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Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Tech

Brian Eno: ‘Try not to get a job’

What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income?

For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.

“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

Brian Eno

Of course, not everyone can afford to remain jobless; the harsh reality is that work pays the bills and keeps us alive. But as more jobs get outsourced to robots and artificial intelligence, humans will need to renew their purpose. 

What will we do when there’s no work to be done?

Work defines who we are. It forms the nucleus of our identity. However, a jobless world may encourage more innovative thinking about ourselves and our role in a secular, globalized world. 

A jobless world may compel people to pursue more passionate work and adopt the vocations that choose them instead of the other way around.

In such a world, we’ll be makers instead of cogs, tinkerers instead of algorithmic lemmings. The future writes itself if we dig deep enough to see it out. 

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

The old world required that we struggle to live. When we work on something we enjoy, we smash through and settle in on what it means to live. 

As David Byrne of the Eno-produced, Talking Heads sang in 1978, “If what you do ain’t what you love, then something isn’t right.”

Categories
Books Life & Philosophy

It’s a hard-knock life

The easy life exists but it fails to register.

Anyone who’s name is worth remembering endured some type of struggle.

The imperfect life contains lingering questions and punctuating doubts. But the vulnerable also acts — whether out of curiosity or bravery.

“I never lose. I either win or learn.”

Nelson Mandela

Knowledge is a byproduct of failed activity.

It’s the hard-knock life, after all.

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Arts Life & Philosophy

Why not play all the notes at once?

Sometimes we need to play all of our notes to land the one that is essential.

Specializing as a generalist, we should devour taste-testing and taste-making without fear of rejection, and feel free to spit out everything imaginable.

It is within this state, as sloppy as it may appear — with all the rough drafts tossed around — that clarity arises from the chaos.

“It’s as though people expect you to blow one note all the time, and I guess a lot of people can only blow one note. But there are people who can blow two or three notes, and I guess I’m one of them.”

Frank Gehry

We can out-do anything and raze it to its essence.

Only a person with blinders toots the same note again and again.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The plasticity of consciousness

Knowledge helps one toggle the symbiosis of order and disorder.

Free to fool around, the mind treads confidently in its concrete plan. But the soul refuses to pay the price for rigidity — the head and the heart remain adaptable.

Never too invested to quit, pledged to keep pushing in one direction, we proceed with a tranquil approach to progress.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Do different to get different

The experimental spirit may or may not lead us down the right path.

Even if we bend to our hunches, things may turn out in error.

But we have to do different to get different.

By probing the weakness of human insecurity, we get a little closer to an ideal goal. The rhythm of life lies behind the curtain.

In chasing uncertainty, things become more certain. The experimenter feeds the soul with possibility.

As we find links through the signals we give out, our visual sweet-spot emerges.

This is it.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The two essential phases in the creative process

There are two essential phases in the creative process.

The spontaneous phase is where ideas sprout, unintentionally and seemingly out of nowhere. Everything interesting goes in the hopper, including the slightest observation, things seen, imagined, overheard, or misheard.

Whether it’s a notebook or your phone when you’re gathering string, the medium is less important than recording.

“I’m not writing it down to remember it later,
I’m writing it down to remember it now.”

Field Notes

The best notebook is the one you have with you. But seeing the world starts with being open to the repetition of arbitrary stimulus and its messy upshot: discovery.

The revision phase is where ideas get pieced together like a puzzle.

You go through all your notes, images, sketches, etc. for the purposes of synthesizing concepts and tossing away others.

When you start to piece together artifacts, revelations seems to arise out of epiphany. But there is no such thing as immediate discovery — such is the aggregation of everything we learned along the way.

The two-fold creative process never changes so it’ll always be there to fall back on if and when you feel stuck. First, we collect, and then we deduce.

The more you practice the creative process the better you get at connecting ideas and turning them into reality.

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Arts Productivity & Work Psychology Writing

There is a time for everything

giphy (48)
gif by John Corsi

The time you spend away from your task still qualifies as work. That includes doing the dishes, running errands, and taking care of the kids—whatever responsibilities you think to impede your central occupation contribute to its success.

British novelist Jon McGregor gives a good example of how he manages his writing despite making time for everything from Tweeting to taking care of his children.

“I rarely manage a whole unbroken day at the desk. And it can be frustrating, sometimes. Once or twice a year I manage to get away somewhere and live like a hermit for a week, eating and sleeping next to a desk and talking to no one and getting a lot of work done. Imagine if I could work like that all the time, I think, then. Think how productive I’d be! But if my life was always like that, I suspect I’d have very little to write about.”

Locking yourself away in isolation is a forlorn attempt to escape all that matters. Patterns can backfire, especially when it comes to creativity which thrives on observation and sudden randomness.

There is a time for everything

While productivity can be messy, time away from work is not squandered time. Instead, it is spent accumulating experiences and visualizing how the ideas you’re chewing on will all come to focus when you sit down in and commit to the day ahead.

The discipline of work is just as necessary as the chaotic daily tasks of life. In fact, the best things in life often disrupt it, forcing you to rethink priorities and see how it all connects.

Contrary to popular opinion, busyness is not a badge of honor. Life seeds all the ideas.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The pursuit of clearer signals

gif by Romain Laurent

Why not head toward our ideal self?

At the end of the day, how close we get to who we want to become is the prism with which we’ll grade our lives.

Yet, the schism persists. What we believe is often at loggerheads with what we do.

Chasing our ideals is tough business.

As we travel down the road that life makes, it’s important to ensure that we establish conscious and intelligent manipulation to guide our life.

It’s the disobedience to an ideal mindset that generates all the frustration.

The cleaner the signal, the greater the sense of aliveness and control.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The young/old dynamic

gif by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski

Younger people are generally more obsessed and driven. Older folks are generally more accepting of the status quo, albeit through jadedness rather than experience.

The juniors depend on the adults to help guide them through operational jungles. The seniors lean on younger folks to remain naive and use their lofty dreams to gather raw material. There’s no need to medicate the starlets out of their creative urges–they will figure out the harsh realities of survival later when they have to earn a paycheck.

The young and the old, the old and the young. The symbiotic relationship between generations breathes new elements of innovation, wisdom, and cynicism into the palette of life.

It is best to keep the dynamism moving, all believing, betting, and guessing what comes next.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Writing

Relaxed while working

The synchronicities tend to happen in our most relaxed moments, not when we’re stressing out about work or life.

Bothersome thoughts place a block on our ability to connect disparate ideas.

Unmoored from the monkey mind, we grant the synapses a passport to freedom.

In a state of flow, nothing is wanting. The pen can hardly keep up with the bicycle of impressions peddling through our heads.

Awake on our passions, always working to a place where we catch onto to things.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Social Media

The only reassurance you need

We treat fame and social media status like currency. We presuppose that anonymity or a lack of engagement trivializes what we do.

Even worse, we let TV and Instagram determine our self-worth.

But what and who matters is rarely popular. No one wants to pull back the curtain and see the sweat and tears of a Van Gogh, who toiled in obscurity his entire living life. He never knew publicity.

Even if you’ve achieved some level of recognition, what you consider your best work will almost always contrast with the public perception.

At the end of the day, humans want to feel necessary. They want to commit themselves to a worthy discipline, whether’s it’s expressed through art or driving an Uber to support the art or vice versa.

It’s a canard to think that fame predetermines whether you matter or not. The most important things in your life are provided by the most anonymous people.

Fame is fake stimuli. If you feel like your work matters, that’s the only placebo you need.