There are so many way, for humans, to protect themselves from stress.
Many will fight, “Up and at’em!!”. Others will run away – and that’s often smart!
Most thinkers know that against stress there’s one good solution: flee from the source of stress.
There’s another one: realize that stress does not exist in reality, but only in our brain, that stress does not penetrate your body through an ear or a toe, but that we secrete it.
OK, but now we all know that we sometimes have to deal with it. There’s no way, now, to escape.
Let’s not talk about fighters, we’re all introverts here, right?
To protect me against stressy people or situations, we can also oyster.
An oyster is a mollusk in a shell, a closed shell. When you oyster against stress, you stay here and nobody notices you’re oystering. You now just contemplate bullshit like a wise koala in its tree, maybe even smiling inside…
There are subtleties in the way we can oyster.
We can tent, the famous “instant tent”. You just need half a second to instant tent. Hop and vroush, here you are.
We can spider: in a hole we hide, there’s nothing more than a string that connects you with reality.
We can ice, too: immobility of the mind.
We can tree, wise and vast and upstairing, talking to birds and clouds and the sun, solid on roots…
What do you choose? Where (Work? Couple? Parents?)? Is it effective? How long?
Scenario, editing, characters, frames, camera work, action, sense of place, composition, music?
And in architecture, poetry, marketing?
It’s not exactly how we “watch” something, but how we stop in front of something and try to understand where the pleasure comes from. A little bit more like:
“OK that’s good, why? – let’s look into it”.
My choices upstairs are bolded. Lyrics are probably important when I discover a track, BUT I always try to understand the structure, I listen to the bass player, and harmony progressions and changes. More than melodies, or the song’s energy.
In front of a painting that stops me, I want to know “what did the painter want?”. Same from photography, or movies. I dig into (or try to imagine) how the artist dealt with the audience.
So, well, it’s a matter of empathy, or structures/skeletons, of what’s hidden. Nobody listens to the bass, nor really cares about a photo’s composition. It’s all about the singer or the lead guitar, it’s all about colors and “events”.
What I choose to look into tells a lot.
Therefore I think that it is a good exercise when we meet someone, to watch and listen and ask: “What do you like in this? Why?”.
This “says” something about the person. If they are an empath or not, if they’re a thinker or not, fast or slow, surfacing or diving, heavy or light…
The concept of Mêtis comes from the ancient Greeks. It is a strategy involving “the cunning of intelligence”.
Mêtis is practical, it’s about “what happens”, the moment and the now, changing things, unpredictable things needing immediate action.
It is like a “fight with reality” (or a dance) to maybe save the day, including technical matters: the archetype then becomes the artist, the craftsman, the handyman – with a use of a global knowledge, playing games, inventing solutions.
Cunning against what (or who) is stronger, using hiding and secrets. Intelligence’s strength stays sometimes in the Art of not being seen, therefore the other is stupid! This includes the use of lures and ploys.
Good examples are the Trojan Horse or archetypal characters like Robin Hood or Zorro.
This idea of “honest cunning” has been written “renarderie” in French, it could be Foxery.
The idea of “now adaptation” and cunnings sounds very Chinese to me.
See: Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne, and of course the 36 Stratagems.
I’m sorry for my improbable Frenchy English. This was just a casual article, just a seed for thoughts.
Music is a pleasure of life, and it’s useful too. One day I realized that there are musics “for”.
Music to give birth to images. Imaginary landscapes or anything. Images.
Challenging musics you don’t understand. You need explanations. Or books. Exploration. Typical for me: Mahler.
Music can help you to work, to focus, to give brain energy.
Dancing in your house.
Musics for remembrance. Memories.
Music for energy.
Music to be together (concerts)
I wanted to write an article named “This Author? I have everything…”.
You probably have one, if you’re a reader, right? Or two.
I have everything (or almost) of Jünger, Proust, Chekhov, Faulkner, Valéry, Borges and Bernhard.
