robertogreco + meditation   32

Gradients are everywhere from Facebook to the New York Times - Vox
"Here’s why The Daily, Coachella, and Facebook all use backgrounds that look like a sunset."



"What it is: A digital or print effect where one color fades into another. Typically rendered in soft or pastel tones.

Where it is: Gradients are seemingly everywhere in media and marketing. They are part of a suite of Facebook status backdrops introduced in 2017 and the branding for the New York Times’ popular podcast The Daily, which displays a yellow to blue gradient.

Gradients have taken over Coachella’s app and website (if you watch carefully, the colors shift). Ally’s billboard in A Star Is Born is a full-on gradient, and so was the branding for the Oscars ceremony that recognized Lady Gaga.

On Instagram, they provide a product backdrop for popular Korean beauty brand Glow, and have been embraced by indie magazines Gossamer and Anxy — both designed by Berkeley studio Anagraph.

On the luxury front, Brooklyn wallpaper company Calico has released an entire collection of gradient wallpapers called Aurora. Meanwhile, Spanish fashion house Loewe has introduced a version of their trendy Elephant bag in a spectrum of pink to yellow.

Are gradients drinkable? Heck yes, they are. Seltzer startup Recess has gone all-in on gradients in their branding.

Why you’re seeing it everywhere: Gradients are the confluence of three different trends: Light and Space art, vaporwave, and bisexual lighting.

In the art and design world, Light and Space — developed in the 1960s and ’70s — has been experiencing a revival thanks to its Instagramability. Light and Space pioneer James Turrell has been embraced by celebrities like Beyoncé, Drake, and Kanye West. Drake’s Hotline Bling video was inspired by Turrell’s light-infused rooms called Ganzfelds. The Kardashian-Jenner-West crew posted an Instagram in front of one of Turrell’s works in Los Angeles. (I was yelled at by security for taking a picture there but it’s fine.)

[image]

Most recently, West donated $10 million dollars to the artist.

James Turrell’s works come with a warning because the visitor quickly loses all depth perception. Soft gradients are alluring because they cut through the noise of social media, but they also are disorienting. The Twitter bot soft landscapes operates on a similar principle, but some days the landscape all but disappears.

“It’s nice to see calming things amongst all of the social ramifications of Instagram,” says Rion Harmon of Day Job, the design firm of record for Recess. Harmon compares the Recess branding to a sunset so beautiful you can’t help but stare (or take a picture) however busy you are. Changes to the sky are even more pronounced in Los Angeles, where Harmon’s studio is now based. “The quality of light in LA is something miraculous,” he says. The Light and Space movement was also started in Southern California, and it’s in the DNA of Coachella.

Gradients might be a manifestation of longing for sunshine and surf. But they also belong to the placeless digital citizen. 1980s and ’90s kids may remember messing around in Microsoft Paint and Powerpoint as a child, filling in shapes with these same gradients. It’s no surprise that this design effect is part of the technological nostalgia that fuels the vaporwave movement.

Vaporwave is a musical and aesthetic movement (started in the early 2010s) that spliced ambient music, advertising, and imagery from when the internet started. Gradient artwork shared by the clothing brand Public Space is vaporwave. So is this meme posted by direct-to-consumer health startup Hers.

[image]

When Facebook rolled out gradient status backgrounds in 2017, they knew what they were doing. “They have so much data into how the world works,” says Kerry Flynn, platforms reporter at Digiday. “They had a slow rollout to the color gradients … Obviously they could have pulled the plug anytime.”

Flynn goes on to explain that Facebook realized they had become their own worst enemy. There was so much information on their platform that personal sharing was down and they had to make it novel again. “Facebook wants our personal data, as much as possible. Hence, colorful backgrounds that encourage me to post information about myself and for my friends to ‘Like’ it and comment,” she says.

It’s ironic that in order to do so, Facebook borrowed from a digital texture most millennials associate with a time before Facebook. But it also mimics a current trend in film and television: bisexual lighting.

As Know Your Meme explains, “bisexual lighting is a slang in the queer community for neon lighting with high emphasis on pinks, purples, and blues in film.” These pinks, purples and blues often fade into one another — appearing like a gradient when rendered in two dimensions. Bisexual lighting shows up in the futuristic genre cyberpunk, which imagines an era in which high technology and low technology combine and cities are neon-bathed, landmarkless Gothams. (Overlapping with vaporwave.) Mainstream examples of cyberpunk include Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and Black Mirror (specifically the “San Junipero” episode). Hotline Bling makes the list of examples for bisexual lighting; the gradients come full circle.

Tati Pastukhova, co-founder of interactive art space ARTECHOUSE, says gradients have become more popular as computer display quality increases. She says the appeal of gradients is “the illusion of dimension, and giving 2-D designs 3-D appeal.” ARTECHOUSE is full of light-based digital installations, but visitors naturally gravitate toward what is most photogenic — including, unexpectedly, the soft lighting the space installed along their staircase for safety reasons.

[image]

Before gradients, neon lettering was the Instagram lighting aesthetic du jour. Gradients are wordless — like saying Live Laugh Love with just colors. “There’s an inherent progression in gradients, you are being taken through something. Like that progression of Live Laugh Love. Of starting at one point and ending at another point. Evoking that visually is something people are very drawn to,” says Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at the Atlantic who covers internet culture.

Gradients are also boundaryless. In 2016, artist Wolfgang Tillmans used gradients in his anti-Brexit poster campaign. Through gradients, designers have found the perfect metaphor for subjectivity in an era when even the word “fact” is up for debate. “Gradients are a visual manifestation of all of these different spectrums that we live on,” including those of politics, gender, and sexuality, says Lorenz. “Before, I think we lived in a binary world. [Gradients are] a very modern representation of the world.”

At the very least, gradients offer an opportunity to self-soothe.

Calico co-founder Nick Cope says the Aurora collection is often used in meditation rooms. He and his wife have installed it across from their bed at home. “The design was created to immerse viewers in waves and washes of tranquil atmospheric color,” Cope says, adding, “Regardless of the weather, we wake up to a sunrise every morning.”"

[See also:
"Is 'bisexual lighting' a new cinematic phenomenon?"
https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43765856 ]
color  gradients  design  socialmedia  jamesturrell  2019  light  space  perception  neon  desig  graphicdesign  ux  ui  wolfgangtillmans  nickcope  meditation  colors  tatipastukhova  artechouse  computing  bisexuallighting  lighting  queer  knowyourmeme  pink  purple  blue  cyberpunk  future  technology  hightechnology  lowtechnology  vaporwave  bladerunner  ghostintheshell  blackmirror  sanjunipero  hotlinebling  kerryflynn  facebook  microsoftpaint  rionharmon  sunsets  california  socal  losangeles  coachella  depthperception  ganzfelds  drake  kanyewest  beyoncé  anagraph  ladygaga  daisyalioto 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Sam Byers on Twitter: "Jack’s thread on Vipassana meditation is fascinating."
[referenced thread:
https://twitter.com/jack/status/1071575088695140353 ]

"Jack’s thread on Vipassana meditation is fascinating.

It’s significant, I think, that he sees it as a practice that is of value primarily when he returns to work. He likes it because it enables him to refresh and then return to doing more of what he did before.

There is no suggestion, in his thread, that he regards his personal practice as being part of any wider, more selfless contribution to life and the world. It’s simply a method of personal betterment, a hack.

He’s also, it seems, unable to let go of metrics. He wore his Apple Watch and thingummyjig ring throughout and regards the data he gleans from those devices as objectively significant - more significant, in fact, than any inner insight he might have achieved.

Throughout, there’s a distinctly macho emphasis on discomfort. He emphasises the pain of sitting, the mosquito bites, the tough guy willpower and endurance he had to summon.

He’s at pains to labour the point that this is not easy, or gentle, or something anyone can do. It’s tough, it’s gritty, it’s for the hard core.

And then he returns unchanged, determined to do even more work and, one presumes, keep getting richer.

I find this intriguing because I think it’s indicative of a very specific cultural and economic moment in which very old and very traditional belief systems are effectively ransacked for anything they can contribute to the modern cult of productivity.

No emphasis here on empathy or compassion, for example.

This doesn’t tell us a great deal about Vipassana meditation, but it tells us a huge amount about the belief system that is Silicon Valley tech-bro capitalism.

It is closed, highly individual, inward-looking, metric-driven, proud of itself.

It’s easy to see how the practice of meditation, which seems so solitary, even solipsistic, when poorly framed and understood, might be appealing as an adjunct to this world view, but the way these ideologies and practices intersect merits a lot of unpicking, in my view.

I would also say that the replies are pretty fascinating too. People are extraordinarily proud of their cynicism, and their ability to communicate that cynicism with wild hostility, as if this in itself is part of some kind of holistic world view.

When in fact those replies are just the *same* solipsistic, cynical, and very western mindset redoubled and reflected back.

So the whole exchange becomes a kind of pissing contest to see who can be most sure of themselves.

