Lili Krakowski on sat 10 dec 05
The multi tasking conversation is fascinating to me, because the whole =
idea of what work is, the role it plays, and what we consider it, and =
so on, fascinates me, and I have been "studying" it for quite a time...
Recently Mel wrote something about rebuilding his porch, and how he had =
to do some other work, on his house. Then he has written that he built =
or rebuilt or re-rebuilt a kiln. Then he has had a show; and there are =
the bees to look after, not to mention Clayart. Then there are all =
these pots and these glazes. And, I expect, Mel does glazes on a hot, =
hazy day, when he "should" be adding supers, and vice versa on a clear =
dry day.... This to me seems part of a chosen, thoroughly integrated, =
and to use a nonce-phrase I like, "seamless" life.
In contrast Tony, in the September/October issue of "Clay Times" managed =
to fragmentize the making of a mug down to the last snibblet. Any sense =
of unity seems lost. It is amazing that a mug, as simple mug, comes out =
To me the first is the lived life--a harmonious (D.v.) smooth continuity =
where different parts of mind, body and soul do different things but =
all together---The second seems to me multi-tasking: breaking =
everything down, as a machine does--and individual bits being assembled =
into some sort of unit.
When Marianne or Kelly speak of their busy --ok, overworked--lives -- it =
again seems to me part of a smooth flow.,
Several of the books I have been reading point out how resentful , and =
uncomprehending, people were when the factory system came in. They =
had been used to integrated, "flowing" lives: they got up at dawn (a =
and went to work till night (another changeable time) It could be =
milking the cow, or hoeing the beets, or taking their goods to the fair, =
or it could be working at their trade: weaving, knitting, and so on. =
On good days they did their outdoor work, on bad, indoor.
Now with the factory whistle blowing at a FIXED hour, and their having =
to be there, even when it was the perfect day for picking the beans, and =
their being penalized for not being on time, and let out of the factory =
at another FIXED hour, regardless of weather conditions or whatnot, =
people did not understand, and were (rightly) furious.
If I call the concept of multi-tasking an inhumane one, it is because it =
is the factory system applied to one's life. It no longer is a flowing =
thing, it becomes little bits assembled as on an assembly line, to form =
the continuity that fills one day. I never did understand why, in =
school, from 8:25 to 9:20 (or whatever) I was to focus my entire being =
on The French Revolution, and from 9:25-10:20 on Geometry....Now I see =
people imposing this system of disjointedness and discontinuity on their =
lives. I especially shudder (I don't like the phrase either) when =
people say: "I am going to do my art this evening." =20
It has changed the concept of work--and not for the better....And, =
again: is work part of being, is it what we do with our minds and hands =
kinda the same as we do with our spleens, or livers? Or is it =
extraneous and quite else?
Anyway. I expect that Mel will soon put a cork in this....But if anyone =
is interested in "taking this outside" do write off list.
Be of good courage
Lee Love on sat 10 dec 05
On 2005/12/10 19:22:19, email@example.com wrote:
> To me the first is the lived life--a harmonious (D.v.) smooth continuity
> where different parts of mind, body and soul do different things but all
> It has changed the concept of work--and not for the better....And,
> again: is work part of being, is it what we do with our minds and
> hands kinda the same as we do with our spleens, or livers? Or is it
> extraneous and quite else?
I couldn't agree more.
Even the life of a Mother is not like it has been for
most of our history. You get glimpses of how it used to be, here in
rural Japan. Mothers never had to do so many things by themselves:
they had grandparents, sisters & brothers, aunts & uncles & cousins
and older children, to help them with the children. We were primarily
an agricultural society before the WWs, so mother were working the farm
while grandparents watch the children, in their semi-retirement.
The traditional apprenticeship is a single task affair. It
is why they are so difficult for modern people to deal with.
in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
"With Humans it's what's here (he points to his heart) that makes the
difference. If you don't have it in the heart, nothing you make will
make a difference."
~~Bernard Leach~~ (As told to Dean Schwarz)
marianne kuiper milks on sat 10 dec 05
I believe this is the driving force behind the new "multi-tasking".
The concept of doing and wanting everything within reach, And with that, the loss of Self.
Multi-tasking, as Lili pointed out in the past, was something done by her parents, grandparents and down the line. The difference is what multi-tasking is here and now, what it has become. It is a different concept all together.
Multi-tasking, i believe, is the result of a society that cannot quit. That cannot find peace because there is always more. More to be done, more to say, more to read and write, more to achieve and, especially, more to have. And doing it faster, earlier and later. Everything has to move at a break-neck speed to more can be shoved in. We used to go to good films. Now we watch movies that move with flashing break-neck speed and noise, continually interrupted by commercials, phone, boiling water and talking children who really do need you. And we can turn it off to check emails, then back to the movie. Is the popcorn ready? You get it. i'm busy.
A look at other parts of the world will show you.
Haiti. Dark early. People speaking gently by the fire. To bed early, up by light.
