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Culture Life & Philosophy Poetry

The business of living

The temptation to linger in maximum comfort — life isn’t a warm shower, you know.

One typically extends a staycation at the sight of pleasure or during a pandemic, displeasure.

People are adaptable, prepared to extend or narrow their comfort zone in various situations.

They’ll even attend to simultaneous entertainments if it means they can get on with the business of living.

Moving across the stream, pinging into and around rocks, life thrives when you stop looking for happiness and absorb all the scars—reality bites.

Where there is joy is pain and lots of courage in between.

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Life & Philosophy

Dealing with everydayness

Distraction takes us away from the stresses of everydayness. We keep our phones nearby because screens help entertain our worries away.

But an excess of interference comes at a cost. When we fail to experience things with our senses, the virtual and reality become one. Irreality calcifies into callousness, much to the detriment of human necessities: emotion and touch. 

Always on is a kind of psychological enslavement. There’s a correlation between digital plenitude and the pressure we feel of a world closing in on our heads. 

The ebb and flow of boredom, pain, and pleasure are healthy aspects of life. They keep us hinged, reminding ourselves that each wave requires versatility unstuck from the ludic loop of attention. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Psychology

Avoiding the losses

Every story needs a villain that disobeys the rules. Bereft of the drama, we lose interest in the hero’s tale.

Every single event that occurs in one’s life prepares them for a moment yet to come. Life begs for a beautiful struggle, where an exaggerated sense of faith begets a David versus Goliath triumph. 

When we overcompensate for our vulnerabilities, we harden our determination. “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” wrote Nietzsche in the Twilight of the Idols.

The last scene may culminate in success, but the movie goes beyond the screen into new chapters. Even the victor with impressive persistence rarely goes undefeated. Every hero meets their maker, accepting risk as to the possibility of a loss. 

The protagonist expects the ebb and flow of living. All the scars reinforce a type of fundamental competition. A confident attitude brings us closer to the winner’s circle than surrender does. 

Knowing we’ve got nothing to lose avoids all the losses.

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.

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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. 

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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
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
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Thinker types: Contrarian versus the individual

Shall one play the contrarian or the individual thinker?

It’s not that interesting to be the rejectionist of the status quo just for the sake of it.

What’s more interesting is forming one’s unique style or opinion and projecting that with confidence — minus the bombast, of course.

What individuates individuals is their desire to make a difference because they believe in something.

‘Think different’ is a call for variation and abstraction. We need more of these poets, those who stray to the side to peruse the neglected fragments.

We need less antagonists, those who say the opposite of what everyone else is saying. Thinking outside the box is not a vocation, nor some deliberate existential thrill.

The self-appointed individual pokes at the mainstream without pretentiousness and criticism. She strives to make blind spots visible.

Once we get over the societal pressures of what we like and dislike, we get to focus on the heart work: what matters instead.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry

Assume everything and nothing

We suffer from a surfeit of choice.

An excess of options breeds indecision, the cruelest of frustrations. The result? We end up doing nothing at all.

Perhaps inertia is the best solution in these dizzying times. Instead of forcing the issue, we let nature take its course.

Yet, life doesn’t move unless we do. It begs for action and a subsequent reaction. Doing opens the floodgates to the invisible, exposing us to an infinity of blind spots.

Passivity and dynamism coexist

Surrounded by a morass of distraction machines, it’s no wonder we permit the frustration of ‘what’s next’ chip away at our patience. The bottomless scrolling newsfeed sucks dry the rudiments of attention and stokes impatience. 

Staring into the forest’s green space allows us to unlatch the eyelids from closeupness. The external world makes us think expansively, beyond the myopia of screen addiction.

We can assume that the best answer lies beyond us or deeper within. Hubris intact, we continue searching with the impossible hope of conquering ourselves.

Patience is the key to self-discovery. The wait never lasts forever if one never gets tired of waiting it out.

In the search of knowledge, we persist in converting inferences into future actions.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Into the vortex of interestingness

We try to put things in the right order so we can find and solve even more problems.

The lighthouse in our mind is always moving faster than any dimension of reality. First, we act, and then we deduce. Lessons emerge from all the scars.

The impulse to learn more keeps the story of life flowing into a vortex of interestingness. The end goal is to avoid the maw of cynicism, as it works like a magnet in dire times.

Stimulation-seeking people look for a way of life. They feed off chasing ideals and improvising off risks. They are the sole judge of themselves, well-informed amateurs, fighting for simple awareness and the right to exercise real choice.

Thinkers keep digging deeper into the hole, seeking out the next set of burning questions.