Zentangle: Pattern-Drawing as Meditation. By Maria Popova If greater creativity and more mental balance are among your new year’s resolutions, look no further than Zentangle — a type of meditation achieved through pattern-making, created by artist duo Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. Each pattern is built one line at a time, organically combining simple patterns into complex zentangles in unplanned, unexpected ways that grow, change and unfold on the page as you enter an immersive state of flow. Totally Tangled offers a fantastic introduction to the relaxing and beautiful practice through step-by-step instructions and over 100 original tangles. We’re particularly taken with Zentagle because its basic principle — building on simple shapes and combining different patterns into complex creativity — is such a beautiful visual metaphor for our core philosophy of combinatorial creativity.
Donating = Loving Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. Share on Tumblr. Yves Morieux: As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify | Talk Video. 10 Ways to Help Your People Shine. Image: Paul Stevenson, from flickr, Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 When the members of the non-profit Group Pattern Language Project developed the 91-card Group Works deck [download 1-page summary of all 91 patterns; download a deck free; buy a professionally printed deck], we intended it mainly to help facilitators and participants in meetings and other deliberative work to use their time more effectively and to improve their collaborative processes.
But we’ve discovered that this Pattern Language is being applied by some of the 2000+ people and organizations using it in ways we had never imagined. Many of these creative applications can help people work smarter, more effectively and more joyfully, and show their “best stuff,” and not just in a meeting context. Here are ten of them: 1. Image: chart from City of Calgary Cultural Transformation Project Dream Phase 2013 draft report What are your people’s shared values? 2. Do you create such spaces for your people? 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. How to Be an Explorer of the World. By Maria Popova “Every morning when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift!” As a longtime fan of guerrilla artist and illustrator Keri Smith’s Wreck This Box set of interactive journals, part of these 7 favorite activity books for grown-ups, I was delighted to discover her How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum (public library) — a wonderful compendium of 59 ideas for how to get creatively unstuck by engaging with everyday objects and your surroundings in novel ways.
From mapping found sounds to learning the language of trees to turning time observation into art, these playful and poetic micro-projects aren’t just a simple creativity booster — they’re potent training for what Buddhism would call “living from presence” and inhabiting your life more fully. It all began with this simple list, which Smith scribbled on a piece of paper in the middle a sleepless night in 2007: Eventually, it became the book.
Spread photos via Geek Dad. The Science of “Chunking,” Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity. By Maria Popova “Generating interesting connections between disparate subjects is what makes art so fascinating to create and to view… We are forced to contemplate a new, higher pattern that binds lower ones together.” It seems to be the season for fascinating meditations on consciousness, exploring such questions as what happens while we sleep, how complex cognition evolved, and why the world exists. Joining them and prior explorations of what it means to be human is The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning (public library) by Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor in which, among other things, he sheds light on how our species’ penchant for pattern-recognition is essential to consciousness and our entire experience of life.
To illustrate the power of chunking, Bor gives an astounding example of how one man was able to use this mental mechanism in greatly expanding the capacity of his working memory. Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr. The Art of Wisdom and the Psychology of How We Use Categories, Frames, and Stories to Make Sense of the World. By Maria Popova The psychology of how we use frames, categories, and storytelling to make sense of the world. “It’s insulting to imply that only a system of rewards and punishments can keep you a decent human being,” Isaac Asimov told Bill Moyers in their magnificent 1988 conversation on science and religion. And yet ours is a culture that frequently turns to rigid external rules — be they of religion or of legislature or of social conduct — as a substitute for the inner moral compass that a truly “decent human being” uses to steer behavior.
So what can we do, as a society and as individual humans aspiring to be good, to cultivate that deeper sense of right and wrong, with all its contextual fuzziness and situational fluidity? Schwartz and Sharpe write: External rules, while helpful in other regards, can’t instill in us true telos. People who are practically wise understand the telos of being a friend or a parent or a doctor and are motivated to pursue this aim.
The world is gray.