Work and Play

In the past few months I have been very active reading and listening to lots of motivational and witty pieces of pop literature – or in other words – I’ve been searching for the answer to one and only, probably the most important question in my life at the moment, and it’s not why am I still single.

I’ve been trying to find out a secret to getting rich without having to do an actual work.

While I know this question is mostly delusional, yet I took a liberty of relying on other successful peoples expertise in hopes they will give out a secret to eternal abundance and wealth. All of them claim there are 5 – 7 – 10 principles of achieving success, you just have to follow the step by step and poof – you are a millionaire.

Alas, the more books I read the less I understand what it’s all about. Laptop Millionaire taught me where to look for money, 10x rule almost convinced me I have to work 10 times harder at anything to make money come. 7 principles of highly successful people convinced me that I am extremely average for any type of success.

I keep hearing about people who woke up one day and they lives changed for ever. They’ve spend all their twenties drinking and partying and working at average jobs until this one proverbial day when they became uber successful business men and women. Truth to be told, since I turned 25 I’ve been building my career plans. I got a job at the company and I projected myself a career ladder until I woke up being 27 realizing everything that I’ve been doing is taking me nowhere because I am not a corporation career obsessed woman or BEYONCE.

Since I turned 27 I’ve been going to bed every night and waking up every morning praying for illusive inspiration to kick me in the ass and show me the yellow brick road. Bad news – I’m still waiting, good news – I learned to enjoy my life while waiting.

Two nights ago I watched Yes Man again for the 5th time or so, and each time I watch it, each time I understand Zoe Deschanel character differently. First time I saw that film I thought she was just a bum. Now I see she is a girl who is just going for things that she finds worth her time.  She goes after what she wants. In spirituality it’s called the state of allowing of wonderful things to come into your life. How are you supposed to know what you do well if you keep on doing what you hate all the time or find it mediocre?

Your professional and your personal lives most of the time are two separate worlds, at least for the majority of people. One part is mostly compared to slavery and rather not being talked about, while the remaining part is description of attempts to fill the void created by professional routine with alcohol and wild parties.

Yet none of them can describe who they are – answer I am a financial analysts doesn’t give me much information, boring, next. So, you crunch numbers for a living, but outside of work you could be binging alcoholic and I met people like that. Assigning yourself to a physical function that eventually defines you is cruel. Unfortunately, majority of people prefer to classify people in such matter. You either CEO or a post room boy and by a popular opinion somehow post room boy generates less awe and approving head nods although after work and weekends he’s been working hard on developing a sustainable start up business model that will save the planet, figuratively speaking.

Job that you do however does not describe WHO you are but it plays a big part in how it makes you feel on the average day basis. So perhaps anyone who is looking for a career change or starting their own business, it’s good to begin from defining yourself. Not your ability to organize paperwork and delegate well (the regular bullshit found in CVs) or an ability to type 1000 a minute, but what makes up your personality, hobbies, how you spend your free time, who you hang out with or what you read. Once you have that, then you  will be able to see what can you do with your skills so it doesn’t sound like – I am borderline introvert but I would like to work as an event manager because it sounds fun. If you don’t spend all of your free time chit chatting to people – you will suck at your day job and so we start again.

I realized I might be spending all my life hoping to get an inspiration, read numerous books about other successful people yet never getting to the point when any of their teachings make any sense. It’s OK not to know what you want. You don’t have to KNOW what you want to do all the time  and the reason why people look at you weirdly when you don’t spit out an ultra complicated job title is because you don’t fit onto their mental definition. They can’t classify into one box or another so they don’t trust you. But it’s not personal. As long as you are staying true to your own dreams and needs and desires you’ll be fine. Not all who wander are lost.

True that we all need to pay bills, but it’s also true we need lives to live and enjoy ourselves (or facilitate the expansion of the universe if you may).  The proven truth is, money come to you from doing what you enjoy the most, this is when you at your most brilliant, all of a sudden you happen to have all habits of truly successful people and working 10 times harder that everyone else will seem like a fun day in the park. always be who you are and not what you do.

 

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Work and Play

Consumption in Photography

Continuing on the topic of culture vultuering and my recent adventures in the V&A, which is by the way the endless source of inspiration for marxism, I came across another hotshot FREE exhibition that somewhat shocked me to the core. People in fact believe that everything that’s free isn’t worth much attention because it lacks in status or importance. Who wants to see something that everybody else can see too, it basically has no worth putting on Facebook, so why bother. Ok, now minus cynicism, free exhibition on social issues are usually very eye opening, mostly because people don’t like to pay to have their eyes opened. Ignorance is a bliss.

