Tag Archives: Communications

Persistence Pays

“What counts most is holding on. The growth of a train of thought is not a direct forward flow. There is a succession of spurts seperated by intervals of stagnation, frustration and discouragement. If you hold on, there is bound to come a certain clarification. The unessential components drop off and a coherent, lucid whole begins to take shape.” – Eric Hoffer 1961

For many more brilliant thoughts like the one above, please see: Sparks: Eric Hoffer and the Art of the Notebook

10 Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol. 2.0)

Here are ten articles that I want to share with you. These articles deal with the following themes among other things: work, play, society, living, writing, poetry, language, effort, dance, spirituality, imagination, mindfulness, education and learning.

I hope that you will find something of value.

1. Alan Watts: Work as Play
2. Georg Simmel: The Stranger
3. Bill Knott: Path out of View
4. Neojaponisme: Missives on Outlander Japanese
5. Elbert Hubbard: A Message to Garcia
6. Kenneth Goldsmith (editor): Publishing the Unpublishable
7. Rudolf Steiner: On Eurythmy
8. Simone Weil: 5 Flashes of Weil
9. Thich Nhat Hanh: Mindfulness of Ourselves, Mindfulness of Others
10. Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society

Here is the first in this series: 10 Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol 1.0)

Five Quotations for Your Learning Pleasure (Selected by Your Humble Editor on a Rainy Tuesday Evening)

You will see throughout this blog, quotations from a handful of thinkers that I admire and learn from. The following are five selected quotations for your learning pleasure.

Perhaps, one or more of these quotations will help you along with your day or stick with you and re-emerge when the time is right or ripe. More importantly, though, I hope that you will use these words and do something with them. That is, these quotations are seedlings, waiting to be realized by the right person. I don’t know how you will interpret them or what you will do with them. That depends on you and where you are “coming from” with your ways of how you have become mindful of the world. Thank you for your attention.

Quotations

“Taking charge of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person” – Warren Bennis from On Becoming a Leader

“Live your life skillfully, with grace.
Dance life so that your expertise appears effortless.
To develop such skill, immerse yourself in life.
Pay attention to life’s details.
Then see how the details fit together as a whole.
Then put your experiential understanding into further practice.
Keep upgrading your life.” – David K. Reynolds from Reflections on the Chuang Tzu

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett from Westward Ho

“The ideal personality for the opening age is a balanced personality: not the specialist but the whole man. Such a personality must be in dynamic interaction with every part of his environment and every part of his heritage.” – Lewis Mumford from The Condition of Man

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.” – Henry David Thoreau from Walden and Civil Disobedience

For more information on the authors quoted here, please visit:

David K. Reynolds: Reflections on the Chuang Tzu
Warren Bennis’s Qualities of a Leader
Samuel Beckett On-line Resources
Lewis Mumford: Megathinker and Master of the Metaphor
Henry David Thoreau: American Transcendentalism Web

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John Dewey on “Work”

The work that you do, whether as a paying job, volunteer work or as study, hobby or vocation is a way of generating, maintaining and creating meaning in your life. How much effort and involvement do you give to the work that you do? Is the work that you are doing, satisfying you? How do you approach the task of work? How do you better yourself by the work that you do?

John Dewey, in his book, Art as Experience, reminds us, “The intelligent mechanic engaged in his job, interested in doing well and finding satisfaction in his handiwork, caring for his materials and tools with genuine affection, is artistically engaged. (5)”

What Dewey’s quotation gives us, is that, it is not necessarily the kind of job that you do, but how you do the job that you do. The worker who is drowning in a desk of “to-do” lists, which keep piling up, seemingly out of control, has a much different experience from the worker who carefully (with care) uses the tasks of the day to better the life of him/herself and the life of the organization in doing what needs to be done and acting through the purpose of the moment.

Losing yourself in a meaningful task is an artistic experience, a kind of dance with life and your engagement with it. Realize reality in the most beautiful and humanizing ways.

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A Belated Introduction to this Enterprise

Earlier this year, there was a void in my creative life. Perhaps, it was the lethargy of living for so long in a foreign country, amidst a foreign tongue, falling out of touch with artistic communities in the USA and so on. Friends leave. The day job repeats its yearly cycle. All those nice “daily life” things that happen.