We’re right at the toxic intersection, here, of co-opted “eastern spirituality” and vapidly unquestioning capitalistic self-certainty and the result is frankly wild - just a total shitshow of confusion and anger.

Nothing new of course. Post sixties hippie capitalism is by now so entrenched as to be the norm, but the whole thing is hugely illustrative on all sides and merits a great deal more thought than, ironically, Jack’s medium will allow.

It’s also important to remember that Vipassana meditation doesn’t “belong” to Jack - it’s an ancient and significant tradition. Using that as a means to ridicule him actually just winds up ridiculing a whole big chunk of culture as an unintended consequence.

Short version: it *might not* be possible to interrogate spiritual materialism using... non-spiritual materialism."

[full text of referenced thread:

"For my birthday this year, I did a 10-day silent vipassana meditation, this time in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar 🇲🇲. We went into silence on the night of my birthday, the 19th. Here’s what I know 👇🏼

Vipassana is a technique and practice to “know thyself.” Understanding the inner nature as a way to understand…everything. It was rediscovered by Gautama the Buddha 2,500 years ago through rigorous scientific self-experimentation to answer the question: how do I stop suffering?

Vipassana’s singular objective is to hack the deepest layer of the mind and reprogram it: instead of unconsciously reacting to feelings of pain or pleasure, consciously observe that all pain and pleasure aren’t permanent, and will ultimately pass and dissolve away.

Most meditation methods end with a goal of strengthening concentration: focus on the breath. This was not Gautama’s goal. He wanted to end his attachment to craving (of pleasure) and aversion (of pain) by experiencing it directly. His theory was ending attachment ends his misery.

Imagine sitting on a concrete floor cross-legged for an hour without moving. Pain arises in the legs in about 30-45 minutes. One’s natural reaction is to change posture to avoid the pain. What if, instead of moving, one observed the pain and decided to remain still through it?

Vipassana would likely be good for those suffering chronic pain to help manage it. That’s not the goal of course, but definitely a simple practice to help. Being able to sit without moving at all for over an hour through pain definitely teaches you a lot about your potential.

Meditation is often thought of as calming, relaxing, and a detox of all the noise in the world. That’s not vipassana. It’s extremely painful and demanding physical and mental work. I wasn’t expecting any of that my first time last year. Even tougher this year as I went deeper.

I did my meditation at Dhamma Mahimã in Pyin Oo Lwin. This is my room. Basic. During the 10 days: no devices, reading, writing, physical excercise, music, intoxicants, meat, talking, or even eye contact with others. It’s free: everything is given to meditators by charity.

I woke up at 4 am every day, and we meditated until 9 pm. There were breaks for breakfast, lunch, and walking. No dinner. Here’s the sidewalk I walked for 45 minutes every day.

The 2nd day was my best. I was able to focus entirely on my breath, without thoughts, for over an hour. The most I could do before that was 5 minutes. Day 6 was my worst as I caught a nasty cold going around the center. Couldn’t sleep from then on but pushed through til the end.

On day 11, all I wanted to do was listen to music, and I again turned to my favorite poet, @kendricklamar and his album DAMN. The greatest effect coming out of silence is the clarity one has in listening. Every note stands alone.

Myanmar is an absolutely beautiful country. The people are full of joy and the food is amazing. I visited the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan. We visited and meditated at many monasteries around the country.

The highlight of my trip was serving monks and nuns food, and donating sandals and umbrellas. This group of young nuns in Mandalay and their chanting was breathtaking and chilling.

We also meditated in a cave in Mandalay one evening. In the first 10 minutes I got bit 117 times by mosquitoes 🦟 They left me alone when the light blew a fuse, which you can see in my heart rate lowering.

I also wore my Apple Watch and Oura ring, both in airplane mode. My best meditations always had the least variation in heart rate. When I wasn’t focused, it would jump around a lot. Here’s a night of sleep on the 10th night (my resting heart rate was consistently below 40).

Vipassana is not for everyone, but if any of this resonates with you even in the slightest, I’d encourage you to give it a try. If in the US, this center in Texas is a great start: https://siri.dhamma.org/

And if you’re willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar: https://www.dhamma.org/en/schedules/schmahimar

Thanks for reading! Always happy to answer any questions about my experience. Will track responses to this thread. I’ll continue to do this every year, and hopefully do longer and longer each time. The time I take away to do this gives so much back to me and my work. 🇲🇲🙏🏼🧘🏻‍♂️

I’ve been meditating for 20 years, with the last 2 years focused on vipassana. After experiencing it in Texas last year, I wanted to go to the region that maintained the practice in its original form. That led me to Myanmar.

I took this time with a singular objective of working on myself. I shared my experience with the world with the singular objective of encouraging others to consider a similar practice. Simply because it’s the best thing I’ve found to help me every day.

I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar. I don’t view visiting, practicing, or talking with the people, as endorsement. I didn’t intend to diminish by not raising the issue, but could have acknowledged that I don’t know enough and need to learn more.

This was a purely personal trip for me focused on only one dimension: meditation practice. That said, I know people are asking about what Twitter is doing around the situation, so I’ll share our current state.

Twitter is a way for people to share news and information about events in Myanmar as well as to bear witness to the plight of the Rohingya and other peoples and communities. We’re actively working to address emerging issues. This includes violent extremism and hateful conduct.

We know we can’t do this alone, and continue to welcome conversation with and help from civil society and NGOs within the region. I had no conversations with the government or NGOs during my trip. We’re always open to feedback on how to best improve.

Will keep following the conversation and sharing what I learn here. 🙏🏼"]
jackdorsey  buddhism  religion  meditation  compassion  empathy  metrics  gamification  spirituality  quantification  vipassana  sambyers  individualism  materialism  capitalism  us  self-certainty  solipsism  cynicism  siliconvalley  californianideology  ideology 
december 2018 by robertogreco
The Shifting Landscape of Buddhism in America - Lion's Roar
"The first wave of academic scholarship on these communities was published around the turn of the millennium, as the study of Buddhism in America emerged as a distinct academic subfield. Influential books included Charles S. Prebish’s Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America (1999), Richard Hughes Seager’s Buddhism in America (1999), and James Coleman’s The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Religion (2002). One common distinction made in this early research was between the so-called “two Buddhisms” in America: “ethnic” and “convert.” According to the researchers, the ethnic or “immigrant” Buddhism of Asian Americans (what scholars now commonly refer to as heritage Buddhism) focused on communal, devotional, and merit-making activities within a traditional cosmological context, whereas the convert Buddhism of overwhelmingly white, upper-middle class practitioners was individualistic, primarily focused on meditation practice and psychological in its approach.

An early challenge to the “two Buddhisms” typology came from scholar Jan Nattier, who observed that not all converts are white, and that some convert-populated communities, such as Soka Gakkai, do not privilege meditation. She proposed an alternative “three Buddhisms” typology—import, export, and baggage—that moved away from ethnicity and race and focused on the mode by which various forms of Buddhism were brought to the U.S.

As Scott Mitchell and Natalie Quli note in their coedited collection Buddhism Beyond Borders: New Perspectives on Buddhism in the United States (2015), and as Mitchell unpacks in his Buddhism in America: Global Religions, Local Contexts (2016), there have been numerous dramatic changes in the social and cultural landscape of America since those studies were published over a decade ago. These changes, as evidenced by the Maha Teacher Council, have brought new questions and concerns to meditation-based convert communities: Who has the authority to define and represent “American” Buddhism? What is the impact of mindfulness transitioning from a countercultural religious practice to a mainstream secular one? How have technology and the digital age affected Buddhist practice? In what ways are generational and demographic shifts changing meditation-based convert communities?

My research explores these questions through a series of case studies, highlighting four areas in which major changes are occurring, pushing these communities beyond their first-generation expressions.

Addressing the Exclusion of Asian Americans

Central to the shifting landscape of contemporary American Buddhism is a rethinking of the distinction between “convert” and “heritage” Buddhisms as practitioners and scholars have become increasingly aware of the problematic nature of both the “two Buddhisms” and “three Buddhisms” typologies. An early challenge came from Rev. Ryo Imamura, a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist priest, in a letter to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review in 1992. That winter, magazine founder and editor Helen Tworkov had written that “The spokespeople for Buddhism in America have been, almost exclusively, educated members of the white middle class. Asian American Buddhist so far have not figured prominently in the development of something called American Buddhism.” Rev. Imamuru correctly pointed out that this statement disregarded the contributions of Asian American immigrants who had nurtured Buddhism in the U.S. since the eighteenth century and implied that Buddhism only became truly American when white Americans practiced it. Although written twenty-five years ago, Rev. Imamura’s letter was only recently published in its entirety with a commentary by Funie Hsu on the Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s website. Hsu and Arunlikhati, who has curated the blog Angry Asian Buddhist since 2011, have emerged as powerful voices in bringing long-overdue attention to the erasure of Asian Americans from Buddhism in the U.S and challenging white privilege in American meditation-based convert communities.