The work hard to get ahead. Intellectually, that is. A pregnant woman carried in a chair on the shoulders of two men. Almost two days walking to the hospital. Safer for mother and child than a taxi. Single task, done with love and patience.
Kyrgyzstan. 10.000 people in a village. one has a cook stove. Everyone comes to look. It is not being used because cooking is done out back. Except next Christmas. Two other items of modern value in the home: a large, filled book case and a piano. Father the Mayor, mother college ed. Librarian. High standing in these mountains. One child, Aiperi, plays Bach. She learned it at our house. Peace and family time. All generations. Stories, laughter every day.
Many such stories.
have we forgotten? Is it so big to be able to do many things at once? Don't kid yourself (takes one to know one!) - there is no way the quality is there. Nor your quality. You will know when you allow yourself to try. Look at those who have, took or are given the time to concentrate, be peaceful, reduscover for the first time who they are.
I've done both. Crashed in between and learned that simple life is not exchangeable. I used to want to be Amish. One step at a time.
Oui, Madame Lili, La chose en soi, biensur. π
Find Great Deals on Holiday Gifts at Yahoo! Shopping
Stephani Stephenson on mon 12 dec 05
Lili said :
"This to me seems part of a chosen, thoroughly integrated, and to use a
nonce-phrase I like, "seamless" life."
Lili , this discussion of multitasking is also interesting to me in
the context of the rhythms of life and , as you mention, the 'chosen'
This phrase resonates with my thinking as well.
I am trying to think of other descriptive phrases for this.
One that comes to mind is " participation mystique" .
This is a term I remember from literature. I think I have also come
across it in folklore, anthropology, mythology...
It describes a lifestyle where one lives in harmony , in concert with
the forces, rhythms of nature..
Used , often romantically, to describe the farmer, the pre-industrial
life or traditional tribal lifestyle, i.e. the person who lives and
works with the seasons of the day, the week, the month, year, etc....
I remember it from discussions of the book ,"House Made of Dawn" .
Abel , the main character, is out of sync and is lost in L.A. while his
grandfather , a Native American who has stayed with his traditional
lifestyle experiences 'participation mystique' with his culture,
roots, environment, surroundings, daily routine and activity...
. the author alludes that this participation makes for a more whole,
fulfilled and meaningful life .
For some, who are of the industrial age or the communication age, and
who feel disconnected, this resonates, (though we often peer through
rose colored glasses at the aforementioned..)
Yet I think the term 'participation mystique' has some value, and the
life of which it speaks is one grounded in reality, not solely
I know I am never happier than when working in sync with my natural
surroundings. Doing what needs to be done as it arises and unfolds .
This brings to mind days full of planting , harvesting, baking,
building; when one activity led into another . Long summer days, it is
amazing, the number and variety of things accomplished, and yet the
moments which are also savored and relished during the longest ,
And , yes, as seasons progress, activities draw into the hearth for
the winter and began to expand again in spring.
No matter what type of work or what type of life , I think many of us
are happiest when we are active, and in sync with larger rhythms...
The sense of fullness which brings meaning even to the smallest
The very sound of the phrase 'participation mystique' places it at
the other end of the spectrum from the word "multitasking."
'Participation mystique' , and even the terms a 'full life',
seamless life' , or 'chosen life', evoke, to me , a dance. The very
dance of life. I see the movements of arms and the bending of body,
over time as people engage in work, play , love. The planets are
revolving, the leaves and crops come and go. Babies suckle and grow ,
and you know how it goes.
Multitasking to me is a somewhat humorous phrase, the sound of it
reduces our full lives into splintered tasks. But then, when we are
overloaded, stressed , that is often exactly how we feel! So when I
'multitask' I am kind of laughing at myself. The word multitask gives
me an image of a clanging, noisy calculator, tabulating and jerking
,manic and furious. So when I say , "oh I am multitasking", I am
admitting that I have had to shift to manual, that I am overburdened
, and while though continuing to do many things at once, it is no
longer 'seamless' , and in fact the seams are probably splitting here
But to someone born of the information age, when they say
multitasking they may also mean ' participation mystique' as well,
in the context of their livesd and their work.
I can remember times when I was, for example, deep in research on a
With too much coffee, not enough sleep, ignoring some of the tasks
and chores ..(which would have gotten me kicked out of any self
respecting tribe or traditional farming community :)
Buried in notes and papers, I felt deeply connected .
I also remember times at the bookstore/artstore, in the halls of
retail no less. There were times when the the shelves were full of
treasures, customers were full of life and finding the treasures,
business was humming, the employees were doing good work, people would
stop by to chat or bring in art work, I would find an obscure paint
that was just what the customer had been searching for. It all clicked
and was enormously fulfilling.
So for some , the hum of the office, a well run factory, are all
modern equivalents of the country farmer or the studio potter, and
can bring that same richness, seamlessness. Almost like when you have
work which can allow for the complexity and flexibility of life... can
let life enter in , rather than shut it out.
And I think it is also the individual. People have ways of making every
sort of existence....matter. Or not.
