logos and icons and tweets and blurbs and one-liners and sound bites and data mining & visualization and acronyms and abbreviations and elipses and permalinks and catchy phrases / catchy words and data tags and digg and speed and nanobytes and ...
i think my brain has shut down. no, better still, it's rebelling (against the lemmings. why are they all jumping to their death?).
this post was inspired by james altucher's recent post on becoming an idea machine. brainy guy, this james. but something's off. so in this post, he rambles coherently about his past failure to bring seemingly-brilliant ideas to fruition due to lack of self-confidence, compares his experiences with people who proceeded to chase their "big idea" through to completion until the achievement of success, and gives a pedantic recipe for success: a list of 10 actions one should undertake to generate ideas, more or less on a daily basis.
sidenote: talking with an old friend, the characteristic "one-dimensional" was proposed. i admit i hadn't thought about this descriptor in a long time. probably because i have been fortunate to not attract one-dimensional people. until recently. and so, in describing a recent encounter with such a person, a highly successful person who has achieved success because of his hyper-focus directed toward his field of study, this approach or personal evolution - incontestable brilliance in a scientific discipline - is bleeding into his personal life so that a dinner conversation precludes any other subjects for consideration. old friend immediately says, "one-dimensional!" "yes," i say. struck a chord. nice to remember this concept, one-dimensional.
i reflected on james altucher's post. actually, let me back up. i was intrigued and the more i read, i felt my facial geography change to adopt an expression of ... distaste. yes. that's it. it's not disgust. it's not pity. it's ... distaste. the more i continued reading, the more unsettled and uneasy i became. he gives nods - without naming names, probably because he doesn't know their names - to csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow psychology and the ericksonian postulation of self-confidence, but the rest is a melange of altucher's personal formula for what, exactly? how to generate ideas? how to show you're smart? how to increase chances of success?
and so the lists. pretty rigid lists. kind of statistical. every day, he says, read from at least 4 books with different subject matter; write down 10 ideas, anything, it doesn't matter; surf the internet, says he "I just saw an “infographic”(Infographics are quickly becoming the new blog posts) on how to be
creative. It said 'turn off the computer'. Sometimes this is true.
Sometimes not. With the entire world of knowledge at our fingertips it
sometimes is fun to get sucked down the rabbit hole like Alice and drift
around in Wonderland."
he claims to have a strict daily routine, yet he programs in spontaneity just to jumpstart creativity.
and so what i'm thinking is that the chasing of new information, in massive amounts, and creating things (projects, enterprise, etc.) just for financial payoff or manipulating our reality and our organic matter to employ them toward achieving success and popularity (jimmy has thousands of followers) is kind of ... one-dimensional. kind of ... superficial.
agreed, he employs form various disciplines to create something of his own. agreed, he seems to have achieved financial success (multiple times).
but what's the staying power of all of this bounteous information that he encourages us to ingest? it skims the surface of the thing being considered. if i skim a book or a website, and then move on to another book, website, after 2 hours of this activity, what do i really have? what will i have retained? for good? for real? for significance?
what's the difference between knowledge and information?
how do you measure success?
why learn (about) new things at all?
can we just stop with the obligatory lists, please? this approach is kind of ... one-dimensional. it's kind of ... formulaic. it posits a life as though it's a tagline. or a logo. or a top-10, best-of ...
a life well-lived is not formulaic. it is haphazardous and spontaneous, fertile and savory and deeply meaning-full. it is natural and organic and raw and fresh and bleeds and laughs deeply. and sighs and pauses for air.
and remembers, 20 years later, those names of writers, thinkers, professors, who have influenced and can quote those introjects because ... they had depth and value. the opposite of ... lists. or tag lines. or sound bites.
but the ancients would back me, i suspect.