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How to Be an Explorer of the World

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 Related:  Creativity & Patterns

Austin Kleon on 10 Things Every Creator Should Remember But We Often Forget by Maria Popova What T.S. Eliot has to do with genetics and the optimal investment theory for your intellectual life. Much has been said about the secrets of creativity and where good ideas come from, but most of that wisdom can be lost on young minds just dipping their toes in the vast and tumultuous ocean of self-initiated creation. So widely did the talk resonate that Kleon decided to deepen and enrich its message in Steal Like an Artist — an intelligent and articulate manifesto for the era of combinatorial creativity and remix culture that’s part 344 Questions, part Everything is a Remix, part The Gift, at once borrowed and entirely original. (This piece of truth is available as a print from 20×200, one of the best places for affordable art.) The book opens with a timeless T.S. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” Kleon writes in the introduction: Donating = Loving

Mystery, Wonder, Sacrifice & “The Diabolical Trinity” : Yoga Brains Mystery, Wonder, Sacrifice & “The Diabolical Trinity” Posted by Julian Walker on Monday, August 6, 2012 · 7 Comments This article is a continuation of my response to Gotham Chopra, but expands into more general territory, partially inspired by some of his statements. Ever looked up at the night sky in wonder? Of course you have! Ever contemplated the mysteries of existence: What are we, how did the universe begin, how does inert matter become animated and how does consciousness emerge out of biology? Of course you have. The earliest evidence we have for myth and ritual comes from about 110,000 years ago in the Drachenloch caves of the Swiss Alps. Bear skulls arranged on altars with bear thighbones thrust through an eye or cheek socket attest to some kind of ritual activity arranged around a mythological explanation of how the world around these early humans functioned. During our hunter-gatherer phase of evolution, we formulated myths and rituals around the hunt. Sound familiar? 1.) 2.) 3.)

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.

The Lost Ogle 1997: The year Marilyn Manson hysteria hit Oklahoma City Yesterday, I got a little bored and decided to browse YouTube for some Oklahoma-centric videos. Surprisingly, I found some that were moderately interesting and worth posting and had nothing to do with selling used cars. I figured it would be fun to post some of them over the next few days. And yes, that’s because I’m still recovering from the holidays and have no clue what day it is. Anyway, this video is from an old MTV News report by Kurt Loder that chronicles a 1997 Marilyn Manson concert in Oklahoma City. In the early winter of that year, his shitty cartoonish death metal band came to town, and our local citizens, civic leaders and media freaked the hell out: Thoughts / Comments / Questions • I was 18 and remember all the controversy this concert created. • I think it’s sad that Kurt Loder had to visit Oklahoma City in 1997. • Was anyone at this show? • Are there any Christian Coffee Houses still open around town?

Write-Brained: The Neuroscience of Writing and Writer’s Block This page provides an outline of what each part of the Write-Brained series will contain. You can bookmark and revisit this page for up-to-date links to each part. Preface: My Background and the Mandatory Disclaimer When I transitioned to full-time freelance work, my inability to complete work until the last minute before deadline was no longer just an inconvenience: It was the source of significant emotional and economic distress. I studied productivity and, eventually, the human mind. Part 1: Finding the Creative Space in the Human Mind To understand what happens neurologically when we write (or when we can’t write), we have to understand some brain basics. The human brain is composed of three major parts: The “reptilian brain,” the “mammalian brain,” and the “neo-mammalian brain.” While both hemisphere are important in communication when using the neo-mammalian brain, it’s the right hemisphere that allows us to think in the ways we most commonly associate with creative writing. Rob

Why Your Health Is Bigger Than Your Body by Claudia Rowe New findings explain how politics, economics, and ecology can help or hurt our bodies. posted Aug 21, 2012 Talking with Dr. Ted Schettler is probably unlike any conversation you have had with your physician. Raise the topic of breast cancer or diabetes or dementia, and Schettler starts talking about income disparities, industrial farming, and campaign finance reform. The Harvard-educated physician, frustrated by the limitations of science in combating disease, believes that finding answers to the most persistent medical challenges of our time—conditions that now threaten to overwhelm our health care system—depends on understanding the human body as a system nested within a series of other, larger systems: one’s family and community, environment, culture, and socioeconomic class, all of which affect each other. It is a complex, even daunting view—where does one begin when trying to solve problems this way? He calls this new approach to medicine “the ecological paradigm of health.” Interested?

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 Kindness of Strangers A few days before Christmas, our Etsy friend Sandra lost her husband to cancer. It was discovered in an advanced state and he was gone in a matter of months, forty years old. Sandra and her husband were self employed as restorers of historical tiles, where their country, Portugal, is famous for. When a town has a project, restorers make offertes and the cheapest get the job. An uncertain living in the best of times, seven or eight months before his death they weren't able to work. He, too ill, she, taking care of him. In those hard months they depended on the income of Sandra's Etsy shop, Azulado, where she sells lovely ceramic pieces. She is now trying to get an allowance from the government for her small child, but Portugal is a country in bankrupcy, so thus far she has only met a wall of bureaucracy. Life is so fragile, and so is the web of dreams that we depend on. Sandra's Etsy team, EST spirit wants to help her, and so we are organizing a raffle to collect money.

How Rejection Breeds Creativity In 2006, Stefani Germanotta had hit a turning point in her career. She had quit a rigorous musical theatre program at an elite college to focus on her musical passion and, after a year of hard work and little income, had signed a deal with Def Jam records. But this promise wouldn’t last. Just three months after signing, Def Jam changed its mind about Stefani’s unusual style and released her from her contract. Rejected, Stefani went back the drawing board, working in clubs and experimenting with new performers and new influences. These experiments produced a new sound that was drawing positive attention from critics and fans. Rejection happens and, when it does, how we respond to it matters. In a series of experiments, researchers led by Sharon Kim of Johns Hopkins University sought to examine the impact of rejection on individuals’ creative output. Rejection happens and, when it does, how we respond to it matters. What’s Your Experience? How do you respond to being rejected?

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