Have you noticed this to be true?
It certainly isn’t a place designed for thinking of problem solving. I think it allows for a space free of distractions (an email ping, a Facebook pop, new text alert, new Twitter notification) and expectations that gives rise to a flow state where people cover up with ideas.
Open plan offices or cubicles are the complete opposite of this. Constant distractions in the form of email, work phone, IM, people asking ‘quick queations’ and on and on.
Why then are you surprised when everyone is anxious, twitchy and full of bad ideas?
You probably fall into one of these categories.
Do you think concrete, plastic, paint, sleeping pills, iPhones, Airoplanes, gyms are natural?
What about yoga, organic rice, banana granola and cotton t-shirts?
This obviously depends on your definition of natural. That’s the point. The next time you say you don’t like lifting weights, eating a vegetarian diet, exercising, reading etc, be honest with yourself what you really mean. Because everything is natural, or nothing is natural and it’s not really a valid explanation either way.
You’re at the supermarket. You’re on your way to checkout when you run into a crowded isle. What now?
Do you leave your groceries there and go home? or do you back-track and walk a couple isles over and then go to checkout?
Why then, when faced with a setback or difficult situation in life do you want to quit, make excuses, blame your circumstances, blame other people?
Obstacles will come. You will get delayed, stopped, fucked with, injured, heartbroken, depressed and sabotaged but giving up and going home achieves nothing. Expect them and walk a few isles over.
Predictions about the future are rarely accurate but fun to make. Here’s one.
I predict that virtual reality will become a mainstay in society. I believe it will be an unaddressed form of addiction just like phones are today because of how prevalent they are. This will impact how our society communicates, views relationships, lifestyles and more. People might not travel as much and take virtual vacations instead because they are cheaper. There will be acute cases of depression and addiction (already a reality in lots of Asian countries) related to virtual worlds. Here I’m only describing part of the world as the other half will be living in a polar opposite dystopia, dealing with problems that come with polluted water, soil and air or with occupation from other countries for resources. The pollution and climate change have made famins, floods, extreme hot and cold temperatures commonplace. Real food is hard to come by and survival mainly depends on cheap calories in plastic bags made by corporations.
I really hope I’m wrong though.
We created language as a way to communicate abstract ideas.
“Look! a Lion!” doesn’t need complex language “This is how you make an arrow” expresses an essential and complex idea that primates would find difficult to communicate without complex language.
Cut to present day, you’re lost in abstractions. You worship flags while inflicting the worst pollution on the land the flag represents. You spend most of your time making money (a unique abstract concept) while running your health (a tangible, ‘real’ thing) into the ground.
Latitudes and longitudes are an extremely useful idea but you will get lost if you go looking for it.
Language is merely a model of the world, it is not the world. It can sufficiently explain why something is to satisfy your question but the explanation is never a complete, all encompassing explanation. An emotion that is not represented by a word still exists.
Water acts magically near freezing temperatures but it’s just “the anomalous behaviour of water”, people feel physiological effects by eating sugar pills but it’s just “the placebo effect”, When you dogmatically accept the stories though, you’ve become a fundamentalist who is bent on taking the magic out of this world by explaining it away with symbols, trading a story in exchange for experience and wonder. The first step is realising you can’t eat words, that ideas while useful aren’t the end all, that there are other models to live your life by.
Every time you check your phone for new, you’re training your brain to get distracted, you’re forming new neural pathways that reinforce the distracting behavior.
This practically rewires your brain to form ingrained habits that lead to an endless cycle of dopamine > check texts, whatsapp, Facebook, email > start again.
Stop letting yourself be the victim of an endless chase for dopamine hits come in the way of your best work.
Some quick reading:
Why we’re all addicted
Why can’t we read anymore?
The unsexy truth about dopamine
Why is it that no special moment is complete without taking a photograph? And why are you more excited about the photo than you are about living in that moment? The photo might vaguely resemble you (depending on your hair day, time of day, weather, the camera and so much more).
Don’t get so lost in the abstractions that you forget to live what you’re abstracting about. Be here and now.
Magic and wonder in your art comes after endless hours of being lost & being clueless in the trenches of the experience. Don’t let the lack of magic be the reason you quit. The act of creation is rarely magical. That comes later.
If you share something you’ve made with the world, they will never see that feature you stayed up late working on. They won’t even notice the little flourishes you added towards the end, even less the time, money or sacrifice it took for you to make it.
If this disappoints you, stop. It was never for them. It should never be for them. Because if it is, you’ve just given them the power to tell you that you’re bad, and you should feel bad. And the next time you think of colouring outside the lines, you better reign it in, because someone out there might not like it.
Make to please and amuse yourself first, the others don’t matter as much.