HT #13: Fly Into Life's Mystery
And Take A Deep Dive Into The Unknown
How To #13 (How To Fly Into Life’s Mystery): In high school I thought I wanted to be an architect. It only took a cutting off the tip of my left index finger to convince me otherwise though. If you aren’t willing to give up a digit, you don’t have what it takes, I thought. I wanted my digit but was still drawn to the idea of creating a world, a place of habitation, a building both permanent and sensual. It’s not too far off from what filmmakers do so it wasn’t hard to make that leap, and I didn’t have to fuss around with bloody exacto knives anymore. I think filmmakers and architects both often have a certain love of control that is inherent in the dream of building a world and that sometimes gets in the way of conceiving something wonderfully original and free of the conformity – particularly when it seems like your only path is industrialized cultural expression. Sometimes though it is precisely the rub that scratches the itch too…
I find there is a profound difference from building and conceiving, and it is the building that loves the control. Personally, I find the other part has the opposite sort of exhilaration: surrender and the leap – a deep exploration into the murkiness and unfathomable, an embrace of chaos, a faith in the uncanny and a union of opposites. It delivers new understandings and expanded horizons. Building lives in the known, but if we don’t wade out into the other more mysterious realm, we never even dream of what is possible.
Let’s consider if there is another way of building that can permanently embrace the unknown, that can be comfortable in not controlling all, that may not be result or accomplishment based, that doesn’t need to be in control. And if we can do that, perhaps we can learn to see the beauty in a better process as well new satisfactions and pleasures.
One of the reasons we are a planet of so few artists is we have fostered an environment that wants answers and explanations. We always want to know what we are doing or where we are headed. Whatever you do, please don’t alter the agenda. We crave the intended result and not the happy accident. But what if life on earth was something different? What if we made a simple adjustment and shifted our attitude just a wee bit?
I don’t know about you, but I find my day – even when I am working for myself and call no one my boss – governed by routine and commitment to follow through with what I said I’d do. Responsibilities pile up and soon we’ve lost the pure form of agency and the ability to really change our minds. That sort of light switch thing. The finger snap. I think it is a nation-wide, industry-wide, cultural and community wide obsession with checking those getting-things-done boxes and neglecting our need for the new and novel, for the uncharted territory, and for the magic act where we pull it out our hat by the skin of our pants. We’ve created a legion where so so many are good at what they do, but so few really do something different.
We need to both cultivate more freaks, support more weirdos, and unlearn how to always get things done.