Paying Attention (with Dave and Sue) Benjamin O'Brien; bbbbenny_andthe_jetssss; mage; Journey Log 1; Section 037

I decided to visualize my own interpretation of ‘Paying Attention’ by making a video. Dave and Sue have opposite outlooks on life. Dave is always on his phone and misses everything that happens in the world, while Sue notices each and every detail. The idea of failure is embodied by Dave, as he fails to truly notice the world he lives in. He spends his time in some virtual reality that his devices allow him to create for himself and has no real connection to any part of the outside world. Dave is your typical Metanoia kind of person. He does not even realize the opportunities that he is missing. Sue is much more like Kairos. With her deep appreciation of the world and attention to detail, she is sure to seize each and every opportunity she encounters.

While I am definitely a sentimental type who takes the time to reflect and has the curiosity to dig deeper, I still miss plenty of opportunities. In fact, some of my reflecting is on opportunities I let pass me by and why things may have turned out as such. The characters in my video are meant to show a black and white. People, myself included, are the gray that lies in the middle. We fail and we succeed, and we take notice and miss things completely. I had to fail many times in the making of this video. These failures were very small, fixable mistakes; the trial and error that comes with using a program for the first time. I had no idea how to use Premiere Pro, which made the making of this video quite time consuming. All that matters is that I have a finished product that I am happy with, proving that I overcame my tiny failures and reached success.

Journey Log 2

Improvisation

Each note follows the next

as if carefully thought out.

I sit. I listen. Deeply perplexed,

as in my mind there exists and inspiration drought.

White key, black key, black key, white key

No music to follow, a song no one could know.

Yet, nonetheless, each finger knows exactly at which key it would like to be,

precisely how long each note should bellow

I have tried this before,

which is why I sit in wonder.

My fingers know not which notes to score,

nor which keys to strike, how long to hold. I blunder,

occasionally strike the narrow space between keys, a sound of horror.

Though one day I sit. I focus.

The notes come to me like a swarm of locusts.

I have done it! I have created a song!

Now I struggle to find words with which to sing along.

A battle for another day, I suppose.

Hardly much more than meaningful prose.

This poem is in a way a reflection of "Superman and Me" by Sherman Alexie. I try to convey the frustration of improvisation and writing music that comes from personal experience. I very similarly had the defeated attitude that the young Native Americans did in Alexie's essay. I hardly would even try to write any sort of music whatsoever. Like in the poem, I refused to understand how musicians could rattle off notes with no thought at all. Although finally, one day, I sat down in front of my piano, focused, and developed a small tune that I found actually decent. It was in no way as difficult as I thought. Music has always been something that I have been good at. I rarely had a defeatist attitude and would teach myself to play anything I desired. Like Alexie, I could not figure out why others around me had a defeated attitude toward music, passing it off as something they could never do. Little did they know that if they were to try, they may surprise themselves. Below is a short sound byte of what I came up with.

Un

An addition that takes away

The opposite of what lies ahead

Two letters exactly the same

though unifyingly different

Twice reflected over an external axis

This seemingly unrelated conjunction

between form and function

Uncanny irony unknown by many

Unnoticed even

Who has such unnecessary thoughts

about something so unimportant

as two unconnected letters anyway?

Maybe more people should act less unaware

because those who focus on the un

can begin to figure out how to use it

remove it

Become unchained

separate themselves from the unthoughtful

the unproductive, the unhelpful, the unpleasant

They can stop being unhappy

stop feeling unsuited

Embrace all that is unusual, unnatural

This, undeniably, is what is necessary

to unplug, unwind, and enjoy

this unconceivable world.

This poem was inspired by the idea of unlearning, introduced in 'Beginning' in Habits of the Creative Mind. I looked at the prefix un and really analyzed it in a way I never have before. I rarely think about why words are the way they are unless they are obviously foreign or especially strange. In a way, this poem echoes the unlearning process, calling for humanity to take notice and break free from what is already known or thought possible. The poem really exclaims that life can really be lived if one lets go of what is defined, but if one were to really think, definitions and facts only exist to be disproved. This idea is stolen from a Theory of Knowledge class I took in high school where we watched a video that facts are never proven true, they just have yet to be proven false. This directly applies to life. Very little in the world is defined and everything is constantly waiting to be disproved, changed, improved. Sometimes it is necessary to forget the old entirely and completely reimagine something from the ground up in order to reinvent it.

The idea of unlearning and beginning is relevant this week and onward as we begin to look at our monster essays. This class constantly calls for students to break free from the five paragraph essay, unlearn every convention that defines it. I have had little experience outside of the five paragraph essay, although I enjoy doing things differently so this could really be a place for me to shine. I also hate writing conclusions because I can never get them right without repeating what I have already said. This is an issue because in writing, I say something exactly the way I want to say it and any other iteration simply will not do. Conclusions force me to say what I have already stated in a lesser way than before. I am looking forward to letting go of conclusions in place of more poetic, less repetitive endings.

This week had everything to do with exploring, as research is exploring a new topic in depth. I chose to research Slender Man as my topic and after doing some 'exploring' I have found information that was genuinely interesting and, at times, shocking. This surprised me as I generally associate research with long hours of extreme bordom and frustration.