And you? Why?
Nietzsche: The Camel, The Lion, The Child. What are these?
Like what? Levels?
The Camel is a carrier and he is strong. He’s a walker, a traveler. But also: “The camel develops the desire to unburden itself, take control of its own destiny and say its own “I will”.”
The Lion needs to rule over the desert, to become a lord, struggling with existing lords, like the dragon who says “You shall”. The lion don’t say “I will”, he says “No”.
Then, the Child. He’s at play: “The child is innocence and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelling wheel, a first motion, a sacred Yes.”. Unburdened of many customs and conventions, he explores, changes, he creates!
Well I kind of like it.
There’s something about one Art lover who was in love with a well known painting, I don’t remember which one, but this painting was placed in a museum on another continent, thus the poor man had never really “seen” the painting. A TV channel proposed him to pay for everything, following the poor man with cameras. TV loves emotions!
At least, he’s put in front of it, puts his hand on his mouth and cries, overwhelmed with emotions, etc.
Or not: how can you be really moved when two cameras stand in front of you?
Or else: what do you feel when you’re “supposed” to feel something?
Or more: what if you don’t feel the expected, at all?
We’re here into the well known “be spontaneous paradox”. A vexing communication block occurs when one person requests or demands something from another that can only be given spontaneously – like trust, love, interest, acceptance, appreciation, desire, and respect.
The idea of “breaking the fourth wall” is always interesting, it’s a strangeization process, something unusual to catch back the audience…
It talks about a convention (in a play or a film, actors usually don’t talk to the audience), therefore it tells something about the director, “conventions breaker”, why, etc.
It can be done metaphorically, like: “This can be done through either directly referring to the audience, the play as a play, or the characters’ fictionality.“
It’s about meta, about originality, about sympathy too : I love when Woody Allen in Annie Hall (I think) talks to the spectators in a middle of a scene (engaging, using me as a friend-witness, etc).
The Muslims veil says “I don’t want to show you my hair”.
What are my Third Path Pattern?
I have to choose A or B – I choose C
I have to choose A or B – I choose both
What are yours?
Is there a Tim Burton problem? Of course you’ll find his last interviews where he says he’s a bit tired, and he’s aware of every artist “loss of inspiration”.
My Tim Burton problem is the pattern “cult and original and so different”, but the… mainstream way. It’s a bit like the goth culture problem, they feel and dress “so different” but the whole thing is always the same and predictable (clothes, music, moods) AND they always gather to be… together.
So: mist, black things, cemeteries, weird trees, etc. Burtonesque.
Sometimes it’s marvelous (Nightmare Before Christmas!), most of the time I roll my eyes, sigh (Alice, etc).
Thanks for reading!
PS : Grammarly doesn’t work properly in the new WordPress “block” editor. Any clue to make it work?
Thomas Struth, born in 1954, is a German photographer.
I read about him (he loves museums, he loves “series” of photos, he shows large formats) and I watched his pictures, but I couldn’t find or decide why I stayed… but I stayed, and kept exploring his work.
This tropism, when you discover something, you don’t know why you insist exploring it, because obviously you don’t know why you like it, but you like it!
Is it because of this street :
Or this road :
Or these people watching… what :
Or this city :
Like Jeff Wall, he :
These photos stop me. They have something I don’t understand.
You take a break at work : quiet or yelling laughing?
Meeting games : quiet and watching or screaming answers to win a cap?
Historians, in the future, will talk about our time as the “Displacement Compulsion Epoch”.
Some of the “greatest” things today are linked to displacement : traveling, having a car, and many leisure activities are displacements (jogging, biking, trekking).
Did our grand-fathers jog?
A good ambiance can not be decreed.
Resistance to change is a well documented management problem.
There are books and web pages about “How to deal with resistance to change”! People fight, find reasons to refuse, explain why it “won’t work”, they hide doing old procedures, “it was better before”, etc. Well, that’s resistance!
