I’m Brian E. Young. I’m a graphic designer, classical pianist and artist in Baltimore, MD. I host the Uncanny Creativity Podcast helping to demystify the creative process and creator of Funlooksfun.com, an online shop for apparel and games. Twitter: @sketchee
Extremism – “splitting”, black and white thinking or all are nothing thinking – as a psychological concept feels to me a relevant concept in the world right now.
A theory by Ronald Fairbairn holds that we develop this belief as infants. Rather than see a parent one complex and complete individual, we develop simplified concepts of a lovingly good force and a bad.
So as adults, we might not notice the details of a complicated situation. We forget we can make informed choices about our own behavior based on that information.
Our mental first draft falsely thinks we either “won” or “lost”. The result is a “failure” or “success”. An event is either a “catastrophe” or an “achievement”
In our revised reality, every person and situation has some advantage and disadvantage.
Every win involves some sacrifice. Every loss has a lesson. Throwing babies out with the bathwater is the thinking of babies.
As infants, we’re not wrong to see the limited in our choices.
Part of the journey of maturity* is accepting our opportunities. What once we knew as shame becomes gratitude. Where once we felt a need for negative attention becomes our own participation.
Observe without judgment the benefits and drawbacks of our own thoughts.
We all have a reason to be who we are. Also true that we often also can observe a reason for a desire to change. If we accept why we’ve been this way for so long.
Apply this as you will to extremism you witness in yourself and others
*(Side note: Originally drafted with the word “adulthood” instead of “maturity”. I think these concepts connect and work more understandably when separated. Adulthood exists as a legal, biological, and social method of repercussions and consequences. The term maturity implies a more inherent active self-acceptance of our behavior and any results. This might mean that I accept my choices can be both displeasing and – at the same time – advantageous. For example, graciously denying an occasional request can both a momentarily unpleasant expression of autonomy and by its very nature creates truthful intimacy, resilience, and trust in a relationship )Also on:
Lucky to have so much love in my life. Past, present, and looking forward to future love too.
The love of familiarity (Greek: storge) exists as an affection we have for family, natural connection, and contact through chance. I’m bonded to my family by our generous desire to be giving, our hope to keep each other safe, and our trust in each other’s independence. I’m especially lucky to have a family that is loving, honest, considerate, and kind without condition.
Intimate love (eros) embodies the accepting of each other’s true beauty and honest existence. In the vulnerability of romantic love, we gain an understanding of each other as individuals. With all of the emotions revealed through intimacy, I’m glad to love the bold hearts whose paths crossed mine. You taught me so much and today let’s celebrate our reckless courage.
Regard among equals (philia) manifests as the loyalty of friendship, virtue in companionship, and care among those with shared values and interests. Incredible to experience quality time and kind words my longtime friends who have been there for many years and new friends who share the details of their hearts and minds. All of your compassionate honesty, beloved consideration, and undying respect continues to help me get my shit together.
Goodwill (agape) is charitable love independent of circumstance. This is a spiritual generosity that allows us to care for strangers, treat our enemies kindly, and engage in an audacious hope for those who we have no connection. For all of the struggles of society and the world, I’m grateful for all of our human efforts which have kept us together. Our ancestors who built the world around us imperfectly and as best as they could. To strangers who do their daily work that gives us electricity, housing, food, and shelter to create our lives. Too often we give them no thought even though we rely on their existence. Thankful to all of those who it took to manufacture our cellphones that let us hear each other’s voices. Care for who keep my car running with parts from around the world.
The world however flawed does it’s best to be beautiful.
Happy Valentine’s Day <3Also on:
“There’s all kinds of data. How well is this room constructed? Who’s wearing glasses? How many men and women are in this room? What’s the makeup of the population of this room?
“You just haven’t noticed even tho it’s right here. Unless of course, you’re into building construction. Or you’re an optometrist. Or into affirmative action.
“In which case you wonder why everyone around you hadn’t noticed something that is very relevant to you.
“What is it that creates relevance? Relevance has to do with focus. If you focus on eyeglasses, these things kind of pop out.
“You can change focus instantly. Start noticing what you’re noticing. You have more to do with setting up than you realize.”
David AllenAlso on:
The world around us was built by others to make us act a certain way.
As a designer, that awareness is my entire job. Notice your computer interface, your smartphone app, the very cities and buildings you are in. They were built by others to subtly push you in various directions.
The shape of paper stacked and glued together is a human-made design that hints to you that this is a book to be read. Shapes on the cover arranged a certain way appeal to past patterns you’ve learned enticing you to read it.
A narrow cylinder with an open top, solid bottom and curved exterior ornamentation makes you think you to put liquid in it.