Another shortcoming of the heritage/convert distinction is that it does not account for practitioners who bridge or disrupt this boundary. Where, for example, do we place second- and third-generation Asian Americans who have grown up in Asian American Buddhist communities but now practice in meditation-based lineages? What about Asian Americans who have converted to Buddhism from other religions, or from non-religious backgrounds? Chenxing Han’s promising research, featured in Buddhadharma’s Summer 2016 edition, brings the many different voices of these marginalized practitioners to the forefront. Similarly, how do we categorize “cradle Buddhists,” sometimes jokingly referred to as “dharma brats,” who were born into Buddhist “convert” communities? Millennials Lodro Rinzler and Ethan Nichtern—two of the most popular young American Buddhist teachers—fall into this category, having grown up in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. How do such new voices affect meditation-based convert lineages?

Rev. Imamura’s letter echoes the early characterization of primarily white, meditation-based convert communities, observing that “White practitioners practice intensive psychotherapy on their cushions in a life-or-death struggle with the individual ego, whereas Asian Buddhists seem to just smile and eat together.” It is of little surprise then that the theme of community appears strongly in the work of Arunlikhati, Hsu, and Han. Arunlikhati has most recently written about the need to create refuges for Buddhists of color—”spaces where people can find true comfort and well-being”—and shares that his dream “is for Western Buddhism to be like a family that accepts all of its members openly.” In challenging white privilege, Asian Americans and other practitioners of color have been instrumental in recovering and building the neglected third refuge—sangha—in meditation-based convert Buddhism."



"Three Emerging Turns
In my forthcoming book, I posit three emerging turns, or sensibilities, within meditation-based convert Buddhism: critical, contextual, and collective. The critical turn refers to a growing acknowledgement of limitations within Buddhist communities. First-generation practitioners tended to be very celebratory of “American Buddhism,” enthusing that they were creating new, more modern, and “essential” forms of Buddhism that were nonhierarchical, gender-egalitarian, and free of the cultural and religious “baggage” of their Asian predecessors. While the modernization and secularization of Buddhism certainly continues, there is now much more discussion about the problems and pitfalls of these processes, with some exposing the Western ethnocentrism that has operated behind the “essential” versus “cultural” distinction. This understanding acknowledges that meditation-based convert Buddhism is as culturally shaped as any other form of Buddhism. Some, drawing attention to what is lost when the wider religious context of Buddhism is discarded, have called for a reengagement with neglected aspects of the tradition such as ritual and community.

The contextual turn refers to the increasing awareness of how Buddhist practice is shaped and limited by the specific social and cultural contexts in which it unfolds. In the case of the mindfulness debates, critics have argued that mindfulness has become commodified and assimilated into the context of global capitalism and neoliberalism. Another heated debate is around power and privilege in American Buddhist communities. Take, for instance, Pablo Das’s response to Buddhist teachers’ reflections on the U.S. presidential election, in which he critiques their perspectives as reflective of a privileged social location that negates the trauma of marginalized communities. Das suggests that calls to meditate and to “sit with what is” are not sufficient to create safety for vulnerable populations, and he warns against misusing Buddhist teachings on impermanence, equanimity, and anger to dismiss the realities of such groups. Insight teachers Sebene Selassie and Brian Lesage have fostered a dialogue between sociocultural awareness and Buddhism, developing a course for the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies titled “Buddha’s Teaching and Issues of Cultural Spiritual Bypassing,” which explores how unconscious social conditioning manifests both individually and collectively.

The collective turn refers to the multiple challenges to individualism as a cornerstone of meditation-based convert lineages. One shift has come in the form of efforts toward building inclusive sanghas. Another is the development of relational forms of meditation practice such as external mindfulness. And a third expression is the concept of “collective awakening,” hinted at in Thich Nhat Hanh’s suggestion that “the next Buddha might take the form of a community,” as well as the application of Buddhist principles and practices to the collective dukkha caused by racism and capitalism.

The first generation of meditation-based convert practitioners brought the discourses of psychology, science, and liberal feminism to their encounter with already modernized forms of Asian Buddhism. With the “three turns,” previously excluded, neglected, or entirely new conversations—around critical race theory, postcolonial thought, and cultural studies—are shaping the dialogue of Buddhist modernism. These are not necessarily replacing earlier influences but sitting alongside them and engaging in often-heated debates. Moreover, due to social media and the lively Buddhist blogosphere, these dialogues are also finding a much larger audience. While it is difficult to predict the extent to which these new perspectives will shape the future of Buddhism in America, the fact that they are particularly evident in Gen X and millennial practitioners suggests that their impact will be significant… [more]
us  buddhism  religion  2018  conversion  race  identity  mindfulness  annagleig  whiteprivilege  inclusion  racialjustice  history  diversity  meditation  babyboomers  generations  genx  millennials  pluralism  individualism  accountability  psychology  converts 
august 2018 by robertogreco
In Thailand, Buddhist Monks Grapple with the Meaning of Video Games - Waypoint
"Discussing games and reincarnation with Monks at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand."

[via: "Buddhist monks on the value of video games"
https://kottke.org/18/02/buddhist-monks-on-the-value-of-video-games

"In Thailand, Buddhist monks, and students studying to be monks, play video games sometimes like everyone else. But many of them are ambivalent about the games’ value.
The danger in playing a game is not the game itself, but the desire it may cause—since in Buddhist thought, desire is the cause of suffering. “If you lose or win, you want to do it again and again. You’re always thinking about the game. If you cling to that mindset, it causes mental suffering or physical suffering.”

This danger of competition and desire are why monks are generally not allowed to play sports. (Though, to be honest, I’ve seen more than a few novices playing covert soccer games.) Sports offer many benefits, both men agree, but if they become too much about winning or lead to bad feelings it can damage attempts to attain enlightenment.


Robert Rath, the author, tries to get the monks to dive deep on the connection between spawning, dying, and respawning in video games and an idea of a cycle of life and rebirth, but for the most part, the monks aren’t buying it. Games are fun, they’re challenging, they’re big distractions from study and meditation — and that’s about it. Not a lot of deeper meaning there.

Which to me, is refreshing, and very Buddhist (as I understand it). Why does everything have to mean anything? Most things are just nonsense. Let them be what they are, and be wary of the power you give them."]
games  gaming  videogames  monks  buddhism  meditation  attention  2018  thailand  desire  enlightenment  addiction  robertrath  study  meaning  reincarnation 
february 2018 by robertogreco
West coast is something nobody with sense would understand. : Open Space
""West coast is something nobody with sense would understand."

That’s a line from Jack Spicer’s “Ten Poems for Downbeat,” written in 1965, just before the Los Angeles-born poet died, age forty, in San Francisco. Was it true then, is it true now? What are some ways to make sense of this place (which isn’t one place), in this time (when it seems like there’s so little time)? Speculative, subversive, meditative: here are a few attempts."
westcoast  sanfrancisco  losangeles  jackspicer  1965  2017  place  speculative  subversion  speculation  meditation  pendarvisharsha  art  guadaluperosales  elisabethnicula  sophiawang  jennyodell  suzannestein  sandiego  cedarsigo  leorafridman  trees  fog  annahalprin  dance  eastla 
november 2017 by robertogreco
003: Craig Mod - I Want My Attention Back! • Hurry Slowly
"Did you know that the mere presence of a smartphone near you is slowly draining away your cognitive energy and attention? (Even if it’s tucked away in a desk drawer or a bag.) Like it or not, the persistent use of technology is changing the quality of our attention. And not in a good way.

In this episode, I talk with writer, designer and technologist Craig Mod — who’s done numerous experiments in reclaiming his attention — about how we can break out of this toxic cycle of smartphone and social media addiction and regain control of our powers of concentration.

Key takeaways from the interview:

• How Facebook and other social media apps are lulling us into “attention slavery”

• Why interrupting your workflow to post on social media — and sharing pithy thoughts or ideas — shuts down your creative process

• How short digital detox retreats and/or meditation sessions can “defrag your mind” so that you can deploy your attention more consciously and more powerfully

• Why mapping your ideas in large offline spaces — e.g. on a whiteboard or blackboard — gives you “permission” to get messy and evolve your thinking in a way that’s impossible on a screen

• How changing the quality of your attention can change your relationship to everything — art, conversations, creativity, and business"



"Favorite Quotes

“If there was a meter of 1 to 10 of how present you are or how much you can manipulate your own attention — how confident you are that you could, say, read a book for three hours without an interruption, without feeling pulled to something else. I would say the baseline pre-smartphone was a 4 or 3. Now, it’s a 1.”

“I think that a life in which you are never present, in which you have no control over your attention, in which you’re constantly being pulled in different directions, is kind of sad — because there is this incredible gift of consciousness. And when that consciousness is deployed smartly, it’s amazing the things that can be built out of it.”

Resources

Here’s a shortlist of things Craig and I talked about in the course of the conversation, including where you can go on a meditation retreat. You should be aware that vipassana retreats are offered free of charge, and are open to anyone.