The solutions to overcome this are always the same : to get people involved, to change in little steps, to train people, etc.
What is funny is when the change was stupid, and a failure, when the staff was right to resist.
I’m more interested, for sure, in “Sabotage in Reverse” : how to work well against your hierarchy when they’re wrong.
A map is not the territory, right ? And digits are not reality.
They “measure” things, but miss the most important things, the subtilities and complexity of life, the changes along the day, etc.
What are Micro-Categories and when do we need them?
When do we dive into a wave before it summits?
Music is a pleasure of life, and it’s useful too. There are musics “for”.
Music which can give birth to images. Imaginary landscapes or anything. Images.
Challenging musics : you don’t understand. You need explanations. Or books. Exploration.
Music can help you to work, to focus, to give brain energy.
There are a few motifs, patterns, I like to call “tools”. It is one of the reasons why my articles are to brief. It’s not about theories, but about little structures.
A single wisdom underlies, though, any idea of “What do I do?”, thanks to Marcus Aurelius, who says that we can divide the world in two camps :
Where we have a power to act, and where we have not.
Then, worry about the first territory only.
In a way, we can consider the second camp (“I know it’s here, and what it’s doing, and I can do nothing about it”) like the WEATHER. The whole society, or war, or idiots around us : there’s little we can do about it. If I want to act, I watch the levers I have within reach, and move thy ass, gallivanter!
Choose your field : job, couple, creativity… It’s just a little analysis game. What are my levers and cursors? What can I move and change?
But there are some periods, states, in life, where your cursors, your levers, are all blocked and stucked. The only one left are all INSIDE you. You are powerless on anything you have around (for example if you’re a lonely prisoner in a cage), but, as they say, “You won’t have my soul”. All you can do is to work inside yourself… And there are many cursors there!
Signals. At intervals. Intermittently. Hoping they’ll be seen.
Independance Day is a very bad movie which made a big hit, the highest-grossing film of 1996!
I was 30 and was among all the guys who happily wanted to watch “a sci-fi movie with alien attacks and explosions”. Yeyyyy!
But here’s the problem :
I know nobody, including myself, who loved the film. Everybody hated it, found it a stupid deceiving embarrassing mess. Everybody!
So it was an interesting event : a big “blockbuster” movie, plenty of people to watch it, and nobody liked it.
It’s not the “blockbuster” thing which was a problem. There’s a pool we all know, “action CG blockbusters” like Transformers, or big Marvel movies, which gives what they promise. It is what is is, not Bergman for sure…
It’s action, it’s CG, it’s stupid, but it’s rarely THAT stupid. You know what you watch, but you rarely feel that the producers could “not care less about you”.
The subject of my article comes from the fact that the director and producers were happy of this big success. So “everything is OK”, right?
No, it’s NOT OK.
Critics were less enthusiastic : “cardboard” and “stereotypical” characters, weak dialogue (and a terrible pompous “speech”), a lack of imagination in the spaceship and creature designs, etc…
This gives a bouquet of little ideas :
What is a success which is a failure on another level?
What is to be blind because of money?
What if it was a decent movie and they get the triple amount of money?
What is it to get rich with vulgarity?
What is it to get rich with dishonestly and trickery?
First, I had to search for the correct translation of the French “houspiller” – se faire houspiller : to be scolded, heckled. Okey!
But it does not work. To scold is to censure usually severely or angrily. To heckle is to harass and try to disconcert with questions, challenges, or gibes. Then what about to badger (to harass or annoy persistently), or to rebuke (to criticize sharply)? There’s also “to reprimand“.
The French “houspiller” is all of that, but it contains, I think, “constantly”, and also a slight of positive energy…
It contains : “Big friends or lovers constantly se houspillent”. It contains : they like it, they need it, it’s a game, a stimulating game. Old couples, they love each other but they se houspillent all the time.
