Albrecht Dürer, The Northern Hemisphere of the Celestial Globe, woodcut, 1515 | (CC-PDM) Public Domain, Minneapolis Institute of Art collection (source)
Came across two tweets today that have jointly taken up residence in my head. This tweet:
i don’t want a career, i want whatever bilbo baggins and the rest of the hobbits had in the shire
And from this tweet, a short clip of Ethan Hawke’s TED talk:
I think that most of us really want to offer the world something of quality, ☝️something that the world will consider good or important☝️. And that’s really the enemy, because it’s not up to us whether what we do is any good. If history has taught us anything, the world is an extremely unreliable critic.
The shire is tiny, quaint, communal. That’s part of why it “works”.
Our world, on the other hand, is enormous and increasingly fractured. We can be exposed to nearly every possible facet and product of humanity via our phone screens. The desire to make a mark is as strong as it has ever been, but it’s hard to do anything that feels of real consequence when you’re effectively a sea-monkey navigating the Pacific Ocean.
You can make it feel smaller by limiting media consumption (traditional and social), but it has to be a daily, conscious action. And the pressure to engage can be enormous depending on your age and career. It just wears you down.
I suppose the goal is a balance, cultivating a smaller, more meaningful personal world (friends, collaborators, family, acquaintances) that you can retreat to and just occasionally reaching out in to the hurricane. But when making a decent living feels tied to the hurricane, or the hurricane seems like all you have left… it’s not an easy truce.
This is why the silent retreats, the off-grid living, the hamlet cottages are so compelling. It’s easy to think that physically moving somewhere less frantic will automatically offer peace, but unless you can temper the virtual arena that makes up your world, it’s just more of the same.
No answers here, as usual. Just more thoughts for the whirlpool.
Edit: I just re-read this and it makes me cringe a bit. It’s so obvious, and it has occurred to me a thousand times before. Why is it an epiphany every time I think about it? I always forget, it’s like Groundhog Day. Maybe this is what mantras are for. Something like the perennial I am enough, but more My sphere of influence, the way I define it, and the way I engage with it is enough. Ugh I don’t know!