Craig’s piece on attention from Backchannel magazine
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/how-i-got-my-attention-back/

Vipassana meditation retreat locations
https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index

Craig’s article on post-100 hours of meditation
https://craigmod.com/roden/013/

Film director Krzysztof Kieslowski
http://www.indiewire.com/2013/03/the-essentials-krzysztof-kieslowski-100770/

Writer and technologist Kevin Kelly
http://kk.org/thetechnium/

The Large Hadron Collider at Cern
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/large-hadron-collider-explained "
attention  craigmod  zoominginandout  ideas  thinking  focus  meditation  technology  blackboards  messiness  presence  writing  relationships  conversation  art  creativity  digitaldetox  maps  mapping  brainstorming  socialmedia  internet  web  online  retreats  jocelynglei  howwethink  howewrite  concentration  interruption  kevinkelly  vipassana  krzysztofkieslowski  largehadroncollider  cern 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Letter of Recommendation: Ghosting - The New York Times
"In my father’s house, my stepmother cooks dinner. First she sweats the onions, then she sears the meat. On special occasions, she mixes dough with flour ground from enset, a plant that resembles the banana tree.

Enset has roots that are white, and when they’re ground into powder, it’s packed into little baggies. When my father travels to Ethiopia, he returns with these white baggies tucked into the pockets of his suitcase, which is one reason, among many, that it is difficult for him to cross the border and come home.

A few years ago, he began to disappear. First he skipped the onions, then he skipped the meat. Eventually he skipped the special occasions, and when he arrived home, after the baptism or graduation or wedding had long since ended, he had no desire to eat. When I asked him to explain his absences, he said, ‘‘Yes.’’ When I asked him where he kept disappearing off to, he said, ‘‘O.K.’’

If it weren’t for my father’s age (he’s 63), or for his eventual return, I would be tempted to call his unexplained absences by a name popular among young people: ghosting. The millennial neologism for an age-old conundrum, ‘‘ghosting’’ describes the situation in which a person — Tinder match, roommate, friend — exits a relationship swiftly and without discernible cause. Though its iterations are diffuse and occur along varying degrees of intimacy, the word is generally used by those who are left behind: ‘‘He ghosted me,’’ or ‘‘I was ghosted,’’ or ‘‘I was ghosted on.’’

Because I fear my father’s absence, I mimic his behavior and hope he might not be forgotten. I often close the channels of communication that I am expected to sustain, texting people I love only when I feel like it and answering the phone only when the caller is unknown. In November, the morning after the presidential election, a childhood friend sent me a text: ‘‘Sup?’’ I told him I was scared for my family. When he wrote back later that day to let me know that he, too, was scared — about his LSATs — I stopped responding; we haven’t spoken since. At a coffee shop, an Australian asked me what I was reading. I said, ‘‘ ‘Great Expectations,’ a terrible novel.’’ He told me he had gotten his Ph.D. studying apartheid and then wondered aloud which was more depressing: apartheid or the work of Charles Dickens. When he asked if I wanted to get a drink later that week to continue the conversation, I said, ‘‘O.K.’’ but never showed up.

According to the internet, this is very bad behavior. If you care about someone, and even if you don’t, you are meant to explain — in terms both clean and fair — why you are unable to fulfill the terms of their attachment: ‘‘I feel sick,’’ or ‘‘I have depression,’’ or ‘‘You are boring, and I am disappointed.’’ Those of us who neglect to disclose the seed of our indifference, or neglect to disclose the fact of our indifference altogether, are typically assumed to be selfish.

It’s no coincidence that ghosting arose as a collective fascination at a time of peak connectivity. When friends and acquaintances are almost always a swipe and a tap within reach, disappearing without a trace cuts especially deep. But the very function of ghosting is to halt the flow of information, and nearly every explainer written in its name — ‘‘How to Deal With Being Ghosted,’’ ‘‘How to Tell If You’re About to Be Ghosted,’’ ‘‘Why Friends Ghost on Even Their Closest Pals’’ — berates those who ghost for intentionally spinning silence into pain. Ghosters withhold information whose admission would be likely to provide relief in others, manipulating the terms of friendship, kinship and romantic love to appear in favor of a life lived in private.

If healthy relationships — especially in the digital age — are predicated on answerability, it makes sense that a lack of communication would feel like a breach of trust. But articulating negative feelings with tact is a task most often assigned to those whose feelings are assumed to be trivial. When fear for my family — black, migratory and therefore targets of the state — is equated with the mundane anxiety of a standardized test, I find it a relief to absent myself from the calculation. Saying, without anger, ‘‘This is how you hurt me’’ feels routine, like a ditty, and articulating the need for isolation — ‘‘Now I intend to disappear’’ — is always a betrayal of the need itself. Because society demands that people of color both accept offense and facilitate its reconciliation, we are rarely afforded the privacy we need. Ghosting, then, provides a line of flight. Freed from the ties that hurt us, or bore us, or make us feel uneasy, finally we can turn our attention inward.

Some months after my father began to arrive at dinner on time, he drove me through the neighborhood by his office, a route we had driven many times before. I asked him, once again, where he had run off to all those nights. Pulling over to the side of the road, he said, ‘‘There is an excellent meditation studio inside that building.’’ I looked at the building, which looked like nothing. Confused, I asked him what he knew about meditation. ‘‘I know much about meditation,’’ he told me. ‘‘I came here once daily. I meditated, I ate my dinner and, when I was finished, I returned home.’’

The information, it seemed, had become necessary. My father, like the rest of us, was just trying to get better."
antiblackness  poc  blackness  ghosting  2017  meditation  self-improvement  reltionships  digitalage  connectedness  answerability  emotions  flight  freedom  provacy  solitude  inwardness  attention  communication  isolation  kinship  disappearance 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Alec Soth en Instagram: “The 1972 edition of Aperture: Octave of Prayer: An Exhibition on a Theme. Compiled with text by Minor White.”
"The 1972 edition of Aperture: Octave of Prayer: An Exhibition on a Theme. Compiled with text by Minor White."



"PHOTOGRAPHS FOR MEDITATION

Art, poetry, music, as they are in their ordinary functioning, create mental and vital, not spiritual values; but they can be turned to a higher end, and then, like all things that are capable of linking our consciousness to the Divine, they are transmuted and become spiritual and can be admitted as a part of a life of prayer.

Sri Aurobindo
The Riddle of this World"



"CAMERA WORK AND MEDITATION

Intensified concentration is common to all creative people. Scientists, artists, philosophers name this degree of concentration Creativity; the devout call it Meditation.

Losing one's self in something; a flower, and idea, a movement, is characteristic of heightened concentration. Occasionally in this state a sense of oneness or union is felt. In creativity union is with the flower or with the idea; in Meditation the union is with some aspect of God. Since flowers and ideas are aspects of God, we can see the connection of creativity to meditation.

Updating the saintly researchers, meditation, in the full octave of prayer, prayer¹ to prayer⁷, is the third stage, or prayer³.

The reason the arts cannot follow further up the ladder of prayer is that artists and cameraworkers are "held back by their medium and their senses and so cannot allow the full inebriation of the soul."

(Evelyn Underhill)"



[chart: "THE FULL OCTAVE OF PRAYER"]



"CATALYSTS FOR CONTEMPLATION

Photographers say they look at the world
with truth and love
Saintly students of prayer swear
that truth and love are seen only in contemplation
a very high level of prayer indeed.

What would we see in photographs
if we could look at them in contemplation?
Catalysts at best; they can never be prayer.
Yet gazing t them in love and truth
We are vulnerable, woundable by the rays of Love."
minorwhite  1972  books  art  creativity  meditation  concentration  prayer  contemplation  poetry  music  spirituality  divine  sriaurobindo  photography 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Mindfulness training does not foster empathy, and can even make narcissists worse – Research Digest
"Sharing with others, helping people in need, consoling those who are distressed. All these behaviours can be encouraged by empathy – by understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, and sharing their emotions. Enhance empathy, especially in those who tend to have problems with it – like narcissists – and society as a whole might benefit. So how can it be done?

In fact, the cultivation of empathy is a “presumed benefit” of mindfulness training, note the authors of a new study, published in Self and Identity, designed to investigate this experimentally. People who are “mindfully aware” focus on the present moment, without judgement. So, it’s been argued, they should be better able to resist getting caught up in their own thoughts, freeing them to think more about the mental states of other people. As mindfulness courses are increasingly being offered in schools and workplaces, as well as in mental health settings, it’s important to know what such training can and can’t achieve. The new results suggest it won’t foster empathy – and, worse, it could even backfire.

Anna Ridderinkhof, at the University of Amsterdam, and her colleagues divided 161 adult volunteers in three groups. Each completed questionnaires assessing their levels of narcissistic and also autistic traits. It’s already known that people who score highly on narcissism (who feel superior to others, believe they are entitled to privileges and want to be admired) tend to experience less “affective empathy”. They aren’t as likely to share the emotional state of another person. People who score highly on autistic traits have no problem with affective empathy, but tend to show impairments in “cognitive empathy”. They find it harder to work out what other people are feeling.

