When there is communication without need for communication, merely so that someone may earn the social and intellectual prestige of becoming a priest of communication, the quality and communicative value of the message drop like a plummet.
~ Maria Papova
I find “creative culture” an alluring idea. What have a I wrought with my own two hands. I find most competition pointless. I find observing others compete unequivically pointless. But creating—or even just watching others create, or observing the fruits of their labor—provides me endless pleasure and opportunity for growth.
Deep in the vast, mostly forgotten (yet immediately accessible) archives of the blogosphere lie billions of touching, hilarious and brilliant thoughts that humankind has been stockpiling for years. Here are nine that moved me, with excerpts. Bookmark this if you don’t have a lot of time right now.
~ David Cain
This is not like the think-pieces I’m normally drawn to share. This is literally a list of nine, individual blog posts (from among the billions) which are worthy of being called great writing. These are among the best things humans have ever written.
This type of view of the world — and like I said, I think it’s the prevailing view — stems from an ideal that many people have in their heads of what the world should be like. They might not realize they have that ideal, but it’s there. And the world will never reach this Platonic ideal, because it’s just this image of perfection that does not match reality. Reality and this ideal are incompatible.
~ Leo Babauta
This ties in with yesterday’s comments about the Beatles’ Let It Be. There’s certainly a peculier passion associated with youth. But there’s a much nicer circumspection of age. When things are going badly, relax for they will not last. Whent things are going well, relax for they will not last. The error is in not relaxing, not in the circumstances being observed.
While “let it be” is profoundly wise in its own right, the passage above contains an idea even more powerful: we all suffer, and that brings us closer. No matter what differences people have, the one guaranteed common thread among us all is that we know what it means to lose and to grieve.
~ David Cain
Over the years, as my hearing has faded, I’ve still always had music. I think–but am not certain–that I appreciate music all the more now that I understand how poor my hearing really is. Sometimes I simply stop and take time to sit and listen. It’s not-at-all amazing that music is closely connected to emotion. It’s not-at-all amazing that emotion is a common ground we all share.
Because endless growth and data collection is the foundation of their business, and that necessitates doing gross invasive things to their users. They need you to feed the beast, and they certainly don’t want you to think about it. So they use cartoon animals and sneaky happy paths to make sure you stay blissfully ignorant.
~ Jonas Downey
What’s the solution? I vote with my feet, attention, and dollars. I think about where does that food come from? What are the principles of the people who run that company? Do I need this thing I’m considering buying? What signals am I sending into the marketplace (economic and ideologic) with my choices?
Unlike money, everyone is ultimately on a level playing field when it comes to time. We all get the same allowance of twenty-four hours a day. Just as there are ineffective ways of investing your money, there are ineffective ways of investing your time.
If we all have the same amount of this essential resource, why do some people achieve so much, and others so little? Where we start from — in terms of economic class, skills and education — certainly has something to do with it, but there are just as many riches-to-rags stories as there are rags-to-riches stories, so obviously there is another factor at play here.
~ David Cain
I found the realization that it’s really my attention that is my limiiting resource to be both liberating and scary. Liberating because it means that all I need to do is focus my attention and long-term success is within my grasp. Applying my attention, even in short stretches, inevitably leads to progress on my favorite projects. And scary because every time I’m tired, run-down, don’t want to do something– every time, food or the Movie-monster call my name, entertainment or distraction– there are so many opportunities for me to turn my attention away from the things I find valuable.
Which type of Muppet are you? You’d think your answer would depend a lot on your innate personality. But it turns out that the tightness or looseness of your environment plays a big part in whether you’re more Gonzo or Kermit.
If you don’t know who the Muppets are—or, were, oh gawd, old, OLD I tell you…—I cannot help you.
I’ve always wished I was Animal, but I think I’m really just Bert.
In fact, I’ve let years of my life go by this way. I could be working on something I truly love, and then I’d hit a snag. I’d get frustrated, then avoid it for the rest of the day. I just wouldn’t want to be frustrated anymore, so I wouldn’t touch it. There’s always later. Perhaps if a better mood came along I’d be willing to tackle it.
I’m not sure I agree with how easy it sounds the way he puts it. But he’s dead on with the point.
Here’s another spin on it, the late, great, Jack Vance as Curly.
In theory, we can let go of every single possession. Sure, for practical purposes, we’ll need at least one outfit and shelter and a way to eat and use the bathroom. And even more practically, we’ll need a house and things to wear for a job and so on. But letting go of a possession that you don’t absolutely need for practical purposes is theoretically possible. So what stops us?
This skill—and it is totally a skill that I had to practice and practice and practice—is one I USED to struggle with. Years ago, it was definitely fear that was holding me back from letting go of possessions.
Today is it 100% the guilt that I do not want to incur by throwing things into a land-fill. I have a cubic yard of books… not worth a dime, and I’ve already spent a ton shipping hundred of books all over the world racking up points in bookmooch.com—you want these books? I have TWO Davis Mark 15 marine sextants, …want one? I have a great chain saw that’s probably worth a couple hundred if I had a few hours to waste [I do not] dealing with idiots on Craig’s List. …want an old Jeep that’s fun to play with off road? …how about a perfectly working ink-jet printer? …a swage-fitting tool? …how about a one-hundred-year-old, fully restored billiard table?
I’m serious. Hit reply, or join the mailing list and hit reply tomorrow…
The assumed paradigm is that a mattress is essential to good sleep just like a chair is essential to sitting. But why did mattresses become mainstream? When did the buffalo robe and pile of leaves go out of fashion? Could a good night’s sleep be had if, for instance, we slept on a sandy beach or the equivalent? Why did ‘they’ start saying a firm bed is best, and still provide a two to three foot thick ‘system’ of mattresses just to get you to that ‘firm bed’ effect?
~ Patrick Clark
I wish I’d found this 12 years ago. It took me forever to figure out a lot about sleep. I’m still working on the shoulder range-of-motion required to side-sleep without a pillow. (I still wake up feeling like I’ve dislocated my sternoclavicular joint.)
…anyway, yes, harder and flatter is unquestionably, always better for me. If I’m having trouble sleeping, I sometime get up, and get out my favorite, 1-inch-thick, inflatable air-mattress on the floor—so so comfortable . . . with my fave silk-cotton-blend sleep sack . . . and my fave little pillow . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz every time.