Tag: story

Life & Philosophy Poetry Tech

Flashes of intuition

A photo of person flashing a light in the dark

When we drop a coin in the dark, our first instinct is to look for the nearest lite brite (be it a streetlight or our phone) to find it. But the initial frustration of blindness provides enough luminosity.

We are victims of ignoring the obvious — the coin is often just below our feet. It is not lost. Sometimes, we're even standing right on top of it.

Some things are not meant to be clear; obscurity is their clarity. We should not underestimate obscurity. Obscurity is as rich as luminosity.

Etel Adnan

It's amazing the things we discover when just use our intuition pumps. Our predictive senses are immune to the best technologies.

On the grid, off the grid, curious what hides in the night. Yet we can imagine radiance all along. All we had to do was use our senses to look around first.

Psychology Science

Alien Hand Syndrome

giphy
via NPR

What if you woke up one day and had a brand new second hand that moved on its own?

This is what happened to Karen after she had brain surgery to help cure her epilepsy. After her operation, her left hand immediately took on a life of its own. For starters, it immediately began to unbutton her shirt on the hospital bed while the surgeon pleaded her to stop.

After she went home the hand started to do other things like slapping her, which reminded me of the self-beating Jim Carrey famously gives himself in the movie Liar Liar.

What caused her alien hand syndrome?

Apparently, the surgery had to split her brain and removed her Corpus callosum, which ties the left and right brain hemisphere together. Basically, the operation caused the opposing sides of her brain to switch roles.

Fortunately, Karen has come to appreciate the moral authority her left hand tries to impose on her decision-making. Any time she tries to smoke, for example, her left hand puts the cigarette out and even flicks the ashes around.

Karen’s come to appreciate the magic discipline of her hand. However, she still gets in a smoke or two. “I understand you want me to quit,” she tells her hand, “but cut the crap!”

Books Life & Philosophy

Alan Watts: The Story of the Chinese Farmer

Glowing image GIF of the philosopher Alan Watts

Some of Alan Watts most influential lessons and ideas emerged from lectures he gave at universities across the United States, including his story of the Chinese farmer.

The story, recorded and transcribed below, is also part of a collection of lectures entitled Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life: Collected Talks: 1960-1969

“You never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.”

Alan Watts

The Story of the Chinese Farmer

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.” 

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”

The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.

Alan Watts

‘Maybe' we pick up clues as we go along, labeling situations as either misfortune or good fortune. But the yin can't exist without the yang, the shadow depends on light and vice versa.

The nature of experience proposes a game of chance. The future is too unpredictable to force an outcome. We never know the consequences of any event other than the one we can emotionally control.

Creativity Culture Poetry

Leaving on a jet plane

Standing there, gazing into space. He holds a can of crisps in hand, a kid's proclivity for snacking.

Photo by Wells Baum

Early morning light seeps through the airport, bouncing through Pringles to make an unidentifiable crater tinged with green.

Now camouflaged, at an age too young to care. Hiding is an art, driven to the impulse of waiting.

Photo by Wells Baum

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Photography photoJournal Writing

Distracted by organized chaos

Photo by Wells Baum

I'm a sucker for seeing extraordinary in the ordinary. Last Friday on my walk home from work I stumbled upon a set of loose white paper sheets scattered on the sidewalk. Except it didn't exactly appear haphazard. The paper zigzagged in a pattern.

After taking the photo, I felt compelled to pick it up. It was some type of packing material or art supplies. About twenty steps away was a shiny shopping bag, which was perfect for storing all the unfettered scraps. It made cleaning up so much easier, perhaps a reward for taking the initiative to clean up someone else's trash.

What first appeared to be scrap in disarray was actually organized chaos. The disorder was magnetic, beautiful in its ugliness. Most importantly, it felt damn good to get it off the green patches of planet Earth.

Uncategorized

Miami Vice

That Miami is an interesting place. I can’t say I could live there but the beaches are beautiful and the water is warm like a sauna. We just jumped right in.

Wynewood

The first day I walked from our hotel downtown to the Wynewood district. Like most of downtown, the streets were deserted which made every sound a little bit creepier. I almost turned around fearing for my life. But I kept going captivated by the street art on the way.

I recommend hitting up the Wynewood Walls when you get there, a neat and publicly protected graffiti museum with artists from around the world.

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There’s also an excellent coffee shop on the strip called Panther Coffee. I didn’t have enough money to buy a cup but the place had a variety of gourmet flavors and the vibe looked straight out of a trendy coffee shop in Venice, CA. The $6 I did have I used for a cab ride back to the hotel. There was no way I was walking back, especially when the cop I bumped into advised against it.

South Beach

We went to South Beach two days in a row. The first day I ran the beach and got my feet wet with the area, literally and figurately. I asked a hotel concierge where the Art Deco district was and she actually directed me back to downtown when it was only a few blocks down the road. Not sure what she was smoking.

Ocean Boulevard or 7th street is the start of the Art Deco district. Along the way you’ll see a bunch of neat hotels and restaurants, even Gianni Versace’s old home. If you walk beyond Ocean Boulevard and into Collins Avenue you’ll see a wider strip with more hotels and restaurants.

I walked all the way to the Delano hotel to have a peek. The inside is modern, the work of architect/designer Ian Schrager. Lenny Kravitz’s piano is one of the pieces of furniture. Again, it could easily be mistaken for any of the hip hotels in Los Angeles.

Conclusion

The Starbucks barista told me that living in Miami is rather boring. She did grow up there. But after a few days in Miami I can see her point. There's no sign of a middle class; you're either rich or poor. The rich even have their own islands. The people are a bit reckless too, at least in their driving.

I’d go back to Miami again but for a short trip and primarily for the sun and beach. In the meantime, I’m glad to live in New York.

For more Miami pics, check out the VSCO Grid.