Virtuous Cycles

New Year’s Eve in Santa Cruz, pushups done, drinking beer, doing podcast, listening to said podcast and writing about that very podcast. Thanks for listening, thank you for following along. Just gonna have a little fun with the whole thing if I can, if I may, if I must: oh yes all three of the above, because I’m a content creator and I’m creating a cloud of thought that I’m going to distill it later on at the time of writing. But, we’ll see, because life is an experiment, especially as an artist. That’s one of the most important things you can be: experimental. Scientists and artists are similar in a lot of ways. Art overlaps with lots of different fields: the politician, the decorator, the scientist, the clown.

This age is radically different, though, due to the Internet. It’s as though our connectivity is so prolific that it is now entirely taken for granted. In the past, you could think about people in a more atomic way as little beings bouncing around and reacting to each other. The dream of the atomic family.

With the advance of digital culture, the wildernesses inside of us will recede further and further as more and more is available to see online. The habits of humans are very deep things. When you think about the fact of the unconscious being caused by the repression of thought and you look at an age where nothing really can’t be seen, there’s not much left that’s taboo, what does this mean for the unconscious? What does it mean for culture’s movement? Is there a tipping point, or is there a sweet spot of repression? Is there a way that it goes too far, but there’s also a way where there’s enough that is allowed without everything being open and free? Is there some level, some amount that suffices, have we reached the golden age of the allowable? The golden age of the allowable is the sweet spot of the permissable. More license would make us too decadent. Right now we’re still kinda lusty and hearty, on our way up fucking and drinking but we’re not decadent, creating strange games for people to play while we sit on couches and eat delicious food.

Anyone and anything that has ever been or will be could be found out there in the world today. There’s so much going on. That’s why the little vignette is both the best and the worst medium for today. With all the storm of content that gets thrown at us every day it’s hard to stop and take on the commitment to read a 600 page literary novel. But you just have to get people hooked, and hence the vignette. I think that people should be camped out for three days ahead of time to get the first copies of your books and they will be wearing costumes of characters from your book.

That’s why as an artist, it makes sense to adopt a spontaneous loose style where you can work and work and be super prolific but are creating tons of little things and can release them all. You want to create a compulsion to follow. You want people to be looking for what you’re going to do next. Anything short of people camped out for three nights will not do. You need to have a community of people fully one hundred percent fireworks behind the project.

How do you create that, what will happen, how will you know it?

It will happen something like this: after llistening to someone like me for 6 months you’ll start your own business and you’ll take your projects to the next level. All you can ask of yourself is progress. But the other thing is when you are really on it with the stuff you’re creating that’s all you have time to think about. That’s what you’re most excited to see. How did the photos look? How do the clips go together? How did that description sound? How does the blog entry look? It’s all a matter of repetition. You get better at everything by doing it repeatedly and through using the equipment so much it’s like the camera is melded to your finger and then you have this confidence when you approach someone for a portrait that people can sense. That’s a hugely important part of the process. The more you work, the more confident the work will be great.

That’s why I’m talking about these positive feedback loops and these habits that will build in a direction you choose. Having physical challenges that are physical maintenance but are also a neutral way to measure how good of shape you are in. Like if you choose a hill to run. Each time you run the hill you get a reflection of how good of shape you’re in. The hill doesn’t change, but how hard it is to make it varies.

Creating these virtuous cycles creates momentum, too, though. Because while you’re paying attention to how hard it is, how in or out of shape you are, you are also getting into better shape and as you’re more fit it’s more fun to do and you avoid it less. This is the art of the successful resolution.

As you receive this feedback on a daily basis, it also gives you some information about how much what you are doing is working and maybe what you can change. For example, if you’re running a hill you might think about your dietary choices as your gut starts to burn. It’s only with these virtuous cycles, these positive feedback loops, that we get that information. It’s only by using the tools that you understand their value and their state of being.

What you do all depends upon what you want, but sometimes people don’t know what they want. This is the strange double bind of your explorations and experiments. You don’t want to assume that people are going to feel the same way you do about anything. It’s always important to listen to the feedback. That’s a number one thing. It doesn’t work without an audience, so always put them first. It’s a weird instinct that you have that wants to put you before other people in a competitive way as though they should listen to you because of the value of what you’re saying, but that’s not how it works. We exist in a super-competitive mode so cooperation requires organization. I sincerely believe that we are on the verge of a massive creative breakthrough, however. I feel like we should be making things with Da Vinci and Michaelangelo as our audience. Gertrude Stein, Jane Adams, Susan B Anthony, Maya Angelou, let’s make things in their honor as well. To me, it deeply matters what culture you are coming from. How does the language you use carry with it a whole wide ranging cultural history? It’s like the air we breathe, the space we move through.

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