Sunday, September 11, 2016

Instead of Making Art by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Instead of Making Art
Excerpt from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Most of us spend many hours each week watching celebrated athletes playing
in enormous stadiums. Instead of making music, we listen to platinum records
cut by millionaire musicians. Instead of making art, we go to admire paintings
that brought in the highest bids at the latest auction. We do not run risks
acting on our beliefs, but occupy hours each day watching actors who pretend
to have adventures, engaged in mock-meaningful action.

This vicarious participation is able to mask, at least temporarily, the underlying
emptiness of wasted time. But it is a very pale substitute for attention invested
in real challenges. The flow experience that results from the use of skills leads
to growth; passive entertainment leads nowhere. Collectively we are wasting each year the equivalent of millions of years of human consciousness.
The energy that could be used to focus on complex goals, to provide enjoyable growth, is squandered on patterns of stimulation that only mimic reality.

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