Make or Find Art and Beauty and Share It with Others
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” -Jonas Salk
The avalanche of horrendous news continues to pour down and through the screens. 51 migrants dead on arrival outside San Antonio. The overturning of Roe v. Wade by a radical right-wing court. Tens of thousands more murdered by guns all across this land of liberty.
How in the world do we handle the painful realities of life on earth, while continuing to focus on our work, our families, and our communities? Tali Sharot, associate professor of cognitive neuroscience in the department of experimental psychology at University College London, offers some insight:
After a stressful public event, such as a terrorist attack or political turmoil, there is often a wave of alarming information in traditional and social media, which individuals absorb well, but that can exaggerate existing danger … however, positive emotions, such as hope, are contagious too, and are powerful in inducing people to act to find solutions. Being aware of the close relationship between people’s emotional states and how they process information can help us frame our messages more effectively and become conscientious agents of change.
In the face of darkness, hope helps people breathe and you’ve got to breathe before you can believe. So let’s not lose hope. Let’s do just the opposite and make more of it available to all in need. How? By creating it, embodying it, and offering it up in big ways and small.
Hippies Use Side Door
Cal Newport is one of my favorite writers concerned with the impacts of digital culture. His recent essay in The New Yorker was particularly interesting because he takes readers back to a more innocent time. A time I remember well. At the turn of the 21st century, I was delighted to express myself on web pages of my own making. It was fun and promising at the same time. Then the conformity crept in.
Initially, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter emphasized their simple, elegant-looking interfaces and their sales pitches about online expression and connection, but really they were hijacking the Web 2.0 revolution by concentrating much of its new energetic user activity onto their own proprietary platforms, where it could be efficiently monetized. Jaron Lanier argued that, in order for these platforms to justify making so much money off voluntary productivity, user content needed to be separated from the unique, interesting, diverse, flesh-and-blood individuals who’d created it. To accomplish this goal, the “proud extroversion” of the early Web soon gave way to a much more homogenized experience: hundred-and-forty-character text boxes, uniformly sized photos accompanied by short captions, Like buttons, retweet counts, and, ultimately, a shift away from chronological timelines and profile pages and toward statistically optimized feeds. The user-generated Web became an infinite stream of disembodied images and quips, curated by algorithms, optimized to distract.
In related news, here’s one of the shortest and more memorable “chapters'“ that I’ve come across recently.
Redeemed in the Literature of Heroic Struggle
Over the past two months, I am happy to report that I have read several page-turners with powerful and memorable women heroes.
· The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
· Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
· The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
· American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
These four books all have plots that center on timeless issues like worker’s rights, migrant’s rights, and women's rights, also knowns as equal rights and human rights.
In books as in real life, human beings prove to be amazingly resilient. Heroes real and invented are capable of love in the face of terror, poverty, and destruction and, for me, this is where hope lies. We can become heroes by loving fiercely. When we do, this lifts us up and makes us stronger champions for justice.
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"Successful careers are built on a combination of luck, mentorship, and aligning with the right trend. And yes, hard work is important, but everybody works hard." -Rishad Tobaccowala
Are the ad workers of America ready to fight for better work conditions? In England, creatives and others who make advertising are organizing as members of the United Voices of the World Union.
Did you know that nearly a third of the labor force was unionized in the 1950s? The standard of living improved for a lot of working people in that period.
A new Supreme Court ruling just gutted the EPA’s ability to enforce Clean Air Act. #GOPdeathcult
Rochelle Garza for Texas Attorney General is one of the most important races in the nation this election cycle. Will you join me in helping her beat Ken Paxton and the Texas GOP?
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