One group spent five minutes in a guided mindfulness meditation, in which they were encouraged to focus on the physical sensations of breathing, while observing any thoughts, without judging them. The second group took part in a relaxation exercise (so any effects of stress relief alone could be examined). People in the control group were invited to let their minds wander, and to be immersed in their thoughts and feelings.

After these exercises, the researchers tested the volunteers’ propensity to feel cognitive empathy, via the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test, which involves identifying emotions from photographs of people’s eyes, and they also tested their affective empathy, by analysing how much emotional concern they showed toward a player who was socially rejected in a ball game.

There is some debate about whether a greater capacity for empathy would be helpful for most people. Some researchers, such as Professor Tania Singer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, even suggest that an “excess” of empathy explains what’s often termed “burnout” in members of caring professions, such as nurses. But Ridderinkhof’s team predicted that mindfulness training would improve empathy in the volunteers who needed it most: in people with high levels of autistic or narcissistic traits.

It didn’t. While there was no overall effect on empathy in the mindfulness group, further analysis revealed that, compared with the control and relaxation groups combined, non-narcissists who completed the mindfulness exercise did show a slight improvement specifically in cognitive empathy, but for narcissistic people, their cognitive empathy was actually reduced. For the people who scored highly on autistic traits, meanwhile, there was no effect on mind-reading accuracy, though there were intriguing signs of greater prosocial behaviour, indicated by an increase in the number of passes of the ball to socially excluded individuals.

Since volunteers were encouraged not to judge any thoughts they had during the mindfulness meditation, this might indeed have helped non-narcissists let go of self-critical thoughts, allowing them to think more about the mental states of others, the researchers suggest. “By contrast, it may have ironically ‘licensed’ narcissistic individuals to focus more exclusively on their self-aggrandising thoughts.” As a result, they may have thought even less about the mental states of others.

Critics may argue that a single five-minute mindfulness meditation exercise is simply not enough, and that improvements in empathy – in non-narcissists, at least – might perhaps show up with longer sessions. While the research team thinks this is worth exploring, there is evidence from earlier studies (that lacked a proper control group) that five-minute sessions can increase accuracy on a mind-reading test, for example. It was reasonable to opt for a brief session in this study, they argue.

Future research might also investigate whether alternative approaches – perhaps training the related concept of “compassion” (which involves “feeling for” rather than “feeling with” a person in psychological pain, and is advocated by Singer) might help narcissists behave more pro-socially."

["Does mindfulness meditation increase empathy? An experiment"
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15298868.2016.1269667 ]
narcissism  mindfulness  meditation  emmayoung  2017  empathy  behavior  psychology  cognitiveempathy  annaridderinkhof 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Casey Gollan on Twitter: "Will never get over how Robert Bringhurst blockquotes the biggest ever truthbomb right at the beginning of The Elements of Typographic Style https://t.co/vNuRNEqmX6"
"—Everything written symbols can say has already passed by. They are like tracks left by animals. That is why the masters of meditation refuse to accept that writings are final. The aim is to reach true being by means of those tracks, those letters, those signs — but reality itself is not a sign, and it leaves no tracks. It doesn’t come to us by way of letters or words. We can go toward it, by following those words and letters back to what they came from. But so long as we are preoccupied with symbols, theories, and opinions, we fail to reach the principle.

—But when we give up symbols and opinions, aren’t we left in the utter nothingness of being?

—Yes."

- Kimura Kyūho, Kenjutsu Fushigi Hen [On the Mysteries of Swordsmanship], 1768
robertbringhurst  writing  symbols  theories  howewrite  meditation  kimurakyūho  finality  tracks  tracking  signs  reality  letters  words  canon  principles  principle  opinions  nothingness  being 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Singing Bowls | Online Meditation Sound Machine
Don't (simply) hit them...

Singing bowls - also known as Himalayan bowls - are used in yoga, music therapy, sound healing, and religious ceremonies. In the Buddhist tradition, they are played to signal the beginning and the end of silent meditation cycles. Tibetan bowls emit very pure tones, close to sine waves. Their sound is a synonym of purity for our ears.

Like a bell, the tone is produced by striking the side of the bowl with a wooden mallet. By running the mallet around the bowl - only with slight pressure - a pure tone will eventually rise. When this happens, the bowl is said to sing - hence its name.

The bowls that have been used here were carefully selected to sing in harmony. Their exact fundamental frequencies are 69 Hz, 276 Hz, and 552 Hz."



"Usage

Each slider controls a particular audio stream. Adjust sliders to taste and mood.

Unlike the other sound generators, this soundscape is not calibrated. This means that sliders are not associated to exact frequencies and that the generator's output will not turn into a pink-like spectrum when sliders are horizontally aligned.

The Animate! button turns the soundscape into an slowly evolving texture. Use this feature if you intend to listen to the generator over a long period of time."
meditation  sound  singingbowls  via:warrenellis  mindfulness  music 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Transcript: Pico Iyer — The Art of Stillness | On Being
"MS. TIPPETT: I'm Krista Tippett and this is On Being. Today exploring the “art of stillness” with essayist, novelist, and travel writer Pico Iyer. He began his career as a journalist with Time magazine. He’s now based in a modest, quiet, nearly-technology free home in Japan. He’s written many books and is still often to be found in the pages of publications like The New York Times and Harpers. But he also retreats many times each year to a Benedictine hermitage in Big Sur, California. He’s one of our most eloquent translators of 21st Century people’s rediscovery of inner life.

MS. TIPPETT: You know, one interesting thing you've said about living in Japan, in fact, is that it's made you aware of time in a new way. Now, and again, I want to go back because, isn't a true — so in your 20s you left your very successful, exciting life in New York, and you — I think you left to live for a year in a temple in Kyoto, but you didn't end up staying for a year. Is that right?

MR. IYER: Exactly right. [laughs] I stayed for a week, by which time I found a temple in Kyoto is very different from what I’d imagined in midtown Manhattan. But I did move then to a single room on the back streets of Kyoto without even a toilet or a telephone or a bed.

MS. TIPPETT: Oh, OK. All right then. You're absolved. [laughs] But you have written that — so tell me what you learned about time, and perhaps this is still true, because you spent most of your life in Japan. I’m so intrigued because I think time is just such a fascinating concept, and it has all this resonance both in science and in mysticism and — anyway. So…

MR. IYER: Yes. And I think we all know that sensation. We have more and more time saving devices but less and less time, it seems to us.

MS. TIPPETT: Yeah.

MR. IYER: And I think when I was a boy, the sense of luxury had to do with a lot of space, maybe having a big house or a huge car. Now I think luxury has to do with having a lot of time. The ultimate luxury now might be just a blank space in the calendar.

MS. TIPPETT: So true. So true.

MR. IYER: And interestingly enough, that's what we crave, I think, so many of us. So when I moved from New York City to rural Japan — so after my year in Kyoto, I essentially moved to a two-room apartment, which is where I still live with my wife and, formally, our two kids. And we don't have a car or a bicycle or a T.V. I can understand it's very simple, but it feels very luxurious.

And one reason is that when I wake up, it seems as if the whole day stretches in front of me like an enormous meadow, which is never a sensation I had when I was in go-go New York City. And I can spend five hours at my desk. And then I can take a walk. And then I can spend one hour reading a book that where, as I read, I can feel myself, I’d say, getting deeper and more attentive and more nuance. It’s like a wonderful conversation. Then I have a chance to take another walk around the neighborhood, and take care of my emails and keep my bosses at bay, and then go and play ping pong, and then spend the evening with my wife. And it seems as if the day has a thousand hours, and that's exactly what I tend not to experience or feel when I'm, for example, today in Los Angeles and moving from place to place. And I suppose it's a trade off. So I gave up financial security, and I gave up the excitements of the big city. But I thought it was worth it in order to have two things, freedom and time. And the biggest luxury I enjoy when I'm in Japan is, as soon as I arrive there, I take off my watch, and I feel I never need to put it on again. And I can soon begin to tell the time by how the light is slanting off our walls at sunrise and when the darkness falls, and I suppose back to a more essential human life.

MS. TIPPETT: And that's about the life you've crafted rather than something in Japanese culture, right?

MR. IYER: It is, but of course, when I left New York City, I could have gone anywhere. And as a writer, I'm lucky. I could do my job anywhere. And I think one reason I went to Japan — it goes back to what you were asking about the institutes of higher skepticism — is that my education had taught me quite well to talk, but I don't think it had taught me to listen. And my schools had taught me quite well to sort of push myself forward in the world, but it never taught me to erase myself. And the virtues of when I got to Japan, finding that I was essentially an illiterate. I can't read — I can't — to this day, I can't read or write Japanese. And I'm at the mercy of things around me. I can't have the illusion that I'm on top of things. Japan was a place that I had a huge amount to learn from, and I'm still learning it."
picoiyer  stillness  japan  time  pace  2015  kristatippett  place  nyc  attention  meditation  california  kyoto  onbeing 
july 2015 by robertogreco
NINE WORLDS GEEKFEST
"Hi! I keep these on my computer and I wanted to make this post for someone… Feel free to add sources - I don’t have them :)

Breathe in and out with this box

imageimageimageimageFollow the brush with your eyesimage"Press" this buttonimageFollow the brush with your eyes (again)"
gifs  animatedgifs  via:tealtan  meditation  anxiety  soothing  gifzen 
march 2015 by robertogreco
A Meditation on the Art of Not Trying - NYTimes.com
"Just be yourself.

