Does context ruin insight?

Does context ruin insight?

Here another in the series 36 Views of Fuji by Hokusai. Hokusai and the Fuji Lumber Company. Why did he include Fuji in so many different pictures, almost incidentally?

Would it take away from the painting’s charm to imagine that he was doing some of these paintings under commission to a business conglomerate named Fuji? This one might be for the Fuji Lumber Company subsidiary.

It does kind of ruin it for me — thinking Hokusai was just fulfilling a commission, rather than being inspired by the centrality of Mt. Fiji in Japanese life. It’s interesting what too much knowledge and context can do to us. How it takes away rather then adds to the richness of our life.

Another view of Fuji and you

Another view of Fuji and you

Yesterday I posted Under the Great Wave off Kanagawa, painted by  Hokusai. I told its story and asked some questions about it, part of my inner dialogue about this great poetic painting.

Imagine you are a 21st century Hokusai, seeing the picture in this post. Fuji and the sunset overwhelm the city, but will you paint it that way? The city also captures our view. Is that the poetic content for the 21st century? Does nature gradually disappear from our view, as we network on our iPhones? Are there so many people that we can no longer find silence?

Maybe we can find silence by looking at art painted in the 1820s, by our great-great-grandfathers. What do they have to say to us, about our 21st century? Do we listen? Is the past relevant to us?

The Great Wave and you

The Great Wave and you

The Japanese artist Hokusai painted the 36 views of Fuji in the early 1820s. Under the Wave off Kanagawa is his best known work. I recently went to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and saw The Great Wave, and the other works.

What is there about the Great Wave that fascinates us? I know I have a internal dialogue when I gaze at it, mainly about the wave, its height and force and movement. Fuji is almost incidental. The boat with the fishermen is also hard to see but important. The wave and the fishermen are fighting each other, with Fuji as a distant, silent witness.

What is this internal sense in me that tells the story of the conflict between the boat and the wave? It is what distinguishes me from every other animal — my storytelling ability, my sense of the meaning of things. What will I do with this storytelling, meaning recognition capability? Is that an important question? Who can answer it? How will I know that they are telling the truth? How do I know that I am telling the truth?

Add your own questions please.

Do you know how to use a compass?

Do you know how to use a compass?

“Know the true direction of your Life journey and follow your inner compass to get there.”
A compass is a good metaphor to use for guiding the direction of your life.  But most people have never used a real compass so they actually don’t know how to unpack the compass metaphor to apply it to their life journey. Here is a simple guide to using a real compass (with how to use your  metaphorical inner compass to guide your life in parenthesis):
  1. Align the north pointing needle of your compass with north of the compass (In your life, you have to discern which direction you feel pulled toward, which is your inner north)
  2. Align north of the compass with north of the map where you are located (Of course you have to have a map of your future life to do this.)
  3. Decide which direction you want to go on your map and note the compass heading (You know where you are now; you know where you want to go in your life. You need to plan your trip in that new direction and increase your inner compass’s energy in that direction)
  4. Finally, use the compass to follow the path you have chosen, even when you can’t see any landmarks (You have headed in a new direction and you need to track how well you’re traveling. Sometimes you’re lost so your inner compass is your only guide.)

Too complicated for you? Here is the idea in a nutshell. Know where you want to go, versus where you are, sense where you are being pulled, energize your inner compass, and keep track of where you are going. A Life Map is a big help. https://lifemapping.me

One small step for a man

One small step for a man

You probably recognize half of Neil Armstrong’s pithy statement when he first stepped on to the moon. But do you ever think you might need some words like that yourself?

You’ve been selected for a significant honor or award, by your national government. You have to make an acceptance speech, and have decided to look back at what led up to you winning this award. Could you remember the first step that you took?

I think that the question of how we got to where we are in life is basically unanswerable. Too many threads, too many small decisions. If we are famous, we might remember a particular person who helped us — a parent, teacher, coach or friend — but they only deserve partial credit.

In actuality, our first step to where we are today probably took place when our worldview or mindset gained enough strength to guide us. Our choices and decisions were heavily influenced by our view of the meaning of things. The clarity and intensity of our intentions depend on the meaning we attach to controlling our own destiny.

Sharpen your clarity about your future desires and intentions by creating your own unique life map. See https://lifemapping.me for how to do that.