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Life & Philosophy

The all-important gaze

Stuck in a default state of distractedness, we look away for the next magnetic clue.

As the gaze proceeds, a sense of familiarity comes to our aid to help us navigate our way in the world.

But most of what we perceive is just noise, impeding both our short-term goals and long-term moon shots.

We often fall victim to the fickleness of attention, especially in a virtual reality environment. The screen dominates our lives. 

However, we can remain sensitive to context while continuing to stare at the world and our model.

Most middle-aged people freak out about their mortality when they realize that they’re entertaining themselves into inanition. The brain falsely justifies how we spend our time.

Meanwhile, the cosmic forces in the universe are awaiting our participation. Don’t give up. Turned on, we can see opportunities and realize them. 

Wake up and look outside the immediate window of attention. Our spatial memory is ready for action, awaiting the soul’s evolution. 

Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Imagining life without work

Some people are obsessed with work. It defines them, gives them a structure. Without work, they’d sail away at the mercy of the waves and get lost at sea.

But technology facilitates creativity. The accountant becomes a music producer at night, a photographer, or YouTuber on the weekend. He or she identifies more as being an artist than a professional who crunches numbers. Their online persona seeks some greater truth beyond the work, more aligned with who they want to be. 

Everyone wants to pursue something meaningful. We want to do something that matters while working hard without working hard. As the musician Brian Eno reminds us, “Try not to get a job.” 

Whether it’s the day job or an artist, work is supposed to reflect our life philosophies. Most jobs, though, are solutions to a practical problem: we need the cash to live. The money fact keeps man awake at the clarion call of labor.  

The pressure to blend work and life results from our obsession with careerism in a twenty-four-seven hyperconnected world. So what would we do with all that free time if we didn’t work? 

We’d just do stuff rather than getting stuck in a career. We’d read, hang out with friends and family, watch and play sports, and listen to music. It would be like all the activities we’ve immersed in during the extra free time of COVID lockdown, minus all the social distancing and depression. The future of work would look less like a vocation and more like an extended vacation.

Will we be ok when the robots take over and the concept of labor fades away? Will making art suffice? We’re born off balance. It’s how we dance with the uncertain future that shapes who we are.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Be wary of advice

The fallacy of giving advice is that what works for one person rarely works for another.

Advice is unique and personal, a collection of warnings we tell ourselves about how to avoid past mistakes, synthesized and abridged for a recipient.

“Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.”

Bernard Williams

The best advice we can give someone is to encourage them to develop their own opinions of the world. Our experiences are neither guides nor answers; everyone deserves the freedom to their own way.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

The art of delay

You can’t make Bitcoin go up just as you can’t coax a train out of a tunnel.

Good things take time and a lot of patience. 

If you ever get tired of waiting, do something else instead. You could try to relax your tight face a bit or distract yourself into another project. 

Remember, the goal is to achieve long-term serotonin over dopamine’s quick-hit. 

It’s a beautiful endeavor to hold back and observe, waiting to witness the ultimate revelation. 

Sometimes the trick to succeeding in the future is to bet on doing nothing at all. Commit to stillness, becoming the architect of your persistence. 

The waiter builds up satisfaction over time, bringing one comfortably close to playing the long-game. 

Patience is a form of action. The ability to delay gratification and follow through on a plan will forever be underrated.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry Uncategorized

Facing opposites

We want to reduce the stress in our lives, yet we keep piling on the number of things we need to do. We travel arms wide open into a tidal wave of responsibilities.

We want to restrict the data tech companies collect from us, yet we swipe right at consent—all terms, all conditions, in favor of the Leviathan.

We want all the benefits of social media—influence, and fame—while maintaining our privacy.  

We want to think we’re a curious bunch, open to a world unknown, yet act like novices at the ways of seeing. What is new leads somewhere new, absent the spot.

We meditate to detach the mind from surfeit consciousness when merely going for a walk, doing the dishes, or shooting hoops produces the same relaxing effect. With little effort, the neuronal spike train intensifies in voltage.

We want to believe and remain certain without bravado. Little do we know that uncertainty is natural, confidence is artificial. 

Opposite to everything, without opposition to anything. Whatever one says is true, the reverse is equally valid

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

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.