Question your models of the universe

A digital manipulation art from graphic designer Mariyan Atanasov, where photos of apartment were manipulated to look like the blocks from the Tetris game.

Urban Tetris, by graphic designer Mariyan Atanasov

I first read Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings back in 2006 when it first started, as someone newly adjusting to a working life in a fast-paced corporate world and was in a need of some beautiful, inspiring writing on life and whatnot. Thirteen years later today, it is still going strong — and ever flourishes with more daily lyrical discovery on literature, arts, science, life and many more — and still continues to be one of my favourite websites. Following the anniversary, Popova shared 13 lessons she has learned from writing and maintaining the blog. Some of my favourites (emphasis mine):

… Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.

[…]

Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued.

[…]

You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.

[…]

And my absolute favourite of all: Question your maps and models of the universe, both inner and outer, and continually test them against the raw input of reality. Our maps are still maps, approximating the landscape of truth from the territories of the knowable — incomplete representational models that always leave more to map, more to fathom, because the selfsame forces that made the universe also made the figuring instrument with which we try to comprehend it.

Some thoughts for the weekend, from Auden: How should we like it were stars to burn, with a passion for us we could not return?

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