Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Experience Designer

Brian Alger is writing some profound and enlightening ideas over at the Experience Designer Network. I just clipped a couple of quotes for now, but I need to go back and dig around some more:

Mind: In Search of Pattern Recognition
"One of the key questions I see being asked in a wide variety of contexts is about lifestyle or, more specifically, 'What is the style of life I wish to lead?' And the word style is becoming more closely connected with ideas about purpose, meaning, passion, vocation, integrity and value. The pursuit of this question often invokes the idea of a journey in which our authentic experiences of everyday living are placed under the lens of investigation. It brings us to the well-known metaphorical crossroads that heightens our perception and awareness of our own identity sometimes in stark contrast to the person we wish to be."
This is rich stuff, and the whole article stretched my brain. I suppose that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail...so when I started reading this quote, I was thinking "lifestylism...this is it!" Every word in the paragraph helps me figure out why it is important to consider how people define and live out their purpose.

My imagination has become my refuge...
"The dreams of what we wish to do in life are easily the most practical 'things' in living, yet the social and economic systems we find ourselves in often work against them. So we compromise in order to 'earn a living' as if living needs to be 'earned.' How many students in education systems feel this inner conflict - the dissonance between what we want to do in life versus what we are compromised into doing?"
I couldn't resist this one because it captures and combines the conflict we feel between what we want and what we believe we need to be doing.

5 comments:

tfoxfan said...

This completely captures what I believe about the choices that we make in life. I don't believe there is any support system in work or recreational life that encourages the pursuit of dreams. Employers like to come off as cheerleaders of this concept, yet the truth is if an employee is willing to work long hours, employers are happy to take it and begin to expect more of the same.

This is also reminiscient of Douglas Coupland's "Generation X", where Anti-Sabbatical is defined: "A job taken with the sole intention of staying only for a limited period of time (often one year). The intention is usually to raise enough funds to partake in another, more personally meaningful activity such as watercolor sketching in Crete or designing computer knit sweaters in Hong Kong. Employers are rarely informed of intentions." This reminds us that many do the Anti-Sabbatical for years, rather than the intended short-term plan. Earning isn't living. One must make dollars to enable dreams, but it is not integral to one's being.

Brian said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for connecting via email with me and making such positive comments here. I am definitely going to spend time in your weblog - it looks fabulous.

Your focus on "Creating the lives we want" is, for me, is at the core of what it means to learn. I've been using the word narrative (not sure that is the best choice - storytelling doesn't work for me - myth is probably the right word but it comes with a lot of misconceptions) throughout my own weblog to try and capture how people actively create the lives they desire. More than just inspiring stories (and this is, of course, a good thing in itself), I believe they have the power to help each of us to reflect on our own lives and provide a foundation to take meaningful and action.

Esther's comment, "Earning isn't living. One must make dollars to enable dreams, but it is not integral to one's being." resonates with me too. It made me recall Lifestyle: David Whyte - Crossing the Unknown Sea - Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. The thoughts in this book and the immense power of David's expression are profound, inspiring - and they are also completely authentic and practical.

Dax-Devlon Ross - obviously a very gifted writer, and his ability to reflect on his experiences with integrity and renew his direction in life is a primary example of resilience in learning. His narrative is powerful and brings us to the core of the struggle in living a life worth living, or what Joseph Campbells has described as life's "inevitable veil of tears." I have had the pleasure of some initial email exchanges with him.

Best regards,
Brian

tfoxfan said...

A fabulous quote for this discussion:

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." - Andy Warhol

Jeremy said...

Esther, you're on fire! This is good, good stuff. I appreciate your insight into corporate cultures that pretend to care about the well-being of the employee, but actually support overwork in every tangible way.

I also love the Anti-Sabbatical concept. One thing I've been thinking about is that it requires a fair bit confidence to pull off properly, and ideally you've got some skills that are in demand so that you can get back into some decent paid work when you need to. That's a tough combination for most people, but a worthy goal. It ties in well with this lifestylism stuff.

The darkside of the anti-sabbatical is that most temporary work sucks. Pay tends to be low and you never get a chance to "move up" if you don't stick around. As you know, my experience in my last job got me some significant perks (winters off to snowboard a lot), but that alone didn't make up for how much I hated the work.

Jeremy said...

Brian, I loved your connection between the power of learning (especially through narrative) to help people shape their lives. That is the root of this lifestylism project -- my education/technology blog just didn't seem to encompass the biggest questions, and I was becoming more interested in the "whys" of learning, rather than the just the "whats" and "hows".

Thanks so much for the Dax-Devlon Ross link. I read his account of his second day of school as a teacher...wonderful, sobering stuff. I'll dig into Whyte's stuff too, on your recommendation. Thanks again.