“You have too many flaws and you’re a pain in the ass, and I love you!”
These weeks I read a lot about musicians. One secret of the Beatles seemed linked to the couple Lennon/McCartney, who were clear opposites. And later someone was surprised how McCartney and his one-legged wife were arguing, told it, was heared (oops) by Macca, who winked : “I love them tough!”.
The best album of this guy (2005 – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard) had a “real producer” (Nigel Godrich, who worked with Radiohead) who disturbed him, took some lead and suggestions.
“Nigel… refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn’t like, which was very cheeky of him.”
Although initially taken aback, McCartney appreciated Godrich’s tenacity and honesty.
Bono was asked by a friend “You seem to like to be scolded”, and answered it was cultural (Dublin seems very, very harsh!), that the group (U2) and him were often arguing, that his children were cheeky, and his wife very smart shrewd! And he likes all that!
Bono says that Prince was a genious who probably needed a strong collaborator who’d say to him “this is not good enough”, or “you’re wrong”, to make him fight! He talks about Mick Jagger/Keith Richards who were constantly arguing like children.
The real problem in a relation is not to argue, it’s when you stop arguing! The awkward silence…
So, what’s my verb? What’s that lovely thing when someone is there and never ceases, when needed, to heckle you or the relation or the work you do together as a “living team”?
Who’s this person?
What’s the word when we don’t have it? Comfy or confit? Confit like marinated comfortable and immobile in delicious well seasoned goose fat certainties?
What’s the words when we do have it, when we’re heckled, fighting, laughing, surprised, bothered, talked and tickled and, well, alive?
It’s a short story included in a French Eric Rohmer movie : Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (1987).
Let’s ask Wikipedia :
The film consists of four episodes in the relationship of two young women: Reinette, a country girl, and Mirabelle, a Parisian. The first episode, L’Heure Bleue/The Blue Hour, recounts their meeting, and Reinette’s wish to share the Blue Hour, a moment of silence between the natural sounds of the night and the dawn.
So they wake up before dawn (very early in summer) and go outside in the night. When the sun is about to rise, the country becomes silent… Shhh…
But just before the magic minute, a motorcycle comes from nowhere on the road, destroying, evidently, the precious groups of silent seconds. Then the sun comes and the birds begin to sing. Oh dang!
One girl (guess who) cries and screams of anger : the moment has been spoiled! The other one consoles her. C’est la vie! No big deal…
I love Gerstrude Stein because of her rose. Wiki says : The sentence “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” was written by Gertrude Stein as part of the 1913 poem “Sacred Emily”. Stein says :
“Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don’t go around saying ‘is a … is a … is a …’ Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.”
What do we do to “bring back the taste of something”?
Cabourg is a little city near the sea, in Normandy, France. Yessss it’s near the D-Day beaches : you should visit this one day. It’s near Deauville. Very… Proustian.
I’ve been there one whole week, with family’s family in a huge house, like a big dozen of adults and children. I had to go out, took pictures and drifted in the city.
In ears : Hindemith! For a long time, he’s been like the perfect composer for me. Not as gigantic/complex as Mahler. Not as dark as Bartok. Not as sharp as Stravinsky. It was modern and melancholic. It was “constantly mutating” but mellow. Like, yes, movie music.
I had these two pieces, and they are associated to the city in my mind forever :
We all have “Increased Reality Glasses” in our head. We give importance to things, and we forget what they are “in reality”. When you realize it in a weird epiphany, many things become absurd, from auto racing to sex.
This can happen when I read books about history, full of destinies like “he did this and that, then died, then…”.
What happens when someone tells you : “You’re not enough this”, or “You’re too much that”?
Is it true? Is it manipulation (for what purpose)? To hurt you? Is it an opinion? Is there a real will to change you? Is it possible?
Bovarysme is a term derived from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857). It denotes a tendency toward escapist daydreaming in which the dreamer imagines himself or herself to be a hero or heroine in a romance, whilst ignoring the everyday realities of the situation. The eponymous Madame Bovary is an example of this.