Research for Slender Man was easier than expected. A good bit has been written about him because he is, in a sense, the first of his kind and therefore an area of focus. Specifically, he relates to human behavior and story telling in the digital age. Slender Man is the first solid case where an entity was created online and erupted into something huge. Slender Man got so well known that people began to believe he truly existed, causing two young girls to stab their friend 19 times in an attempt to kill her.

Ultimately through this exploring process I learned how to skim through sources and find good information. This was something that I've never been any good at, as I generally read every word. I am not a fast reader so long sources can be overwhelming, but now that I've practiced skimming more it is easier to approach.

This week I made the decision to stray from my typical drawing or poem, deciding instead to dive into some modern, new age, meme art. I used a meme generator to create this meme relating to rhetoric. The image is a snapshot of the famous Star Wars line, "These are not the droids you are looking for," said by Obi-Wan Kenobi. This image perfectly embodies Plato's quote on rhetoric, which says, "Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men." With this quote in my head, I thought to myself, 'What else deals with ruling the minds of men?' A classic Jedi mind trick, of course! This is why overlaying the image of Obi-Wan, are the words, "Rhetoric at its finest." This art of persuasion differs from rhetoric in language in the sense that Obi-Wan is literally and directly influencing the mind of the storm trooper.

Rhetoric is not so different from formulating an argument. In fact, the two go hand in hand. One must use rhetoric to present an argument, thinking about how he should present his information depending on his audience. As said in the Clemson video we were assigned to watch this week, rhetoric is not the art of bullshit. This misconception is tragic, as it leads people to believe that they shouldn't use rhetoric, when, in fact, it's crucial to daily life and getting what one wants and needs. I assume that the idea of rhetoric has been tainted mostly with unfulfilled political claims, followed by the media marking such tactics as rhetoric.

I have never been very good at persuading anybody, which means I must not take the time to evaluate my audience enough to be able to present my desires in such a way that they get on board with me. That being said, I am better at formulating an argument on paper with an ample amount of time than formulating an argument on the spot as words are coming out of my mouth. I will have to test my rhetoric and argumentative abilities in the coming weeks as this monster paper is written and finalized. To present my argument, I will suggest ideas about Slender Man and his social impact and then proceed to back up those claims with actual evidence or proof. Audience matters less with this paper, although it is important that I assume the reader has no knowledge of Slender Man whatsoever.

This week I decided to draw a time machine for my journey Log because I wish I could go back in time. The reason for this being that I did not manage my time at all this past week. I put off doing the rough draft for my research paper and studying for my biology test until yesterday (March 6). Not only that but my brother is visiting to see what college life is like so added distractions didn't help.

I am using the habit of mind 'planning and replanning' this week for obvious reasons. I should have made a plan for my research paper so that I could get a little done each day instead of letting it hang over me until the day before it was due. Planning and replanning would have allowed me to have more time to study for biology and more time to sleep, because 2 hours doesn't cut it for a good night's rest. When the final paper is due I plan on making a plan and replanning if that fails me. The quick thinking, no time planning may or may not have worked for me but only time will tell.

Diverging Is

Diverging is a sort of pivot. It's when you try something one way, fail, and then take another path.

Diverging is to keep moving forward, but in a different direction. It's not stopping. It's not moving backwards.

Diverging is taking a leap of faith, risking everything to be different.

Diverging is making the best of failure. It's not wallowing in pride.

Companies diverge to save themselves.

Comedians diverge to turn boos into laughs.

Politicians diverge to appeal to the public and avoid embarrassment.

Writers diverge to break free from the chains of conventions.

Diverging is doing something unexpected. The results could lead to more diverging, but if they succeed, unimaginable spoils.

I wrote Diverging Is with no real direction so I guess you could say I, myself was diverging at every word, every line. It was going to be a short story but then somehow became a sort of free form poem. Diverging reminded me of the classic business pivot where when one way isn't working, a company will do a complete 180 into something completely different, yet still slightly related. The show Silicon Valley comes to mind when I think of this.

I am going to pivot or diverge from the way that I approach large assignments this week. Instead of taking them all at once and facing them like a mountain, I am going to try to do a little each day so that overall, it seems like less. Specifically I am talking about the research paper. Half of it is technically written (needs to be revised, of course) so there is less already. If I take it a little at a time I think my head will be more clear and less anxious. I will be able to produce better writing as a result. If this divergence fails me then I must diverge again.

Credits:

Created with images by cocoparisienne - "piano keyboard keys" • nayukim - "Playing piano" • Pexels - "electronic keyboard keyboard music" • marc falardeau - "PIANO" • Pexels - "blur close-up gloves" • b1-foto - "piano musical instrument piano keyboard" • Ho-Teng Chang - "UN" • ChrisA1995 - "Nature" • Moyan_Brenn - "nature" • Dennis Götz - "Nature" • ChrisA1995 - "Nature" • esiul - "plant nature live" • AbelEscobar - "ray beach sky" • Moyan_Brenn - "Nature"

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