Human rationality and craziness

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The most successful people are both rational and crazy.

As much as robots and artificial intelligence threaten our creativity, there will be some people who cultivate the randomness of thought to continue innovating.

Wrote Jean-Luc Godard: “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.”

See the world, not its model

Patterns beg to be synthesized, broken down and encrusted with ingenuity to make something new.

Humans envision the future and work backward, mostly through the freedom of trial and error. They see holes and fill them in with new opportunities.

Folks may never know where they are going, but that is exactly how they get there.

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‘To be or not to be. That’s not really a question’

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Photo by Stefano Pollio

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

To be is rather a false start. We think that success breeds confidence, but it’s actually the little lessons along the way that build up our future.

Struggle makes us human

Similarly, it is our impairments that deem to weaken us that actually but end up making us stronger. As we overcompensate for our flaws, we excel in creating our own unique survival methods that are almost impossible to replicate.

Humans should march slowly, unattached to the cult of action, tolerant to their defects.

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.

The simple technique that boosts your short and long-term memory

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Want to remember more of what you read? Give your brain a 10-15 minute rest. No phones, no distractions, just pure boredom, a quiet room and dimmed lights.

Why do we need to reduce interference?

It takes longer for new information to encode and simply consuming more or squandering time on social media will make it even hard to remember.

When we let the mind wander, the brain works backward and connects the dots, cementing those memories that were previously unlinked.

So stop chasing extra stimulation and let your brain rest in its own presence. Your memory will thank you for it.

Read An effortless way to improve your memory

 

 

Newsletter: ‘We are living in total fragmentation’ ⚡

Below are this week’s interesting links and recent discoveries for your weekend reading.

Links

David Bowie predicted Internet-enabled dystopia in 1999. “We are living in total fragmentation…I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.”

Neanderthals’ Lack of Drawing Ability May Relate to Hunting Techniques. Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists. According to a study done by professor Richard Coss, their inability to draw could’ve been due to the fact that they didn’t have to work as hard for their food. Homo Sapiens, on the other hand, strategically chased game in the open grasslands of Africa. They developed superior hand-eye coordination as a result of drawing out their prey on cave walls.

Facebook is a video game for adults. Tweeted Mike Bird: “Overheard someone say ‘Facebook did to your parents what they worried violent video games would do to you’ earlier this week and haven’t stopped thinking about it.” Facebook is a weapon of mass propaganda, a platform where conspiracy theories thrive. We should be giving our parents the same lecture they gave us on video games but about their manipulative online use.


The best of the rest

Book recommendation

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Photographers on Photography by Nathan LyonsPersonally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”

 

What to watch

One minute art history: a unique flow of artworks stitched together to demonstrate a variety of styles.

Peep this musical vitamin

Baltra “Fade Away”

Thought of the week

“True journey is return.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin


Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Worrying is a waste of time. Greet your anxiety instead.

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gif via Jason Clarke

It is human nature to ponder anxieties that do not exist.

The mind is a fabrication machine, developing worries before they deserve any attention. Wrote Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan“To worry is to become accessible… And once you worry, you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.”

The only way to assuage the nerves is to focus on what’s in front of you, to do the work regardless of the way you feel. Progress happens to the relaxed.


Don’t worry before it’s time

Writes Eric Barker on his life advice blog:

You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in “Mind, Inc.” But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action. So when a worry is nagging at you, step back and ask: “Is this useful?”

As a survival mechanism, anxiety pushes us to take action — the most basic fear is that we need to eat and have a place to sleep for the night. But anxiety is also a thinking problem that needs to be neutralized by greeting it at the door where it appears wearing the same costume as it did before.

Everything is going to be alright, just like it was yesterday.

Newsletter: Instagram’s clash of sameness

Tools shape our thoughts. (pic via the Doug Engelbart Institute)

Each week I surf the net to find interesting links, from videos to books to new music. Here’s the latest collection I think you may like:

Instagram ‘homogenized our creativity’. Not only are we drowning in photos, the conformity of images is ruining the art of photography by simplifying them into cliches. Give everyone a camera and the stage, and they’ll exploit it just like everybody else. The upshot is a mass experience that mostly dulls expression: the same travel pics, coffee cup shots, and innumerable selfies. Scratch it up, discolor the frame; dare to be different.

Tomorrow’s World: Children in 1966 predict what the world will be like in the year 2000. Well-spoken, cynical, and eerily accurate, in 1966 these kids predicted what life would be like in the year 2000. Their predictions include the rise of robots and job loss due to automation, the threat of nuclear war, the backlash against globalization, sea levels rises, etc.

How To Become A Centaur. We are living together with machines in a symbiotic relationship, just as the pencil or the bike augment our minds and bodies. Contrary to the popular opinion that AI will replace mankind, the relationship with robots could be a non-zero-sum game. “AIs are best at choosing answers. Humans are best at choosing questions.”


Book I’m reading

Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer“Scientists describe our brain in terms of its physical details; they say we are nothing but a loom of electrical cells and synaptic spaces. What science forgets is that this isn’t how we experience the world. (We feel like the ghost, not like the machine.) It is ironic but true: the one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know. This is why we need art. By expressing our actual experience, the artist reminds us that our science is incomplete, that no map of matter will ever explain the immateriality of our consciousness.”

Video I’m watching

Bob Marley would’ve been 73 years old today. To celebrate the reggae legend, watch teenage cellist and 2016’s BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason perform a cello version of Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.”

Song I’m digging

Johnny Jewel “Mirror Image”

Thought of the week

“Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

René Magritte


Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Go another click

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via giphy

Ask more questions, not because you want to be right but because you’re naturally curious and want to know more about the spaces inside, not the exterior of opinion. Wrote René Magritte: “Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.

