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Three Specialists

Magical Nihilism:

It’s from the beautiful, beautiful book Bluebeard, and I think I first heard it first (as with many such things) from Matt Webb:

“The team must consist of three sorts of specialists, he says. Otherwise the revolution, whether in politics or the arts or the sciences or whatever, is sure to fail.

The rarest of these specialists, he says, is an authentic genius – a person capable of having seemingly good ideas not in in general circulation.

“A genius working alone,” he says, “is invariably ignored as a lunatic.”

The second sort of specialist is a lot easier to find; a highly intelligent citizen in good standing in his or her community, who understands and admires the fresh ideas of the genius, and who testifies that the genius is far from mad.

“A person like this working alone,” says Slazinger, “can only yearn loud for changes, but fail to say what their shaped should be.”

The third sort of specialist is a person who can explain everything, no matter how complicated, to the satisfaction of most people, no matter how stupid or pigheaded they may be. “He will say almost anything in order to be interesting and exciting,” says Slazinger.

“Working alone, depending solely on his own shallow ideas, he would be regarded as being as full of shit as a Christmas turkey.”

Ann Druyan, about her husband Carl Sagan

When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me – it still sometimes happens – and ask me if Carl changed at the end & converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again.

Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous – not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance…, That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful…

The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.

(Via Lil Chlo)

Impostor Syndrome
Most artists and designers I know would rather work all night than turn in a sub-standard job. It is a universal truth that all artists think they a [sic] frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. We believe by working harder than anyone else we can evaded [sic] detection. The bean-counters rumbled this centuries ago and have been profitably exploiting this weakness ever since. You don’t have to drive creative folk like most workers. They drive themselves. Just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go.
Linds Redding, A Short Lesson in Perspective.
Art Blancquote, work, Insight
100 Quotes by Charles Eames

From this book, here’s a couple of my favorite quote:

Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects … the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.

To be realistic one must always admit the influence of those who have gone before.

Wishlisted.

People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.

Ray Bradbury, 1920–2012

(via Dustin Curtis)