Category Archives: memory

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failure

broken_promise_by_don_paolo

i’ve come to realize that i am not particularly good at anything

i mean, i’ve actually tried my hand at a lot of things in my life — and i feel fortunate to always be curiously distracted and experimental and exploratory in my pursuit of expression and life-long research in the world

so at least that’s cool

i think i’m slowly becoming okay with the fact that i’m mostly a really good failure

shazbot

robinWilliams

now you are free, my friend, finally free — and you are with all of us, in all of our hearts and thoughts and in the energy that feels good and alive and light and happy

thank you

you gave us so much

a little game

info_art

my art can sometimes feel a little ‘all over the place’

i don’t like to limit myself too, too much when it comes to my vehicles of expressive delivery — that combined with my natural tendency toward a scattered but exciting sense of ADHD plus my rather lengthy and continually-expanding collection of influences and inspirations makes for a rather eclectic body of work that i sometimes try to organize into threads or streams of my work

in my design thesis from Dynamic Media Institute, ‘confounded: future fetish design performance for human advocacy,’ i purposely chose the term ‘streams‘ for a few reasons:

  1. i feel like my subconscious is a far more present and powerful force in my creatively expressive, personal work;
  2. i enjoy following my subconscious — my streams of subconscious — to archeologically mine for the deeper, personally-symbolic inner significance that i’ve accumulated like a patina over the course of my life;
  3. i know that i naturally tend to bury certain emotions, memories and stories in the strange style that a chipmunk saves away little morsels for the long winter ahead — these might be feelings that are far too shocking and powerful for me to handle in any conscious manner in the current moments i am living in, and i am almost certain, for the most part, that a significant amount of people partake in this similar activity as a mere means of surviving the ‘day to day‘ dysfunction and chaos we all encounter along our life’s journeys;
  4. i also tend to hide away from time to time, sometimes for large spans of time, greatly depending upon my mood and certain life events — i can nicely attribute this behavior, to sort of tuck myself away inside my shell, to being born under the sign of Cancer — the symbol for Cancer, of course, is the crab — and after spending many an afternoon tide pooling with my wife and son, flipping rocks along the shallow shoreline out at Lynch Park in Beverly among other beautiful Atlantic coastline seaside retreats, i’ve developed an observational understanding of not only the ‘tough, outer exterior’ of the crab and the notion of ‘crabbiness’ that might be somewhat symbolically mapped to the drastic shift in moodswings i experience on a fairly regular cycle, but i also now better ‘get‘ how these little pinchy critters live — tucking themselves away, a bit under the sand or between the rocks as the tide ebbs and flows — its an interesting lifestyle to study and reflect upon, especially knowing that there are definitely some similarities between my own behavior and that of these amazing little moody crustacea;
  5. i guess i’ve veered away from exploring why the term ‘streams‘ so nicely captures the nature of my work and certain categories of recurring episodes in my work — this last enumerated bullet point, to get back to the concept of these streams of subconscia, pertains to the rather interesting evolution within certain streams of my work — as i tend to, at times, act more like a chess player than an artist, as i move and follow both the journey of certain objects and installations from literally geopolitical ‘place to place’ as well as the state of its existence into the next, and sometimes even beyond itself out into the metaphorical afterlife of the piece or its sub-componenture

today’s update on the information kiosk i purchased from Border’s Bookstores prior to the closing of the bookseller chain brings us just a few yards away from where it previously resided over the last 6 to 9 months or so — i don’t think this will be its final destination, by any means, however, i can see an interesting new stage in the piece’s evolution coming together in my mind’s eye

i original purchased the kiosk to build out a prototype for my Laugh Observation Library back at DMI @ MassArt — the LOL included a bookcase collection of 100 bottles containing a variety laughter samples per bottle along with this oddly orange information booth housing a laughScan Station to actually activate each sample for further faux-scientific research into humor and the human phenomena behind laughter

the original and only installation of the Laugh Observation Library appeared in The Pooka Lounge in Bakalar Gallery at MassArt as part of forensicEvidence — the name of my final showcase of work in the 2011 MassArt Thesis Show from my DMI @ MassArt experience

