Sometimes I sit in a chair on the patio in the afternoon sun. If I'm just the right combination of tired, relaxed, and comfortable, and if the wind, sun, temperature, and soundscape are just so, I can drift into a trance. Time passes. After which, I have no clear sense of whether it was a moment, or ten minutes. It doesn't seem that time had stopped, rather it feels like time had ceased to affect me. Did I breath? Did I move? Did I even think in that time?
It’s not only that our experiences of space are different. Our experiences of time are likely different, too. We think about the passage of time through our terrestrial experience of unidirectional motion through space – our metaphors of time are almost all grounded in the way our bodies move forward through the environment. Given this fact, how would an octopus, who can easily see and move in all directions, conceptualise time?
~ David Borkenhagen from, https://aeon.co/essays/can-the-liquid-motion-of-the-octopus-radicalise-our-ideas-about-time
Sometimes I find things on the Internet and there's a clear takeaway for me, or a clear new-to-me idea or connection. This isn't one of those times. Instead, I dipped into this article one day, came out the other end aware that it had to be included in a post.
And, perhaps I just fell asleep?
What is the opposite of play? …the opposite of playing an infinite game? I can't think of a better candidate than the desire for control. My desire for control—when it rears its ugly head—stems from insecurity. (But let's leave my insecurity for another day.) When I grasp for control I start trying to prepare for every contingency. When I grasp for control I start trying to control the contexts around everything I'm doing, everything I'm experiencing, and how others see me. And when I don't grasp for control, I'm able to play.
The site you’re reading, Raptitude, is essentially an attempt to convey certain kinds of embodied knowing, having to do with the subtleties of being human, rather than driving a car or doing long division. I’m trying to get people to have some of the same perspective shifts I’ve had.
~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2023/04/knowing-is-doing-not-remembering/
Experiencing that embodied knowing is what I enjoy about conversation. It's not vacuous, and it's not an attempt by me to control. It's play, and it's learning.
My journey of growth has been ascending levels of perspective shifts. Some of us don't get to go on that journey because of external and evil forces or because of the random, initial conditions they drew at the beginning of their lives. While I don't understand what my self even is, I do understand that hiding—ignoring reality—is not going to move me further along on my journey of self-discovery.
"Daytime" is us closing our eyes and pretending it makes infinity go away.
~ Randall Munroe from, https://xkcd.com/2849/
Munroe has gone on quite a journey. I think everyone far enough along on their needs-satisfaction curve (anyone who's ever watched entertainment or played a video game is far enough along) would be moved, inspired, made to laugh and cry, by reading all of Munroe's cartoons.
This cartoon is number 2,849. He publishes a cartoon Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So, he's published cartoons for about 950 weeks. About 18 years.
In the last 20 years I've made three false–starts at sketching. They parallel my personal growth. The first false–start involved me buying books and materials, and spending a lot of time setting things up to create what I thought was the perfect environment. No sketching happened. The second false–start involved my removing what I thought was a barrier; I switched to journaling in pencil (a multi-year side quest I eventually returned from loving ink more deeply) because I thought having the sketching tools before me more often would lead to sketching. The third false-start now happens once every few weeks: I find myself paused, looking at something, really seeing, and I notice an urge to sketch.
I came late to his work: I remember seeing him on TV when I was a kid, but I only really started reading him post-cancer, around 2010 or so, when he was in the middle of his great blogging explosion caused by losing his voice due to his health complications.
~ Austin Kleon from, https://austinkleon.com/2023/04/04/10-years-without-roger-ebert/
The connection is that Roger Ebert did a lot of sketching in addition to a lot of writing.
This time of year, every year, I'm thinking about seasons of life at large, and cycles in our work. I find that it's fulfilling when I finish some large thing— when the last piece of a large project clicks into place like the final jigsaw piece. What doesn't work is when I imagine that feeling of fulfillment too soon. I do try to imagine what done looks like before I begin small things—few-hours sized things, days sized things. But for large things, it's often better if I think of a few possible ways it could eventually be "done" and then simply get to work. It's best if I remember there's no tidy "Fin!" like at the end of a movie; There's only the doing.