Inspiration after looking at the “skateboard” skeleton frame of Tesla:
The beauty of emptiness and negative space.
Why is negative and empty space beautiful?
The vice of modern thinking: We want to always fill up negative space.
For example, we move into a new house or apartment, and the first thing we want to do is fill it up with furniture and “decorations”. But for me the beauty of a new home or apartment is precisely the emptiness. The emptier, the more opportunities for new things, new experiences, and new modes of thinking and thought.
The emptiness of a cup is what makes a cup useful
Once a cup is full to the brim with a liquid, it is no longer useful. An empty cup is technically the most useful cup.
The best schedule and calendar is an empty one. The emptier your schedule and the fewer appointments you have, the more spontaneity you have for your day! I know for myself I HATE having appointments, schedules, and meetings. Why? I become a prisoner to my schedule, and I cannot live according to my own life cadence.
Where does the bias of always filling up our schedules and lives come from?
Another vice of us Americans and westerners — our inherited “Protestant work ethic” from the British and Taylorism (the notion of trying to do more work in less time than the other). The basic notion is this:
God has blessed you with life. If you desire to get into heaven, you must prove your worthiness by maximizing your virtuosity and not waste or squander your life.
How do you maximize your virtuosity? By always working (“for the greater good of God”), constantly becoming more efficient and to maximize your productivity, and by “wasting less time”.
Thus we have the Protestant work ethic embedded into our psyche and being. Thus whenever we see something being unutilized or under-utilized, we see it as a “waste” (this emotion comes from the Protestant work ethic notion of guilt).
Therefore if our schedule is empty, we get anxious, or feel bad. We try to fill it to the maximum, part out of guilt, and also part because we don’t like to have time to ourselves to think (being constantly busy with work is one of the most effective ways to turn off your imaginative brain).
Zen emptiness as a means of innovation
One of the principle ways of innovating:
Make things leaner, slimmer, lighter, less cumbersome, less complicated, less heavy, less space-occupying.
For example for the Tesla car, because you no longer need a hunking engine (the entire engine is on bottom of the car, like a flat skateboard), this allows for much more space inside for the passengers, more trunk space, and also more opportunities to design a car body to be more aerodynamic and to have a lower “drag coefficient” (leads to better mileage).
Huge swaths of undisturbed and empty/quiet time
My biggest innovations in life (artistic, philosophical, photographic, blogging, entrepreneurship, etc) has occurred to me while I was in “zen monk mode”— limited to no connection with the outside world, or the digital world.
By disconnecting, I was able to connect deeper with my own thoughts and ideas.
Thus as a takeaway, some thoughts:
- Strive to continually empty your schedule, your clutter, life, etc. The point of emptying your life is in order to create empty space in order to invite NEW experiences, NEW thoughts, and new creative ideas into your mind. The point isn’t empty for the sake of empty.
- Perhaps this “intermittent fasting” notion is good: Your stomach needs periods of going empty (fasting) in order to digest your foods, absorb the nutrients, and allow “autophagy” to occur (autophagy is the process in which your body has a “vacuum cleaner” effect to your poorly functioning cells). But eventually we gotta eat. So perhaps the idea is to intermittently empty yourself. At a certain interval fill yourself to the max, and then fast for a long period and allow yourself to go empty. If fasting is essential to life, strength, vigor, and longevity, then perhaps we must also fast from busyness, appointments, schedules, and also junk in our brain.
- Better to have a “not to do” list than a todo list.
- Steve Jobs would often ask Jony Ive: “How many times have you said no today?” Perhaps better to track our success by finding pride in determining what we DON’T want to do, by what we reject, or by how many times we say no or refuse.
The eternal cycle between emptiness and fullness -> the stimulus to our life and creative output?