to live.