Wednesday, February 16, 2011

3-D, Risk and A Life of Adventure

When I was waiting tables to pay tuition bills in college, one slightly intoxicated patron proposed marriage to me with a paper napkin ring and the line "I'll promise you a life of adventure!" While I ultimately declined his offer, I have been impressed with the sentiment ever since. 
In an era when work demands so much of most of us that life becomes one-dimensional (job, job, and more job), we rely heavily on such things as social media, i-phone apps, and 3-D entertainment to round out our lives. To offer an overly simplified and slightly cynical-sounding overview: Facebook allows us to maintain friendships without the commitment of real interaction. Apps streamline our efficiency to produce time we don't have. And now movies are literally adding a couple of dimensions to the entertainment side of things. 

With all of these inventions we are striving to make LIFE feel more ALIVE.
 Now don't get me wrong, this girl loves her modern, gadget-using life as much as the next person, and is not advocating for the overthrow of any and all things tech (this is a blog after all!) No. These things make life easier and sometimes more fun. The problem is that none of these things involve the risk that gets our heart pumping in real life. We quell the nagging sensation of dullness that comes from an easy, entertaining but adventure-less life by telling ourselves that we don't have time or energy to meet someone new, go to the gym, bake cupcakes, fight for something worth fighting for etc. But are we as satisfied? Have we stood on the edge of a real-life cliff and said "Here goes nothing"?
 My absolute favorite book for artists is Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art". Pressfield cuts the sweetsies, tells you to just put on your brave face and jump...artistically. (To give you an example, he  says in his intro regarding Hitler's failed artistic career "Call it an overstatement but I'll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.")
Norman Rockwell
I'm with Pressfield. We all need ease and entertainment, but nothing satisfies like the thrill of risking something to live the adventure.

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