A clash of sameness

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Image via Eric Nopanen

Now when the phone rings on the train, everyone instinctively checks their pockets. People used to personalize their ringtones so that their incoming calls were unique. Ringtones were a badge of individuality, demonstrating your music tastes and personality. The passengers with the Ghostbusters ringtone anthem always made seatmates chuckle.

The standardization of sound is one indication that the fascination with mobile phones has petered out. Instead, it’s the apps that live on our screens that determine what type of person we are.

LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram, Tumblr– these ‘places‘ allude to where we like to live, work, and play. We are uniform on the outside but raging in our little worlds, filter bubbles, or echo chambers on the inside.

It’s only when we chat with a stranger or go the polls do we realize that the digital and physical realities don’t match up. The world is not as it seems.

There is no such thing as a virtual utopia, a second life. If you’re not acting as the person online and off, you’ll inevitably run into frustration and subjugation. The real world runs on tribes until the creative minority once again breaks it back into pieces to retain their originality.

Newsletter: Disinformation and Frappuccinos™

web gems

  1. What an American football team in southeastern Ukraine can teach the US about the perils of disinformation, a term created by the KGB in the 1950s.
  2. In 1992, George Howell AKA “The Coffee Shaman” created the Frappuccino™. In 1994, he sold his twelve Boston-based Coffee Connection stores to Starbucks for $24 million. He still hates cold brews.
  3. Technology shapes us. Cities shape us. But urbanites across the world are all becoming the same. Read Future Life in the City and the Growing Spaces Between Us
  4. The cubicle was intended to be the action of office. What we got instead was “a mania for uniformity.
  5. Moving to a virtual utopia is saving the disabled from ‘information porn.
  6. Polish artist continues to make his thought-provoking illustrations.
  7. “The darker the night, the brighter the stars.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

digging in the crates

  1.  “I still have a lot of time for putting out 12 inches.” Joy Orbison wasn’t lying. It’s been five years since his last solo release, but Joy Orbison is back with all new EP on his own label TOSS PORTAL. ‘Rite Ov’ steps into a dub groove that even Mark Ernestus would appreciate. I just wish I had a better sound system to do the bass justice. |
    LISTEN
  2. The Peter Franks Group is an instrumental and jazz beat collective from Bournemouth, England. The fresh and crisp flute-driven track ‘Leaving This Place’ is one of the standout tracks off the band’s album Days Past. ‘Inner Most’ is also a moody gem. | LISTEN
  3. “In 2005, while making his Saturday morning yard sale rounds around town, collector Blake Oliver stumbled upon a box of curiously marked tapes. At first, Oliver thought he’d found the lost masters from Clem Price and George Beter’s Columbus-based Prix label.” | LISTEN

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Inspiration porn

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Image via Clem Onojeghuo

Inspiration porn. Food porn. Why is that we must see something before we engage with it?

The notion of action and the anticipation of taste are more tangible than the outcome. It is not necessarily the doing or consumption we seek but rather the imagination that foresees its conclusion.

In the midst of the action, we forget why we started in the first place. The idea already contains the happy ending, even if it’s fictional.

Losing our edge

Image via Jakob Owens

Being weird used to be lonely. But then the Internet happened. It connected the vinyl collectors, the sneakerheads, and the want-to-be Romance novelists. They came together, competed, collaborated, cheered each other on while a select few took their micro, macro until their weird became the new standard.

“Success blurs. It rounds off the rough edges.”

John Peel

We’re not all weird. We’re not all normal. But some of us are curious and forward-thinking. We search for what’s next before it even hits the trend spotters’ radar. We dig deep in the underground to avoid the peril of sameness.

The closer we get to normal, the closer we are to losing our edge.

Always a good reread: We’re Are All Weird

I stopped thinking in tweets

Image via Unsplash
  • because it wasn’t the game I wanted to play
  • because I wanted to synthesize my thoughts on my blogs and share my discoveries in a comprehensive newsletter
  • because I didn’t want to think in 140 characters
  • because I wanted to read more books
  • because I decided to do something more durable, i.e. write another book
  • because I strived to go deeper
  • because I felt nostalgic for the insights that emerged in those moments of boredom

And although my mind still thinks in sentence fragments, it no longer feels the need to throw darts.

Habituate the fear 

Escape. (Image via Averie Woodard)

Anxiety is both a contagious and fearful gift. However, more emphasis gets placed on its negative influence rather than its impetus for greatness

By overcompensating for our fears, rehearsing actions that vitiate it, we preempt the tremors with the feeling of habit.

Making art is an anxiety reducer, as is doing the dishes, running, or putting away vinyl. Whatever gets us out of our heads and into a flow state brings relief.

“Habits are more important than fears.”

Seth Godin

Seeing at a pre-digital pace

The blends. (Image via @bombtune)
There is a lot you can learn from just watching. When I was in India, a country that moves so fast it makes New York City look slow, standing still was the only way to see what was going on.

With a patient mind, you could notice the beautiful colors in a woman’s veil, and how they matched up or contrasted the surrounding architecture. It was almost like viewing an organized play, and I was in the audience.

We were not meant to match the speed of the internet. We’re more observant when we’re still and focused than struggling to match the web’s pace. No one wants to be left behind. But you can only see things when you slow down.