Alan Watts – Think of Nothing


14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge: A Timeless Guide from 1936

“Write! Writing, to knowledge, is a certified check.”

The quest for intellectual growth and self-improvement through education has occupied yesteryear’s luminaries like Bertrand Russell and modern-day thinkers like Sir Ken Robinson and Noam Chomsky. In 1936, at the zenith of the Great Depression, the prolific self-help guru and famous eccentric James T. Mangan published You Can Do Anything! (public library) — an enthusiastic and exclamation-heavy pep-manual for the art of living. Though Mangan was a positively kooky character — in 1948, he publicly claimed to own outer space and went on to found the micronation of Celestia — the book isn’t without merit.

Among its highlights is a section titled 14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge — a blueprint to intellectual growth, advocating for such previously discussed essentials as the importance of taking example from those who have succeeded and organizing the information we encounter, the power of curiosity, the osmosis between learning and teaching, the importance of critical thinking (because, as Christopher Hitchens pithily put it, “what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”), the benefits of writing things down, why you should let your opinions be fluid rather than rigid, the art of listening, the art of observation, and the very core of what it means to be human.

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”Tăietorii” creativității

Atunci când l-am întrebat pe bunul meu prieten, pictorul Ghenadie Popescu, care este mesajull lucrării sale, el mi-a răspuns franc și senin : Nu există nici un mesaj. Lucrările lui nu sunt purtătoare ale ideilor sale, nu transmit mesaje și nu impun atitudini, ele lasă ca fiecare persoană să își creeze propriul mesaj, să dezvolte propriile idei și să vină cu propriile  atitudini. Ele sunt libere, nu obligă și nu impun. Viziunea și imaginea creată în mintea ta  prin propria percepția sunt cele mai corecte și adevărate . Lucrarea are mesajul pe care îl percepi, îl vezi și îl asimilezi tu.


După discuția pe care am avut-o cu Ghenadie, mă găndeam la sistemul nostru educațional. Probabil nu doar eu , ci și mulți colegi își vor aduce aminte cu mare drag (și osândă) de comentariile literare pe care le făceam la operele marelor poeți și scriitori.  În comentarea unui text erau doar două opinii: una corectă – cea a profesorului și a doua greșită – cea a elevului. A treia variantă nu există. Propriile idei, atitudini, percepții erau tăiate cu multă insistență și băgate în calapoadele fixe, transmise și promovate de-a lungul secolelor de predare. Creativitatea și imaginația erau tăiate, conform standardelor calității educaționale, pentru că aceasta în opinia sistemului înseamnă dezvoltare.


Mă uitam la una din lucărrile lui Ghenadie, sapa cu lanternă și îmi imaginam cum polițiștii înarmați cu aceste unelte tăiau noaptea cânepa depistată pe 30 de ari.


Daca vrei sa pleci, du-te!

M-am intors inapoi in tara acum 5 luni, dupa cei 5 ani pe care i-am petrecut imprastiati pe 3 continente. M-am intors acasa pentru ca am vrut, nu pentru ca a trebuit. Nu pentru ca nu mi-a fost bine pe unde am fost, ci pentru ca mi-a fost atat de bine incat am decis ca vreau sa-mi fie asa de bine si acasa. M-am intors pentru ca dintre cele peste 40 de tari pe unde am calcat, pe canalele nicicareia nu curgea lapte indulcit cu miere si pe viza de intrare a nicicareia nu scria „Paradis”. Din cele peste 40 de tari pe unde am calcat, peste 40 dintre ele nu erau perfecte. Si atunci, mi-am zis, daca tot e sa traiesc intr-o tara imperfecta, de ce sa nu fie ea cea in care am vazut pentru prima data halatul galbui si peretii decojiti ai maternitatii?

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Anaïs Nin on the Meaning of Life & the Dangers of the Internet (1946)

“We believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people… This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us.”

Last week’s widely reverberating meditations on the meaning of life by cultural icons like Charles Bukowski, Annie Dillard, Arthur C. Clarke, and John Cage reminded me of a passage from the altogether sublime The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947 (public library) — the same tome that gave us this poignant reflection on why emotional excess is essential to creativity.

In an entry from May 1946, Anaïs Nin once again challenges our presentism bias by thinking deeply and timelessly about issues we tend to believe we’re brushing up against for the very first time, from the pitfalls of always-on communication technology to the pace of modern life to the venom of procrastination.

Even more interesting than the striking similarity between what Nin admonishes against and the present dynamics of the internet is the fact that she essentially describes Marshall McLuhan’s seminal concept of the global village… a decade and a half before he coined it.

The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.

For more on Nin’s timeless insights on life, see Lisa Congdon’s stunning hand-lettered diary quotes.


If You’re Bored Of The Internet, Try The Outernet Instead!

If you have been using the Internet since it became popular sometime during the late ’80s or the beginning of the ’90s, you know that it has changed significantly since then. Our entire society revolves around it now, and seemingly every technology company is putting some effort into converting their products into online gadgets. It doesn’t matter if it is a toaster or the latest smartphone, they are all being modified with each model, and it won’t be long before you can’t even buy a gadget or appliance without having to plug it into the Internet. The Internet has become so popular that we now spend more time online than we spend outside in the real world. That means that we’re actually online even when we’re outside.

Every once in a while, every human being is in need of some physical interaction and so he or she ventures out into the reality. Reality…what is that even? I mean, our reality is now online, right? So what is left of our other reality is rapidly diminishing. But if you find yourself sick and tired of the Internet, I suggest you have a look at the Outernet. Yup, there is one, and it existed even before the Internet did.

It was the fabric of our existence, and now we’re abandoning it like it’s a ship about to go down. Have a look at this creative drawing of our reality by John Atkinson of Wrong Hands and see for yourself. What we previously called reality, we are now calling the Outernet instead. The different facilities and local gathering hubs can easily be compared to online services and forums. It’s not a stretch to believe that all that the Outernet has to offer will soon be available online. Even shipping physical products will be able to be done with a 3D printer which we’re seeing exceptional developments in these days. So, if you’re sick of the Internet, bored even, take a few minutes and enjoy the Outernet, for it will not be around for much longer unfortunately.



Puterea femeiei, povestea unei viitoare mămici

Fiecare ne naştem cu un suflet bun, un potenţial imens, care este în interiorul fiecăruia.

Odată cu trecerea anilor, în funcţie de educaţia primită de la părinţii, în funcţie de anturaj, condiţiile de viaţa, acest potenţial dispare treptat.

Potenţialul şi bunătatea dispar în momentul în care bagi mai mulţi copii într-o cameră şi le dai o singură jucărie.(de acolo incepe totul)

În noi zace curajul, inteligenţa emoţională, perseverenţă şi tot în noi se găsesc şi opusul lor, frică, amânarea, grabă.

Toate ţin de un singur lucru.

De alegerile pe care le facem şi cum înclina balanţa în fiecare zi.

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