Every thought has one that precedes it. Opinions can be traced back to what you’ve seen, heard, or read in an effort to confirm bias. But loosen the emotional grip of sidedness. Said physicist Richard Feynman, “You must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”


Have strong opinions, weakly held

It is not necessary to be confident in order to act. “Rightness,” wrote author Louis Menand, “will be, in effect, the compliment you give to the outcome of your deliberations.” Your gut instincts remain plastic. Dealing with conflict and uncertainty is what makes us human and non-robotic.

Going deeper provides more questions than answers. Curiosity stimulates the will for discovery. Things tend to only make sense in reverse.

Stuck on autopilot

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Do you ever ask what happened to the day that just past?

We often carry on throughout the day without thinking about our actions.

We tune out of our existence, and we turn into robots, competent without comprehension. Said writer and philosopher Colin Wilson: “The more I allow the robot to take over my life—that is, the more I live passively—the less real I feel.”

On the flip side, one can also be too mystic, excessively absorbed into the occult.


Reality is too sober

There are some things worth being awake for and others being drunk on habit. Even the routine — doing the dishes, going for a walk — can excite the deepest thinking. Meanwhile, overthinking like anxiously driving a car stresses one into accidents. Thinking how to run will trip you up.

If you can learn how to flow forward, the world becomes less sober and gamelike.

Chaos and the cosmos goad unpredictability and order, a pendulum that hangs in the balance only by staying awake while being at peace.

We can only control the whims of the market if we control our own attention, values, and beliefs.

Yet, we let go. We enroll in life, maybe even live a little.

The gateway to light is the eye

A short-term realist, a long-term optimist.

Can one hedge against fear and doubt while simultaneously pushing for a better and brighter future?

Most of us struggle in bear markets, when confidence ebbs into despair. We can only permit pertinacity.

What keeps one going is the light at the end of the tunnel, connecting the slightest ideas to extend the road through all perceived hurdles.

The obstacle is the way, they say.

Necessity is the mother of invention. If we can’t tolerate ambiguity along the way, we’ll most certainly give up.

If the gateway to light is the eye, persistence lies in the guts.

Newsletter: Want to be more creative? Go for a walk.

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Robert Doisneau, ‘Pony des Arts‘ (1953)

Below are this week’s interesting links and recent discoveries for your weekend reading.

Want to be more creative? Go for a walk. The chair-based lifestyle is not only killing us, but it’s also stifling good ideas. If you ever get stuck in a creative rut, science shows that you should go for a stroll to get your endorphins moving. As learning scientist Marily Oppezzo notes in her TED presentation below, walking generates twice the ideas. Even if you walk and then sit, your mind will continue to generate novelty.

TEDxLondonBusinessSchool: A future imperfect: why globalisation went wrong. The myth that no two countries with McDonald’s refuse to fight each other appears to be just that. Realism is back, manifesting itself through the whims of protectionism. So, are we doomed to conflict? Not necessarily. It is in these moments that pessimism and inventiveness coexist.

The emotional journey of creating anything great. The key to achieving anything is not necessarily maintaining that excitement but pushing through all the CRAP (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure) and maintaining a beginner’s mindset.


Book I’m reading

The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu“Malcolm Gladwell summed it up this way: “Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them.”

Video I’m watching

Emotions ebb and flow like the notes and bars in a classical music rollercoaster.

We can visualize the sine wave of any chorus. Music imitates the whimsical nature of life. It gives us an inkling of how the world works.

Thought of the week

“It is somewhat ridiculous to suppose that the invention of a motor car can render horses less necessary to man”

— Saddlery and Harness Magazine, 1895


Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$1.00

Faith can move mountains

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Photo by Kristopher Roller

“There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life,” writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote.

Futuring is a tough business. We toggle between our present number of choices along with desires and goals that reinforce the prioritization of time.

Knowing that we can’t do it all, most people reach for what’s most immediately accessible and end up regretting about what could be. They stifle themselves in exchange for feeling ‘safe.’

For others, death compels action. Their gut instinct refuses to accept standing still and succumb to mediocrity. Yet, their expedition may incorrectly rest in jealousy, a fear of missing out, rather than chasing a purpose.


Faith in the unseen

Our vocation chooses us. We grade our impact by how much we cling to that sense of priority rather than chasing other people’s dreams.

In reality, there is nothing out there that will make us fulfilled forever. But the attempt to cultivate happiness by pursuing what’s meaningful remains a noble attempt to maximize our time on Earth.

AMERICANS — Indians in American life

Seminoles, Braves, Redskins — Indian culture permeates American life from sports teams to table-top advertising.

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Panorama by Wells Baum

Upon entering the exhibit, there’s a sign titled Indians are everywhere in American life that reads:

 “These images are worth a closer look. What if they are not trivial? What if they are instead symbols of great power? What if the stories they tell reveal a buried history — and a country forever fascinated, conflicted, and shaped by its relationship with American Indians?”

Did you know that Native American Ira Hayes was one of the six Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima?

video via Wikimedia Commons

The many variations of Native American flags.

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All photos by Wells Baum

Musical rollercoaster 🎶

Emotions ebb and flow like the notes and bars in a classical music rollercoaster.

We can visualize the sine wave of any chorus. Music imitates the whimsical nature of life. It gives us an inkling of how the world works. Said Alan Watts:

“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.”

Take a look at how it was made:

Stuck in traffic 🚦

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Nowhere to go, a forced patience at the mercy of algorithmic street lights.

No right on red, Big Brother proclaims.

When we’re stuck at the corner, there isn’t more to do than look at the variations of our surroundings.

The city never stops. Why should its people, albeit looking blankly inscrutable?

PS

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

Winston Churchill