1. On the Significance of Life

    My drive to understand the purpose and meaning in life is quite related to the need to be someone of significance. Sometimes its hard to distinguish this from a common fantasy of being “famous”. Do I just want to be known? Does it matter if you are known before you die or is existence in the collective consciousness a shot at immortality? Should I be known just for anything, or something…well…significant. Digging deeper into this idea of significance, I tried to simplify it down to two core elements, impact and reach.

    Impact

    How much have your actions and ideas influence, changed and become an essential part of someone else’s existence?

    Reach

    How many individuals are aware of your existence and what you represent? Is your circle a tight-knit group of family and friends or does it encircle the globe? Or maybe its just you, your own lonely self.

    Represented on a chart, it would look something like this.

    I think the worst place to be, is where I am right now, where the only person significantly affected by me, is really just me. Most people live life moving up the graph, on the impact scale, but probably chase a life of moving right towards a global reach. 

    I know I don’t want to just be another Mr. T; while I desire a global reach, I wouldn’t be satisfied for a trivial role in pop culture, and being awarded an entry into Wikipedia. Being Jesus is not really looking in the cards and I have this self-defeating attitude towards being someone like Claire Huxtable as well.

    But staying where I am just isn’t an option.

    This isn’t binary of-course. Moving towards that blank space in the center would probably work best. As a life goal, that may be worthwhile.

  2. Wordless Stories

    I’m obsessed with creating. I enjoy meeting people that create and I think a lot about all the different ways I can express my creativity. I’ve dabbled in a lot of forms of creativity, and they’ve been great hobbies, but I took some time to look at my past work - my art, poems, photography, music - and I’m left unsatisfied and disappointed.

    I can cut myself some slack for being an amateur that spent their prime years studying Calculus instead of the art of Art. My work is generally rough around the edges, sloppy and needs more deliberation (than inspiration - that I have). But even thats fine because, well, I kind of like that (I can already hear some of you calling me a “hipster” who is being lazy for the sake of authenticity). Well, that’s my process. I love serendipity, randomness, chaos, naturalness, ambience and opening myself to sources of inspiration without thought.

    So why am I so creatively disillusioned about my work?

    I came to this epiphany recently, while attending the World Photography Festival in San Francisco, that clarified the source of my dissatisfaction. I saw photographers who had been in the business for a better part of their lives present. In fact, some of the work, the pieces they were showing, were concepts they’d worked on for years if not decades. Photos of Russia, of Burlesque ladies in the middle of a desert, of a struggling mother. They started with an abstract idea in their mind, collected pieces over time, and tied it all together in a beautiful narrative.

    The simple and common theme across their work was this - if you want to create something meaningful it needs a story.

    What is your creation about, and what is the meta-narrative of everything you do? What is the invisible thread that you can draw within your life’s work? This isn’t just about creativity, it applies to startups, marketing, and heck, its about life.

    For now, this makes sense (if you know me, I constantly rethink everything).

    Everything I’ve done, has been scribbles, on a scrap piece of paper. You can throw it out and never miss it. Its not part of any story. It does have its own beauty, for the brief moment that it captured within my life, just like your own child’s drawing of the family, a house, and the sun coming up behind them shooting out rays of death. This is the only way I can think of where I’ll stop creating like a hobbiest and can become an inspiration to others (more on this notion in a future post).

    From now on every moment I pick up the camera, the pencil, or an instrument, I need to ask myself: what story is this part of? 


    Epilogue

    To take this further, one should ask this of every action they take, but that may result in too many questions, which results in scalability issues.

  3. While I’m Awake

    I’ve been away from blogging for about 5 years, being a sponge instead of a hose. Not that I was promiscuous with adding irrelevant bits to the global consciousness before by any means. I feel like this is the right time, with all the recent changes in my life:

    • graduation
    • first full-time non-internship job
    • quitting to found a startup
    • failing at said startup
    • moving to a new country and new job at another startup 

    But these are just the surface changes. Over the past 5 years I’ve battled idealogical demons, gained a passion for music that I don’t know how I lived without, became aware of my prejudices, loved in emptiness, and came to no conclusion about the purpose of life. I need a place where all the restless ideas I have while I’m awake can find some solace. 

    Having a space to lay out your thoughts is not only therapeutic but self-actualizing. Writing helps you learn about yourself and lets the ideas in your mind jostle for articulation. I find that I don’t realize what my point-of-view is of about any topic till I have to tell someone about it. Until I do, its this vague notion formed not by much rational thought but loose collections of influence from media and my socio-cultural sphere. I usually learn a lot about myself when I talk to people, because I am partially conversing with myself, listening to my words and thinking how they aren’t perfect, and how there are gaps in-between which libraries can fit.

    And so, I will write, so I can make words that make ideas that make me understand life more in ever so slight increments.

    Writing to me, and what this blog will be about, is not about convincing others of a perspective, but a scrapbook in which my ideas can take shape and transform themselves into some coherent and consistent viewpoint. I fully expect my ideas to evolve and change, sometimes be conflicting or paradoxical. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with something you’ve said in the past. Its only a mark that you were doing something useful in between.

    That is the flaw of words. They give the perception of permanence. Even if words can be struck out, erased and, in this day and age, edited, everything we write down represents us to the reader, as one eternal embodied sculpture. They represent us despite their temporal inadequacy. It is important to let these words stay the way they are, even if you change, so that you can look back and reflect on how and why you changed. But it is even more important to realize that the words are just a glimpse of a moment of a person’s understanding of a very confusing, unknowable world. Once they leave the writers mind, they no longer belong to them, but simply of them.