“The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.”—Atisha (via sophiabequiet)
have used illicit drugs.
I first heard about the campaign when I received a call from someone at Release who was coming to New York and other U.S. cities to take photos of Americans holding up signs with the text “Nice People Take Drugs.” These photos of ordinary people identifying as drug users were also snapped in other cities around the world.
The campaign also includes images of elected officials in the UK and the USA with quotes about their drug use. They feature a wide range of cultural, political, and business leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Governor Schwarzenegger, Mayor Bloomberg, Sarah Palin, Richard Branson, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
There is something simple and powerful about the Nice People Take Drugs campaign. Right off the bat, it challenges people to think about their image of drug users. There are a range of stereotypes when it comes to drug users: On one end of spectrum there are the lazy, stupid couch potatoes who sit around eating Cheetos. Then there is the image of the homeless addict panhandling on the street.
But if you think about it for a second, despite a 40-year “war on drugs” and elected officials calling for a “drug free society,” our society is swimming in drugs. Coffee, soda, cigarettes, Prozac, weed, steroids, Ritalin, alcohol, are just a sample of the drugs that people take to get through the day. Yet only certain people and certain drugs are stigmatized, while others are normalized.
Throughout recorded history, people have inevitably altered their consciousness to fall asleep, wake up, deal with stress, and for creative and spiritual purposes.
Sure, drugs can be fun. How many of us enjoy having some drinks and going out dancing? How many of us enjoy a little smoke after a nice dinner with friends? Many people bond with others or find inspiration alone while under the influence of drugs. On the flip side, many people self-medicate to try to ease the pain in their lives. How many have us have had too much to drink to drown our sorrows over a breakup or some other painful event? How many of us smoke cigarettes or take prescription drugs to deal with anxiety, stress, or physical pain?
Why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs — it’s based on who is associated with these drugs. The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws, in the South in the early 1900s, were directed at black men. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest during the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.
While it is clear is that drug use doesn’t discriminate and the majority of us are using one drug or another, the reality is that the war on drug users does discriminate. More than 1.6 million people were arrested last year on nonviolent drug charges, and the vast majority of these arrests were for low-level possession, not selling or trafficking. In New York City, “moderate” Mayor Bloomberg’s police arrested close to 50,000 people for marijuana possession in 2009 — and 87 percent of those arrested were black and Latino, despite similar rates of marijuana use as whites. Nationally, African Americans are arrested 13 times the rates of whites even thought they use and sell drugs at similar rates. Most people use drugs, but mostly brown and black people go to jail for it.
The stigma and fear that people who use illicit drugs feel is real. If people admit or it is discovered that they use illegal drugs they can lose their job, their housing, and even their children. It is mind-blowing to think that someone who decides to smoke a joint on the weekend, something that can be much safer than drinking or other legal drugs, must fear for their freedom and their family.
Some brave individuals who use drugs, and some organizations, are starting to organize. In New York and San Francisco groups made up of people who use drugs are coming together to demand respect and a seat at the table when it comes to protecting their health and their lives. In New York a dynamic group named Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL) was instrumental in passing a law that expands access to clean syringes in order to reduce HIV and Hep C, and promotes proper disposal of used syringes without fear of arrest from the police.
We have to learn how to live with drugs, because they aren’t going anywhere. Drugs have been around for thousands of years and will be here for thousands more. We need to educate people about the possible harms of drug use, offer compassion and treatment to people who have problems, and leave in peace the people who are not causing harm. And we need to take action against the incarceration of so many of our brothers and sisters who are suffering behind bars because of the substance that they choose to use.
Nice People Take Drugs. That’s why the war on drugs is a war on us.
-Tony Newman, The Huffington PostThat’s the name of a campaign launched by Release, a nonprofit service and advocacy organization in the United Kingdom. The campaign aims to inspire a more honest discussion and approach to drug use in our society and also to highlight the stigma faced by people who use or
“There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them.”—Elie Wiesel (via libraryland)
1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.
2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.
3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.
6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.
7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.
9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.
10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.
11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.
12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.
13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.
14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.
15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.
16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.
17. ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.
18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.
19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.
20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.
22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.
23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.
24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.
25. Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.
26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.
27. Read only left-hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our “noodle.”
28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.
29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.
30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard Cohen calls a ‘charming artifact of the past.’
31. Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.
32. Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.
33. Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.
34. Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea – I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.
35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.
36. Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else … but not words.
37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
38. Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.
39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces – what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference – the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals – but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.
40. Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.
41. Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.
42. Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.
43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.
"So, I got over myself and realized that if we spend our entire lives doing only the things we know we’re good at, or only the things that make us comfortable, we’ll grow about as fast as does a glacier."
Another "reblog." This one originating from an academic adviser’s WordPress.