"To me the first is the lived life--a harmonious (D.v.) smooth
continuity where different parts of mind, body and soul do different
things but all together---The second seems to me multi-tasking:
breaking everything down, as a machine does--and individual bits being
assembled into some sort of unit."
Yes, Lili I agree!
Several of the books I have been reading point out how resentful , and
uncomprehending, people were when the factory system came in. They
had been used to integrated, "flowing" lives: they got up at dawn (a
and went to work till night (another changeable time) It could be
milking the cow, or hoeing the beets, or taking their goods to the
fair, or it could be working at their trade: weaving, knitting, and so
on. On good days they did their outdoor work, on bad, indoor.
Lili , one book which part of this this is "Flow: The Psychology of
Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.
In a chapter on "Work and Flow" he interviews several people with
varying cultural and personal approaches to work and life.
He mentions an Italian saying "Il lavoro nobilita l'uomo, e lo rende
simile alle bestie" , which translates as
"Work gives man nobility, and turns him into an animal"
Which is the paradox... it is has the possibility for encompassing the
best and the worst of human experience. (seamless fulfilling work
involving life or slavery, forced labor)
Far too much detail to go into here, but he finds paradoxes in his
Looking at examples from traditional farming communities, as well as
occupations where there is no structured differentiation between work
time and leisure time...
for example, Maria , a 75 year old farmer and herdswoman in an
Italian Alpine village works from before sunup to after sundown...
After taking the goats up the hill to the high pasture everyday, she
takes the long trail back, enjoying the flowers, the day. At night she
weaves, while also telling stories to her grandchildren. Work is a
thoroughly integrated part of everyday life. The 'breaks ' from work
are woven in organically according to the day, the events and needs
of the day, the season, etc. People interviewed from this type of life
responded that they gained deep satisfaction from their work but did
not separate 'work' from the rest of their lives. People who had more
defined skills and occupations, welders and surgeons who were
interviewed , for example, experienced similar 'flow' experiences,
and great satisfaction in the skills and challenges of their work ,
and also saw this as part of the context of their lives as whole.
Across the board , people report positive 'flow' experiences more
often when engaged in work, where skills and challenges are higher,
than they do in 'leisure' when leisure time involves fairly apathetic
activity or lack of activity. One paradox is that some of those same
people also said they are not motivated 'at work' and want 'more
leisure time', even though they themselves reported more 'flow'
experiences while engaged in work activity as opposed to inactive forms
of leisure time....
So there again, maybe current categorizations, separation, culturally
ingrained attitudes, of work and leisure are not quite in tune with
what our minds and bodies tells us is stimulating and fulfilling and
I look to the individual attitude as well... a person who turns '
work', into an embracing challenge, whether that work is of the home
, the office, the studio, in the field.
We process our work like we process our lives, it is all food.
When work does not allow you to apply yourself, to give of yourself, to
engage, then it becomes a job.
I think , for the most, part people want to engage fully in their
They will participate fully in a situation, if they can .
Too often the 'job' asks of your time, your 'energy', but only wants
part of your skill or part of what you have to offer.
You are cut off from aspects of full giving and receiving. You can only
do a step or two of the dance.
So it is like a broken circuit.... no flow.
Yes, you can turn widgets, manage papers, market this and that, but
don't you dare get any ideas....
I think that's why some businesses have to have so many pep talks about
The 'feel it in your bones' motivation has been leached, drained,
exterminated and removed from the premises......
When you can bring your being into it, and participate in the give and
full complete circuit: flow
challenges, yes, but also satisfaction, integration.
OK I have been going on for a spell!
Arnold Howard on tue 13 dec 05
From: "Stephani Stephenson"
> So for some , the hum of the office, a well run factory, are all
> modern equivalents of the country farmer or the studio potter, and
> can bring that same richness, seamlessness. Almost like when you have
> work which can allow for the complexity and flexibility of life... can
> let life enter in , rather than shut it out.
This state of mind reminds me of "Getting Things Done," by David Allen. The
book teaches a simple program of emptying the mind of worries so that we can
work in the present moment. This is what athletes call "the flow," and it
can be achieved in any work environment.
The process is very simple, but it takes a lot of practice. The author is
more like a Zen teacher than a time management consultant.
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com
lela martens on tue 13 dec 05
It sure does take pratice. I am going through a life change, with the empty
nest thing, trying to get more pottery produced, trying not to be resentful
about the time dinner and housework take, am a night owl who`s time schedule
is in reverse of mountain man`s..frustrated by what I see on the news every
evening, but have to know what`s going on out there..and now planning
getting a new cat..maybe kick mayself around the block to the library for a
book on Zen/ Buddism and pick up some milk on the way back. It stopped
Lela, who has to wait untill Tuesday to hear how daughter`s honeymoon went,
her voice that she is safely home.
>The process is very simple, but it takes a lot of practice. The author is
>more like a Zen teacher than a time management consultant.
>Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
>email@example.com / www.paragonweb.com
>Send postings to firstname.lastname@example.org
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