Monday, August 05, 2013

I Don't Want To Stylize Myself Into A Corner

"One of society’s unacknowledged goals is to minimize existential thought." This passage in Eric's book helped me realize something important about myself. I have a issue with any enemy of the ability to think. For example, it's harder to think than it is to pray. It's harder to put the onus on yourself than to say you were born this way. It's harder to take responsibility than to assume someone else is doing the deciding for you. It's harder to think for yourself than to welcome indoctrination into somebody else's belief system. It's harder to identify what your values are than to to let the majority do your your voting for you. And so on. The point is, building up a ritual of thinking, every single day, is among the most important practices humans can engage in. It's not only the trait that separates us from other animals, it's the skill that will allow our species to survive.

"I didn't want to stylize myself into a corner." I recently met a travel photographer who had an interesting philosophy about lighting. He said natural was the way to go, not only because of the image quality, but because he didn't want to schlep around all that heavy equipment through foreign countries for weeks at a time. But because of that, he never committed to one particular photographic aesthetic. And that freed him to evolve his visual style as he saw fit. Isn't it interesting when practical need stimulates artistic growth? It's all about leveraging our limitations. Viewing constraints as catapults. I said it once and I'll say it again. No labels, no limits

"Talent is finally king because distribution is free." This is the best thing to happen to music in a long time. Marketing may have ran the show for many years, and arguably, still wields more power than most, but talent's time has finally come. Let's give it up for the moderately attractive but massively talented. Let's worship those who seek achievement through artistic skill, not attention through promotional savvy. Let's watch art finally mirror the purity of athletics, whose superstars rise through the ranks because of ability and hard work, not because of connections and cup size. If I had a glass, I'd raise it. And if I cared about alcohol, I'd drink. Salut. Good looking out, Bob.

"Once you’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, good luck trying to follow someone else’s rules ever again." Not sure I agree with this anymore, Chris. I spent twelve years working for myself, playing by my own rules, answering to nobody. But eventually, the loneliness, boredom and exhaustion became too much for me. Freedom got too expensive. So I did the one thing I swore I would never do: Get a regular job. Sure, it sounded impossible for a lifelong individualist like me. And I was more surprised than anybody. But we all see what we want to see until we’re forced to see otherwise. Funny how quickly unhappiness deletes words like always and never from your vocabulary. The point is, when we're so stubbornly close to ourselves, so in love with our own ambitions, so addicted to the freedom of selfishness, we easily overlook the possibility of better options. Options that, upon closer inspection, aren't as scary as we thought.