The advice is as maddening as it is inescapable. It’s the default prescription for any tense situation: a blind date, a speech, a job interview, the first dinner with the potential in-laws. Relax. Act natural. Just be yourself.

But when you’re nervous, how can you be yourself? How you can force yourself to relax? How can you try not to try?

It makes no sense, but the paradox is essential to civilization, according to Edward Slingerland. He has developed, quite deliberately, a theory of spontaneity based on millenniums of Asian philosophy and decades of research by psychologists and neuroscientists.

He calls it the paradox of wu wei, the Chinese term for “effortless action.” Pronounced “ooo-way,” it has similarities to the concept of flow, that state of effortless performance sought by athletes, but it applies to a lot more than sports. Wu wei is integral to romance, religion, politics and commerce. It’s why some leaders have charisma and why business executives insist on a drunken dinner before sealing a deal.

Dr. Slingerland, a professor of Asian studies at the University of British Columbia, argues that the quest for wu wei has been going on ever since humans began living in groups larger than hunter-gathering clans. Unable to rely on the bonds of kinship, the first urban settlements survived by developing shared values, typically through religion, that enabled people to trust one another’s virtue and to cooperate for the common good.

But there was always the danger that someone was faking it and would make a perfectly rational decision to put his own interest first if he had a chance to shirk his duty. To be trusted, it wasn’t enough just to be a sensible, law-abiding citizen, and it wasn’t even enough to dutifully strive to be virtuous. You had to demonstrate that your virtue was so intrinsic that it came to you effortlessly.

Hence the preoccupation with wu wei, whose ancient significance has become clearer to scholars since the discovery in 1993 of bamboo strips in a tomb in the village of Guodian in central China. The texts on the bamboo, composed more than three centuries before Christ, emphasize that following rules and fulfilling obligations are not enough to maintain social order.

These texts tell aspiring politicians that they must have an instinctive sense of their duties to their superiors: “If you try to be filial, this not true filiality; if you try to be obedient, this is not true obedience. You cannot try, but you also cannot not try.”

That paradox has kept philosophers and theologians busy ever since, as Dr. Slingerland deftly explains in his new book, “Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity.” One school has favored the Confucian approach to effortless grace, which actually requires a great deal of initial effort.

Through willpower and the rigorous adherence to rules, traditions and rituals, the Confucian “gentleman” was supposed to learn proper behavior so thoroughly that it would eventually become second nature to him. He would behave virtuously and gracefully without any conscious effort, like an orator who knows his speech so well that it seems extemporaneous.

But is that authentic wu wei? Not according to the rival school of Taoists that arose around the same time as Confucianism, in the fifth century B.C. It was guided by the Tao Te Ching, “The Classic of the Way and Virtue,” which took a direct shot at Confucius: “The worst kind of Virtue never stops striving for Virtue, and so never achieves Virtue.”

Taoists did not strive. Instead of following the rigid training and rituals required by Confucius, they sought to liberate the natural virtue within. They went with the flow. They disdained traditional music in favor of a funkier new style with a beat. They emphasized personal meditation instead of formal scholarship.

Rejecting materialistic ambitions and the technology of their age, they fled to the countryside and practiced a primitive form of agriculture, pulling the plow themselves instead of using oxen. Dr. Slingerland calls them “the original hippies, dropping out, turning on, and stickin’ it to the Man more than 2,000 years before the invention of tie-dye and the Grateful Dead.”

Variations of this debate would take place among Zen Buddhist, Hindu and Christian philosophers, and continue today among psychologists and neuroscientists arguing how much of morality and behavior is guided by rational choices or by unconscious feelings.

“Psychological science suggests that the ancient Chinese philosophers were genuinely on to something,” says Jonathan Schooler, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Particularly when one has developed proficiency in an area, it is often better to simply go with the flow. Paralysis through analysis and overthinking are very real pitfalls that the art of wu wei was designed to avoid.”

However wu wei is attained, there’s no debate about the charismatic effect it creates. It conveys an authenticity that makes you attractive, whether you’re addressing a crowd or talking to one person. The way to impress someone on a first date is to not seem too desperate to impress.

Some people, like politicians and salespeople, can get pretty good at faking spontaneity, but we’re constantly looking for ways to expose them. We put presidential candidates through marathon campaigns looking for that one spontaneous moment that reveals their “true” character.

Before signing a big deal, businesspeople often insist on getting to know potential partners at a boozy meal because alcohol makes it difficult to fake feelings. Neuroscientists have achieved the same effect in brain scanners by applying magnetic fields that suppress cognitive-control ability and in this way make it harder for people to tell convincing lies.

“Getting drunk is essentially an act of mental disarmament,” Dr. Slingerland writes. “In the same way that shaking right hands with someone assures them that you’re not holding a weapon, downing a few tequila shots is like checking your prefrontal cortex at the door. ‘See? No cognitive control. You can trust me.’ ”

But if getting drunk is not an option, what’s the best strategy for wu wei — trying or not trying? Dr. Slingerland recommends a combination. Conscious effort is necessary to learn a skill, and the Confucian emphasis on following rituals is in accord with psychological research showing we have a limited amount of willpower. Training yourself to follow rules automatically can be liberating, because it conserves cognitive energy for other tasks.

But trying can become counterproductive, as the Taoists recognized and psychologists have demonstrated in an experiment with a pendulum. When someone holding the pendulum was instructed to keep it from moving, the effort caused it to move even more.

“Our culture is very good at pushing people to work hard or acquire particular technical skills,” Dr. Slingerland says. “But in many domains actual success requires the ability to transcend our training and relax completely into what we are doing, or simply forget ourselves as agents.”

He likes the compromise approach of Mencius, a Chinese philosopher in the fourth century B.C. who combined the Confucian and Taoist approaches: Try, but not too hard. Mencius told a parable about a grain farmer who returned one evening exhausted from his labors.

“I’ve been out in the fields helping the sprouts grow,” he explained, whereupon his worried sons rushed out to see the results. They found a bunch of shriveled sprouts that he’d yanked to death.

The sprouts were Mencius’ conception of wu wei: Something natural that requires gentle cultivation. You plant the seeds and water the sprouts, but at some point you need to let nature take its course. Just let the sprouts be themselves."
wuwei  meditation  self  2014  relaxation  authenticity  paradox  edwardslingerland  spontaneity  taiteching  confucius  confucianism  materialsm  virtue  rules  willpower  tradition  behavior  flow  effort  effortlessness  cooperation  psychology 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The Mindfulness Backlash - NYTimes.com
"She’s not the only one to question the emphasis on meditation as a path to productivity. In Salon earlier this year, Joshua Eaton argued that the new corporate embrace of mindfulness — he mentioned a panel titled “Three Steps to Build Corporate Mindfulness the Google Way” — privileged a particular kind of “individual spiritual development” over any kind of collective consciousness or social activism. “Many Buddhists,” he wrote, “now fear their religion is turning into a designer drug for the elite.”

Michael Stone sounded a similar note a few weeks later, also in Salon, when he called for Buddhists to speak out against the use of meditation by large corporations and the U.S. military. “Mindfulness is a deeply political practice,” he wrote, “designed to reduce stress and suffering both in our own hearts and in the world of which we are a part.” It shouldn’t, he argued, be used to make members of the world’s biggest military better at killing.

In a response to Mr. Stone at BigThink, Derek Beres argued that what Google and other companies are offering isn’t really mindfulness, because it’s in the service of a product that’s fundamentally anti-mindful (that is, the Internet). If your goal is to make people surf the web more, he wrote, all the meditation in the world isn’t going to bring you true enlightenment.

At the core of this debate is a question about what mindfulness should be. For some, it remains a fundamentally religious practice, one rooted in Buddhism’s ethics and understanding of social justice (Stone writes, “The first ethical principle that the Buddha taught in his description of living mindfully is ‘not Killing’”).

But in the mainstream, mindfulness is often seen simply as a tool, a way of calming and focusing oneself. As such it can be used to de-stress after a long day, to get more done at the office, or even to wage war."
mindfulness  productivity  appropriation  2014  meditation  buddhism  annanorth  stress  military  via:jeeves 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Discover The Road — Join a Community of People Who Wonder...
"Hi, my name is Kirk Wheeler. Discover the road is about finding a path in the chaos and learning what it means to live an authentic life. You can learn more about my reasons for starting this journey here: The First Step.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I believe that together we can learn how to ask better questions. An ongoing list of ideas on how to do just that can be found at the Rules of the Road."



"Question everything. … Do not let perfect be the enemy of good. … There is no failure, only feedback."



"Question everything. … Make progress. … Embrace the journey."