in retrospect the statement that my micro-installment made perfectly fit the bill regarding my discoveries around both MassArt and gallery exhibition in general — and this particular piece, although not exactly aesthetically matching the clinically sterile environment of a traditional scientific laboratory setting, especially that of a forensic investigation crime lab, really seemed to appropriately comment on my personal feelings regarding what Brian O’Doherty describes as the ‘white cube‘ controlled context of the gallery space associated with High Art

in fact, this installation and my personal aesthetic not only provided a silent and polite, subtle sociological commentary on both Art and Science as rather haughty professions, but the rather organic, make-shift style of my work also appropriately mocked the institutionalized aspects of high formality associated with not only Art and Science, but even with Design itself for encouraging a somewhat exclusive attitude within its highest of the high socio-professional, pseudo-political circles

the pieces i presented in forensicEvidence were the dead remains from my work at MassArt — the physical evidence of my work, but also of the pretend criminal activity i either partook in or witnessed while researching and working on my art at MassArt — now, of course, art-making is not exactly a criminal activity, although sometimes it can feel like such an endeavor when living and working outside of the inner protected sanctum of academia and its related artedness, but in some ways i felt like i definitely witnessed what i came to call ‘Crimes Against Creativity‘ — i won’t elaborate too, too much here on these crimes i witnessed, but i definitely felt a bit disappointed in some of the people and vibes i encountered while working toward my graduate degree at MassArt and unfortunately these were events, policies and behaviors that i will not soon forget and nor would i ever expect an institution of higher learning to simply grin and bear without pursuing some follow-up activity to properly set the record straight and rectify unacceptable, malicious and ignorant behavior

… anyhow …

following forensicEvidence — the kiosk remained in the back of my truck, nicely sheltered from the elements, but definitely getting in the way of any sane semblance of life

a month or so after i took the information booth out of my truck and left it at the head of my driveway — although a bit silly-looking in its now more ‘natural’ surroundings in this highly wooded area of Boxford, i actually loved seeing this ugly, orange desk-like fixture from a typically highly-corporate retail environment now planted in the midst of trees and lush, green ferns and other fertile elements of the great outdoors — and i was extremely happy not to have followed my original bad instinct to just leave the kiosk in a nearby cemetery { after, of course, taking some choice photodocumentation of this potentially-strange, satiric gravestone tribute to The Information Age — which would’ve certainly been bound to be an entirely illegal but hilarious act of vandalism or refuse disposal in the eyes of the court, i’m sure }

but now, many months later, after surviving an Autumn, Winter and Springtime out in the driveway, i decided to drag the information kiosk up the steps into our backyard and set it out just at the edge of our deck

here i hope to festively decorate the kiosk with some simple crushed stone around its base — maybe arranging some beautiful potted plants on the tabletop and around its stable and heavy periphery — perhaps this Summer and into the Fall, this will be our funerary preparations for the kiosk before finally allowing myself to emotionally let go of a piece that never quite got beyond the prototypic stage — this might be a truly wonderful way to commemorate the short lifespan of this mysterious object that i’ve carried around with me from place to place, an object that has come to symbolize the weight of the personal information we carry around with us in life

its time for me to prepare

these are the last few months i will live with this bizarre physical manifestation of my memories, feelings and unnecessarily burdensome set of heavy experiences i still find myself hanging onto

i will be certain to document these last arrangements i make with the kiosk — i hope to focus on growing something positive and beautiful on, around and through the information booth — to evolve some of the confounded emotions and energies that remain into / toward a blossoming garden of new vegetal information for further maturation and growth and positive seed for the future

the theatre of Work, ReVisited

theatreofwork_preview

back in 2009 when i still conducted critical design research for Dynamic Media Institute in Boston i decided to start up a presentation series aimed specifically at helping my greener friends coming into the industry with some of the basic challenges they might encounter along the journey of their profesional lives

i’ve encountered more than my fair share of interesting twists and turns in my rather adventurous career as an accomplished experience design professional — and some of the joys and tribulations of navigating the glorious terrain can benefit by simply continuously building a better and better understanding and awareness of the environments in which we need to perform

in delving into the digital archives of my mind i recently rediscovered a few slides appropriately titled the theatre of Work — survival tips for newcomers to the workForce

