Friday, September 30, 2011

Ten Ways to Wrestle with a Rapidly and Radically Changing World

A while back I came upon an apparently defunct blog called Brainsturbator and spent a couple of weeks reading through the backlog of fantastic material posted there. One of the posts was so powerful and relevant that I have tacked up a modified, one-page version on my cubicle wall at work, right under a picture of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.

I check it regularly, seeing if I am putting the recommendations into practice. While I usually find that I am not, or at least not enough, I do that whole "start where you are" thing and hit the reset button, attempting once again to take a baby step or two in the right direction.

Here are the ten things, I recommend visiting the site for the full breakdown:

  1. Practice is repetition is preparation is power.
    This might be the hardest for me. I have little discipline, and so I tend to get caught up in an interest, only to be swept away by the next, and so on. I will be exploring this further in the next couple of blog posts, I think.

  2. Create situations that cannot be controlled.

  3. Do not allow yourself to be controlled by situations.

  4. Seek information, avoid arguments. Especially good to remember in the "someone is wrong on the Internet" world of pointless pedantry and faceless flame wars.

  5. Seek predictive models, avoid explanatory models.

  6. Become an autonomous cell.
    "Work for your community, independently and perhaps invisibly."

  7. Don’t be a dickhead, and love thy neighbor.
    This is one of my favorites. And it is easier said than done, of course. And the anti-fascist in me has to ask, "Is the cop spraying mace in the face of a peaceful protester really my neighbor? How about the Wall Street hedge fund trader whose greed translates into real suffering for millions of people? Is he really my neighbor?"

  8. Invest in tools and share them subversively.
    I am reminded of the tool libraries like the one in Berkeley, CA and the Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, IL.

  9. Become a Beacon of Insane Hope.
    Rob Brezsny springs to mind immediately, as do the late great Robert Anton Wilson and Hakim Bey/Peter Lamborn Wilson. I also find that the "Christus Victor" interpretation of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the bodhisattva both fit this description.

  10. Please, be fearless.
    Chögyam Trungpa's Shambhala Training is a fine place to start, as are most martial arts. See point 1 above. Rinse, repeat.

Special thanks to Justin Boland for his work on the original Brainsturbator site!

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