reintegrate

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you…

When (not if) you crash and burn due to crippling fear and anxiety, unrealistic expectations, a callous word, resurfaced trauma, or the weight of our sinful, messed-up world, take a day off.

Stop work; stop your side-hustle. Stop vying for attention in whatever social sphere you’re orbiting in an attempt to reach the center.

Recuperate. Restore. Revive.

You may find the world will still be intact when you return, usually in a better state because of your restart.


Anne Lamott, almost everything

clichès

Clichès make up a majority of our speech from day to day. We cast about expressions looking for meaning amidst these recurrent phrases. Take a look at your last essay from high school or college and see how prevalent these “stereotypes” are in our speech and writing.

Even Homer partakes in this convention:

“Joy, warm as the joy that shipwrecked sailors feel / when they catch sight of land… their bodies crusted with salt but buoyed up with joy as they plant their feet on solid ground again, spared a deadly fate.”

Odysseus’ reunion with Penelope, from ‘The Odyssey’

Notice the amount of imagery that does well to paint visuals in the listener’s mind. “Warm as joy”, “catch sight of”, “on solid ground”, “shipwrecked sailors”.

Poets and orators coined so many phrases we still use today because our brain needs shortcuts to make speech easier. *I can write, “read between the lines to see the truth that only time will tell how every cloud has a silver lining“, without much imagination or effort because of how familiar with these cliches we have become

(*While this isn’t the most powerful sentence written, it shows how easy it is to write using clichès- I count 3 words of originality).

Let’s look at origins. The phrase “full circle” was created by the progenitor of 1700 words in the English language, William Shakespeare. The reason Shakespeare coined a phrase like this could have been rooted in its “insidious memorability.” Plays and poems of the day were recited orally, and without notes. Having to memorize copious amounts of lines for scenes leads to the necessary evil of creating highly memorable “catch phrases” (or clichès) to insert into a script.

This is not a bad thing- to the contrary, it frees our mind up for problem solving or other kinds of creative thinking- but it is something we need to recognize. Language exists to create relationship.

As we drift farther out from our roots in classical education, into a world of digital connection and untempered social skills, we need to be conscious of how our words deepen or shallow relationships. We can reclaim language and begin to plant a trellis of intentionality.

Speaking words in a vacuum does nothing; you must garden with your words. You must live in the flower bed if you want to grow something there.

Redeeming How We Talk, AJ Swoboda and Ken Wytsma

timely article // the Chicago Tribune on COVID-19 philology

previous read // but, so, i mean, as far as

stripped

“How do you take something really simple, and make it better not by adding more, but by stripping it down?”

This philosophy stands behind so many innovative, minimalist technologies* that are hitting the scene in a “big tech”-dominated world. People are realizing they have more options than the default, and they are willing to choose wholeness and intentionality in spite of these options being harder to assimilate.

These products exist, and they don’t carry the burden of the forbidden fruit in their design. Originals writer, Adam Grant, writes about why employees who use Firefox or Chrome on their work PCs are “more committed and better performers” in the companies in which they reside. These workers are “originals” because they reject the default tech (Internet Explorer) in favor of taking “a bit of initiative to seek out an option that might be better.”

How can we intentionally choose the products that we bring into our lives, instead of having them chosen for us?

And how can we educate those with less influence to see the injustice they are forced into? Executives from Silicon Valley have, for a long time, refused to give their children smartphone access as they know the effects their own products have. In the European Journal of Social Psychology, John T. Jost writes about the perception of merit-based economic systems saying, “the people who suffer the most from a given state of affairs are paradoxically the least likely to question, challenge, reject, or change it.”

Those in places of affluence who are able to see the dangers of technology are the ones who are in the place today to shape the future of those who cannot shape it for themselves.

It’s our job to become more intentional about this way of life that has creeped into culture so pervasively over the past two decades. Take steps towards choosing…

***And discover these creators for your own education!


*tech // Remarkable 2 and insider Blog

tech // thelightphoneII

tech // Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch

paper // Social inequality and the reduction of ideological dissonance

mover and shaker // Center for Humane Technology


previous read // lpII review

previous read // stg 3

read // not the end

not the end

As I’ve become aware of this space, I have followed, supported, and been enthralled by the Center for Humane Technology pioneering the discipline of ethical technology. Naturally, I was pumped about a docu-film on our Social (media) Dilemma directed and informed by CHT contributors, and produced by Netflix. I find the result problematic.

The Social Dilemma attacks our cultural and technological failures from within, pulling ammunition from former creators and exec’s in Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…

Tristan Harris, whom I cannot praise enough for his work reforming Silicon Valley and educating Capitol Hill, leads the charge in calling out what companies do with our personal data, attention, money, and time. We need the CHT approaching the trespasses tech companies make in our lives, but The Social Dilemma goes a step farther.

I’ve described its tone as “doom and gloom”, and “apocalyptic” also seems fitting.

I trust everything reported to be real, dangerous and in need of checks and balances, but the way this information is presented, I predict, generates one of two unhealthy outcomes: First, people shutdown. Attacking something that has been institutionalized as much as social media breeds friction. Natural defense mechanisms arise within us when actions we have contributed to directly are villainized. Look at the current polarization of racial injustice conversations.

Second, it runs the risk of becoming merely a hashtag to hound an institution that bandwagoners have been looking for reason to take shots at for years. I’m not saying hipsters are bad for veritable movement’s momentum, but the phasal and ‘fizzle out’ nature of their support wanes when needing wax.

Maybe this is the only way to approach this subject in our time, and in that, The Social Dilemma gets it right.

Ultimately, I believe the CHT plans to release a second campaign focusing on holistic and redemptive technology, and how we can use tech to grow closer to each other and more aware. I also believe a coalition of so many of these ethically-centric technology companies needs to be created to bring resources to a unified location. With these two things, I can understand and still support the grim scenario The Social Dilemma portrays, and we can all remember that this is not the end of technology’s progress in our world.


read // stripped

the part we create from…

Where does creativity lie?

Historically, creatives have been heralded 1%’ers who terraform our world into something new. Their skills in accessing innovation and out-of-the-box thinking are reportedly unparalleled. Gifted as “outliers”, they display the capacity for reaching deeper within themselves to dredge up a masterpiece of originality.

We all know and have heard that this skill is not exclusive. We can all be creatives. From the Zanders in their passionately crafted work, The Art of Possibility:

Suppose for a moment that vital, expressive energy flows everywhere, that is the medium for the existence of life, and that any block to participating in that vitality lies within ourselves.

But there’s too much congestion from our jobs, our life, our stress and trauma. We imagine this mars us from ever leading the truly creative life. We see the scars and know we can never be whole, this side of Eden.

But scars are external. They are not the thing we are loved for, not the thing we draw purpose from, not the thing we create from. As Pressfield writes, “The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did (or we did!!). That part is unsullied, uncorrupted.” Creativity lies here, beyond our failure and doubt, in a place only the God of the universe knows fully.

So, we can learn this. We can sit in our mess till we find who we really are, deep down. That’s where creativity lays its head every night, awaiting our awakening.


previous read // true voice