[See also: https://soundcloud.com/discovertheroad
http://www.discovertheroad.com/podcasts ]

[Listened to this one "On Chaos, Zen, Love and How To Remain Loyal To The Mystery" (several of the tags used for this bookmark are for that specific podcast:
https://soundcloud.com/discovertheroad/episode-10-stuart-davis-on-chaos-zen-love-and-how-to-remain-loyal-to-the-mystery
http://www.discovertheroad.com/podcast/stuart-davis ]
via:ablaze  interviews  creativity  podcasts  life  spirituality  kirkwheeler  impermanence  death  questioning  stuarddavis  meditation  well-being  living  chaos  balance  multitasking  messiness  resilience  presence  sleep  self-knowledge  uncertainty  progress  questioneverything  skepticism  change 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Live storytelling packs a powerful punch – Richard Hamilton – Aeon
"My first job was as a lawyer. I was not a very happy or inspired lawyer. One night I was driving home listening to a radio report, and there is something very intimate about radio: a voice comes out of a machine and into the listener’s ear. With rain pounding the windscreen and only the dashboard lights and the stereo for company, I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to do.’ So I became a radio journalist.

As broadcasters, we are told to imagine speaking to just one person. My tutor at journalism college told me that there is nothing as captivating as the human voice saying something of interest (he added that radio is better than TV because it has the best pictures). We remember where we were when we heard a particular story. Even now when I drive in my car, the memory of a scene from a radio play can be ignited by a bend in a country road or a set of traffic lights in the city.

But potent as radio seems, can a recording device ever fully replicate the experience of listening to a live storyteller? The folklorist Joseph Bruchac thinks not. ‘The presence of teller and audience, and the immediacy of the moment, are not fully captured by any form of technology,’ he wrote in a comment piece for The Guardian in 2010. ‘Unlike the insect frozen in amber, a told story is alive... The story breathes with the teller’s breath.’ And as devoted as I am to radio, my recent research into oral storytelling makes me think that Bruchac may be right."



"Why do we love stories? And why do we love hearing them spoken aloud, in person? Psychologists and literary scholars have devoted a good deal of thought to the first question. Perhaps, they suggest, fiction helped mankind to evolve social mores. In a 2008 study by the psychologist Markus Appel, professor at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany, people who watched drama and comedy on TV as opposed to news had substantially stronger beliefs in a just world. Stories do this ‘by constantly marinating our brains in poetic justice’, according to Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal (2012). On the other hand, perhaps storytelling is a sort of flight simulator that allows us to practise something without getting hurt. Keith Oatley, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, believes that stories are an ancient virtual reality technology: we get to imagine what it would be like to confront a dangerous man or seduce someone else’s spouse without suffering the consequences."



"In a 2001 study by Robin Mello at the University of Wisconsin, children were asked for their responses to stories they heard in class. To her surprise, Mello found that the children focused less on the story’s content and more on how it was told. They enjoyed the way the teller made up funny voices for the different characters, and said reading the stories silently from books was boring. Stories may be how we make sense of the world, but the heart of the story is the human voice."



"Perhaps it is in this accepting spirit that many people, even as they feel sad about the demise of the Moroccan storytellers, ultimately say ‘So what?’ The world has lost many things, from dodos to snuff boxes, and we cannot lament them all. Why is storytelling so important? When my daughter can read for herself, she might not want me to read to her. The same has happened on a global scale. When societies learn to read they no longer need storytellers to read to them. But then, not that many societies even learn to read and write. Out of an estimated 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, two thirds never had a written form. On average, one of those oral languages dies every two weeks. When a language that has never been written down dies, it is as if it has never been. We have then lost a unique interpretation of the world and our existence. This reminds me of a saying in Marrakech: ‘When a storyteller dies, a library burns.’

Abderrahim rarely performs in the main square any more. I asked him why and he gazed at a point in the distance. ‘Look, there is no room and it is too noisy.’ Nowadays, he said, Moroccans would rather watch DVDs or use the internet than listen to him. Modernity and electronic media in particular is killing the storyteller. ‘When electricity came,’ as they say in Ireland, ‘the fairies flew out the window.’

Bruchac warns that we ignore the power of oral narration at our peril: ‘If we imagine that technology can take the place of the living human presence experienced through oral tradition, then we diminish ourselves and forget the true power of stories.’"
stories  storytelling  oraltradition  radio  imagination  humans  human  creativity  narrative  fritzheider  mariannesimmel  2013  robinmello  thinking  meditation  performance  giacomorizzolatti  reynoldsprice  troubadours  richardhamilton  journalism  morocco  markusappel  jonathangottschall  keithoatley  josephbruchac 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Ben Pieratt, Blog - If you have any interest whatsoever in...
"If you have any interest whatsoever in mindfulness, awareness, or meditation, I highly encourage you to watch this talk given by Jon Kabat-Zinn at Google.

I stumbled onto it a few months ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it or practicing it since."

[Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc ]
jonkabat-zinn  meditation  mindfulness  awareness  benpieratt  2013 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Technology, love, and paying attention | A Thinking Reed
"Being attentive to another person, however, does require an act of the will. It does not come naturally. It involves deliberate effort and sometimes the setting aside of our own desires. It may even be a kind of sacrifice to give our attention to another and to be kind an act of heroism."

"[G]iving someone our attention requires an act of will or a kind of discipline. Maybe this is partly why so many spiritual traditions have cultivated practices that require people to focus their attention. I’m thinking especially of various forms of meditation and contemplative prayer. What these practices seem to have in common is an effort to focus on a reality beyond the self–to the extent that the ego recedes into the background."

[via: http://plsj.tumblr.com/post/46444396743/technology-love-and-paying-attention ]
attention  love  relationships  technology  discipline  focus  listening  meditation  religion  contemplation  prayer  selflessness  presence  singletasking  monotasking 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Silence and Speech
"If you feel moved to contribute after others have spoken, our experience is that it is as well to leave a fair time, and ask yourself whether you will be carrying further what has already been said. It is practically never right to spring up immediately."

"For our present purpose, the essential point is that what we receive in our meetings strengthens us in our daily lives; and then in turn we bring back our experiences to our meetings, where they may sometimes give rise to ministry. This two-way traffic is not regulated by rules or achieved through theological doctrines or political theories; it is a quiet unseen process, which is seldom exciting or dramatic but can in the long run have deep and far-reaching effects. Another early Quaker, Robert Barclay, wrote, 'When I came into the silent assemblies of God's people I found the evil in me weakening and the good raised up.' Many Quakers since his day have testified to similar experiences…"
thinking  meditation  meetings  friendsmeetings  ministry  robertbarclay  process  doctrine  deschooling  unschooling  rules  restraint  speech  silence  practice  religion  richardallen  1992  quakers  quaker 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Rhythms
"I like what Kelli Anderson says about her work. For every project, she figures out everything that she hates about the conventional approaches, and proceeds to rage and spit at them, and then tries to channel all of that energy into a different approach. This is how many of her projects turn out to be fantastical.

I see a similar rhythm in the way I like to work. Build up a set of frustrations, in public or in private, and then use them as fuel to light a path forward."
flow  habits  meditation  2012  self-knowledge  energy  frustration  rage  howwework  allentan  kellianderson  rhythms  rhythm  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Mark Williams on Mindfulness on Vimeo
"Is mindfulness the answer to all our prayers? The benefits are compelling: it’s free, you can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s been scientifically proven to work. It is recognised by those in and out of the health profession as a useful tool for generally improving our mental wellbeing, as well as dealing with more serious issues such as depression or anxiety disorders.

Professor Mark Williams, a leading authority on mindfulness, takes to our pulpit to explore the science behind it and look at its practical application in everyday life. He takes us through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation, and looks at how such practices can help us to live lives of greater presence, productive and peace."
attention  noticing  imagination  ptsd  peace  presence  meditation  anxiety  well-being  teens  mentalhealth  mindfulness  2011  markwilliams  sadness  depression  life  health  parenting  philosophy  psychology  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Jonathan Harris . World Building in a Crazy World . Ideas
"City ideas have to do with a particular moment in time, a scene, a movement, other people’s work, what critics say, or what’s happening in the zeitgeist. City ideas tend to be slick, sexy, smart, and savvy, like the people who live in cities. City ideas are often incremental improvements—small steps forward, usually in response to what your neighbor is doing or what you just read in the paper. City ideas, like cities, are fashionable. But fashions change quickly, so city ideas live and die on short cycles.

The opposite of city ideas are “natural ideas”, which account for the big leaps forward and often appear to come from nowhere. These ideas come from nature, solitude, and meditation. They’re less concerned with how the world is, and more with how the world could and should be."
philosophy  meaning  meaningfulness  memes  cities  fashion  nature  solitude  meditation  jonathanharris  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine | Magazine
"The emergence of stress as a major risk factor is largely a testament to scientific progress: The deadliest diseases of the 21st century are those in which damage accumulates steadily over time. (Sapolsky refers to this as the “luxury of slowly falling apart.”) Unfortunately, this is precisely the sort of damage that’s exacerbated by emotional stress. While modern medicine has made astonishing progress in treating the fleshy machine of the body, it is only beginning to grapple with those misfortunes of the mind that undo our treatments."

