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#AFK: Last Week’s Edition

While #AFK Last Week:

  • Where I’m at: Athens, Greece (left Malaga on Saturday)
  • What’s next: Venice for the Biennale
  • What I’ve been doing:
    • Picasso-ing – Finally made it to the Picasso Museum (he was born here in Malaga), which I enjoyed after escaping all of the world’s school children (god, so many, so loud…yes, I am a curmudgeon). His art isn’t my favorite, but I was inspired by two things:
      • Nonconformist streak – He could have made beautiful, classical paintings, but instead, he decided to do original work that would be for sure be criticized. Once again, how would you live if you weren’t performing for anyone?
      • Constant Reinvention –  He went through so many phases – from the blue period to cubism to sculpture. I love that he was still trying new things up until his death
    • Instagram Fastin’ – I’ve uninstalled insta from my phone. Taking a little sabbatical, but I’m sure I’ll be back sooner than my FB sabbatical for three years
    • Booked Cape Town – In honor of my favorite karaoke song (you know, the one that goes, “god blessed the rains down in Africa..”), I’m headed to South Africa for 6 weeks this fall w/ Hackers Paradise
  • Things I’ve been reading / watching / listening to:
    • Shangri-La by the Kinks – Have been listening on repeat. Lyrics sing to a minimalist’s heart 🙂
    • The Relationship Episode (with Esther Perel)
    • Words are my Matter by Ursula Le Guin (h/t Brain Pickings) – Her first essay is (a very eloquent) rant on how America commoditizes creativity and only cares if there’s a $ sign attached. And, therefore, she’s decided to “take back” her imagination – the one thing the capitalists can’t take from her – and to use it solely because it makes life worth living. Reminds me a bit of Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese – “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

In America the imagination is generally looked on as something that might be useful when the TV is out of order. Poetry and plays have no relation to practical politics. Novels are for students, housewives, and other people who don’t work. Fantasy is for children and primitive peoples. Literacy is so you can read the operating instructions. I think the imagination is the single most useful tool mankind possesses. It beats the opposable thumb. I can imagine living without my thumbs, but not without my imagination.

I hear voices agreeing with me. “Yes, yes!” they cry. “The creative imagination is a tremendous plus in business! We value creativity, we reward it!” In the marketplace, the word creativity has come to mean the generation of ideas applicable to practical strategies to make larger profits. This reduction has gone on so long that the word creative can hardly be degraded further. I don’t use it any more, yielding it to capitalists and academics to abuse as they like. But they can’t have imagination.

Imagination is not a means of making money. It has no place in the vocabulary of profit-making. It is not a weapon, though all weapons originate from it, and their use, or non-use, depends on it, as with all tools and their uses. The imagination is an essential tool of the mind, a fundamental way of thinking, an indispensable means of becoming and remaining human.

  • Quotes I’ve been underlining:
    • “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius
    • “No’ might make them angry but it will make you free. – if no one has ever told you, your freedom is more important than their anger.” ― Nayyirah Waheed, Salt
  • Thoughts I’ve been thinking:
    • Why has there been a lack of innovation in both love + education over the last 300 years? Marriage is still the ultimate “end goal” despite a 40-50% failure rate. Our public education system was designed to “create docile subjects and factory workers”, but we work in offices now. It feels like we are living in a broken paradigm (h/t: Debbie)
    • How do you make sure your life is more than just a series of inputs / outputs (e.g., make some money, then spend some money on either things or experiences?)
    • Nomad life, in some ways, reminds me of the buddhist teaching around attachment and grasping. A meditation teacher once told me it’s like seeing a beautiful flower – if you grasp it, it dies; if you don’t stop and smell, it goes unappreciated; instead, it’s best to appreciate in the moment and then move on. If it can be applied to space (i.e., not living permanently in one place), I wonder if it can cross-over to other parts of life.
  • What I’ve been seeing:

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