Creative Life Emotional Revolution

The Path and the Forest

Two brave knights enter the forest on their horses. The marked path is their guide. They want to cross the forest to get to the palace of the king on the other side where great riches are awaiting them. At the start of the journey both of them have the same goal, during the crossing everything changes for one of them. He begins to listen to the creatures of the forest, and lured by them he adventures himself into it to never return. The other knight, who follows the path, oblivious to the wild beauty laments the insanity that captured his fellow man. His life safe and protected by the path, he knows what’s behind and what’s ahead. His life known to him. The other has entered a world of magic and wonderment, his life has become an unexpected adventure full of suffering beauty…

Two archetypes of our world can be found in these two stories. One focused, practical, afraid of risk, surprises and pain at the cost of a life of routine and lack of real wonderment for a known goal that probably will never be attained. The other a wandering existence, full of adventures and encounters, magic and beauty, sensations and suffering for an unknown future, in which the moment becomes king and queen. In these two archetypes we all live, as the yin and yang of our existence. Some will hold with all their strength and will the path to secure their lives, others will let themselves be seduced by a world of imagination to feel the meaning of life. Between the two, we wander.

Creative Life Emotional Revolution

Do you think your brain is only logic and reason…?

If you do, you must perhaps turn around and have a look at your actions, at what you do and how you react to different situations. You are up for a surprise. For the brain is much more than that (or as I like to think, we – body, mind, heart and soul – are much more than that)

Have a look at his video:

…and for entertaining reading you have this great book by Daniel Pink:

Creative Life Network World

The power of small things

In history we’ve been focusing on the big stuff. Revolutions, wars, leaders, countries, big events…but it’s much more difficult to see how small things make a big difference. Michel Foucault called ‘disciplines’ those “tiny, everyday, physical mechanism […] those systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and asymmetrical” (Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison). These are typically present in state institutions like army, school or prison, but they are also in the bureaucratic administration and the capitalist corporation. All institutions that shape our lives in great extent. They have a great power to define how we frame our actions, what we see as ‘possible’ and ‘normal’, in opposition to the ‘impossible’ and ‘abnormal’.

Imagine, for example, the effect that has on society the fact of putting a clock with standardized time in all public schools setting the times of start and end of class, or the obligation of wearing tie and jacket to do business in the capitalist world, accepting with it the identity of a small part of the population who imposed the tie as a necessary garment, limiting de facto the expression of those that do not feel comfortable with it. The power of the small things lies on their ‘invisibility’. They are so ‘tiny’ that we think they are irrelevant details of life, but in fact they have a huge impact on how we live. Next time you are wearing a piece of cloth you don’t feel comfortable with because ‘this is what they want’ or the bank/public administration makes you feel unnecessary paperwork think about these little details, these disciplines, if they annoy you so much it is because there is something powerful behind…you just need to be aware of it to actually reject it. And perhaps make a tiny but powerful change in the world.

Creative Life Emotional Revolution Network World

Awakening: the power of love

“The cultural transformation from the love of power to the power of love is the drama of our time.”

Waking the Global Heart: Humanity’s Rite of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love, Anodea Judith

Creative Life Stories

A comet of fate (‘Connected’)

Mikhail could see the sea in the horizon. Darkness surrounded it. Street and appartment lights broke it. The air was cold, his bare feet could feel the humidity of the stone floor of the terrace. His curly undulating, light brown hair waving in the breeze. His hands gripped the black metal of the fence. His eyes looking far, farer than the horizon, towards one single point he only could see, he only could feel. Mikhail gripped tighter the fence with both hands. He pulled himself up over the fence to the edge of the terrace. He looked again at that single point far, far away. His eyes brigthen. He loosed his hands, smiled and jumped…

Mikhail Bolgevich died of an unnatural cause, suicide. This could have been another person jumping and killing himself if it wouldn’t be for what it was found on the floor of the living room, next to the sofa. It was a small plain black Moleskine notebook written in blue, red and black from the first page to the last. On the first page written: “In case of loss, please return to Mikhail Bolgevich, As a reward of $: 5000”. On the second, “This is the story of a comet of fate”. In this notebook, Mikhail have written the story of the comet that came into his life. She opened to him a shining darkness of the meaning of life. It was because of this comet that he jumped from a 7th floor, giving to himself a new life.

