TAoN No. 134: Advice on attention from Kevin Kelly. Plus a new Missing Word, and more.
In response to "Missing Words" - Diss Kiss.
All good. I'm chill about whatever day the Newsletter arrives. It is like beef stew - just as good, if not better, a day later.
Also, no worries about how skinny or plump "Other News" is. Read once that Loren Michaels often says "we stop writing SNL on Saturday at 11pm, not because we're done, but because that when the show starts."
Just send whatever you got "better an egg today, then a hen tomorrow." Speaking of hens, the bit about The Met Gala and Chickens cracked me up! Who knew there are so many different types of chickens??? And so chic!
Love your topic this week of timeless wisdom. Thank you for your good work Rob, and your genernosty in sharing it was us!!
Hey Rob, thanks for shout-out in your "Every Single X" post.
Following up on that idea, those travel quests of visiting every single [blank] really speak to Nos 1 & 2 on Kelly's list. Without a quest to visit *all* the national park units—not just the big wilderness parks that I was initially interested in—I'd have never deeply encountered topics I had no obvious interest in. Hell, I hadn't even heard of half of them. But because the quest forced me to go to places I otherwise wouldn't have, I went to Topeka, Kansas (eww, Kansas! No thanks) and had my worldview bludgeoned by an interactive display at Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site. I went to Manzanar, a former WWII-era Japanese Internment Camp and realized that one of the largest camps was just a dozen miles from my house in Phoenix and decided to visit all 10 camps (another quest!). And then I toured the Manhattan Project NHP in Oak Ridge Tennessee and made the major sit and came to understand the incredibly complex science/project management/weaponization/ethics of that endeavor and how it fundamentally changed the world.
Hell, even some of my "weird" quests, like eating at every windowless Chinese restaurant in downtown Phoenix, or visiting all four World's Largest Balls of Twine, have brought me to places I wouldn't have experienced and provided fun little story vignettes that I'll tell the rest of my life. My wife is just back from two weeks in the hospital with a major health scare and can't travel for awhile, so we've quickly adopted a quest to visit every single museum in the metro area, no matter its size or theme. I'm certain that we'll enjoy at least parts of that endeavor, too—as we have the 20ish quests we're working on.
Anyway, this concept of having a goal that *forces* you outside your comfort zone, to experience things you otherwise wouldn't, expand your viewpoint, visit places you haven't heard of, notice what you didn't before, learn enough to care about something new, have unexpected experiences...man, all that is at the core of why I love quests so much.
I love #3 Art is whatever you can get away with.
Adding to your interpretation, Not only declare art when you feel you see it, but more naughtily, make up things, any sort of things. If no one complains, you’ve created art!
That’s also my take on life. We are creating art with every single action and decision we take, as long as we can get away with it, which we mostly manage!
And a second order thought. Even if you don’t get away with it, that might just be your objective, being caught disrupting order. So, mission: accomplished as well!
Thank you for your article! I bought the book after reading your article.
“Art is whatever you can get away with” may be one of the greatest sentiments i’ve ever read.
I am a firm believer in Number 6. If you stop to listen or watch a street former (musician, dancer, chalk artist, ventriloquist, whomever), give them a monetary reward. I am trying to get in the habit of always carrying around a bunch of $1 and $5 bills (that are easily accessible) when we travel so that when you unexpectedly encounter street performers, you have something to give and don't have to go digging in your purse or your wallet only to find you only have large bills. This even applies to the homeless population. Surely everyone can spare at least a dollar for street performers who bare their souls and for the homeless who, although perhaps a bit lost, are souls, too.
Wonderful post. There needs to be a word for a built up need for catharsis. I’m not there now but have been at times. Overly stressed. Overly depressed. Overly anxious. Overly emotional. But with no user manual for accessing the pressure release valve.
This was the article I read right after I read yours, and it seems like a great companion piece... https://open.substack.com/pub/tedgioia/p/the-brilliant-bad-decisions-of-john?r=iptj&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
I laughed out loud at number 3 on Kevin Kelly's list! It reminded me of an aphorism I thought of, and posted on my Instagram page, a few years ago. It said: Art is often in how you explain it. I also really love number 5. I try to do that, but I don't always. I'm going to put in more effort now!
Paying attention to the the things you pay attention to. Thanks for passing this on.
Such a fan of this man and his generosity!