Anyway, Consumption is a grand exhibition commissioned  by Prix Pictet founded by the Pictet Group in 2008, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. The award aims to uncover outstanding photography applied to confront the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. ( Prix Pictet)

Many would say it’s a very exciting time to be alive. Many would also say it’s exciting time to be a white good-looking male in western part of the world. Yet I don’t think so much, taking Elliot Rodger as an example, men can have just as much shitty time as women, especially with the whole new wave of feminism openly provoking and challenging social rules dating back to paleolithic era. It’s also a wonderful time not to be born black female in Africa as we learned after seeing statistics on rape following rape summit in London earlier this year.

This was just a slight deflection from the topic. Anyway. We found so many ways to increase our productivity in everything, work places, food industry, medicine. Every aspect of our social lives are efficiently shared on social networks and we have (sort of) freedom of speech. We all know the equation of supply and demand. At this particular time of history we have surplus of man made products and deficit of natural resources. We also have so much food coming to us from all parts of the world, we no longer know what we eat and what we don’t eat we throw away. Yet while large part of western world is suffering from obesity epidemic (on the top of cancers and mental illnesses), third world countries are starving.

As Slavoj ŽiŞek writes in his book Consumption, the food in our plate represents the triumph of marketing over content.

Consumption exhibition in V&A very accurately tells you how far we’ve gone and how disturbing it looks. As I walked past fantastic photographs by Prix Pictet prize winners – Adam Bartos, Motoyuki Daifu, Rineke Dijkstra, Hong Hao, Juan Fernando Herran, Boris Mikhailov, Abraham Oghobase, Michael Schmidt (who sadly past away on the 28th of May, 2014) Allan Sekula, Laurie Simmons, but I was especially impressed by Mishka Henners’ series of photographic prints Beef & Oil.

Feedlot

This image of Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas pulled from Google satellite image shows what seems to appear as waste lagoon. Discussions sparked after appearing on Reddit around the colour of the lagoon. Very disturbing speculations on whether this is rouge colour is a result of animal waste or other unknown factors. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit environmental advocacy group, these lagoons often break, leak or overflow, allowing microbes from animal waste to seep into the ground and contaminate air and water supplies. Regardless of what it is or how dangerous to environment this mass is, it is pretty fucked up. Now, obviously image above is a simulated version, currently being displayed at V&A. I took a liberty to look it up on google satellite  image from this particular area and lagoon is well, red.

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 20.14.59

Next to a lagoon you can see livestock feedlots. Grim innit. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is an example where your succulent beef is coming from.

In the age of awakening and sustainability, where bullshit beliefs about food chain hierarchy are finding less and less comfort in evolutionary and scientific research around the world, many people are beginning to see the benefit of not eating animal meat. I am coming from the culture where meat was a prime source of nutrition and energy.

Having grown up just a few kilometres from cites slaughter house, I will never forget the foul smell coming from it during warm summer evenings.

Did I know what it was? Subconsciously I knew. The older I was getting, the more disturbed I was feeling. Yet vegetarianism wasn’t something the society felt comfortable with, just as anything that was unusual was treated with suspicion and loathing.

Right now it is impossible to ignore the fact that food industry is fuelled by poisonous ideologies and corporate hunger for profits. There is very little comfort believing that animals on these particular farms are being slaughtered in dignified way. Please. Eating or not eating animal meat is everybody’s personal choice however after seeing this particular exhibition I came to certain conclusions. It takes two to waltz. So far consumerism and food corporations are having a ball. Next time before you order your burger medium rare, take a second to wonder where this beef came from.

Aside

Art of Warfare

Saturdays in summer as a rule (at least here in UK) are recognised for two things. One of them is flocking to beer gardens and starting drinking way too early, and the second them is not going to places where tourists go. Today I skipped the first one and instead I made a visit to V&A (Victoria & Albert museum) to catch up on some culture, meaning making my way into a swarm of tourists racing to see as much as possible in as little time as possible on their way to Harrods.

We’ve all been there. Speed art viewing (as well as everything else with speed in front of it)  is a waste because art never really gets to be seen the way it deserves to be seen – Londoners hardly do it because of the it’s not going anywhere attitude and tourists do it only because we are going somewhere else. So today instead of rubbing a hole with my ass in the wooden bench in a pub, I went to explore the rest of the world. History.