On one normal Saturday afternoon, I decided to take yet another leap into social networking territory and start blogging. I chose WordPress randomly, having heard its name before and, upon signing up, enjoyed the ease of use and the interface. Around that time, I was reading books everyday, taking notes on what I was reading and, often times, re-reading the same texts for various purposes. But, I had no one to discuss my texts with and wanted someway to share my findings, to learn more about the texts by committing them to writing and hope for some kind of feedback. I wanted to develop my written “voice.” I dove into E.M. Cioran, Bernard Rudofsky, Jacques Lacan, Carl R. Rogers and others, with all my might. Their world’s came alive to me. Their feats and ideas challenged me. Explicating the reading, helped bring it to life for me. This holds true for today, too.

After exhausting myself, I started studying the styles of other bloggers. I had no idea as to the power of the blog and the great labyrinth of sites that are available, obscured by search engine optimization. The well seems to run deep. The blogs I read helped craft new articles for this blog, articles about social networking sites, publicity and Japanese culture. From this, I blended explications and Communications pieces with more “techie” articles. This was not the part of some master design, but more the workings of a mind with a lot of strings attached to it, too many limbs reaching around and finding things of interest. My sporadic pulling of different things can be seen in the piece “Crowley + Cioran + Morita,” a synthesis of three seemingly unrelated thinkers, a hopeful article.

At times, the seemingly apparent connections would slip away from me and I felt sorry for my readers, those of you kind enough to read my words and spend time with me. I have been like a whack-a-mole, popping up somewhere different just as you slam the hammer down upon my head. Hopefully, you find some comfort or value in that.

Recently, I have been working to filter down The Eyeslit-Crypt, to narrow the passage a bit more. In the recent months, I have taken great interest in writing about living and breathing people, people whom I admire and who I think are doing great things, whether in art, film, music or literature. I have written about the wonderfully prolific Ken Tanaka, America’s Funnyman, Neil Hamburger, Adult photographer/Film director Dave Naz and more. For some reason, studying other people makes me happy. I don’t mean this in a shallow “I’m so happy, its sunny today,” kind of happy, but a deep respectful happiness to see the work of someone who has sacrificed a life of ease, for a life of creative action. It is the least I can do to connect with these people and help spread their work around, work, which I truly believe in.

So, if you look to the left-hand column, you will see “The Eyeslit-Crypt Information” been altered, reconfigured and I will briefly try to explain that change. It has been broken down into three sections:

1. Creative Expression: I know this is still a large category, but basically, encompasses all forms of expression, the people who express and/or art/business that is making a difference, taking a more difficult path. It is about art that moves me or music that makes me want to go crazy (in a good way). It is also new social media tools, books, music, film and fashion.

2. Life Coaching: This includes ideas and strategies of living from Lacanian Psychoanalysis to Constructive Living. Hopefully, pieces falling under this broad category will in some way be relevant to you while you set out making your own life and facing your own personal challenges.

3. Cultural Studies: This is tied in closely with Creative Expression, but will focus more on language use, media ecology, interface humanities, sartoriasis and other topics. Awhile back, I wrote an article on the Japanese expression “KY,” which would fit nicely under the “Cultural Studies” umbrella.

I hope this brief elucidation brings together the aims and purposes of The Eyeslit-Crypt.

Some people who read “The Eyeslit-Crypt” may be wondering a little about who I am, where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’ll be brief, but hopefully clear. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from an American university and spent a great deal of time studying Communication Theory and Japanese. My undergraduate thesis was about the phenomenology of the garment and its relation to the human body. I have made a lot of music in my life and have albums available through records labels like Audiobot, Pac REC, Obscurica, N0-age, Impossible, Swampland and Self-Satisfied. I also have one album available through the iTunes music store. I’ve been behind the camera as an actor for many non-nationally distributed and viral films/videos. I’ve written and directed some of those films, too. Contact me if you want to see them. You may get a laugh out of them or not.