The magic of design is that its subtle hypnosis. I place shapes on the page and you see images, new versions of your life, and change yourself.
Most of the designers of our world died long ago in obscurity. They placed lines in our cities that control the way you walk. They encouraged customs that you blindly follow with no grasp on why.
Every moment you spend indoors or in a city, in a country or in the world, you’re in an entirely false environment. It’s a virtual reality. Man-made signs, roads, and contraptions certainly brought you there.
Do you ever stop and think of the grand design of a human-made world?Also on:
“Don’t let that blind you to the realities of the things he says or does. Sometimes when somebody we love does something wrong, it’s so difficult to hold those two images in our head at once. We find a way to resolve them and we say ’That’s not the real him, the best version of himself is this other person. That’s the real him.’ Your brother is the things he says he does. That’s not all of him, but that’s part of him.” Mallory OrtbergAlso on:
“I said: ‘what is your responsibility to hiring women?’ He said ‘We’re serious about this, we’re blind to gender, race, ethnicity we’re looking very hard.’ I said ‘Are you looking hard enough?’ He said we’re looking very hard. What we’re not to prepared to do is to ‘lower our standards’.”
“Which is only used with women and people of color. Just fyi.”
“I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I wasn’t trying to trap him”
“That’s not trapping. That’s what he thinks. I thought he would have thought about it and would have a thoughtful answer.”
“People were horrified. And to be fair, some people didn’t think anything was wrong with it.”
“I don’t know how you can have the same kind of people… and think you’re being fair in your selection process. Ever. That you had no problem. It’s just that you had ‘higher standards’.”
“If you judge Sequoia simply on actions: they didn’t hire a woman in 44 years. This is the best venture capital firm. You’re telling me you can’t find one woman?”
“What they’re saying is women are not qualified to do technology. Or that you’re not qualified to find them. It’s the thing, they’ve had all this success? What have they missed? How do they know they haven’t missed out on the woman who would have found the cure to cancer or whatever”Also on:
“Walking into any conversation knowing full well that it’s okay if you choose to walk away. That it’s okay to choose if you to participate or not. It gives you such control – for me, it gives me confidence. It means I can really talk to anybody. I’ll feel pretty good that I can set my boundaries and do what I need to do to take care of me.
“So, what might happen is when I start hearing a viewpoint I disagree with. I make a choice: Am I going to share my perspective? Am I going to listen or not engage?
“It’s a simple choice you get to make. Sometimes you’ll make the listen choice. Sometimes you’ll make the walk away choice.You can always – always – choose to be curious about what they think and what their life has gone that has led them to have these thoughts.
“You can also choose to just lightly listen to them. You don’t have to take everything they say to heart. We analyze people in our heads all the time and choose how seriously to interpret what they’re saying. You get to do that.
“Come from that place that I really get to choose makes me confident engaging in potentially confrontational territory.
“Option 1 is that, Option 2, if I’ve expressed my position a few times and I want to be done. I might say: Thank you for talking to me as much as you did. I’m going to mingle with someone else now.”Also on:
“Emily Post always said that whenever two people come together and their actions affect one another, you have etiquette. That exactly what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if you’re holding a door or getting married. There’s some form of etiquette going on between you. And you get to choose. Whether that’s something you make a positive situation. Or whether you choose to ignore it. Or make it worse. It’s all up to you.” Lizzie Post
“A ‘male-dominated company’ is not a ‘fairly progressive company’. Unless there’s a specific reason that’s mostly men need to work there. Like issues that affect men. Like some type of ideological reasons that it’s male-dominated.
“That doesn’t mean they’re all monsters or all extreme right wingers. A really progressive company does not ‘accidentally’ wind up with mostly men. Especially mostly men in positions of leadership. That happens on purpose. It’s a cultural choice.
“It’s one of those things that’s existence depends on pretending it’s not a thing. So it’s like ‘Oh yeah I guess uh we do happen to have male management. I don’t know why. We’d love to have more women. If only they’d apply. But they’re hiding. And every time we try to give them a job, they burrow underground and hide away.
“It’s not an accident. Male domination is never an accident. It’s on purpose”
Mallory OrtbergAlso on:
Find things to be happy about RIGHT NOW. Your life is not going to be solved when you get that promotion, creatively make something “good”, make “more money”, get your chores “done”, meet a new friend, or have a “good date” .
All of those things sure help and yet… They don’t solve the problem. None of my accomplishments or talents or good days solves a thing. Only when I said hey I like my effort, drive, and the way I do things do I figure out how to feel better.
If you’re trying to figure out your life, surprise! This is your life right now.