Time is relative. We all have felt those moments when clock hours seem like minutes, and those other when clock minutes seem like days. But fewer of us have felt those exceptional moments when time is eternal and brief simultaneously. It is in those paradoxical times when magical things happen. Thirty something years passed in Mikhail Bolgevich life, but to him they went by without much to tell. He said once that all those years he had been a hedgehog rolled into himself, just showing his soft but spiky spines to the world. The last six months of his life were longer and shorter than all those years. All started when he opened himself to the world and let it rain on him for anything to happen. And something happened.

He saw her for the first time in Moscow. It was in one of many talks he had given all around the world about his book “Connected”. In the clearing of the shadows of his hedgehog life he had written it inspired by the gradual awakening around the world. Prove of this awakening was the quick success it had everywhere. The premise of the book was that the Internet was facilitating the emergence of the part of our human nature that craves sharing and emotional connection over accumulation and materialism. Connected people were already sharing emotions and making a difference in theirs and other people’s lives. Mikhail’s book showed how it was happening, but it also warned of its dangers. It sold by the hundreds of thousands. It was downloaded in its free format by millions.

During the talk, she was sitting in the front row. Smiling, her blue eyes looking attentively Mikhail’s while he talked. He couldn’t ignore her penetrating stare. He succumbed to it.

While I was talking an immense silence fell between her and me. I was aware that my lips were moving and even of the meaning of the words I was saying, but I couldn’t hear any sound. It was like a tunnel had emerged between my eyes and hers, and that tunnel was muffling the reality outside of it.

In ‘Connected’ Mikhail explained how emotions could be expressed on the Internet through the means of words, music, images or video. The Net had created a new sphere in human life, a space where individuals could connect in many different ways by expressing their feelings and talents, sharing their emotions. “Thanks to this new emotional space, and contrary to what we were saying in the early times of this technology,” he said in his book, “physical encounters have become more frequent, more intense and more meaningful than before.” His talk in Moscow was about this emerging emotional space.

“I started ‘Connected’ from my own experience and ended it sharing the experiences of thousands of people. The making of this book is in itself a proof of concept of the amazing transformation we are not only witnessing, but also living. For the first time in history, we are all part of change…” The sound of ‘…nge’ resonated in the room, silence fell and the clapping of the public gave the ending note to the talk.

Mikhail stood up to arrange his Macbook Air, he only had time to close the lid. A few people had already time to get to the speakers’ table. She did too. Waiting in line for her turn, Mikhail could see her touching her dark blonde hair, smiling, her eyes still on him. ‘This emotional space could be short-lived, just something brief based on the consumption of emotions, what would you say?’, a thin young man face staring Mikhail’s, waiting for his “wise words”, ‘Could be, but then, what’s brevity? there is always something that remains of everything. Even if the intensity goes away, a new way of relating to each other has already opened to our eyes, minds and hearts. As for the consumption, yes there might be some of it, but not all, there is a sincere avidity for emotional connection beyond hedonistic consumption.’ The reply seemed to satisfy the young Moscuvite, or perhaps he just wanted an excuse to approach and talk to the author of the book, one or the other he said thank you, good bye and left with a timid smile.

‘Mikhail, I was wondering whether the origins of this book lie on your own need to connect to people. You seem to me a person who likes to feel close to people, and I’m not referring only to physical closeness.’

‘Wow’, this is the only word that came out of my mouth. ‘Who is she?’ I thought. ‘Why do you say that I like to feel close to people?’ I finally said. ‘Well, for once you are standing just two centimeters from me, and it’s not me who moved when I was talking to you. Also, while you were talking you touched several times Sam [note: my editor in Russia] and, finally, your grey (slash) blue eyes say it out loud.’

soundtrack #1 of this story

(To be continued…)

Creative Life Emotional Revolution

The night starts here

The night starts here, the night starts here, forget your name, forget your fear
The night starts here, the night starts here, forget your name, forget your fear

The pleasure part, The after shock, The moment that, It takes the fall apart
The time we have, The task at hand, The love it takes, To destroy a man
The ecstasy, The being free, That big black cloud, Over you and me
And after that, The upward fall, And worry angels, After all
I don’t know, I don’t know

Creative Life Stories

Some Kind of Life (5)

Geert van Hurck, Flickr

Continuation of Some Kind of Life (1), (2), (3) and (4)

You never know how it is going to go in Moscow Domodedovo airport. Sometimes there is a long queue full of Caucasian families in front of the passport control booths waiting to be questioned and requestioned, other times it is just you and a a mixed of a few tourists and Russians. Michael was lucky this time. It was the second.

Michael’s ‘Dobroe utro’ is received with a mumble from the guard in the booth. The mumbling guard takes Michael’s passport. He looks once, twice at his face. He puts his passport on the reader, and waits. Michael considers whether to smile at him or just look straight. The second. His passport is duly return to him. He is now officially in Russia.

No surprise. His usual driver, Igor, was waiting for him with the sign “Michael Forsyth-Demtri”. Wrong. It was actually Forsyth-Demetri, but this is the price of willing to keep his mother’s name in his surname. She made for a big part of what he was. He wanted to reflect that fact somewhere in his public identity. ‘Privet, Igor’, ‘Privet, Mr. Forsyth, how was your flight?’, replied the driver with an obvious Russian accent. ‘Bumpy, but it got here. Never guaranteed.’, ‘Sorry?’, ‘Never mind. Let’s go, I have a busy schedule today.’

Monday, Moscow, morning

Creative Life Network World

The ethics of hacktivism

HACKTIVISM: a policy of hacking, phreaking or creating technology to achieve a political or social goal.

While organizing my library of academic articles on my Mac, I discovered a paper on The ethics of hacktivism written by Julie T.C. Thomas in January 12, 2001. I thought it worthwhile to share it with you. It is short and with good references if you are interested in going further.

UPDATE: Another article I’ve just found: “The Myth of the Computer Hacker” (on a side note: for those that are working on myths (or mythologization or demythologization for the matter 😉 ), it has a short reference to Barthes and the concept of myth).

UPDATE 2: …and then a classic of hacker culture that I also found in my library: Raymond’s “How to become a hacker“. Which can also be found in its latest version (with active hyperlinks) on the web…

Creative Life Emotional Revolution

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? A darwinian theory of beauty

Continuing the theme of beauty I started with my post The emotion of beauty, I’d like to share with you a TED talk by Denis Dutton animated by the wonderful Andrew Park. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? No, Dutton explains it within the Darwinian theory of evolution. It still arises many questions, but it is a very interesting theory very well explained…Worth viewing it more than once!

What is also interesting of Denis Dutton talk is that it is very much related with two of the main topics of this blog: creative life and emotional revolution

Creative Life Emotional Revolution Network World

The audacity of changing ourselves…and then the world

For weeks. Days. Hours. She thought, considered and reconsidered this step. She’d been working for five years in the law firm, and now she was tired of the life she had, of her profession. She’d decided to quit. It was the moment to do it, for they were going to promote her to partner in a week. Now or never.

So she did. She went first to the director’s office. Tell her story and quit. Then she went to the offices of all the people, all those lawyers, she’d ever had any contact during her years in the firm. To say good bye. But she was not prepared to what she encountered in those short visits.

In every office. With every colleague. She started telling her story. A story that didn’t have an end, for her future is undecided, unplanned, unchartered. Her thoughts accumulating, disorganised in the blending excitement of fear, hope, doubt and illumination. Expecting a conventional farewell. A worrying remark. Or even a rejection against her irresponsibility of leaving the certainty of a well-paid job. She approached the door quickly after her talk. Yet, responding words were not the ones expected. Although some were simply courteous, most were caring and encouraging. And many were full of yearning for the courage she was showing. Many were internally desiring to take the same step, but they were not allowed to express it, until she entered their offices. Like her, they were also longing for a more meaningful life. Unlike her, they didn’t have the courage to make it real.

This is a real story. Something that happened to a friend of mine not very long ago. She is now finding herself again. I invited her to the Social Innovation Spiral, the foundation of an emerging community of social innovators and entrepreneurs in Barcelona. She came and she adored it. She, I, nobody knows where she’s, we’re, going. There is no certainty about her, our, destination or even the path she’s, we’re, going to follow in the immediate future. Notwithstanding, she faces the future with the audacity of a real social entrepreneur, because she told me “the really courageous thing would have been to stay where I was, for there, I was really suffering”.

Now, you can also join us in the next Social Innovation Spiral in Barcelona, La Pedrera, 20 January 2011.