the theatre of Work

the phrase by itself starts to imply some of my subconscious views and feelings regarding: the social dynamics; the essential personal behaviors we need to exude while performing; and general feel of the landscape set up by the workaday world as a means of reaching toward success for ourselves and for the companies we work for

i am an experience designer and a performance artist

i never studied the theatre, which is an important key differentiator i need to continually remind myself of along the way

its also vitally important to have an unrelenting sense of self-awareness and continuous introspective reflection for the kind of trek we’re all on within ANY industry

just this hybrid mash-up between designer and artist can have extremely important internally conflicting motivations embedded within the very nature of each role

but anyhow, i digress { i just heard someone on blogging across the way stand up and scream, ‘DigreSsioN!’ ala that famous set of passages from A Catcher in the Rye ;] }

after living a little longer and experiencing a few more years of this life of work we all live and breathe, i believe i have even deeper, more profound wisdom to share than i originally intended by designing up a few slides for a future-such talk to be about workerly advice

i am therefore re-opening this thread of thought — copy-pasting the open Keynote file and the PSD folder from my portable harddrive back onto my current active MacBook Pro device to really start digging into what new significance i can bring to the table to help people navigate the choppy waters and hopefully not make all of the same foolish mistakes i’ve made along the way

i know my triathlon could’ve gone a LOT smoother so far had i just had proper mentorship or perhaps better personal self-awareness and more thoughtful empathy to guide me

but i’m an impatient clown, for the most part

i always want the impossible and i design to reach for the bluest of the bluest skies

i would be more of a fool, however, if i continue to noodle and clown without ever learning and growing for the journeys i’ve made — and i feel that if i share some of my story in a thoughtful and meaningful way it might actually make up for my own silly idiocies and hopefully make for a better overall experience for colleagues, friends, acquaintances and frenemies that even care to listen at this point

i need to focus on my storyFirst presentation out at Massachusetts College of Art for the next few weeks, but i also hope to put some time into this theatre of Work concept, too, as it is near and dear to my heart — i want to help people and give them better perspective and hopefully facilitate better and better experiences in the world through my designwork and my design leadership

but, until then — shove off, bitchez! ;]

 

logo_storyfirst

 

coming, to a theatre near you

as an avid collaborator — and relentlessly sillyman and fool — my good fortune dropped me into the project work of Christopher Kentley Field back at MassArt’s relatively underground and superCool design graduate program Dynamic Media Institute

i mean, its like i had no shame at all when i take a retrospective egoSurfing search of love down interactive, online memory lane, ya know? looks like i’d do just about anything to ‘earn’ a graduate degree, ya know?

anyhow, Chris got the like of Andrew Ellis, myself and some even cooler people together to put together this excerpted short from a feature film idea that Chris had written prior to coming to DMI — see what you think — i mean, i’m pretty proud of how it came out despite the fact that i’m playing a part that seems way too naturally-acted by me — yep, that’s right, folks, i’m basically a washed-up, old, homeless-like dude on the Boston T — a real flattering way to put myself ‘out there’ as an actor, right?

anyhow, here’s the clip ‘Deadbeat’ courtesy of Christopher K Field and Vimeo — enjoy! ;]

Deadbeat (first cut) from Christopher Field on Vimeo.

alone together

sherry-turkle-phd

Sherry Turkle has been researching and studying: technology; our relationships with technology; and our relationships with each other through technology — as an expert singularly focused on the fascinating psychology of technology, she’s been on the case for decades now — along the way she’s published her findings in the books:

needless to say, i’m one of her biggest fans

without her critical, observation-based body of psychological research at MIT in the psychology of Sciences, Technology and our Devices i do not think we’d have such a cohesive and thoughtful collective of intellectual material that really reports from the front-lines of these matters with such an objective sense of discovering the nuanced facts of the matter

i recently had the pleasure of coming out to the Boston Athenaeum to a promotional lecture for her most recent book Alone Together — and more than the talk itself, more than the questions and answers, i found the micro-conversation i had with Turkle to be the most intriguing part of the event

i eagerly waited in line with my friend’s book in hand for the author to sign — i wasn’t sure if i had the courage to bring it up, but i had an important question based upon some of the feelings and thoughts i personally experienced in the middle of reading Alone Together just months prior to this event — this seemed to be my only chance to find out if the author herself might have the same notions regarding the research she conducts as i was having regarding rather dark discoveries about the current state of humanity and our relationships with and through technologies

i finally got to the front of the line in this rather illustrious neo-classical, intellectual and academic library setting

