Sometimes the action required of us is to do nothing. To not fly into a rage. To not demand revenge. To say nothing. To not forward emotional blackmail. To not charge into battle, to not add suffering on top of suffering, anarchy on anarchy. Inaction is not always indifference. Sometimes it is absolute wisdom.
My companions are brilliant, erudite, learned and wise; perceptive, with piercing insight. I sit with them, flummoxed by my own ignorance, confounded by my dumb tongue and my outbursts of unmistakably unhilarious humour. They are the hyperliterate intellectuals our community so desperately needs. I am the court jester, muttering incoherently, constrained by my unmatched, unfailing witlessness. I have been blessed to count these sages amongst my friends. Perhaps they have been blessed to count this fool amongst theirs. All together we keep each other in check.
I listened patiently and quietly as they talked and talked for minutes on end, but when I finally opened my mouth to speak, I could not even finish my sentence. Momentarily I was irritated, until I thought to myself: training for my ego. A gift, when you think about it. Speak good or remain silent. Diminish your self-regard. Minimise your inflated self-importance. Refocus your centre from I to the One. Yes, a gift from above, when you really think about it.
Some of us embraced religion to escape the darkness within. Others use it to justify it.
I wilfully ran into a labyrinth of my own design and now I can’t find my way out.
I have grown weary of these technologies which have become our everything. They have put in place new daily rituals, more sacred than prayer. This plate of glass, these intricate pixels: they have become the first thing I see in the morning, the last thing at night. At nine o’clock, ten, twelve, half-past three. And when sleepless at night it is there. Connected, but desolate within. I enjoy the interactions with others, the sharing of thoughts, virtual smiles, news, new friends – and old. Without it there is loneliness. Yet to be alone is a battle cry: to disconnect, to withdraw, to walk away. To seek refuge in recitations in a quiet place. To rediscover a good book gathering dust. This plate of glass and aluminium has supplanted an ordinary life, leaving migraines and regret in its wake. In truth, I wish there was a delete key for what I have become.
Graphic designers, think about the message you are conveying through your art.
A few months back I saw a poster for an event which pertained to making ourselves better people. The poster featured beautiful typography befitting the occasion, and an elegant decorative border too. In an effort to convey an idea of classical authenticity, the designer had chosen an antique paper background. It could have worked, but the chosen specimen was badly blotched and deteriorated, dark and unappealing. To me it gave a horrible impression of a dismal event.
This evening I came across a poster featuring a crumpled paper background. Such an effect has its place, but not here when you’re advertising a course that’s going to have a positive impact on people’s lives. If you handed around meeting notes at work which looked like that, you’d be booted out the door. If you handed in homework which looked like that, it would be thrown back in your face. As a potential student I want to know that the organisers care. First impressions count. Don’t hand me a poster which looks like it got trampled on and forgotten.
I like skeuomorphic design – in its place. But done badly, it can kill your message in the minds of your audience, ever before they have had a chance to read the all-important details.
Graphic design is the art of communication, not the art of messing about with special effects.
Who convinced these people to embrace the hideousification of the face? Why uglify yourself that way? Grateful to have preceded Generation Mipster; we were blessed with the natural elegance of an unassuming modest beauty. The grotesque, gargantuan inventions of today’s fashionistas are like comic turn. Clowns revelling in an identity without its core.
I have built another of those vast and complex and intricate edifices, which tower high above me. Now I must tear it down for the good of my soul, but it pains me. Yesterday I called in demolition, but halted deconstruction half way through. These towers of ego and desire are a work of art. But a yoke around my neck. The good within regrets engineering these great carbuncles, but soon the bad within will regret the act of dismemberment, and even now petitions me, “Stop!” Once more I have invested everything in this edifice. But either it falls, or I fall. These are the choices we set for ourselves. It is not a question of knowing what to do: that is easy. It is having the resolve to break every last brick, to walk away for good, to remove its foundations completely. It is the resolve to tear up the architect’s plans, to smash the intricate carvings, to bring it to nothing. It is the courage to write off an investment for the sake of one better than it. It is the courage to pull back from the brink. “Return” whispers my heart, but inside a war is raging. These are the battles of the soul. These are the inner idols.