The mind fills a silent GIF with sound.
The flags flickering in the wind, the lightbulb dancing at a Mexico City bar, to the whistle of leaves swinging outside your window.
But the calmer it becomes, the more you hear.
Silence deafens the external stimuli. In nature, it rings with the the highest volume.
TuRn it up!
One day we’re going to miss the powerful silence of the natural world, the way it smells and begs for an inquisition. That’s because “most people are on the world, not in it,” wrote the father of national parks John Muir.
In putting a “fence around nature,” we lock ourselves into a secluded wall of emotional current.
Nature nurtures, it humbles our deepest desires. Because we can’t control the skies, nor the mercurial blob of ourselves, we must give in to nature’s fickleness and beauty.
We’re going to be shocked when we wake up from digital’s second life and realize that becoming also means embracing the evolving whims of those things around us. We are overpowered by the Earth’s forces.
Perhaps naturalist Bernd Heinrich said it best:
“We all want to be associated with something greater and more beautiful than ourselves, and nature is the ultimate. I just think it is the one thing we can all agree on.”
The variety of colors on our smartphone screens pop like candy. As advertiser Bruce Barton wrote in his 1925 book In The Man Nobody Knows, “The brilliant plumage of the bird is color advertising addressed to the emotions.”
We tap into Instagram, scroll through a few photos, and return to the home screen to bounce off to other apps. And then we repeat the process again in a mindless fashion.
After a while, we start to lose all conscious brain power. We fly between apps like we’re hitting buttons at the casino. The variable rewards keep us spinning in a ludic loop. Technology undermines our attention by bombarding our senses with a surfeit of stimuli that lights up like a Christmas tree.
Turn it gray. That’s right: we need to dull our screens to bore our senses. Turning the phone grayscale doesn’t make it dumb, it just makes it less attractive. Writes Nellie Bowles in the New York Times:
I’m not a different person all of a sudden, but I feel more in control of my phone, which now looks like a tool rather than a toy. If I unlock it to write an email, I’m a little less likely to forget the goal and tap on Instagram. If I’m waiting in line for coffee, this gray slab is not as delightful a distraction as it once was.
Want to give your thumbs a break and regain some attention? Study the instructions on Lifehacker on how to turn your screen grayscale.
Your face and clothing signal your identity. Your DNA is one thing, your outer-design another; fashion is the only element you can control.
A winsome smile can be deceiving. Inside could be a sufferer undressing the mind’s eye.
There is no need to prejudge one’s possibilities, even our own. Wearing a hoodie masks a coder, not the thief.
We shape the Earth, and it shapes us.
For all the pieces interact, transforming into a cohesive thought.
The trees grow in cities, the oceans meet at the cape.
All the pieces interact, enveloped by the space inside.
The weather is fickle, cyclical, everything too much for a remix, itching for evolution.
To get closer to the texture of stimuli, gentle in our convictions, cushioned from other things.
In nature’s ludicrous rhythm, we trust.
Art is what we do with our extra time. It is more leisure than life. “Art is everything you don’t have to do,” as Brian Eno put it.
The starving artist is compelled to have a day job. We can’t make art without the backbone of cash.
However, the cashless value of writing a poem, painting a picture, or photographing the trees could save your life.
It is in making up stuff we find meaning. The canvass enhances our lives and inspires us to express ourselves. That freedom can be liberating.
Writes Louis Menand in his latest New Yorker piece entitled Can Poetry Change Your Life?
“But I got the same painful pleasure out of writing prose that I did out of writing poetry—the pleasure of trying to put the right words in the right order. And I took away from my experience with poetry something else. I understood that the reason people write poems is the reason people write. They have something to say.”
Art translates life. It takes us places. We need stories and memes in order to keep the everyday exciting.