Turkle asked who to make the signature out to and started to quickly ink in her John Hancock on the title page of the open book — and while she scribbled away the instant sentimentality of this anonymously scribed autograph, i started to ask my question — i described the personal horror i felt midway through the reading of Alone Together, these frightening discoveries and extremely deep philosophical questions that arose in me due to the very material of her critical research in the book that she wrote and was now in the middle of signing

here’s the gist of what i asked { in summary, as best as i can recall it at this point }:

i wanted to ask you about some thoughts that came to my mind in reading about sociable robotics — i found it fascinating, the kind of deep and real emotional relationships you described developing between people and machines — there was a section of the book, you visited these isolated, lonely elderly people in their retirement and care facilities and, after deciding that it might be difficult, if not impossible, for the elderly to enjoy the companionship and company of a real pet, such as a dog or a cat or some other small animal, you introduced the simulation of a pet into their living environment, this robotic seal

i think you reported that after introducing the seal to the elderly person and leaving it with them in their home, that it only took about a week for them to develop a real relationship with their new pet — although shy at first when talking with you in the company of the robotic seal, within the course of an hour you observed affectionate behavior and genuine interaction between the new owner and the seal

the owner conversed with the seal in the same way one might with a real pet and all of the ways in which they interacted with the robotic seal indicated that this simulation of being accompanied almost seemed good enough to introduce love, companionship and a reduced sense of loneliness with these elderly people living out the end of their lives

this, of course, brought up a ton of questions — some ethical, some psychological and some philosophical

the main question that came up for me might have something to do with the psychological nature of attachment, i’m not sure

but basically, i wondered — if it seems that easy for someone to form a genuine, human, loving relationship with a robotic seal, what does that say about our real relationships to each other as human beings? do we simply project and imagine love onto each other? are we, as the title of your book suggests { if only in very Freudian Slipped-like ways }, truly Alone Together?

Turkle finished signing the book and looked up at me, almost as if she were disgusted by my presence now, and replied:

No, no, no — that’s not what the book is about at all

and the conversation was over — she might as well have said, ‘NEXT!’ at that point because the book in front of her closed, she handed it back and we were simply done with these dark discoveries and intriguing philosophical questions i felt might at least be implied by Turkle’s oeuvre of critical research, perhaps even the more important and deeper meaning behind the surface of the kind of psychological self-analysis we’re all conducting now through the things we use to think with that are now the things we also feel with

i just put in an order for one of those robotic seals, should be coming in the mail any day now

i might just have a more empathic conversation with it than i did with Sherry Turkle

i heard it only takes less than a week to really get properly bonded with my new pet

seal

unfinished business

today is the anniversary of the horrific events that transpired in the United States on the morning of  September 11, 2001 and i would like to take a few moments to look at some internationally famous comedy duos from American entertainment history and then discuss an important topic that comes to mind while thinking about the strange juxtaposition between 911 and legendary comedy teams

 

laurelHardy

who can forget the hilarious interpersonal dynamics and madcap antics of Laurel and Hardy?

 

Annex - Martin and Lewis_NRFPT_01

or the classic onscreen and off exchange between Martin and Lewis?

