“In 1452,” we read at montenegro.com, “two sailors from Perast happened by a small rock jutting out of the bay after a long day at sea and discovered a picture of the Virgin Mary perched upon the stone.” Thus began a process of dumping more stones into the bay in order to expand this lonely, seemingly blessed rock—as well as loading the hulls of old fishing boats with stones in order to sink them beneath the waves, adding to the island’s growing landmass.
Eventually, in 1630, a small chapel was constructed atop this strange half-geological, half-shipbuilt assemblage.
Throwing stones into the bay and, in the process, incrementally expanding the island’s surface area, has apparently become a local religious tradition: “The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place.”
The idea that devotional rock-throwing has become an art of creating new terrain, generation after generation, rock after rock, pebble after pebble, is stunning to me. Perhaps in a thousand years, a whole archipelago of churches will exist there, standing atop a waterlogged maze of old pleasure boats and fishing ships, the mainland hills and valleys nearby denuded of loose stones altogether. Inadvertently, then, this is as much a museum of local geology—a catalog of rocks—as it is a churchyard.
Creativity is commonly thought of as a personality trait that resides within the individual. We count on creative people to produce the songs, movies, and books we love; to invent the new gadgets that can change our lives; and to discover the new scientific theories and philosophies that can change the way we view the world. Over the past several years, however, social psychologists have discovered that creativity is not only a characteristic of the individual, but may also change depending on the situation and context. The question, of course, is what those situations are: what makes us more creative at times and less creative at others?
One answer is psychological distance. According to the construal level theory (CLT) of psychological distance, anything that we do not experience as occurring now, here, and to ourselves falls into the “psychologically distant” category. It’s also possible to induce a state of “psychological distance” simply by changing the way we think about a particular problem, such as attempting to take another person’s perspective, or by thinking of the question as if it were unreal and unlikely. In this new paper, by Lile Jia and colleagues at Indiana University at Bloomington, scientists have demonstrated that increasing psychological distance so that a problem feels farther away can actually increase creativity.
Parents today spend much more time with their children than they did 40 years ago. The sociologists Suzanne Bianchi, John Robinson and Melissa Milkie report that married mothers in 2000 spent 20 percent more time with their children than in 1965. Married fathers spent more than twice as much time.
A study by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth at the University of Michigan showed that by 1997 children in two-parent families were getting six more hours a week with Mom and four more hours with Dad than in 1981. And these increases occurred even as more mothers entered the labor force.
As the years passed, Lifehacker became my online alter ego, my professional identity, my work and my play. I happily gave up time I’d normally spend on creative side projects to the site, because it was my primary outlet for the two things I love most: software and writing. But as our staff and audience grew, the news chase intensified, and management duties piled up. I started writing and coding less and air traffic-controlling, copy-editing, budgeting, doing PR, and assigning stories to my writers more. While that all has been great experience I am lucky to have under my belt, it’s time for me to recalibrate how I’m spending my days. As someone put well, it’s time to mitigate the urgent to focus on the important.
The bottom line is this: for someone who loves making things on the web, spending 100% of the time blogging about what other people are making is simply untenable.
In a world in which entire industries bet their businesses on gaining access to our attention, which value leads to better personal success: hard work or the ability to control attention?
A person who works six hours a day but with total focus has an enormous advantage over a 12-hour-per-day workaholic who’s “multi-tasking” all day, answering every phone call, constantly checking Facebook and Twitter, and indulging every interruption.
As part of the Japanese census, people were asked to keep a record of what they were doing in 15 minute intervals. The data was publicly released and Jonathan Soma took it and graphed the results so that you can see what many Japanese are up to during the course of a normal day.
“Sports: Women like swimming, but men eschew the water for productive sports, which is the most important Japanese invention.
Early to bed and early to rise… and early to bed: People start waking up at 5 AM, but are taking naps by 7:30 AM.”
Time lost is time in which we have failed to live a full human life, gain experience, learn, create, enjoy, and suffer; it is time that has not been filled up, but left empty. These last years have certainly not been like that. Our losses have been great and immeasurable, but time has not been lost.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "After Ten Years," 1942
It turns out that this business of the young Einstein’s immersion in questions of train time and clock accuracy was central to his entire development, and that of his theory. I doubt I am particularly unique in long having imagined Einstein’s day job at the Swiss patent office as something akin to Kafka’s, around the same time, in the railway (!) insurance bureaucracy over in Prague: mindless drudge work, something to help pay the bills while the real work of genius transpired late at night and around the margins. It turns out, though, that the central focus of Einstein’s work there at the patent office in Bern around the golden year of 1905-06 (perhaps not surprisingly so, Switzerland after all being famous for being the world’s center for clockmaking) were applications having to do with devices capable of ever more accurate timekeeping. ... [W]hat with his job at the patent office, the young Einstein may have been the world authority on cutting-edge practice and thinking in these regards. He would have been thinking about simultaneity all day long: and at night he just kept on thinking.