It's easy to dismiss something at a glance, but when you look closer, it becomes harder. Context, understanding, and connection increase when you look deeply at something.

The current culture of headlines and summaries makes dismissal the norm (anything written in under 280 characters is especially easy to dismiss).

But maybe when we resist the urge to dismiss, we risk opening and learning the most. Diving in against what feels uncomfortable to us ensures that the delta between what we think we know and what someone is saying will be far greater. And even if we dismiss it in the end, maybe we've learned that a perspective exists that we didn't quite acknowledge or understand.

Maybe there is wisdom in every perspective.

The Decision

When making decisions, do the systems we put in place give us more flexibility or less? Does it make those decisions easier or harder?

Of course, for public companies there is only one question that matters: Does this increase shareholder value? This makes decisions easy, but inflexible. In the face of doing what’s right or wrong, there really is no longer a decision, it’s already been made.

Maybe we have a choice to engage with systems where the outcome is inflexible.

Roller Coaster

When you're on a roller coaster, it's really hard to think about anything else. In retrospect, we say these experiences were fun. In isolation, however, the individual moments that make up the whole wouldn't likely be called pleasurable.

Maybe part of the thrill is being thrust into the present moment, forced to replace any other anxiety or paranoia with the one you're immediately presented with. Maybe we're willing to give up moments of pleasure for extended periods of altered states of mind.

Games Don’t Matter

“When you grow up, you’ll wish you didn’t spend so much time playing games.”

“Games don’t matter.”

My parents repeated this throughout my childhood and I’ve seen it echoed elsewhere in our culture.

In my early 30s, I can confidently say they were wrong. some of the most intense and joyful nostalgic experiences come from replaying, watching, and listening to music from those games.

And it seems I’m not alone. If you visit any number of play through videos or soundtracks available for old games on youtube, you’ll see hundreds of comments like these:

It’s easy to excuse this form of nostalgia as a return to childhood or a fantasy about a world without responsibility, but maybe that’s too easy. Although these experiences occurred during simpler times in my life, they were not better times, and they were not easy times. I would not trade my current life for any nostalgic fantasy and I would not rewind the clock to relive my childhood. Yet, the feeling I get from the games of yesteryear rekindle a longing for a distant past, possibly one which never existed.

Maybe this form of nostalgia is mourning a past me that cared less about time and productivity. A past me that didn’t care what was going to happen next week, next month, or next year - a past me who was willing to waste time. Now that I have more control over my life, I take advantage of it - for better and worse.

And, in part, maybe it was the focus required for games of that era. For me, our console game collection was small, so the alternatives for entertainment were so thin, my sisters and I were forced to really sink your teeth into these experiences (no matter how bad the games might have been). Of course, today if a game doesn’t immediately and continuously engage me, I throw it away. After all, who has the time?

Games are a uniquely immersive art form - one our culture is just now beginning to appreciate. For me, the imprints left by these virtual spaces and experiences are far more intense than movies, music, theatre, and the like. These imprints trigger a regret for not filling up my memory with more of them when I had the chance - but maybe that’s not how nostalgia works anyway.

Regardless why or how I feel this way, these experiences, and the work that made them possible, matter a great deal.

Tainted Honey

When sugar was available to early humans, they would be wise to eat as much of it as they could. For us, we're better off avoiding the sugar-filled displays that litter every grocery store checkout.

As the story goes with many things - modern day dangers are a result of excess in a world where our biology is still expecting scarcity. Food, substances, experiences, information - every generation gets a brand new challenge as we thunder down the road of innovation.

Maybe wisdom in the new age is developing the unnatural ability to withdrawal from excess. To opt out of some of the games played at our expense. To step back and say, that's enough.

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