Sunday, January 09, 2022

We can't feel two things at once

The other night I dream I am in Mexico again, but on the mainland, gently drifting, grazing the treetops. I think I am holding something over my head, maybe a sheet, acting like a glider. I watch the jaguar slink across the open field and think, I shouldn't set down in this tree, let me go a bit further, but I'm not afraid, I am just being sensible. I finally alight outside a hotel that is not a hotel. Someone invites me inside, and I stand on the terrace, watching an older couple lounging in the infinity pool, the milky water spilling seemingly onto these plains of Mexico where somewhere my jaguar is watching out for me, is that me in the pool in the milky future with my longtime lover? I can feel the jaguar prowling (for what?), but I know it will not hurt me.

What would my psychotherapist say?

I need to exercise my patience, I'm out of practice. Steady as she goes.

The sickness is sweeping the city. Friends are sick. Colleagues are sick. We are living in lockdown again, under curfew. There are lineups for liquor and groceries again. There appears to be a shortage of catfood, or maybe I live in a neighbourhood with a high-density cat population that is suddenly demanding more substantial sustenance. 

Practice gratitude. "Research has shown that gratitude displaces anxiety: We can't feel two things at once."

I can't read. I can't sculpt. Television bores me. I don't want to work. I tire easily. I play video games for hours on end. My eyes are tired. It's been 673 straight days of German lessons. Isabella, deine Arbeit ist zu stressig, mach Urlaub. My skin is peeling, I'm shedding the sun of Mexico, but I keep silver coral wrapped around my fingers, a new talisman. I go for short walks and smoke illegal menthol cigarettes.

I do research for work. The future is not only useless, it's expensive, I learn. 

And this is why the future, be it NFTs or Memoji or the howling existential horror of the Metaverse, looks so ugly and boring: it reflects the stunted inner lives of the finance and technology professionals who produced it.

The problem then, apart from the howling existential horror of the Metaverse: how to not be stunted, how to unstunt oneself, how to imagine something beautiful and interesting.

I am trying to understand, and embrace, Massive Change. In how I work and in how I live. In how I interact with people and with the world. Everything is a design problem. Design thinking leads by inspiration. It demands the clarity and courage of its convictions. Design is driven by purpose.

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