Saturday, June 28, 2014

Increasing Creativity Part 2: Compounding Sources



The last entry established a groundwork by explaining compound interest. This entry will start porting compounding conceptually for increasing creativity.

The short quick answer: Our minds can work like an interest-bearing bank account. Instead of increasing the balance of monetary value, our minds can increase the balance of creative content.

The mind should probably be looked more like an income stock that can go up and down in value day-to-day but still pays dividends and capital gains. The vagaries and demands of life and near-certain biological degredation of the body causes this additional nuance.

Understanding doesn't always come with short answers. Read further for elaboration.

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My access to other blogs has become problematic. I like reading them on my mobile devices: 2+ year old LG Android and first generation iPad. I use the Feedly app, on the mobile devices and on my laptop.

Blog reading works fine on the laptop. I have no complaints about the technology. My issue revolves around my attitude problem. I don't care for consuming content on the laptop, except for background media like music. Laptops and desktops should focus on producing and developing content. I feel lazy and passive consuming content on these devices.

The Android works fine, but the small screen makes reading difficult and it gets slow. I get impatient. My eyes and brain strain focusing on such a small device and scrolling so often.

The iPad has the best dimensions and user interface for reading blogs via Feedly. I don't have to scroll much. When I do, I simply flick the wrist.

First generation iPads have become overweight paperweights, though. Apple no longer supports them or provides OS updates. An OS update would likely cause more problems. The first generation iPad doesn't have enough memory. To make things even worse, it can't handle the methods new apps use to manage memory.

My iPad has the habit of closing apps with little notice. OK, maybe some notice. It stops doing anything onscreen for a few seconds then closes. Using the browser or anything with major graphics for awhile likely triggers this reaction. Even without some kind of obvious trigger, music stops and an app will close after extended use. Music has also taken to skipping like a scratched CD Without clicking.

Webpages with lots of ads and sophisticated coding makes text flash in and out multiple times before stabilizing. Many times this indicates a trigger that an app will shut down. Even if it stablizes, it gets annoying.

I want fast action on my mobile device, consuming content, especially articles. I could get information faster from a newspaper or book.

My mobile tech has become obsolete. It happens. I've come up with an affordable solution: buy a high-end big-screen mobile phone. It provides the benefits of:

  • Having just one device and provider
  • Continued unlimited data
  • Decreased costs
  • Added network access flexibility
Hopefully it will last and provide me with ease of use.

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I inarticulately addressed this topic previously a little more than eight years ago. I ruminated about feeling disconnected from the world since I had no Internet. You can read it by clicking here.

It has more of an emotional philosophical tone to it. This time, creative content development is king.

I develop more creatieve content when I maximize my creative, information or news content consumption. Since my mobile content consumption has slowed down, I've noticed a reduction in generation and publishing of my own creative content.

My RSS feed reading and resolution to post more creative content and more regularly started around January 2013. The table below shows the trend of my blog posting for the months between January and June for the years 2013 and 2014. I include this entry on the table.

Month 2013 2014
January 4 1
February 0 2
March 2 1
April 2 0
May 3 3
June 3 1
Total 14 8

Other than creative, information and news content consumption reduction, these explanations could also apply:

Increased hours at work from January to market and verify delivery of health insurance policies after retail market purchases during the first Affordable Care Act retail Open Enrollment and launching of could have played a part. This issue spanned from January to April. Entries posted during this time span was 8 in 2013 (not ACA affected) and 4 in 2014. That matches the overall trend.

The decline trend also remains relatively consistent for the months of May and June. 6 in 2013, 4 in 2014. I have a hard time correlating the decline with the Affordable Care Act. Besides, I did most of my creative, information and news content reading during private times that polite company doesn't discuss. That activity has remained consistent.

I have taken on more DIY projects and chores at home. I have increased the steps/procedures for my dental hygiene. Both of these increases add to reproductive chore time and take away from leisure/production time. I can't dispute the contribution this factor has played into reducing time to write creative content.

Even while engaging in reproductive activities, though, I often ruminate on concepts, information and ideas. I do it without trying. My brain does it to stay occupied while doing an activity that requires little attention. The little monkey in my brain doesn't stop.

Personal issues also go through my mind during such ruminations, too. I observed a lower frequency of those during this span of time in 2014.

Reduction in cognitive and time resources, in general, have probably played a marked influence on my reduction in creative content creation. Above has already addressed time issues.

Riding in temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit created by the weakened polar vortex in very constricting layers took its toll. I'm still traumatized and expect sudden downturns at any time. The emotional toll of trauma, no matter the absence or presence of evil, has its costs.

Teaching and selling a product and system while learning it thoroughly at the same time makes for a rough time. Add onto that managing time to make sure money gets made rather than just tutoring people. Frustrated people facing much increased costs and getting marginalized by not-fully-thought through requirements weighs down the emotions. Such a cognitive load will take away resources from creative content creation.

May remained steady between the two years, which supports the Affordable Care Act hypothesis and weakens the cognitive load argument.

June makes the Affordable Care Act hypothesis less strong but strengthens the cognitive load argument. I have had a hard time with time management lately. So many things to do and so many people to see. I'm back to fighting for my time again.

