Archive for January, 2012

Nostalgia Beans

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

In periods of transition, a sense of losing control often sends one backwards to times of comfort and stability. Imposed on by some new force, we seek out remnants from times before new violations: longing to experience the past via its meals and gems of culture. For most, childhood is the most comfortable period of life and therein we find a wealth of meals, movies and moments to re-explore. Such backwards movements are often less about our modern self and more about reconnecting with the happy self of the past. We find that in being forced to change we are losing sense of who we were or wanted to be. In a back to basics move we trace our roots to times of comfort in desperate hope to find a medicine to our ills.

In times of national struggle does an entire society utilize these mental adventures? Are thousands of individuals rejecting the moment for the past and dreaming backwards? It is easy to trace the cause and effect relationship of the nostalgia drive. Those who exist in the present and whose role in the world is to supply pleasure cherry pick from the past and grow new cultural products closely linked to old forms. Perhaps more grafting than re-seeding, this process of creating “new” material largely inspired by previous creations suits viewers whose reluctance for the new or plain desire for what came before leaves little in the way of new content. Never mind new ideas- rehash the old, change the cover and remind me why I liked it tenĀ  years ago. We don’t want new, we want quality and who cares if its just rehash. After all, a laugh is a laugh.

At a high enough level it is plain that there are no new ideas in culture. Boil down all pieces of culture considered valuable and honesty is the key quality. Any work of art that connects with a human being has succeeded in its single goal. Art exists to connect, it is an extension from one human being to another. Abstract art may mock or toy with this procedure but ultimately such games are designed to connect via violation, striving to say “let’s toy with this device and connect in our consideration of my violation.” Art is an avenue of communication.

Tipping Hats to Evolving Thoughts

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The accusation of “flip-flopping” has become common fare for politicians and pundits. These contradictions with previous statements are framed as cracks in confidence or a gaming of the public wherein popular notions are adopted and cast off as popularity wavers. At what point did changing one’s mind become a fault? How does an evolution in thinking suggest poor leadership or an inability to lead? Is not an ideal leader one who continues to expand his or her perspective as material is presented? The greatest hazard to American leadership is an expectation that a leader’s perspective be locked in and unchanging.

“Flip-flopping” may not have been invented by the media, but its continued presence in political debate is certainly connected with media’s use of it. Accusing a politician of being a “flip-flopper” provides pundits with a humorous opportunity to consult the treasure trove of video archive. Today’s media environment is one of endless archival footage. One person’s every comment and appearance is not only archived and readily available, but also indexed for easy access and utilization. Today’s political candidate must bear witness to a collection of flubs and statements.

Expecting an individual to have unwavering opinions is dangerous. One’s flip-flop demonstrates an evolution in thinking and is a testament to learning. We are best served by an expectation that opinions will expand in complexity as more information is gathered and digested. The best leader is one who responds to the crisis in the moment. Existing “in the now” is all that we can ask of our leaders. Be aware and develop as material comes in. Be wary of old opinions and always be open to new ideas. These are not unreasonable expectations; instead they are reasonable measures of the human being and complicated tasks of leaderships.

Muncher’s Paradox: The Dieter’s Dilemma

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Weight loss presents a fascinating paradox: overcome obsessive intake via greater focus on the hazard. One only loses weight by being more mindful of the hazard causing the problem. All changes to behavior are difficult, habitual activities are rituals to comfort and peace. The more we enjoy something the more we indulge in it. Its very simple: things that give us pleasure become components of our existence and, via this relationship, closely linked to how we identify ourselves. What begins as quick relief, the dish of ice cream, the hot bowl of soup, becomes an essential device to daily life.

Whereas behaviors like smoking and gambling can be avoided or replaced by other activities, dieting demands deeper obsession with the habit.

Imagine the perils if this requirement existed for drug addiction: focus more thinking on drugs or make them an even greater source of obsession in your day. The repercussions could only be disastrous. Dieting presents a unique moment of behavior wherein the individual dieting must invest greater focus on the item he or she needs to avoid. It seems backwards that in trying to lose weight we must make it a greater part of our thinking. One loses weight not simply by avoiding its presence in our existence. Instead, due to its requirement in our life and constant presence in our day, we must pay more attention to the foods we eat. Is this inability to simply “look away” as one can do with other undesirable habits the reason why dieting so often fails?




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