To be successful with others we obligate ourselves to create worlds of civility an sensitivity. We obligate ourselves to tune in to others in our space, even as we desire to let our own guards down so that others can tune in to us.
We can either avoid immersing ourselves in intellectual territory that makes us emotionally recoil, or we can plumb those dark depths because they speak about something vital for us to consider today.
When I experience or even hear about gestures of civility, I’m thankful. The alternative to endless vitriol offers profound potentials for invention, for growth, and even pleasure. On Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for demonstrations of people finding ways simply to treat each other well, or at least with respect.
When we respectfully engage those who philosophically challenge us or even provoke anger, we open the potential for new understanding and a wider middle ground. Perhaps that’s the most profound value of a creative life in the first place.
That mortal fantasy is the crux of the show’s genius and the singular reason why it’s so successful. Without a complex and sophisticated playbook of narrative rules governing the program’s engine, the action would be little more than splashing around in a shallow pool. Instead, The Walking Dead taps into a deep sea of anxieties and simultaneous wish fulfillment and social means testing.
For creative people there's a compelling moment to consider when approaching complex projects. Ask yourself if the organizational structure of your idea and your organization simply exists because you understand it. Ask yourself if the hierarchy is fundamentally sound for the particular project. If it exists because that’s the way things have always been done, you might want to start over.
Through each cadenza, each sigh of poetry, each cue to shine spotlights on to the foot of the stage helps stave off life’s absurdities, which is really just another way of holding off the endlessly encroaching darkness.
None of us can carry all of our life experiences with us everyday, per se, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create ways to keep track of them. Just like runners arrive at each race through an accumulation of training and experience that leads up to the starting line, each of our lives can only be possible by an accumulation of experiences we choose to regard as parts of a much larger whole. When we break apart the moments of our lives into narrow, compartmentalized good moments and bad moments, we reduce ourselves to little more than highlight reels.
Sweet things taste special precisely because they’re infrequent. They’re pure pleasure, but I’d never want a diet of chocolate and ice cream.
Here's a piece of art that breaks all the rules, and by doing so provokes something profound. It asks us in a way that all great and significant questions should be asked, in a clear, level, calm voice: “Do we truly understand the merits of the rules we claim govern our culture, our values, and our paths through the world?”