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I rediscovered Rollo May. More apt, I found his work discussing how much significance and meaning has to do with people's happiness and well being. These works also had less talk about love. May's writing about love felt a little too wishy washy and mystical for my tastes.

May's writing about significance and meaning had so much to do with my project that I found myself inspired. I had to get another book of his about about violence. It focuses more on how lack of inherent significance and meaning can lead to violence and/or an ideology of violence. These days with terrorism, shootings at schools, violence against the marginalized and many stories hitting the news, May's writing doesn't just ring true for my project. It also has relevance to the contemporary human condition.

I've also rediscovered and started reading Dr. Chris Ferns' Narrating Utopia: Ideology, Gender, Form in Utopian Literature. I had bought it years and years ago in my spate of getting as many sources on utopianism as I could, looking for a definition or characterization that I could use.

Narrating Utopia helped me dig deep to discover/remember the purpose for my project and led me to rediscover Rollo May. In addition, I have a better understanding why The Project consumes me. Suffice to say, it remains a core process I started as a teenager to find my identity then move onto my next step. I like to think of it as a meta-project. I study how other people have defined significance/meaning and try to create an ideal humman and society based on that definition. I want to help society and me to better find significance/meaning and fill life with it.

I started The Project years and years ago without knowing why and forget it every once in awhile. At least I tell myself that. Seriously, I should just read the beginning of one character's journey in my novel's first draft. He practically says word-for-word my question and goal.

The fact that I wrote the last four paragraphs with little effort and could write plenty easily goes back to this post's argument. Instead of working against the argument, it supports it. Yes, I haven't written many blog posts in June. Instead I've redirected my attention toward a project that I've had at the center of my teenage and adult life. The quantification of blog posts written does not contain all of my content creation.

I have produced content, just not for public consumption at this point in time.

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Consuming content inspires more content. The more content taken in will lead to more content going out. Nuance brought about by analysis: the type of content coming in influences the content going out.

I started writing this post thinking that content only included creative, information or news. Like astrophysicists talking about information and black holes, I find myself broadening the definition of content to also include:
  • Physical things
  • Abstract objects/products (insurance really comes down to being a promise with rules as to when it applies and how it gets delivered)
  • Emotions
  • relationships between people
The list probably goes into infinity.

Production of content for my blog has gone down as my consumption of other inspiring blogs has gone down. During the first quarter of the year, insurance, Affordable Care Act and business content consumption increased. My output in these categories increased during that time.

DIY reproduction chore content has increased. Since it has the function of reproduction, it consumes and produces at the same time. I have little choice whether to deal with it or not. It generally must be addressed.

Reproductive content generally acts more as a time consumer. Unfortunately, time isn't content, it stores content. Like any storage device, time is limited. Unlike a storage device, we can't replace time or our allotment of it. At least not yet.

Other than reproductive content (notice that who does reproductive labor often becomes a contentious issue), the form of content generates more of that form of content. Doing reproductive content hopefully reduces it. In a sense, efficient reproductive content helps to produce future free time, or more philosophically, event-oriented content storage.

We absorb ourselves into content. Our minds ruminate over new content to adjust our concept of the world and universe. We are what we eat. Even food can be categorized as content, but probably more along the reproductive line of content. Whether we remain conscious or unconscious about our content consumption and production, the more we take in, the more we digest, the more we produce.

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This process acts as a form of compounding. Like I said in the beginning, though, our biological and social conditions make the quantity and value of our content more variable, unlike an interest-bearing bank account where the value of principal remains the same.

We can become damaged and we degrade. Content gets destroyed. Our productivity processing content, in and out, degrades. Thankfully the human race has developed technologies that can immortalize intellectual and certain experiential content.

Society and history, in a sense, can act as a mind that does the same as our own minds through material and social technology. The types of content we spread around, the more that the rest of society generates, good and bad.

Technology in the form of writing and other content form factors allow us to transcend time with our content. Neil deGrasse Tyson discussed immortality granted to us by writing in an episode of Cosmos. Tyson stresses the fact that our future generations can judge us as good or evil by our content, and we won't be around to defend ourselves.

Technology and our impact on society and other people allows our content to travel in time to the future while those in the future can connect with the past. Society then can process our content like our present day society processes it, whether to stop it or let it compound to produce more.

People and societies will determine the content's value in the marketplace of ideas like Wall Street determines the cost of stocks. Our content enters a marketplace of content, either to continue compounding in other organisms if found valuable or to possibly go extinct from lack of interest.

We consume and produce content everyday, whether conscious or unconscious of
  • Doing it in the first place
  • How we're doing it
  • What kind to focus on
We can choose the focus and quantity of what kind we produce by choosing the kind and quantity we consume. The value of the content is up to the consumer. Content acts as the medium we use to interact with the world and leave our impact.

Manipulate it often and well to maximize your interaction in a way you want. On the one hand, what do you want take away from the world? On the other, how do you want to be remembered by the world? Who knows where it all leads?

I know we can control our content output by controlling our input, though. We have a powerful tool available to us here. I have some ideas how to use it. How do you want to use it?

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