I you are like me you are surprised (frightened) by the recent US presidential results. As it happens, I was asked to write an article on the subject for a blog that my friend manages. So, if you want to have a look at my pre- and post-election musings, you can head over here to do so.
According to the date and time stamp on my last post it has been approximately eight months since I’ve shared anything on this platform. The reasons for this are numerous—moving to a new continent, getting set up in a new city, finding out that my wife and I are expecting our first child in October (i.e. ultrasounds, stroller hunting, house “nesting”), etc.— but I suppose one reason for me not having as much time to write many blog pieces stands out among the others. Generally, I have been busy with school. Specifically, I have been busy working on a 20,000-ish word thesis that has consumed the majority of my thought/writing/research energy. And, the remaining portion of that energy has been expelled on other essays I’ve had to complete for seminars and other conference papers I’ve written and presented. So, something had to give in my writing output, and unfortunately, it turned out to be this thought-lab which was the place where it had to give. As it happens, though, I’ve just reached a juncture in which there’s a bit of calm before the next thought/writing/research storm.
Two days ago, I completed and submitted my Master’s Thesis, and as such, I have a bit of time before I begin my Doctorate work in the fall. Numerically speaking, that means: 20,000 words down (my Master’s thesis will eventually become the first chapter for my PhD), and 80,000 words to go (to complete a PhD I’ll be required to write and defend a 100,000 word document). So, to celebrate, I thought I'd provide this little update and say maybe I'll start posting a bit more on here as I find some free time.
Talk soon, friends!
As someone who's so interested in media, you would think I'd be an innovator or early adopter when it comes to purchasing the latest technology. But, believe it or not, I think I'm closer to the late majority or laggard group, which is the layer of society that is typically the last to buy in to the latest technology.
Case in point: a few days ago someone asked me how many digital books I own and read. I told him the honest truth: none. To that person's surprise, I went on to explain that I don't read books on an iPad or Kindle because I don't have either; that if I'm going to read a book I'm going to grab a hardcopy and comb through it with a pencil, underlining key thoughts, and writing little notes in the margins.
I suppose there could be a day when I adopt a digital approach to reading, but honestly, I don't see that day coming any time soon. I guess I'm holding my ground on this practice because a lot of us media and creative types feel pressure to go digital in everything we do, and honestly, it can be beneficial in some ways, but in others, I find it counterproductive. I'm a far more productive reader when I have a book in my hands and can interact with what I'm reading through scribbling on the page in a sort of dialogue with the words I'm encountering.
So if you have an approach to media that seems outdated or laggard-like, don't feel pressure to change. If it works for you, it works for you!
Humans are inclined to admire things. I was reading an interesting article the other day, and it struck me how well it revealed our culture's tendency to admire things; to the extent that people often love things more than they do people. Here are three things that our culture tends to love more than people—and why they kill human connection.
When we change our own images for the sake of mass approval, we trade in the genuine self for a manufactured self. And how can a manufactured self show real affection for and to others?
When we live and work for the weekend, we're left to ourselves and our desire to relax. Everything outside of our leisure time becomes a stepping stone. This means 71% of our lives is considered a distraction, leaving only 29% worth living for!
Technology typically eliminates three forms of human communication: touch, body language, and tone of voice. Not only does this affect our connections with other people, it also actually spills over and influences the way we communicate in person. It teaches us a new language—one that is less than human.
Things should ultimately facilitate human connection, not reduce it.
What do you admire most and how is that affecting your human connections?
I like this photo because it shows a bunch of tools that used to be considered convenient for people. Now, they just look outdated an inconvenient. So when I look at it, I'm reminded of how the things we view as convenient now will soon be viewed as inconvenient later.
Technology? We love it because it makes life and work convenient, but the problem is, convenience is such a subjective idea. What's convenient for one person may not be for another, and neither side would be right or wrong for saying so. They'd just have different perspectives.
I've come to the conclusion, then, that finding convenience is an art, not a science, and that it plays an important role in creative production. That is, if I want to be at my best creatively, I need to find a space, process, and tools that are most convenient for me, which, may differ drastically from what's convenient for others.
For a while I felt like there was some universally secret convenience formula to getting to that place where the distance between powerful ideas and compelling execution as small as possible, until I realized that the only formula I need is the one I already have.
The places I like to go. The books I like to read. The gadgets I like to use. The blogs I like to check up on.
All of these things make creativity convenient for me. For others? I'm sure some of them might be an inconvenience.