This week, disorientation.
A new week, reader—hello again.
Uncertainty plagues all meaningful pursuits; if we are to do our best work in the face of uncertainty, perhaps we must first hone perspectives that allow us to stay the creative path. So in these notes I reflect on various themes. This week, disorientation.
Colin Wright writes books and other vehicles for words. Late last year he wrote a short series of simple but actionable exercises in perspective, produced to drip daily over email throughout a month. One of those exercises being to simply lie on the ground for a little while; critically: in a place that you'd ordinarily find the idea of lying on the ground rather absurd. Indeed one result is new visual perspective, but I particularly like that he describes this kind of disorientation as one that that provides "perception informed by new data."
This image opened the presentation delivered years ago by a very smart designer named Chris Heathcote, on the impact of technology on culture. He goes on to quote the 19th century mathematician Alfred North Whitehead: “It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties.” Data-informed disorientation.
Louis CK recently wrote a long, self-reflective email to fans about failures and success on various venue stages. At the very end, really an aside, his PS: "And take your kids to see 'Into The Woods.' It teaches the greatest lesson you could teach a kid: If you are paying attention, life is very confusing." One is left feeling that we can avoid seeking out new data and the disorientation that comes with it, indeed this comes naturally—but the future will arrive anyway, and perhaps we can do our best work as active rather than passive agents.
As part of my own practice in disorienting exercises, each Composure scarf is made and worn to reflect on the stories of people in my life with perspectives worth embodying. Publicly articulating one's genuine impressions of others is indeed a strange feeling, but one I find important. Scarves and stories at alwayscomposure.com.
Onward into the unknown,