It dawned on me a few years ago that everything is easy. By that I mean everything is accessible. Thanks to Google and WikipediA everything is knowable. And now with Facebook and Twitter everyone is reachable.
It dawned on me a few years ago that everything is easy. By that I mean everything is accessible. Thanks to Google and WikipediA everything is knowable. And now with Facebook and Twitter everyone is reachable. In my professional design career the tools have evolved to the point where I not only deliver the aesthetic but I can also provide the function without being an I.T. specialist. In fact there’s so much access now thanks in large part to open technology and it’s respective movements.
Earlier this year I needed to acquire some new development skills. I did. It was, dare I say, easy? All the knowledge I could ever need to plug into was waiting for me on the web. I met my goal of gaining skills and even more conceptual possibilities opened up for me in my work process. I’d proved my hypothesis. Everything was easy. Or was it?
In the earlier part of the year when I’d made these resolutions we’d just returned from a year of travel. I was fermenting with ideas. The economy was in the dumps so work was slow to pick up. I had time. Soon after the skills were acquired our work utilizing those skills became in demand. My learning renaissance came to a halt once I needed to poor hours of concentration into real working solutions. I’ve come to realize that while everything may indeed be accessible (I’ll stop saying easy) it’s certainly not all doable.
Time is an unbelievably precious resource. We all know this but many of us, including myself, are guilty of undervaluing it. To do all there is to do is of course impossible. To acknowledge that one may not be able to do even a fraction of what one wanted is hard to accept. Even when there is time there is not enough of it.
I am disciplined enough to do one thing at a time. Things definitely are accomplished that way. But not everything. I’m still holding onto goals and ideas from a decade ago. I do know that time can certainly be made (with great sacrifice). In my case the necessity of earning a living usually monopolizes my time. But a few years ago we accelerated that necessity with the ultimate goal of buying the time not to have to work for a year and use the time for travel. I write this from a floating house in the middle of the Amazon as caymans smash around on the river under us. I’m incredibly grateful that I have had the time to write it.
Writing this in the dead of night in the lovely old city of Salvador, Brasil.
I remarked to Ewa yesterday that it seems to me that all the old colonial empires were fueled by a demand for inessential goods (sugar, coffee, tea, spices, opium, gold etc.).
After visiting all the stunning Portuguese cathedrals I wondered allowed to Ewa how strange I found it that Catholics around the world can share that singular common relgious connection. I’m more familiar with the multitude of different Protestant denominations without one central Protestant leadership (like a pope). What a way to build an empire…to make everyone think and believe the same. I momentarily lamented that I didn’t know what it’s like to be part of such a major group myself having backgrounds in different ethnicities (yet not feeling totally connected to either) as well as fringe evangelical upbringing. But then I remembered…I’m born American so I can’t really feel too much the outsider now can I.
We went to a Candomblé ritual tonight in a Favela. It’s a religion with roots in Africa that was syncretized by slaves in Brazil going all the way back to the 16th century. I was amused at how familiar it all was. It looked very evangelical to me. There are heavy congas and the people dance around and chant together in what feels exactly like an inner city Latin American church (I have been to a few in my childhood). Then it takes a more ‘pentecostal’ turn and the people allow themselves to be filled with some sort of spirit ghost. Some of them bump into each other, some fall down, some cry uncontrollably, others shout unintelligible sounds. I’ve witnessed this behavior in a few evangelical churches too. The Argentinian next to me was very uncomfortable. Myself, I can only say that I felt..well, a little bored. I used to get bored in church when I want as a kid and it felt exactly the same way to me. This brings me back around to my previous post…self obliteration. Religions, meditation, concentration are all the same experiences. Dare I suggest that evangelical worship, at least its Latin American expressions, derive from Candomblé and Africa?
Traveling in Rio, the idea came to me that Self Obliteration seems to be what everyone seeks and what everyone finds in a multitude of different ways.
I write these thoughts as we’ve just hit the road again and a week into a 9 week journey through South America. We leave Rio de Janeiro tomorrow morning and fly to Salvador.
On the way up to see the famous Christo Redentor statue I was struck (like many others) by the beauty and vastness of the city and landscape of Rio. I then began thinking about self obliteration. Self obliteration is certainly not a violent or negative thing at least as I’ll describe it. It seems to be what everyone seeks and what everyone finds in a multitude of different ways.
The obvious example of Self Obliteration is the Buddhist pursuit of Nirvana…to achieve that great spiritual nothingness, the ultimate self obliteration. In a very brief interest in Buddhism years ago I came to realize that the pursuit of self obliteration (meditation) can take on many different forms in addition to purposeful meditation. I found that my major ‘meditations’ are work, art and music. In these actions, when I’m un-distracted, I am totally self obliterated. I believe this kind of obliteration of self occurs for the devout of most religions. And of course on the negative end of things it’s also the same drive to obliterate the self that drives people to vices.
So why was I thinking this atop Mt. Corvocado? Because I realized that moment that traveling to marvel at the wonders of the world is also the pursuit of that same, self obliterating goal. Traveling is often just a hard slog of plane tickets and bus rides, but the payoff is the destination…the Nirvana.
Why do we desire self obliteration? Most everyone is afraid of death, the ultimate obliteration of self. We desire living self obliteration because it’s our way of transcending our own bodily limitations. We connect with the world better. Nothingness becomes oneness. Inspiration becomes euphoria. Concentration becomes inspiration.
Self obliteration often never feels as grand as it sounds. This elemental mode of being is often over trivialized when really it’s not very complicated. It’s the same for the Buddhists, Artist or the Tourist.