I’d love to
I read one day an article written by a guy who had to meet an executive for a long interview.
After this interview, he kept worrying about something. Something was wrong, or at least unusual. But what was it?
Then he realized.
This man, for a whole hour, never looked at his phone.
Blogging is a whole thing. There are many good reasons why we blog. I tried one day to list them: Why do you blog?
When you blog, you have something in your brain that clicks when you read or hear things. Like an Instagrammer has an eye for it, your mind picks up ideas everywhere it can. So maybe it’s a way to be more… present, an acuteness.
There’s another thing: you publish, so you have to present it, to shape it, to frame it, whatever. It’ll be read (a little, I hope!), so you have to iron your shirt. And if you don’t, it’s also a style, right?
Then you have to find the balance between staying yourself in what you say and to please your audience. This balances a good structure to watch.
Hi! I just found this title in my big list of more than 400 article-drafts, and I loved it. So there it is. Let’s find a tool.
I probably read an interview of Bono, telling about a big “problem” with songs : What do you do with a bad song?
You can trash it, or just keep the bits somewhere and wait.
You can try to heal the song, like a doctor, finding what is wrong or ill or boring here. Ask someone maybe?
You can take two or three bad songs and operate a graft, transplanting ideas on others – with the secret hope that some shocks, weirdies and surprises will come out of it.
You can rush and be casual and make is worser… then interesting? Hmmm…
You can keep it like that and hope someone will love it!
These tools applies to : “What do you do with a bad …?” (book, marriage, team, president, etc).
It’s option 3 that I often choose, like for my Chronicles these days. I pile drafts, and that’s all. If I entertain someone somewhere on the planet, I’m happy, though I’m a bit sorry for my bad English.
When you ask for advice from people about to die, they say… Well, you have to ask!
Nurses know this pretty well, there are books about that too, and I asked someone who answered :
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.
I regret the things I haven’t done – never the things I have.
I wish I’d had the courage to follow my desires instead of doing what I was “expected” to do.
I wish I hadn’t work that much.
I should have expressed my feelings.
There’s this “advice from old people” text you’ll find everywhere on the web. What do you think?
1. People always say, “Make sure you get a job doing what you love!” But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, can tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.
2. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!
3. Don’t take life so seriously. Even if things seem dark and hopeless, try to laugh at how ridiculous life is.
4. A true friend will come running if you call them at 2am; everyone else is just an acquaintance.
5. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them as such.
6. Children grow up way too fast. Make the most of the time you have with them.
7. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more… Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself.
8. You might live a long life, or you might live a short one – who knows. But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth.
9. If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savor all that is beautiful and comforting.Take a deep breath, relax.
10. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke – so you never actually become one.
11. We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about.
12. Maybe this one isn’t as profound as the others, but I think it’s important… Floss regularly, dental problems are awful.
13. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice is my advice…
14. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects, hold onto time and experiences instead.
15. The joints you damage today will get their revenge later. Even if you think they’ve recovered completely. TRUST ME!
16. I would say to appreciate the small things and to be present in the moment. What do I mean? Well, it seems today like younger people are all about immediate gratification. Instead, why not appreciate every small moment? We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever and the greatest pleasure can be found in the most mundane of activities. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone. Call your mother, have a conversation about nothing in particular. Those are the moments to hold onto.
17. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already.
18. Jealousy destroys relationships. Trust your significant other, because who else are you supposed to trust?
19. If you have a dream of being or doing something that seems impossible, try for it anyway. It will only become more impossible as you age and become responsible for other people.
20. When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it all. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and other people’s lives.
A few years ago I read an interview of a teacher, he was smart and interesting. The last question from the journalist triggered a shift, though. What was bothering him? His answer was a surprise. It was something like:
“What bothers me is that in every class I taught in my career I found the same typology, with very little variations : in every classroom of 15 years old students, you find a sporty, a fat kid, a funny idiot, an angry rebel, an introvert girl, a shy blond, a dreamer, a goth, a nerd. That’s boring!”.