[later on some conspiracy about the stress vaccine article: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/08/the-brain-eating-vaccine-conspiracy/ ]

[previously: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/07/stress.php ]
anxiety  fear  loneliness  stress  jonahlehrer  cognition  drinking  science  sleep  psychology  meditation  happiness  health  inequality  brain  2010  vaccines  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
It takes continuity of attention :: Zengestrom
"To live in the world of creation – to get into it and stay in it – to frequent it and haunt it – to think intensely and fruitfully – to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation – this is the only thing."
jyriengestrom  attention  henryjames  combinations  inspirtations  creation  making  remixing  cv  meditation  reflection  thinking  crosspollination  continuity  learning  remixculture  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero — Text Playlist
"I do a bit of that myself, but I keep what I perceive to be a more valuable, important morgue file: one made of the best writing on the web I come across. I take this list and revisit and reread it every 4 to 8 weeks. You could almost consider it a playlist of text: it’s very select (I artificially limit it to 10-15 articles), I typically read them all in one sitting, and the order and pacing is very purposeful. Most revolve around what it’s like to be making things in 2010, and a lot of the people that I respect the most have pieces in it. It’s almost a pep talk in text form. I visit it when I’m down, when I’m lazy, when I’m feeling the inertia take over."
frankchimero  textplaylist  via:lukeneff  mustread  toread  writing  lists  motivation  meditation  inspiration  creativity  blogs  blogging  art  sistercorita  vonnegut  merlinmann  mairakalman  robinsloan  thewire  lizdanzico  jonathanharris  rands  kurtvonnegut  coritakent 
july 2010 by robertogreco
An exercise in empathy « Snarkmarket
"thing I have done since 7/8th grade, at least, & still do all the time today.

It goes like this:

Sitting in any space with other people—a classroom, a city bus, even a big wide-open park—I’ll sometimes let my mind wander and imagine the space from someone else’s vantage point. It’s as simple as that. No deep emotional imagination involved; it’s really just visual.

But the important thing is that I am included in the transformed scene. Doodling on a legal pad, hunched into a laptop, reading a book, whatever. The core of the exercise, I think, is that you see yourself as just another person in the space—an opaque bag of bones—instead of as, you know, the movie camera. The privileged POV.

Does that make any sense? It’s stuck with me as a habit, I suppose, because it’s so simple. This isn’t level 12 meditation. It’s just a little flip, a little dose of visual imagination. But I always find it entirely transporting. And it tends to put me in my place.

Anybody else ever do this?"
empathy  meditation  transformation  robinsloan  totry  ego  pointofview  pov  perspective  thoughtexcercises  tcsnmy  imagination  snarkmarket 
june 2010 by robertogreco
BBC News - The joy of daydreaming [via: http://twitter.com/GreatDismal/status/15109172899]
"Stillness, meditation, reflection, silence. Radio documentary maker Alan Hall goes in search of refuge from the noise and bustle of the modern world, looking for moments of peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life."
consciousness  reflection  self-knowledge  teaching  self  silence  pause  meditation  stillness  attention  add  learning  well-being  alanhall  children  society  time  productivity 
may 2010 by robertogreco

related tags

accountability  action  activism  adamgreenfield  adbusters  add  addiction  alanhall  allentan  anagraph  animatedgifs  annagleig  annahalprin  annanorth  annaridderinkhof  answerability  antiblackness  anxiety  appropriation  architecture  art  artechouse  artists  attention  audience  audiencesofone  audio  austerity  authenticity  autonomy  aversion  awareness  babyboomers  balance  behavior  being  benpieratt  beyoncé  bisexuallighting  blackboards  blackmirror  blackness  bladerunner  blogging  blogs  blue  books  brain  brainstorming  buddhism  california  californianideology  calm  canon  capitalism  carolbecker  cedarsigo  cern  change  chaos  children  christopherfahey  cities  coachella  cognition  cognitiveempathy  collaboration  collectivism  collectivity  color  colors  combinations  comments  commons  communication  compassion  computing  concentration  confucianism  confucius  connectedness  consciousness  contemplation  continuity  conversation  conversion  converts  cooperation  coreymenscher  coritakent  craigmod  creation  creativity  crosspollination  cv  cyberpunk  cynicism  daisyalioto  dance  death  debate  decay  depression  depthperception  derrickschultz  deschooling  desig  design  desire  digitalage  digitaldetox  diigo  disappearance  discipline  disorder  disquietjunto  diversity  divine  doctrine  drake  drinking  dropbox  eastla  education  edwardslingerland  effort  effortlessness  ego  egypt  elisabethnicula  emmayoung  emotions  empathy  energy  enlightenment  erinkissane  events  facebook  fashion  fear  finality  findings  flashmobs  flight  flow  focus  fog  forgetting  frankchimero  freedom  friendsmeetings  fritzheider  frustration  future  games  gamification  gaming  gandhi  ganzfelds  generations  genx  ghosting  ghostintheshell  giacomorizzolatti  gifs  gifzen  gimmebar  global  good  gradients  graphicdesign  guadaluperosales  habits  happiness  health  henryjames  hightechnology  history  homogenization  hotlinebling  howewrite  howwethink  howwework  human  humaninteraction  humans  ideas  identity  ideology  imagination  impermanence  inclusion  individual  individualism  inequality  informationsystems  inspiration  inspirtations  instapaper  interactivity  internet  interruption  intervention  interviews  intimacy  inwardness  isolation  jackdorsey  jackspicer  jamesturrell  janineantoni  japan  jennyodell  jocelynglei  jonahlehrer  jonathangottschall  jonathanharris  jonkabat-zinn  josephbruchac  journalism  jyriengestrom  kanyewest  keithoatley  kellianderson  kenosis  kerryflynn  kevinkelly  kimurakyūho  kinship  kirkwheeler  knowyourmeme  kristatippett  krzysztofkieslowski  kurtvonnegut  kyoto  ladygaga  largehadroncollider  learning  leorafridman  letters  life  light  lighting  listening  lists  living  lizdanzico  local  loneliness  losangeles  love  lowtechnology  mairakalman  making  mandybrown  mapping  maps  mariannesimmel  marinaabramović  markusappel  markwilliams  materialism  materialsm  maxfenton  meaning  meaningfulness  media  meditation  meetings  memes  memory  mentalhealth  merlinmann  messiness  metrics  microsoftpaint  microutopias  military  millennials  mindfulness  ministry  minorwhite  moma  monks  monotasking  morocco  motivation  moveon.org  multitasking  museums  music  mustread  narcissism  narrative  nature  neon  nickcope  nickdisabato  nicolasbourriaud  nothingness  noticing  nyc  occupywallstreet  onbeing  online  opinions  oraltradition  organization  ows  pace  paradox  parenting  pause  peace  pendarvisharsha  perception  performance  performativespaces  perspective  peterbrantley  peterrichardson  philosophy  photography  picoiyer  pink  place  pluralism  poc  pocketsofutopia  podcasts  poetry  pointofview  politics  pov  practice  prayer  presence  principle  principles  privacy  private  process  productivity  progress  protest  provacy  provocateurs  psychology  ptsd  public  publicspace  publicsquares  purple  quaker  quakers  quantification  queer  questioneverything  questioning  race  racialjustice  radio  rage  rands  readability  reading  readmill  reality  reflection  reincarnation  relationalaesthetics  relationships  relaxation  religion  reltionships  remixculture  remixing  resilience  restraint  retreats  reynoldsprice  rhythm  rhythms  richardallen  richardhamilton  rionharmon  robertbarclay  robertbringhurst  robertrath  robinmello  robinsloan  rules  sadness  sambyers  sandiego  sanfrancisco  sanitization  sanjunipero  science  search  security  self  self-certainty  self-improvement  self-knowledge  selflessness  signs  silence  siliconvalley  simplicity  singingbowls  singletasking  sistercorita  situationist  skepticism  sleep  snarkmarket  socal  socialconnection  socialmedia  society  solipsism  solitude  soothing  sophiawang  sound  space  spectacle  speculation  speculative  speech  spirituality  spontaneity  sriaurobindo  statusquo  stillness  stories  storify  storytelling  stress  stuarddavis  study  suburbanization  subversion  sunsets  suzannestein  symbols  tahrirsquare  taiteching  tatipastukhova  tcsnmy  teaching  technology  teens  text  textplaylist  thailand  theartistispresent  theories  thewire  thinking  thomaserickson  thoughtexcercises  time  tinosehgal  toread  totry  tracking  tracks  tradition  transformation  trees  troubadours  ui  uncertainty  unschooling  urban  urbanism  us  utopia  utopias  ux  vaccines  vaporwave  via:ablaze  via:jeeves  via:lukeneff  via:tealtan  via:warrenellis  videogames  vipassana  virtue  visibility  vonnegut  web  well-being  westcoast  whiteprivilege  willpower  wolfgangtillmans  words  workflow  writing  wuwei  zoominginandout 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: