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The Mars Volta

Culture is shamelessly recombinant

I’m listening to that offspring of The Mars Volta’s creative and prolific irreverence, De-loused in the Comatorium, while writing this.

“[…] This is the house of Roulette Dares / Ruse of metacarpi / Caveat Emptor / To all that enter here […]”

Non-sensical lyrics, proficient instrumentation, bizarre orchestration and dissonance at length. The Mars Volta draws on rock, jazz, punk, electronic music, salsa and cuban son (and a lot more) to bring something that could be plain eclecticism, but raises as a new sound. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t; but the sole fact that works for some people, and that is different, makes it remarkable.

And not only “worth talking about” as Seth Godin would say, but also “worth identifying with”. That’s when you project yourself onto something and the result tells a story about you.

But building an identity requires effort. Requires you to not stand still, passive, while others decide what you listen to, wear, read, say or think. That gets patience, persistence and passion.  Demands your attention, questions your self-perception, and furthers your aesthetic conception.

There is an anthropologist (whose newest book I’ve been reading this week),  Grant McCracken, who coined a term for a powerful concept. The Diderot effect. When there is some A related to some B, such that when you let A go in, B makes his way in too.  I recommend reading Diderot’s tale about a man who changed his gown, and a whole change came with it. I specially like this excerpt below, reminding us that there is no such thing as a ‘finished’ taste:

“[…] the most sublime taste is not exempt from change; change means throwing things away, turning things upside down, building something new; in the end there is nothing left in the family strongbox […]”

It is worth noting that he also warns us about this easy path to bankruptcy =P. As could be seen, this Diderot effect is highly tied to our consumerist behaviour. Is information, aesthetics and knowledge consumerism. And with new connections, it is now more than ever a social one. It’s just that I’m not sure we should refrain from it. In a time where the social and economic ideologies of half-a-century ago fell apart and lost their appeal for most (and I mean even the ‘capitalist’ ones), we are left only with a personal quest.

Going back on track, our identity quest requires effort, and if I’m to stay faithful to previous thoughts (surely that won’t last for long), the only way you can build this identity thing is with impulses. A train, a sequence, of impulses. While they are short-lived you can benefit from them if you capture their energy. If they build one on top of the other – you integrate over them -, you are going somewhere. Your personal path.

But they not pile in a linear fashion, they interact and conform different personas inside you. Personas whose dynamics come as transitions and transformations. That’s the topic of Part 2.

Till next time!

OMG!!! I have a blog dying of starvation

Don’t panic. As irrelevant as it could seem, this blog will stay here  for long; just for the sake of the time we could have used but instead just wasted.

I’m really a busy guy (and know we all are btw), who employs his time working on a myriad of things… from which he only finishes those he gets paid for.  As is my custom, I like to watch over myself and find patterns of behavior. That’s why I amuse myself seeing how our micro-planning level is guided more by the mood and the instant motivation than by our highest goals in life.

But the fact is that our human experience is built from a set of little samples of time weaved in a sort of continuous fabric. And therefore we really don’t have the control of our lives.

Oh, if you are a successful (whatever it means) student, professional, father or another, you should be thinking that I’m being carried over by my feelings at the moment, and am overly pessimistic. And, oh, yes, you are quite right. But as I suppose, you also have your pessimistic moments; which only favors my argument =).

On the other hand (yeah, I know you still have your point), I’ve been quite lucky in life and managed to get where I wanted. But that wasn’t by a continuous, persistent, and managed effort towards one goal, but instead by singularities, or selected actions in specific moments. An impulse-function-of-effort that changed the path of what would have been an otherwise boring existence.  Of course, The biggest thinks I’ve done comprise not one, but many of those impulses.

So our life is mostly we fighting against our basic desires: I’m hungry right know, I’d rather drink beer all night,  let’s do whatever-different-from-what-we-should, or better just content omitted to keep PG-13 rating. Nonetheless, to put an end to this seemingly endless rant against our nature, I acknowledge sometimes there really are brief, sustained, and pleasing efforts towards a goal.

Our enlightenment moments.

When we’re being productive, happy and (the magic word) motivated. As I happen to think, motivation is all about identity and self-value. When we are motivated everything flows (Oh look! tautologies all over the way — popular definition of  motivation: “Motivation is the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior”), and we feel good!

I’m heading to that elusive concept called Identity. Better regarded as a process than a value, a transformation if you prefer, is more important when built than when shown.

In order to not extend this post too much, I’ll stop here till next post, where I intend to show some connections between identity, motivation and what the hell is our purpose in this existence.

Blatantly without a single reference. Omitted a bad joke on the value of time by a female musician on a  well-regarded talk, a reference to a popular online encyclopedia (Ha, guess that one!), a book about identity construction by a blogger (soon saying blogger will be as informative as saying talker: one who talks),  and god knows what else because I should had been writing down those when I still remembered. The reference to the non-existent galactic encyclopedia is explicit enough.

See ya next time!!

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