 

Abbott & Costello (Buck Privates)_01

Abbott and Costello performed some of the earliest duetic comedics i personally recall from my telemediated early childhood while growing up in America

 

sc0024fea0

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz made love and marriage so fun to watch on screen

 

wilder-and-pryor

and several humorous filmic couplings of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder still seem to resonate and bring a smile even on occasions such as these steeped in an echoed solace, memory and national self-reflection

 

with all of these teams of highly skilled comedic talent, as an American audience we watch the famous duos along the continuum of comedy history perform on celluloid — the comedians through their act take us on a journey with them, and sometimes the situation gets dire, dark and almost Surrealistically ridiculous — although our temporal and physical distance from the stage or scenario documented in these films puts us in a safe and impersonal observational mode, we identify with the characters the comedians portray, and the pain that can oftentimes feel like tragedy somehow, through a genius mixing with the rhythm, pace, gesture and delivery of comedy as a craft puts us in a safe zone that transfers the tragic situational darkness into a laughable lightness that touches a universal heart and soul in each member of the audience

at the end of the night — after watching a movie, we can leave the theatre, go home and sleep after the release of tensions and energies these comedies helped expulse from our physiological internal systems — after watching a stand-up routine or humorous film on television, we can turn off the television with our remotes, pick up around the living room and similarly head off to the land of nod with a certain sense of calmness after the storm

 

and now i’d like to reflect upon
a different kind of comedy duo for a few minutes

and for some, this might feel inappropriate or controversial, but i think this sort of opinion still needs to be expressed and these unresolved feelings still need further thoughtful but diligent investigation and some serious consideration

 

asshats_n_chielf-bush-cheney

and who, my friends, could ever forget the rather sadly comedic antics of perhaps the most deviously misunderstood dynamic duo of international humor, Dick and Bush?

unforgettable, that’s what you are

some might mistake my inclusion of former Vice President Richard Bruce ‘Dick’ Cheney and former President George Walker ‘Dubya’ Bush in this tribute to legendary American comedy duos as some sort of anti-patriotic slander or blame for 911 on the administration that supposedly represented and led the country at the time of the horrific and tragic times surrounding and following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

but i don’t think we can really blame the administration or these clowns at the helm for 911

that wouldn’t be fair or even remotely accurate if we looked to the known remaining evidence with any sense of reasonable logic

we can, however, reflect on a plain and simple fact

the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 represent a significant and tragic failure of the United States government to discover, analyze and act upon readily available information to effectively prevent or avert an infamous, violent terrorist plot as carried out by 19 Saudi Arabian nationals that were trained in al-Qaeda military training camps that were once located in the desert wilds of Afghanistan

another fact for us to consider

The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims ( Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks )

and one more fact that i am sure changes on an hourly basis and is probably impossible to quantitatively measure at this point in history

more than 8,000 US and coalition forces died as a result of the US War on Terror on both Afghanistan and Iraq — i can’t understand why i can’t seem to find a combined body count of all the casualties of war due to the War on Terror, including, of course, soldiers, terrorists and civilians from Afghanistan and Iraq WITH the numeric statistics we see for Americans and our allies

see Home and Away for further details and visualizations

and here are some simple surface information sources that show the potential civilian death count in Afghanistan and Iraq

i’m not sure your average person can realistically comprehend the quantities of people that died as discussed in these very basic online sources — and i bet that digging deeper into the data to get a more accurate depiction of the overall international devastation initiated by The Bush Administration might make us stop for a few moments to pause and reflect in a different, less tribally divided manner

i don’t know how anyone can take any of this historic information lightly — or — how anyone can continue to live life on planet earth avoiding certain big questions of accountability, war and the very strange relationship between government, citizens, violence and terrorism

 

but now, let’s return to comedy for a minute

 

so, like the REAL comedy duo greats i started this blogPost off with — Dick and Bush took their American audience on a journey, too, right?

at one of the most sorrowful and tragically vulnerable points in modern American history, as the entire world watched on with genuine empathy, concern and a previously unfelt sense of globally united care — we paused to commemorate the lives lost and to recognize the utter frailty of human life despite our supposedly advanced civilization

i think we all knew, the entire world knew, unfortunately, that the US would soon take military action in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda — this almost seemed inevitable and even predictable, perhaps even the underlying objective of a terrorist attack plot on US soil by Bin Laden and ‘the bad guys’

but the journey they’ve taken us on — this US War on Terror initiated by Cheney and Bush without any inkling of accountability back to very rulership of the United States that made the decision to go into Afghanistan and then into Iraq to fight Evil and terrorism everywhere forever and ever amen — this journey, too, is dire, dark and almost Surrealistically ridiculous

where are Dick and Bush now?

what kind of sick joke are we left with in the world as the aftermath of the fucking fine mess they’ve gotten us into? how come nobody seems angry about these very disturbing circumstances and rather dangerous conditions that administration led us into? and why can’t the majority of people see through the bullshit i seem to cut through so easily as i reflect on the sequence of events following September 11, 2001 and the rather poorly acted show business snake-oil politics orchestrated by the Cheney-Bush Administration?