I was never a huge fan of history. Mainly because at school it was all about memorising dates of famous battles and names of royalties who all had the same name except for ascending roman numbers next to them. Now when the pressure of failing the class is off, I discovered a new found appreciation for history. Or to be precise – trying to spot and understand patterns in human history in hope of finding an answer to why are we so fucked up? riddle.

Since V&A is a beautiful but incredibly confusing and huge building, I  decided to place my focus (between butterfly emporium and Trade charity sale) on the middle east and south east Asia section on art and culture.

Although I’ve seen it at least once before, I feel like I never looked at it properly. My previous visits were the equivalent of listening to reply rather than listening to hear. Today I truly listened and what I heard was a minuscule yet significant insight into values of our civilisation.

samurai sword handle

If we could sum up the past 2000 years of our existence, without exaggeration, humans cared the most about two things – war and art. Yet what is so special about ancient warfare was the amount of craft invested in creating armours and weapons.

Hey, if you are going to fight at least carry a sophisticated sword!

It mesmerised me that despite of how seemingly primitive peoples needs were at that particular time in history, yet the approach to war was unusually sophisticated.

Even though practicality wasn’t the priority, it didn’t stand in the way of efficiency. Beautiful robes embodied with gold and gems, the netsuke (a form of toggle that was used to secure personal items like pouches and tobacco carriers) which were crafted to a perfection, made me wonder if our imagination evolved much further past 16th century.

Looking at the Japanese fight armour I am not sure what boggles me more – whether it was made to infuriate the enemy or to astonish it. Yet it is something that you can possibly look at for hours and still not believe that this magnificent piece of art was created by a our primitive ancestors. The description (and the picture) below at very least should discourage Galliano from returning to fashion world.

Samurai Armour

Samurai armour evolved as styles of warfare changed. ‘Great armour’ was first made in the eleventh and twelfth centuries for mounted archers. It was brightly coloured with gold or silver gilt, and combined the skill of the armourer with that of weavers, leather workers and lacquerers. Many parts were made of iron or leather plates laced together with silk chord and lacquered. Flexible panels covered the torso, arms and thighs. (V&A )

Obviously warfare was the prime focus of state authorities for centuries. Extraordinary amounts of money and sophistication were invested to gain and maintain power over territories and population. It has been then, it’s still here now. Although our weapon of choice has evolved, our instincts haven’t. Only today we don’t cary mother-of-pearl decorated swords, we cary kalashnikovs and atomic bombs. Despite of all this beauty that I had pleasure to observe this afternoon in the museum, I was left saddened by the fact that we still don’t put as much money, talent and imagination into peace as we put into war.

 

 

 

Art of Warfare

Feeling charitable today?

Last week I adopted a tiger. Thanks to WWF UK I am now giving away ÂŁ3 every month to a charity that is protecting tigers. They are magnificent creatures and poachers love them for their alleged medicinal powers and fur.

For more than 1,000 years the use of tiger parts has been included in the traditional Chinese medicine regimen. Because of the tiger’s strength and mythical power, the Chinese culture believes that the tiger has medicinal qualities, which helps treat chronic ailments, cure disease and replenish the body’s essential energy. Endangered tiger parts such as bones, eyes, whiskers and teeth are used to treat ailments and disease ranging from insomnia and malaria, to meningitis and bad skin. Chinese texts state that the active ingredients in tiger bone; calcium and protein, which help promote healing, have anti-inflammatory properties. – taken from www.tigersincrisis.com

So here I go, hopefully my ÂŁ3 will go a reasonable length to save at least one tiger.

Few hours later I saw an ad calling to save snow leopard. Since tigers are more difficult to catch, if not impossible, because they are so rare (and probably not stupid) snow leopards are number two poachers choice. So while I was happily printing my tigers “adoption certificate” off the internet, it occurred to me.

Doesn’t a snow leopard deserve to live a happy life too? And what about rhinos? And African elephants? And pandas? And what about coral reef? Part of me is bouncing around excited about possibility of “adopting” all of these animals, another part is skeptically rolling her eyes suggesting that I have to work for a living, and at this particular moment, it’s hardly a fancy living.

One part of me is worried about tigers, another part of me is horrified about children in russian orphanages growing up in still stale post-soviet conditions. And children in Africa, and all the disabled little kids, and children (and adults) who have cancer, or aids or some other horrible illness. And what about elderly, and homeless, and drug addicts and other people less fortunate than me? How do you make a decision who to support?

Would I make a difference if every month I was donating 100% of my wages in an attempt to help everyone in need? Would it make me happier? Not likely.

Now every time I am donating to a charity, not only I feel good, I also feel guilty for not donating more. To everybody.

Feeling charitable today?