I believe we should seek this duality in life– to be BOTH social AND solitary. Or in Kendrick Lamar’s words, an “anti-social extrovert.”
I believe in this idea that we need balance in life– but that means, we must embrace the extremes.
For example, if you want to really be a social person, you must know how to embrace solitary-ness.
If you want to be truly solitary, you must know how to be extremely social.
Think of the popular ‘yin and yang’ concept– you need black in order to have the white; you need the white in order to have the black.
War and Peace
I am anti-war, yet– I know it is part of human nature to need BOTH war and peace in order to prosper.
We need war to shake people up a bit, and prevent ourselves from falling into indulgence and softening-luxury. We also need war in order to appreciate peace.
Fasting and Feasting
I follow “intermittent fasting” quiet religiously. I don’t eat breakfast or lunch, and when I eat dinner and break my fast, I feast. In my vernacular terms, I go “H.A.M.” (hard as a motherfucker) when I eat dinner. I allow myself unlimited portions of eggs, fatty meats, and leafy greens (and of course, kimchi, because I am Korean).
You would not appreciate the taste of food without hunger. You would not appreciate water without having thirst.
We need this duality to feel any sort of happiness or joy in life.
We would not appreciate rest if we did not exert ourselves enough physically during the day. Perhaps this is why people are having such problems with insomnia and falling asleep now in modern times– not enough physically-taxing activity.
Also, perhaps this is why people don’t enjoy music, film, or art as much anymore — we are over-stimulated by it! There is too much of it! I still remember when watching a movie was a rare treat and occasion — you might watch a film once every other month, and shell over your precious $5 to watch the film! Now with unlimited streaming and Netflix, we no longer appreciate the films– we simply let ourselves get sedated by this media (we are now a ‘nation of sedation‘).
Anyways, taking it back to the first point– to truly evolve as an artist, you need BOTH solitary isolation, as well as creative promiscuousness. You need to spend long periods of time to isolate yourself from the rest of the world to hone your own individual vision and voice. Yet, you also need to “re-emerge” from the cave every once in a while, to actually interact with the real world.
We need both!
I am one of the most extroverted people I know. I love people. Yet, I go through intense periods of creative isolation– when I don’t check my email for months at a time, and I’ve been phone-less for about 2 years now. It is almost impossible to contact me; and I do this in order for myself to have fewer distractions– to create my own magnum opuses in my creative work.
However, I am still extremely extroverted when I meet people “in real life”. I’m becoming more and more anti-social on social media and the internet, yet, I am MORE engaged in real life. I spend more time focusing on my friends, and I appreciate their friendship more. I am also becoming more and more picky with my friends. I would rather have 5 intense soul-mate relationship-friendships, than 500 acquaintances.
I deleted my Instagram about a year and a half ago, and it has been the best thing for my artistic development. Fewer distractions of the silly trends on social media– more focus on creating enduring works (hopefully more enduring than bronze, in the words of my friend Horace).
Ironically as a result, after deleting Instagram, I’ve become MORE prolific in my photography. I’m shooting more, recording more videos, and analyzing more visual artwork and watching more great films.
Social isolation is effective as an artist, by ignoring what all the other artists are doing — and focusing on your own self-development.
While you don’t need to be as extreme as me, I would recommend you to go through period “social media fasts”. For example, spend a week or a month not using social media, and see if you feel artistically more productive and healthier.
Or just spend periods without your phone.
Embrace both extremes
If you’re more of an introvert– find out ways how you can (sometimes) be very extroverted.
If you’re an extrovert, spend more time alone.
Embrace both extremes to evolve in your artistry, and as an individual.
FOCUS ON YOU.
Dictate your meaning and purpose in your life with ZEN OF ERIC:
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