President Obama’s rather timely speech last night around taking a more cautious and thoughtful approach regarding the current alleged Syrian issues we’re hearing about on the news from time to time at least feels leaderly and responsible and smart — but what of the missing war criminals that still currently reside on US soil without any reasonable manner of wonderment from the general public? are we THAT fucked?

 

and now, i just have to ask all Americans
and the entire world
this question

20080829_palin_mccain_33

does anyone at this point, in retrospect, really think that John Sydney McCain III and Sarah Louise ‘Who’s Nailin’ Palin could’ve kept the country together and headed back to recovery and perchance near future prosperity in the effective and wise way that our current President Barrack Hussein Obama II did?

and if so, uhm, are you fucking kidding me?

but that’s another infamous comedy duo that can simply teabag each other into the American sunset of the GOP if you ask me { and i know you didn’t ask me, but hey, its my blog and i can rile if i want to }

 

there still seems to be some unfinished business for the citizens of the United States of America and the entire world to seriously consider

i don’t think this blogPost or comments on Facebook or tweets are gonna cut it this time around, either — in order to bring some semblance to the decade and a half of Bushian disorder and injustice, we as the peoples of the world and as the participating citizens of the US need to really start participating

voting doesn’t do it either — that’s not enough, not anymore

the philosophy that used to be embedded in the principles of Democracy dissolved a long, long time ago — Democracy, much like Communism in its actual applied practice as a government, missed the mark and its original intention — and then, somewhere along the way the philosophy and moral integrity of our national objectives devolved into a mere economic corporation-led Capitalistic Consumer Military Global Complex

once again, i’m trailing off the topic of this rantflow, but i want to know this — how do we start to really fix all of this?

how do we take the time to calm down the drumbeat of global war initiatives cleverly disguised as: a new moral crusade to promote regime change and nationbuilding; the spread of a free democratic spirit { through occupation } — and then begin to heal and reawaken as more peacefully-minded and self-aware, genuinely human citizens of the global village? how do we even begin to get beyond the horrific exploitation of our trust in our weakest moment? and then how do we get beyond the campaign of mass destruction for the sake of promoting ‘Freedom vs Terrorism’?

does anyone else finding this just a little ridiculous

its funny, isn’t it?

 

 

just not funny ha ha

nobody’s laughing

there’s really no reason to laugh about any of this

i think we can all agree on this point

its more funny peculiar than funny ha ha

it still just feels funny

bush_cheney_evil

and, so, unlike the feelings and journey our REAL comedic duos take us on through film, television and live performance — with the journey Dick and Bush took their international audience on through their ‘act,’ we cannot leave the theatre or turn off the television or computer — The Bushstrz have left the building and they’ve left us all on stage and in the audience and there’s no script, there’s no sense of completion ala Dubya’s famous ‘Mission Accomplished!‘ proclamation about Operation Iraqi Freedom or even around our presence and fighting in Afghanistan — and there’s no leaving this Theatre of Cruelty these bastards left us with — we cannot simply ‘go home’ with a clear and calm conscience — and we’re not exactly feeling any safer in the world after a dozen years of fighting terrorism with security and information and drones and military attacks around the world

what a stupid plan

a series of rather irresponsible reactionary reflexes to the attacks

no plan at all, really

what fucking total idiots

thanks Dick

thank you Dubya

now what are we gonna do about it?

how are we gonna fix this?

let’s focus on what we can actually do

just the smallest glimmers of hope and progress can start the healing

but what the fuck, right?

what the fuck?