“I empty my head in front of stupid TV”.
How TF do you translate a Style? There’s a witchy case:
Marguerite Duras was a French writer with a very special style. It’s difficult… even to define it! And of course it’s a part of her wizardry.
It’s between spoken language and a modest incantatory style. It’s full of mistakes, like a dyslexic person with strokes of genius. It’s gorgeous, blazing and magic… and completely quirky at the same time.
Therefore when you read Duras you have to let go something, a logical normal way to accept narration. It’s audacious, fascinating, it swallows you in a strange, new rhythm – a words-witch!
I really wonder how people in the USA consider the people of other states…
I wanted to write an article about “mean quotes about women”. Here are some :
Women show up and they cling to you and they destroy you Thomas Bernhard
Beware when you’re caught in a woman’s dreams Gilles Deleuze
What does that mean? That these guys were afraid? Afraid of what? A power? Are men defenseless?
I read a book about ambiguity in architecture, therefore I wanted to write “At once This and That, the pleasure of ambiguity”.
Ambiguity is when you can’t decide if this is something or something else. In buildings : a window, a corridor, stairs, everything can be two things at the same time.
Of course it TELLS something, that some architects want, seek this. They hate minimalism, the obvious “clean” thing. They love what I think is the essence of modernity :
To make something to make people wonder and smile, instead of making people say “Ohhh that’s beautiful”.
Of course I love this! Things (and us) can be this AND that, we can juxtapose, rotate, double-fonction, adapt. It’s enrichment, intelligence, faces. A door can decorate. A cook can be a musician. The superfluous is necessary…
Opening up your lunch finding a note of love inside.
Nasreddin Hodja was a Sufi in the old times of muslim countries. He is well known today as an Archetype of the Wise and Silly.
He appears in thousands of stories (you’ll find entire books of them, and a few on his Wiki).
There are so many ways to be a tourist. You can follow orders and fall in every tourist-trap, travel in groups like sheeps, or you can be an explorer, a samurai, or you can be the philosopher, drifting in the world, the nose in the wind.
But one traveler is always in his castle: his mind.
When someone wants to hurt you, he will define you, that’s a rule of non “nonviolent communication”. Someone defines you and you’re angry for two reasons :
It simplifies you, putting you in a box
It places you “under”, like you’re not enough this, or that
“You’re lazy!”, or “you’re like your mother!” are good example. It’s a great way to be mean!
Always answer with “It’s your opinion”. Nobody can “define” me.
Do you prefer movies which tell or movies which show?
In the infinite game of separating human beings in two parts (Sugar or salt? Introvert or extrovert? Tea or coffee? Cat or dog?), there’s one I love :
Do you focus on details or on the “big picture”?
This simple question tells a lot about someone. Do you like textures, or a landscape? A gesture, or a project? Do you watch what happens know, or within a whole life?
What is a year ending like this :
Are there some disapproving glances in your life? How to shield?
I can begin with a game : I Google “Find Happiness”, and read a bunch of plywood advice from smartasses like :
“Find happiness inside of you, not with others”
Awww!! Inside of me? Where?
But also we read that the real wisdom is :
“Real happiness is found in action and absorption in the Now, rather than endlessly worrying how to be happy”
Hmmm, sounds good too. Okay.
“Be free, a way”. OK, but which way is it?
The rhythm changes at 1’36”, comes sayin’ : go walking, watch around, try. No?
This is the same music played by Flaming Lips (thanks to YouTube) :
Hmmm lyrics :
Did good, baby So we can go The time right now Thing is
The sun shines now But we’re so alone It’s not, tis not The light That shines
The way, away My heart can beat Be free and go Our days Are empty
Is the love the god That we control? To try to trust The pain