Categories
Politics & Society Tech

Collisions of thought

It’s not about how much information we consume. One can suck all the information out of the Twitter firehouse and learn nothing. 

News makes our brain fat. 

After all, it was Aldous Huxley who forewarned that we’d drown in excess entertainment and not care about anything else. Writes Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Neil Postman,Amusing Ourselves to Death

TV and social media silence thought — our opinions quickly become someone else’s. The attention merchants intend to monetize on such passivity through ads. Retweets are endorsements.

But we can still take a proactive stance on the balance of ideas thrown at us.

An ambient awareness keeps the excess noise at bay as we learn to listen and absorb the world’s texture. Our goal is to replace the enormous dent that screens instill in our thoughts with a perspective we call our own.

The more ideas collide with one another, independent or externalized, the tighter authenticity clicks into place. The thinker makes their own rules.

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

From seeing to believing

Obvious to you, not to others.

It’s the human condition to see patterns but leave them to abstraction.

Identifying the gaps is only the start. No one gains from keeping silent on the puzzle of opportunity.

What occupies the rest of the grey space is doing the work.

Creators play the dual role of keen observer and competent persister. They control the master switch between idea and reality, optimizing their time, energy, and luck while never having all three simultaneously.

Anyone can learn how to see — how to build off a concept, sell the story, and contribute something meaningful is the worthiest challenge.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

The becoming

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question,” quipped film director Jean-Luc Godard back at Shakespeare’s most famous line.

To be is rather a false start. Not to be precludes trying. Becoming is more like it.

We think that success happens, but it’s the mistakes along the way that build up our future. 

Struggle makes us human. Similarly, the impairments that deem to weaken us end up making us stronger. 

As we overcompensate for our flaws, we excel in creating unique survival methods that are almost impossible to replicate.

Humans thrive in a slow march, detached from the cult of action and the tyranny of business and competition. Progress embraces the tortoise’s quiet and extensive route, inching forward and sometimes backward, gaining perspective bit by bit.

Said Malcolm Gladwell: “A lot of what is beautiful and powerful in the world arises out of adversity. We benefit from those kind of things,” but “we wouldn’t wish them on each other.”

We are all underdogs in something, a compromise that gets us out of bed in the morning and back to work.

We become the person we are, over time, wading into discomfort by building confidence out of effort and bouncing off our handicaps. To be or not to be, the real question is if we can keep going.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Foxes and hedgehogs

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing,” said the Greek poet Archilochus.  

No matter how clever the fox is, it still gets caught. Meanwhile, the hedgehog protects itself by curling up under the protection of its spines. Those who can do more may do too much.

The advantage of specialization over general application is a single-minded philosophy that increases your chances of survival by keeping things simple. Of course, any sudden emergency poses a threat to a one-way system. 

But behind every stark situation is a silver lining. Constraints are opportunities in disguise, offering a stimulus to find a better way of doing something. Darwin’s finches adapted to new niches by growing fine-tuned beaks for eating both berries and insects.  

The hedgehog pulls out all stops because he has no choice. There’s only one way to survive: adapt or die trying. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Feelings of destabilization

The glut of information can make us feel powerless. In the age of infinity, which sources are to be trusted?

For one, we can count on ourselves.

Close your eyes and throw on some headphones.

While we may tussle to calm the monkey mind, profound epiphanies arise in the blank spaces of thought.

Stillness is the release valve, deflating all external pressures and distractions.

Once alone with our thoughts, we realize the power of our own opinion. We take comfort in being left behind if it means taking our time and doing everything with intent. 

We’ll leapfrog the status quo when the time is right. 

We are an advocate of our opinion, not someone else’s. We take comfort in being left behind, misunderstood and unknown, only to leapfrog the status quo when the time is right.

Being a pioneer takes conviction. Once stable, it takes courage to show other people the way.

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy

The archaeological dig of the self

A synchronization of mind thought, and people — symphonies boost enthusiasm, concentration, and memory power. Their confluence is the great harvester of human attention.

If you’re always polishing the car, you’ll never go anywhere to discover new things. If you’re always rushing, you’ll never reap the benefits earned through reflection.

The inner and outer worlds work together to stimulate the imagination.

Money and passion fail to make one rich and happy automatically. Creators are doers. And work demands all the scars.

Invest in yourself — spiritual and mental health — and see it a role to play the orchestrator of your own life.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Writing

The streak goes on

Writing can be a painful activity. The idea of thinking and starting from scratch every day frightens the resistance.

But just as in exercise, the trick is in getting started.

Knowing that we can remain uncharged by the underground voltage of curiosity and enthusiasm, we have to depend on a non-thinking routine.

Showing up to practice is the number one priority. Then one writes poorly and gradually with more force, putting the bones in our words.

Discipline is a secret hidden in plain sight, only visible in the long look beyond the glance.

Swimming in impulses and doubt — remembering the possibility of revision helps tame the symphony of perfection.

Relaxed in the process, mincing and mixing words into a jigsaw puzzle of sentences holds material and belief more firmly.

We finish another day until the brain strains for another run tomorrow.

Addicted to vocation, flush with anxiety, we numb all feelings with the most adamant flow.

The streak goes on.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

How to doubt your fears

Fears are the mind-killer. They will eat the soul if you let them have their way. 

But fear is unavoidable — it’s in your DNA to fight or flight. There are no limits to what the lizard brain can fabricate. The imagination toggles with ‘what if’ scenarios, enduring anxiety before ever experiencing an event.  

Yet the head is also psychologically safe, physiologically sound. You own the decision rights to the brain domain, driven by the string of your heart.  

Fears are, in their very nature, abstract. Wade into them in their stark simplicity and irreality, and they lose potency.

Easier said than done, of course. It takes bravery to examine the validity of your negative thoughts to gain a more realistic perspective on them. 

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy People

A celebration of difference

A tasteless mishmash, a remix so variegated it ends in shatters.

The point of the melting pot is to blend and spit out something cohesive.

The past, present, and future are all intertwined in diversification, miles away from standardization.

Bounded to each other, we celebrate our differences.

Plurality and assimilation are indispensable allies.

So we let our characters churn, breaking apart to congeal all the same. The glorious past happens all together now.

Categories
Culture Poetry Politics & Society

Nobody strange

She was out there, in ideas and intentionality.

By high school, she had already separated from the herd. She refused to abuse herself into the maw of conformity.

College was a continuation of being different. The more she resisted, the more natural it came. Listening to herself ranged beyond self-absorption.

But then the internet came along, and she found herself a social creature once again. She joined a tribe of like-minded others on Twitter. Web 2.0 flattened the world, vitiated maps of their territories.

Just as fast as niches became mass, destroyed by the stylization of the hipster, she withdrew into rebellion once again.

She ceased shoulder-surfing and went off the grid to depart the maelstrom of information and the celebration of indifference.
She developed a type of buoyant skepticism to defend herself against the easy access of the mind and harmonized tastes.

“What if our capacity to imagine has been so badly damaged by the information climate of our times that destruction is all we can see?”

John Freeman, Dictionary of the Undoing

The illusion of immediacy burnt the truth and convinced her that no one knew anything. The constant bombardment of shocking news entertained others into inanition.

She revolted against weird and felt compelled to reinforce normalcy. She morphed into a fully formed and groomed individual.