June 23, 2011
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I’m working on a text about art and creativity right now, and part of that text is about the holes in life. Those plunges one makes from time to time. Or at least I do. And I usually refer to these periods as being ‘in the hole’. A dark, lonely and very nasty place to be. These days I usually manage to keep these visits short, I’ve had enough practice climbing up to have developed a certain proficiency by now, but even a short stay is unpleasant enough.
The biggest problem with being in the hole though, are the distorted perspectives. Things just look really different from down there. Twisted and weird. And it’s almost as if logic isn’t able to reach you when you’re there. Everything takes on distorted proportions, becomes enormous, monstrous, unsurpassable hurdles and even simple household chores morph into Sisyphean tasks. It’s all just a big, gargantuan mess of shit piling up threatening to fall down and crush you. But on some level you still know it’s all because you’re in the hole, that it’s just the perspective fucking with your head. And that’s when shame sets in. Because if you know, you should be able to just shake it, right? But you can’t. And therefore, you suck. That’s the summary of how the whole situation looks from down there. You suck.
So obviously you have to shut up about it, because if you tell anyone, then they will also realize you suck and getting external confirmation on that would pretty much guarantee that the shit will indeed fall down and crush you. And that’s why you start pretending, putting on an act, but being in the hole with the whole perspective distortion going on, you’re not really able to pull it off. The performance as your preferred version of yourself doesn’t turn out very convincing. In fact, all you manage to pull off, is an unreliable, slightly erratic and rather grumpy version of your least preferred self. You don’t return calls, you don’t respond to emails and when people confront you with it you make up vague excuses about having “been busy”. Yeah, right… Read more of this post
June 13, 2011
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I am what is commonly referred to as an expat. I.e. a resident in a foreign country. Another word for this is immigrant. And I’ve written about this before (here), so I won’t go too deep into the absurdities that reside within that concept in this text, but let me just say that people aren’t plants. We don’t have roots, we have legs. We move. But when you do move there are a number of things you are confronted with, and one of these things is language.
I live in a country where I have to live my daily life in a different language, a language that isn’t my mother tongue, German. I already knew a bit of German when I moved here 5 years ago, so I wasn’t that worried. I knew it would take a while to get a flow, to feel secure and at home in the new language, but I wasn’t really prepared for what an impact it would have on my identity and self-image. Because every language has its characteristics and in these characteristics also lies a world view. The words you have in a language say a lot about how you perceive the world, what concepts are relevant. And as you slowly start conquering the language you also get an insight to the world view that comes with it, and you start relating this to your own. You start reflecting on the differences and compare them to other languages, other world views. I use three languages in my daily life, or to put it differently, I live my life in three different languages. I have a few more at my disposal, but three is what I use in my everyday existence. So essentially I have these three different world views coexisting in my head on a daily basis. Read more of this post
June 8, 2011
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a window to the outside world
For me life online started when I was at university. I studied for six years, and when I started, registering for an exam meant going to campus and signing your name on a physical list. When I concluded my studies the exam registration was happening online only. Over the course of those six years the world had changed, or at least the part of the world where I was living.
I fully realize I sound like a grandmother now, but when I grew up you had to make your way to the library or at least go pick up a physical encyclopedia to find information. We didn’t have an encyclopedia in my house, so hence I spent a lot of time at the library. I also dragged quite an impressive amount of books back and forth on a very regular basis, and we’re talking piles at a time here. These days you can just go to wikipedia. I love libraries and I still like spending time there, but I also really like wikipedia. And I truly love the internet.
Obviously the abundance of information that’s right at your finger tips is enough to make me purr with delight, but the other fantastic thing is the quantum leap in communication the internet has brought with it. People aren’t plants and therefore we move around. The internet has provided us with completely new ways to stay in touch over vast geographical distances. Before the internet living in different countries put serious obstacles in the way of having a close and frequent contact. Of course you could stay in touch, but it took time and/or was expensive. Today you can talk to anyone at any time for free.
The interesting thing is also that the person to person communication has been one of the main focuses of development. Finding ways to interact, that seems to be a really big deal in the online version of reality. And probably quite logically so. We’re social animals, we like to have a tribe, belong to a group, be part of a social context, and the internet has opened up several new ways for us to engage in this behavior. We can email, skype, chat, tweet, blog, etc, etc, etc. What ever takes your fancy.
And our fancy it has definitely taken. Read more of this post