The space between our ears

The space between our ears, where what we know or think we know, contrasts the reality of what we should see.

For some people, mental chatter precedes vision. The ignorant always risk being blindsided. They are the opposite of a child, turning a blind eye to the openness that foments growth.

As adults, we stop asking ‘why’ at the most fundamental level. We refuse to sacrifice the comfort of hardened beliefs even if they turn out to be lies.

If reality is unexciting and too sober, that’s also why it works. It keeps us grounded in the facts.

Truth lies beyond the blind spots. Exploration and exposure to challenging questions are the way.

Curiosity helps convert people into life-long tourists.

We don’t always hear and see what we want. The space between our ears which encompasses the head and brain shell could do for perspective and better listening.

The reeducation of emotion

At peace with the thinking, not always with the thought. The lizard brain generates emotions that are not immediately subject to reason.

Emotion-action often leads to undesirable behavior, independently of our control and without our understanding.

Therefore, it’s of the highest importance to recognize the issue at hand.

Intelligence restrains the worst of our emotions and potential wrong actions. We aim for a reserved response.

Stoic in our appeal, we successfully pause. We even set aside time or reflection. Listening closely with an intense examination, we stem the tide of self-destruction.

Quick on our feet, even quicker in perspective. Don’t meet rudeness with rudeness — there are many failed attempts along the way.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that fortifies holistic thinking and tames collisions of thought.

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

Awareness makes all the difference

With the right instructions, the unfamiliar becomes manageable.

We follow the recipe with the hope that the convoluted reality seeps away into the froth. Directions become one less drain on our cognitive load.

Yet, had we followed our instincts we may not have gotten lost in the first place.

Adhering to Google Maps may lead us off the bridge, submerged into water. Writing with predictive text or auto-correct makes us prisoners of the information universe.

Knowledge is visceral, reality is learned. Shut our eyes on the open road, and we carve our own self-destruction.

Artificial intelligence is there to guide, not to provide all the solutions. One follows the prescribed path of his or her second-brain gadget, all the while gut-checking programmatic veracity. There are consequences for bequeathing all thought to the outer robot.

Awareness makes all the difference in inferring the future. Aliveness never goes full-on auto-pilot.

Keep the eyes on both the donut and the donut hole.

Close-meshed holes

With both currents and counter-currents, the sea fits tightly. The chaos is why it works.

The same complex, close-meshed holes occur in just about every advanced, self-persisting object.

The brain is plastic and thereby adaptable, as is the plurality of cultures that melt away into the American identity. New York City learns to relearn every day, making perpetual change a haven of bliss.

When differences bind together, they create new entities. Friction is the original instigator.

Oceans, minds, culture, cities— the graduations of failure grow on top of each other in anti-fragile increments, using a state of regeneration to stem the tide of inertia.

Walking in circles

Abstract thinking strings together collisions of thought, producing ever-more complexity or the deepest simplicity.

Tinkering with possibilities makes everything strange, at least at first. But that’s yesterday’s genius.

gif by Yali Herbet

Today and tomorrow, we’ll mill around some more, waiting for the most certain idea. Even the subconscious doesn’t give time off for the brain to relax.

Said one, “If a mind was so simple we could understand it, we’d be too simple to understand the mind.”

Crunching it all down to the essence, we complicate nothing. We’re always left circling the strange, left with more questions than answers.

Our fragile, famous lives

The cafe was the original newsfeed, a meeting place to exchange ideas and to find out what the heck was going on in the world.

The cafe was a place, other than a detached home, where Arabica beans filled people’s minds with sparks of aliveness. 

Exposure to high thought influenced great art. 

But then fame happened — the instant gratification of smartphones converted authenticity into the thrill of collecting views and hearts. 

How one in today’s age wants to be naked and famous yet maintain their privacy is lunacy. Fame and confidentiality is a zero-sum game. 

The cuckoo has been tik tokked into the dizziness of freedom. Infotainment sends the chicks back to the nest, amusing themselves to death through the “wisdom” of devices.

In a wreck of people and data, the clouds beckon us to pursue self-constraint. In a world devoid of scarcity, there arises a pandemic of sore thumbs.

Quarantined in such loneliness, the uncertain future compels us to go big on the internet stage. The domesticated strive through wires while Zooming in their underwear.

The geometry of thought

We comprehend in all shapes and sizes.

What’s worthwhile inside is not what we’re told to know but we can intuit.

Nothing carries with it explanatory information, only stories as solidified, validated, and retold by others.

Unlabeled, we bask in memes and coherent narratives.

That is why we must negotiate unfamiliar situations with alternatives.

Seeing the other side means doing it differently and albeit, more effectively.

Mental clarity begins in cleaning out the basement

The basement gets a bad rap. It’s the relegation zone. It’s a mess, with cobwebs on the door handles and mountains of dust building in the corners.

There may be mysterious sounds and unidentifiable creatures living in the cracks. But the basement also presents the biggest opportunity to turn disorder into something presentable.

When you start at the bottom, you’re working in reverse.

In cleaning out the canvass, you empty the head and suddenly envision how to fill in the blank slate with something more meaningful. You will give a new meaning to emptiness.

Anyone can emerge from the darkest places back to life if they’re willing to start from scratch. Accepting the Herculean task of debugging your messy ways can help reprogram your mind so you can breathe fresh thinking into the void.

Searching for the ‘right’ fix

Assumptions provide fence-sitting answers. They are just half-truths that validate how things usually go, band-aids that make us feel safer. The inquisitive mind chases uncertainty and complexity.

“We must be ignorant of what we are looking for, or we would not go looking for it.”

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Rather, like a dog with a bone, we should be running off for a half-hour to return just as whelmed as when we left. The trick in any activity is to offer the right balance between intrigue and satisfaction, ensuring that it’s interesting enough to revisit it later.

The last thing we want to do is externalize the whimsical nature of life to the certitude of a photo. Life goes on beyond the screen. Memory hinges on context and keeps developing each time the story gets told.

Confidence basks in the chase of uncertainty if only to ensure that the truth remains unfixed. Less fixedly, we validate through a consistent form of experimentation.

Open to detours

Open to detours, fixated with the wrath of curiosity. The single-minded goal-setter scrounges for practice.

In theory, doggedness is the least path of resistance. Like sheep, we’re a magnet for jumping through hoops.

But we can’t afford to put the right brain to sleep. Quiescent until unmoored from reality, the maker begs to turn pipe dreams into miracles.

The creative compulsion knows no boundaries. It explodes in those non-cash working hours when you’re raging with inspiration and where the notion of work and play intertwine.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”

Alan Watts

We’re programmed to be ourselves, following the siren song of our vocation. Fight our calling, and we’ll lose. There will be no such luck.

Starry-eyed surprise

To look at life full in the face, rather than externalizing it through a distracted and edited irreality.

The enlightenment takes place backward, in moments of strict boredom, reflection, and introspection.

It’s hard to look away from the rectangular glow, as it promises to signal and promote our best selves.

Get a phone cone
Cartoon: The New Yorker

Drowning in novelty, when all that is interesting and worth preserving emerges from the constraints.

Tears come in varieties, only to be found in their distinctiveness upon studying the wrath of emotional states.

The Instagram wheel yields another tasty gem, reducing our humming neurons to the hypnosis of surprises.

The feed is fodder, man caught in the chaos of cosmos.

Who isn’t a participant in attention arbitrage?