Creativity Is the Unifying Thread
"Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward." -Jeanette Winterson
We may not all be artists, makers, or entrepreneurs, but we can all do things for their intrinsic value. Because there’s a lot of value in intrinsic value.
I currently have two short stories, one essay, and 11 poems out for review with literary magazines. This work may never find an audience of interested readers, which I clearly do desire. At the same time, I know I’m better off for having written these pieces.
An Embarrassment of Riches
The people of the United States have never been richer. New York Magazine reports:
In 2018, American households boasted a collective net worth of over $98 trillion. If that wealth were divided evenly across the U.S. population, every human being in our country would have roughly $298,000 to their name — and every family of four would be millionaires.
Two hundred and ninety-eight thousand dollars per person. It’s dizzying to consider what could be in the richest but not the smartest country on earth.
Mindfulness and Stepping Outside of the Mind
Do you ever wonder where resilience comes from or how to cultivate more of it and call on it as necessary?
It’s true that some people are naturally resilient, but for most of us, we need to practice mindfulness and focus on making resilience-building part of our daily rituals and routines.
One of my favorite thinkers, Douglas Rushkoff, points out how swimming in the river of negativity is not the way to this higher ground.
"If we’re going to stand any chance of drawing denialists out of their delusion, and ignorers away from their distractions, we’re going to have to offer them something better than a nightmare. The scarier things get, the less likely anyone is going to want to wake up and join us in the harsh light of truth."
He is not saying to look the other way from the terrors of our day or to ignore the pain and suffering of others. Rushkoff suggests that we will make progress by focusing on solutions and painting a lovely picture for people, so they can more easily imagine themselves dwelling in a peaceful place and time.
Rushkoff is not alone. Timothy Hampton, professor of comparative literature and French at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote in Aeon about the need for cheerfulness (an idea endorsed by Ralph Waldo Emerson):
Emerson’s celebration of the cheerful sensibility brings the social vision of the moralist together with the creativity of the poet. He suggests not only that cheerfulness links people together in communities, but that he who controls cheerfulness can remake the world.
I don’t know about “controlling cheerfulness,” but I do know it’s much too simple to dismiss positive thinking as a form of weakness or worse, quackery.
AR-15-style guns are often marketed to young men as a way to prove their masculinity. Some ads mimic popular first-person shooter video games, while others claim the weapons will put buyers “at the top of the testosterone food chain.”
Cal Newport writes, “platforms like Facebook could be doomed if they fail to maintain the social graphs upon which they built their kingdoms.”
Technologist and philosopher Jaron Lanier, a virtual reality pioneer and early internet evangelist who isn’t on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, contends that we would all be better off if we just quit social media.
I continue to be concerned with shaming because it’s the wrong construct for personal and social change.
I am currently working on two book-length manuscripts—a new book of poems, and a book of stories. I also work with business and community leaders to help them shape their stories and connect with new audiences.
Please visit DavidBurn.com to learn more about my writing and professional services.
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