To be a thinking, feeling, creative individual in a mass society too often unthinking and unfeeling in its conformity is to find oneself again and again at odds with the system yet impelled to make out of those odds alternative ends – to envision other landscapes of possibility, other answers, other questions yet unasked.*
It’s as if nothing is significant until it’s portable; we must move it, in fact or in mind, from one context to another.**
It is often the small daily choices that get us stuck in life.
One day stuck isn’t the end of the world but, when it leads into a second and a third, it can be hard to get moving again.
We might be tempted to think stuck isn’t all bad – if we happen to be stuck in a pleasant place, yet we lose something when we’re not moving. As Maria Popova suggests, our thinking and feeling and creativity are affected.
Lewis Hyde’s opening words concern Odysseus’ oar also being a winnowing fan that can be taken from one place to another. This can also be that, here can also be there. Popova’s “against the odds” can also be the means to alternative ends.
Kosuke Koyama imagines “promised-land-life,” describing it thusly:
It is not an isolated life. It is a life busily engaged in encounters.^
Best to have some way each day to help make the choices that keep us moving in our thinking, our feeling and our creating. I know the first thing I must do each day – after feeding our cat Smudge – is to open my journal and enter the possibilities that silence and reading and writing allows:
No, if you’re going to change your mind, you might have to go off-brand, and offline is the place to be off-brand. Your bliss station, your studio, a paper journal, a private chat room a living room full of trustd loved one: These are the place to really think.^^
(*From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: W. E. Auden on the Political Power of Art.)
(**From Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World.)
(^From Kosuke Koyama’s Three Mile an Hour God.)
(^^From Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)