I have worked in corporate marketing, participated in training seminars and conducted face-to-face training/advising with corporate backing. A bit scattered, but relevant, I spent one week working closely with the Australian rock band AC/DC, translated four chapters of a Japanese philosophy book from Japanese to English, played concerts in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

Well, these are the things that come to mind at this point as some of the more memorable things that I have done. I know that they are just fragments, but hopefully they will give you some insight into where I’m coming from, experientially.

Thank you for lending me your attention.

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Deepening Web Communication (Fragments)

Steve Rhodes

Communications theorist Lee Thayer once wrote, “We ‘dilute’ the world by having an idea of it; and the intent of our words is, more often than not, to eliminate the world as resistance (Thayer 190).” As languaging creatures, our comprehension of the world is at once in direct contact with it (with certain spatial areas, horizons, surfaces, humans) and at the same time a part from it via language, creative expression, technology and so so on. That is to say, our ways of grasping the world is usually, most of the time, extending beyond the immediate here-and-now concreteness of reality, projecting ourselves onto things and others. Even when we are engaged in the concrete and ever-flowing “now,” we almost without control cover it over and lose what it could be with our self-talk or with symbolic complexes about how it should be. In the above quotation Thayer is calling us to think about the ways in which we understand our worlds, the ways in which we conceptually apprehend the concrete (via language) and how, perhaps, our talking serves the purpose of watering down the absolute harshness of the physical world.

Isolation

To use one example, in my current life situation I interact with computers everyday at home and at work. Just this evening, standing outside, I opened up my mobile phone, connected to the Web and checked my email. To some extent, the sense of aloneness, of isolation is swallowed up by the thought of being connected to a larger non-physical network of others. Moreover, for some of us, how much have we come to completely rely on Web communication for a large amount of the “real” communication that we crave, that we fail to engage while at work or even with friends? The temptation of connect may be seen as the temptation to substitute the “real” world for a virtual one, but I don’t think that things are this easy. Sure, it is nice to partake in micro-blogging or facebook updates, in order to keep relevant others “updated,” but what happens when one steps away from all of it? Moreover, how have our conversations changed…do we converse in 140 characters or less, I wonder?

I think that for those of us that engage in various forms of social media, the spreading out and fragmenting of ourselves, while creating small pockets of self-identity and self-representation have the consequences of widening the sense of isolation instead of eliminating it. Spreading oneself across the social media spectrum for research purposes or curiosity may be beneficial if put to good use, but even then, too much talk about nothing, too much reliance on Web communication creates a false sense of togetherness. No matter what, the computer still sits on the table, in the room, in the house, in the city, etc…The objectness of the computer disappears while we are engaged with it.

The Deep

In the same essay as the above mentioned quotation, Thayer writes, “What has happened is that we have come to mistake our reach for our grasp. With the modernization of consciousness has come belief that information is a reasonable substitute for knowledge, and that knowledge, rationally accumulated, is a reasonable substitute for wisdom (Thayer 183).” Too much self-fragmentation into the voids of social media may serve to satisfy a temporary hunger, a quick fix on news, technological advances and so on, but what is happening in the accumulation of quick fix knowledge? It seems to me that the self that consists of a diet of aggregated feeds, comes to accumulate more information than necessary and, as a result, not really use that accumulated knowledge. Reaching too far and pulling everything in is tempting, but wasteful and shallow. When I say “shallow,” I mean quickly reading something for the purpose of simply taking it in without making it a part of oneself, without spending time with it and allowing it to work its magick on you. Reading an aggregated feed is much different than reading a book just as “tweeting” on Twitter is much different than engaging in a conversation while sharing a bottle of wine. The depth of communication is at stake in both examples.

Pondering

If ours is a situation in which we language the world, in which the world becomes the way it is talked about and made sense, then what are some ways that we can strive to create and enact the most beautiful possible world? Moreover, if ours is a technological world, how can we deepen our communicative grasp through the social networks which we use? Finally, if ours is a fragmented world, what are some ways that we can stitch some vital fragments back together, ways in which we can come to deepen and enrich our human lives through the technological? Perhaps, these too, are some of my hopes for Web 3.0

*The two quotations were taken from the essay “Communication: Reach vs. Grasp,” which is in Lee Thayer’s book “Pieces: Toward a Revisioning of Communication/Life.”

Photo by Steve Rhodes (CC)

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