A New Year’s Digest

It’s a new year. Some people seem to think it’s a blank slate to start a new, but for others that’s an impossibility. There are too many things that can tie one to the past. I’m trying not to look at those things. I’m just trying to be the best realist I can be and acknowledge that it is both a new year in which the same 12 month cycle happens again. I acknowledge that this year will be different, but there are things that are always the same: the names of the months, my general confusion about life, and human nature. A wise man supposedly once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Of course, years aren’t “under” the sun, so they have the right to be new. Ironically, all new years celebrations are all the same. Perhaps we should have a New Year’s Mourning, in which we mourn over the death the new year brought to the old.

I also try to take the view that the new year is another opportunity to struggle against sameness. It is an opportunity to try and shake things up and defeat the deterministic nature with which life seems to process. It is an opportunity to change life’s hue, saturation and brightness (a good thing to do any day). It is a time to change the flavor, scent, texture, and timbre of life. Because of this thought, I am determined to make the most out of this opportunity for change and try an implement the following this new year:

1. Permission to be crappy.

I like Jack Kerouac’s rule #28 “Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better”. Okay, maybe crappy, and perhaps not undisciplined, but permission to be wild and raw. The reason being I am a perfectionist and have the hardest time ever just doing something when I think I’m terrible at it. In turn I will be crappy at first, but it’s a start. Mastery takes time. It takes many mistakes. It takes experience. If one doesn’t have the experience (10,000 hours), thy’re not a master. If one doesn’t have an aptitude for it, it’ll be crappy at first. Also if one has a great sense or vision of what the end result should be, anything less than an exact match is crappy. I have good news: with time and practice, mastery and excellence will come.

2. Space and time for creative process.

I have a nasty tendency to become transfixed on what ever I’m working on to my detriment. I get fatigued. I burn myself out. It takes me longer to finish the project. I need to intersperse my time with periods of otherness. Anything else: meditation, going for a walk, writing, reading, singing, playing the piano, serious music practice, and maybe just switch to a different project for a while. The benefit of taking breaks from a long task are wonderful. Since the mind works in less intuitive ways, letting one’s default circuit run is very beneficial to everything else that one does or thinks about. It helps to synthesize everything one has learned.

Creativity is an interesting beast. It takes structured/deterministic/disciplined chaos. It is the balance between order and disorder. It is a point where thought becomes multi-fractal and ideas seem to mesh together very easily. Language itself shows a balance between chaos and order. The area between order and randomness is the where there is the most structural complexity, it it also where the most statistical complexity is. If one wanted to model a certain process, the most complex model would be in the middle of order and chaos. A simple deterministic process like a rock falling out of one’s hand is described by a simple set of rules. Total randomness is also really simple to statistically model. All states of the system are equally probable, just pick one.  It has been researched extensively by James P. Crutchfield.

It is complex to try and master creativity. One needs the right pressure, space, and time.

3. Order my mind-space continuum around my space-time continuum.

I have been known to try tackling the impossible all the while expecting myself to accomplish it within an even more impossible time frame. I need to be more realistic in my perceptions of time and space. This will come in handy for doing the above two items. Managing time is essential. I suppose the best I can do with this right now is give myself permission to be crappy about it, give myself some time and space, and see how much better I can get.

4. Enjoy everything.

I think what is more to the point is: exuberantly enjoy all states of existence. If something is happening that I don’t like, I don’t need to let it effect my enjoyment of life. This is more of a Platonic ideal that exists in another realm. Any realization of this will probably piss most people off, but I can try, right?

I really want to start enjoying everything because I want to enjoy the grunt work that it takes to get somewhere and be something in life. In other words, I want to enjoy all it takes to be successful in order to enjoy my (assumed) success all the more!

Have a great new years! I’ll see you on the other side of it. I wish you a very successful 2010! Oh! Here’s to a new decade, “Cheers!”

For more information on order and complexity, check out What Lies Between Order and Chaos (PDF), Complexity: Order contra Chaos (PDF), Is Anything Ever New? (PDF), When Evolution is Revolution–Origins of Innovation (PDF), and Computation at the Onset of Chaos (PDF).

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