Discover more from Steady Beats | Matt Tillotson
The Mix Tape, Vol. 45
Mythology shattered in “The One Device,” wireless device worries (in 1906!) intentional reading depravation, and more.
So it turns out that if, as part of the week’s assignments The Artist’s Way, you commit to seven days of “reading depravation”—no books, no news sites, no social media—then it’s challenging to find things to share in a newsletter.
But here we are, nonetheless. Let’s start with this photo I took on very hot Florida afternoon run last week:
Florida is breezy in the winter. But in the summer, the heat settles in and it’s often dead calm.
The Artist’s Way, week four
The theme of Week Four: Recovering a sense of personal integrity
The ideas and writing exercises revolve around shedding outside influences imposed—and probably long ingrained—to excavate the person we were created to be underneath all that stuff.
One week, no reading. When this book was written in the 90s, social media was not a thing. Web sites weren’t really a thing. Now we’re removing all of that for a week, plus books, newspapers, newsletters, stone tablets, etc.
The point is to get other voices out of our head, and to avoid using reading as an excuse to avoid creating.
FYI: reading depravation sucks.
“Real Feelings vs. Official Feelings”
The morning pages help us sort through what we really think and feel, versus the feelings we put out for public consumption in our workplaces, with our friends, and on social media.
Official feelings are usually couched in the phrase “I feel okay about _____.” Saying you feel okay about something is a reliable signal that you do not, in fact, feel ok about it—and are making that position official instead of real.
The One Device (that was anything but)
Everything is a remix of other things. Creativity isn’t the birth of something completely new. Rather, creativity combines existing things in new ways.
“Steve Jobs will forever be associated with the iPhone. He towers over it, he introduced it to the world, he evangelized it, he helmed the company that produced it. But he did not invent it.”
In “The One Device,” Brian Merchant spends 400+ pages deconstructing the myth that the iPhone is, indeed, just one device invented by one person.
Instead, Merchant takes us back in time, sometimes hundreds of years, to explore the people, ideas, and progress that eventually allowed Steve Jobs to weave together one of the most impactful—and the most profitable—products in history.
Merchant paints Jobs as a curator rather than an inventor, a brilliant person who synthesized existing technologies, pushed his team—often ruthlessly—to advance and combine the technologies, and then melded it all into the iPhone.
You can read a full review and see Kindle highlights from “The One Device” here.
Nothing new under the sun
We worry—rightfully—about how our devices separate us. About how we can be in the same room physically but far apart mentally and emotionally.
These feel like new concerns. They are not:
Check the date on this amazing cartoon, featured in “The One Device.” It laments the potential personal divisions created by a wireless telegraph.
(By the way: I would definitely, at times, wear an antenna hat for better reception.)
With all the issues we face today—even those that feel extremely new and modern—we need to remember there is truly nothing new under the sun.
As The Barenaked Ladies said: “It’s all been done before.”
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