The golden squid relinquishes the stranglehold of a thousand sunsets!

“The golden squid relinquishes the stranglehold of a thousand sunsets with the birth of one lonely star!”
I like motivational quotes.
Actually, no! Occasionally I love them.
The wordplay— Clever imagery and a few thought-provoking snippets can be enjoyable!
But I often deconstruct them as well.
I’ve seen thunderclouds that transformed into downright ugly beasts before they were swept away by cyclonic winds.
None of them had the chance to be turned into cute and inspirational fluffy “silver-lined” analogies for imminent good fortune!

How are quotes working for you in real life?
Just when you thought it was safe to cross the street a Hollywood-styled typhoon hits but you’re prepared!
You have a quote!
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Unfortunately, the storm doesn’t care about your quote and you’ll have time to reflect on the wise words while you’re erased from existence.
I’m guessing you’re not going to take a defensive stance and mouth off to the storm.
In all probability, you’ll run away or start praying!
Are “words of wisdom” therefore worthless?
Of course not!
Quotes can be inspiring though— They can kick you in the gut or prod you to try a different approach to thinking.
Quotes and things from self-help-motivational books can be quite entertaining if nothing else?
But I guess the main idea here is that inspirational words are as useless as vapid insults if they don’t become catalysts for action.

Forge these self-help snippets of wisdom into a proper sword and learn to wield it— Then it becomes valuable.
The trick is to make the words part of your armor.
You can’t search for the correct weapons during the fight— You should already have something in hand.
Words and wisdom are the same!
You need and understand that stuff before you go into battle.
If you’ve not assimilated “words as weapons” into your very fiber you can’t go scuttling about and anxiously searching for the “right thing to say” when push comes to shove!
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Illusions of perception— And red lines that help us observe!

Perception becomes your impairment when you’ve always been able to see without sharpening your ability to observe.

To counteract the illusion of reality stemming from an unmitigated belief in my own perception I started drawing circles around things.

Whenever I do venture into the nebulous netherworld of “online newsworthiness” my imaginary red marker becomes indispensable.
I draw thick red lines around terms such as “Everything you need to know about…”
Because quite simply it’s often nothing more than time-consuming inane clickbait.
Volatile opinion and repetitive comments are circled in thick red and black lines.
And next to all those circles I write “irrelevant!”
The circles remind me to focus less on seeing and more on “observing.”

I can also congratulate myself for finding the self-discipline to circle many forms of online communication after hours.
Especially over weekends, I don’t see the need to be glued to unsubstantiated and disturbing comments from those I’ve never even met.
This unbridled stream of “information”only serves to refract my experience of what could otherwise have been quality time spent with significant others.

Checking in on a friend or family member on Facebook doesn’t always necessitate a red line.
We should use technology for communication!
We have always done so.
Back in the days before the internet, we did make phone calls.
But due to practical constraints such as cost and being tied to a wire we also had to keep conversations relatively short.
A long-distance call to a relative abroad was a luxury, not a commodity.
So yes, let’s communicate by all means!
I’m only becoming more and more adverse against jumping into the polluted stream of “unfiltered opinion” simply because it’s so easy!
It has become too easy to expose ourselves to filth we really don’t need to deal with.

On a positive note…
I’ve also started making use of green markers.
I encircle many occurrences of empathy I see online.
It isn’t all bad.
In fact, nothing is!
Yin requires a Yang.

The words of the prophets

“The words of the prophets are
Written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”

– “The Sound Of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel

Finding the words of any prophet is difficult these days.
So what is “Media” then?
A prophet, goddess or merely an attention-slut?
My belief is you’re still better off hunting for true wisdom in archaic forgotten ruins than on social media.
Yes, there are snippets of robust reasoning and inspirational moments on Twitter.
But they are footprints on a beach.

I struggle to fathom how “conveying sincerity” is truly possible on such a platform?
The big problem is that any form of sincerity or “truth” is in danger of immediately being diluted by opinionated floods.
A thousand disembodied voices often become more important than the original message.
Digression and off-topic remarks have become the norm.
These in turn lead to more fighting and odious responses.
Even “the good guys” who do enjoy a clean run devoid of scandal often succumb to the lure of controversy in order to garner a greater following.

Before the era of electronic feeds and content-prodding we managed to observe information and digest our own perceptions of the intended meaning at leisure.
We were exposed to news and even rumours in “slow” formats… Newspapers, TV Shows, magazines and the gravevine in a local neighbourhood.
More often than not common sense led us to separate real nuggets from fool’s gold.

I can’t say that the news back then was devoid of sensationalism and propaganda.
It’s just that these days we need to sift through the good, the bad, the ugly as well as all
the comments that are equally bad…ugly…and quite horrific!
Comments can be quite vile as little standalone representations of people’s unfiltered thoughts!

So what do we do?
Sift through comments or simply ignore them?
I don’t know about you, but I find this to be a tedious exercise these days.

I’m happier whenever I don’t spend too much time on Twitter.

In the meantime I’ll take my chances and continue seeking wisdom in offline spaces:
Libraries.
Subways.
Tenement halls.
Dusty manuscripts.
Conversations with real people.