January 18th

See the World Like a Poet and an Artist

There is clarity (and joy) in seeing what others can’t see, in finding grace and harmony in places others overlook. Isn’t that far better than seeing the world as some dark place? – The Daily Stoic

Just as it is solely your choice that makes any particular thing or event bad, the same can be said of making something good. That said, simply deciding that things are beautiful is one thing, but I believe expanding your mind to know how to articulate and appreciate this beauty can provide many advantages. For example, it can give you access to more moments of awe, an emotion which has powerful effects on your ego. For a crazy sciency-sounding explosion of poetry on this, right over here.

Some situations seem to be more surefire for creating awe than others. Astronauts often experience something known as the Overview effect, but few of us get to live this – though Elon Musk is working hard on that! Psychedelics can have that effect too : start at 43:20 to hear Sam Harris speak of his experience. That said, why be limited to large natural landscapes and illicit substances? How does one cultivate the ability to generate awe from the mundane?

Interestingly enough, I have found Youtube to be a great resource for helping me expand this ability in me. I am sure some purists would consider it a cop-out on my part to use the Internet, a tool that has reduced the ability of many to create any meaningful relationships. Yet, the accessibility must be recognized, its reach is unparalleled, and I’d argue that there is quality out there that will one day be judged on the same level as some of the great literature that we value so highly now.

I think of School of Life teaching me how to value the cracks, in objects first, and more interestingly in people. I think of this wonderful fan-made video about the fractal-like quality that all life around us possesses with the universe it is part of, as NdGT proses on the idea behind his mentor’s most famous phrase. Most relevant to us here, I think of this beautiful recap of the 2004 Olympics, which I’m fairly certain is what convinced me I wanted to experience the roller coaster that is athletic pursuit. Even if we never reach such heights, there is often inspiration to be found in people’s efforts for personal growth through sport.

Ultimately, I remind readers to exercise caution, and balance out this poetic, artistic eye with a deep seated realism. Recall Ozymandias by Percy Shelley. Memento mori. While things are here though…why not appreciate them? Maybe we all need to spend more time practicing the philosophy behind Buddhist mandalas.

Not much new observations today. More about reading Van Hooren and Bosch papers on muscle slack, and thinking of how to tinker muscle tension up and down for the session at hand.

Good thing too, I need to work on a quick presentation of my guiding philosophy. Good night.


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