René Magritte dü jour

pipeStarWars

don’t forget, my brothers and sisters of the twattospheric evolutions — this is not the internet

on Tracking Happiness

womanhappiness

‘… people have been debating the causes of happiness’ — an interesting quote from this TEDxCambridge Talk from Matt Killingsworth — examine the phrase ’causes of happiness’ — it almost implies happiness, like fear, diabetes or paper cuts, is somewhat like an epidemic, a disease or a physical injury

i would like to suggest that the mystery of happiness is that its a quality that is not remotely scientifically measurable or investigable in the least — its more spiritual than that — it might be epidemic or habitual at some levels — i think its definitely a choice, a lifestyle, something we can decide to be — happiness is a state of being, which means its more of a philosophy, an existential philosophy, or a state of mind

he also asks at one point, ‘How do you feel?’ and then gives the person a scale of 1 to 10, as if feeling or happiness are in any fucking way mathematically measurable qualities of our human existence

2563400_orig

why do we force so much of this stuff into the closed-box thinking of Scientific Inquiry? maybe there’s no measurement to any of this, right? some of this stuff is actually offensive or dangerous to quantitatively examine — suffering, for instance, should never be poured into graduated cylinders to help us compare my suffering to your suffering to the suffering of one people or another — i’m sure the degree of suffering varies significantly depending upon factors that are well beyond any sense of what we can humanly control — but we all suffer, that’s a fact, and it doesn’t need to be measured in any way whatsoever — even those that seem to live their lives without any sense of suffering may be suffering from a lack of suffering, they might not understand the world and the dynamics of life in the same deep and rich way their brothers and sisters understand due to circumstances of their pre-destiny surrounding: the geographic worldly region of your birth; the amount of fingers, toes and limbs you were lucky enough to be born with or without; the time and place in which you live and breathe in

Track Your Happiness sounds clever as a prototypic data-collection tool — but is this really Science? Is Matt Killingsworth really a Scientist? He says at one point, ‘… as a Scientist …’ but he never gives us a definition of how he is defining the concept of Happiness. How do we define Happiness? How do we really measure true Happiness? In what context did Killingsworth track his version of Happiness? How objective are these tests he’s conducting? If someone is really focused in the moment, focused on their Happiness in the moment, how do they have time to be truly happy and simultaneously track their happiness? Its an obvious diversion from enjoying the moment, using this Track Your Happiness app, right?

I'M Happy

I mean, I get what he’s trying to do … what he’s trying to get at. Fantastic stuff, right? Happiness and data, skipping gleefully down the tree-lined avenue, hand-in-hand, tracking little moments of happiness in daily life as we all experience them, in the moment.

I think that the moment to moment approach Kiilingsworth is taking with these studies makes a HUGE assumption. He’s assuming that all moments have something in common. That moments are neutral before we experience them. And then he’s assuming that the way happiness works is a totally separate and divorced mechanism from the moment to moment experience of our lives.

But, any asshole walking down the street knows — even unScientific people { those poor, poor souls } — that not all moments are equal. Moments are NOT neutral — and, in fact, moments might contain some qualities of Happiness or unHappiness all unto themselves. Moments themselves effect the emotional state of people. Qualities of the moment effect our emotional state, too. I think I might be happier to be distracted a bit from painful moments, right? If my mind wanders a bit while I’m visiting a dying relative in the hospital — if my mind actually travels back to a happy memory, the memory of a happier moment coming back to me from the past that reminds me of a happy experience I had together with this suffering relative now struggling to live through a few more weeks in dignity at the end of life’s journey — is there even anything wrong with that happy distraction? And am I NOT happy in that distracted moment, that moment of wandering? I’m definitely not going to pull out a fucking app to track that shit in the moment, though, that’s one thing we’re sure of in THIS moment.

I’m not digging this guy’s illogical rants. They’re not Scientific to me at all. And they’re not thoughtful or significant or helpful. I hope he decides to deepen his thinking in this area. My hope is that over time Killingsworth rethinks his ‘Scientific Approach’ and thinking about Happiness to go beyond the mere ’causes of happiness,’ beyond the concept of faux-metric tracking of supposed happiness in the moment, to reach beyond the mere knowledge of numbers, scales and surveys he’s using as a shallow toolbox to perhaps strive for a less Scientific examination of life’s mysterious forces such as Happiness to hopefully start living an emotionally richer, healthier and happier, more valuable life with less data. Thank you.

happiness-wide