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Lino Cervantes, a heteronym of Eugenio Montejo, invented a genre called the coligram. Here is an example: Me alumbro a solas con una es...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tier Two

Once you realize that tier 2 activities are supportive of tier 1, then the former will seem less onerous. So I always resist cleaning, but if I can think of it as something that will create a conducive environment for productive work- / love- / music- making, then cleaning seems more valuable.


I continue with life hack #1, which is to do something life-changing or impactful every day. I've cleaned my home office and started on the office here on campus and the bedroom.  I'm continuing to aim to complete a major article / chapter / proposal every month. I have one planned for Dec.


Also, interviewed (with my own department) to be Chair.  I will need to institute some hacks if I am chosen for this position.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Disturbing encounter

At the airport, picking someone up, I had a disturbing encounter. I was at terminal C and I woman approach us as we were loading suitcases in the car and said, "Are you going to terminal B." I said no and she said, "the n.....s" are going there." She was about 60 and spoke with a possibly Eastern European accent.  She kept repeating that sentence and all we could do was just tell her in several different ways that she shouldn't be saying this. My companion told her she was disgusting. I'm sure she was mentally disturbed in some way.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Another useless notion

Another fairly useless notion is "non-Western." Ouch. What could this possibly mean? A hat-rack and a picture frame and the air in a balloon are "non-liquid." You can't define things but what they are not.

The "Western" is itself a dubious concept, but what do all the parts of the world that aren't Western have in common?  Nothing at all.


Blogging belongs to tier 1, for me.  Getting a comment from Bob, Olga, Leslie, or Thomas makes my day, even if it is a depressing comment.


Book proposal is being read at Routledge!


Another life /work hack is to write an article or equivalent every month. It could be a major keynote address or a book proposal.  You might not be able to sustain it, but it is a way of writing yourself out of a funk. I've been doing it since September. The last time I did it was in January 2006, and the result was the renaissance of my career.


Your weaknesses will be most apparent to yourself,  in many cases.  As long as you can some up with good results, it doesn't matter that you have weaknesses that made it harder for you. It matters to you, but not to others.

There are several approaches to weaknesses:

Defensive: you can deny them or attempt to conceal them (usually making them worse in the process!).

Opportunistic:  you can identify them and work to remedy them.

The approach I've taken often is to ignore them and making my strengths so strong that the weaknesses won't even matter any more.  This "works" to a small extent, but then doesn't allow as much personal growth.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Footnote to awesome life hack 2

If you are in a relationship, or any kind of friendship, then that can be in the top tier:  something you live for.  It can be in middle tier as well: something that sustains you. If it is in the bottom tier, then it is a bad relationship, of course. Most good relationships have to have elements of tiers one and two. Instinctively, without even thinking about it, I put my love relationship on the top tier, as something valuable in an of itself, not as something with a merely utilitarian purpose.

I think happiness is the wrong goal. The goal should be doing as much in the top tier as possible. So it's not that music or love make me happy, but that these things are happiness.

Many things serve a dual purpose: they are ends in themselves and are also sustaining and enriching. Friendship is one such thing.  The more hours devoted to tiers one and two, the better.

The chance juxtaposition

An idea can come from the chance juxtaposition of two things. I found a quote I needed to write something, then found an even better quote:

In the broadest sense, art doesn't have a function for homo sapiens — it is a function of homo sapiens. Humans perceive-and-generate patterns in biologically and socially inseparable processes which generally precede application of those patterns. That's what makes the species so adaptable and dangerous. Even in the most rational or practical occupations, we're guided to new utilitarian results by aesthetics.Software engineers, for example, are offended by bad smells and seek a solution that's "Sweet!" 

 Then I picked up, on the way out of work, a book someone had left for anyone to take, on the Invention of Primitive Culture.  The idea is that primitive culture simply does not exist, is not reconstructable in any meaningful way.  If there is no primitive culture, there is no primitive art either. So I had an idea to write an article called "Theses on the Anthropology of Art."  The ideas for this started to form in my head.  Of course, I know nothing of the anthropology of art, so I would have to do a lot of reading.

Awesome Life Hack 2

Ok.  Here is a second life hack.

Take a piece of paper and on the top half, list things that you live to do. Making music, reading poetry, being in love, fucking, looking at art, cooking, mentoring other people... Whatever it is.  This is your top tier. Things you would do all day long if you could design your own life with no financial or any other kind of contingency. You don't think of these things as beneficial because they lead to other results, but as inherently valuable.  

Don't think of it as "life-work balance." The top tier of life includes things that belong to professional life (if you're lucky) or to personal life, if you're lucky.  What I am suggesting here is a balance of another type.  

On the middle of the paper, list things that are necessary but not necessarily pleasurable. For me, it's exercise and meditation, sleep, cleaning and organizing, and the less pleasurable parts of professional life. These things support the top tier. 

Now you might be lucky, and find that exercise and meditation belong to your top tier. Then you won't have to force yourself to do them.  For me, luckily, cooking is in the top tier, so I don't see at as a tedious chore.  Everyone's list will be different.   

On the bottom is your lower tier. Here binge watching netflix, drinking, or ruminating, randomly going through comments on a blog post on the internet... These fill time but are do not support the top tier, and may even undermine it, to the extent that they foster depression and anxiety.  

So two thirds of one's life, in this scheme, is positive: it is either what one lives for, or something supportive of it.

Once you have the paper filled out, then you can easily see what the next steps might be. For me, for example, it is obvious that I have to do more in the middle tier and less in the bottom one.  I can eliminate random internet browsing and limit binge watching of netflix to after 8 p.m.  


Another way to do this hack is to map out your life using other schemata: you don't have to follow mine. You can use a bookkeeping scheme to talk about assets and liabilities, or use the life / work equation that many prefer.  I prefer mine, because it shows the relation between the middle and upper tiers: a simple list of positives and negatives does not do that, but you might come up with something even more brilliant.