Ideas

I was watching a TED talk (one of my favorite websites BTW, check it out ted.com,) and their slogan is “Ideas worth spreading.” Which is an excellent slogan, but it got me thinking. What is an idea? Where do ideas come from? What defines a good idea, or bad idea?

An idea is defined as “A concept or mental impression.” There are a lot of things that fall into that bubble. Ideas are what shapes our reality, our society, our policies and political structure, our relationships with each other, our religions our live.

Where do all of these ideas come from? The whole purpose of my writing here is to have a collection of my ideas and share them with the world. Sometimes (with posts like this one) i don’t even have a body or a thesis when I start typing, I just have the idea “I’d like to write about this,” and I let the words come and see what shows up as I break it down in my head. Maybe unorganized, but feels genuine and natural to me. I find a similar pattern at work. I work at the Vancouver Aquarium, and one of the things I do, involves Interpretive Delivery. I find that when I am on microphone, delivering a program, i ride a wave of thought. Sometimes the program I do will involve 2 of us on microphone, and in the planning stages before the program, I have to often warn my partner “We can plan this thoroughly, but I have to warn you that what we plan in advance, and what comes out of my mouth can be two very different things.” My creative process is almost instantaneous, which is wonderful when I’m connected and in the moment, but as soon as something happens to knock me off that wavelength, i find myself treading water a little bit before being able to hop back on the surfboard.

I find ideas “drop” into my head, when I’m on a wave of understanding. Almost like that idea was sitting there waiting for me to grab it, which is how many people define Creativity. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) shares a very beautiful description of the creative process here. If this is true, than Scientists, Artists, Teachers, Construction workers and Politicians go through a similar process. An idea comes through each one of them and is expressed in an end result. The products of these ideas are sometimes adored by many and other times go unnoticed. I believe Van Gogh’s works took almost a century to become widely accepted as some of the “best.” But was makes an idea the “best” one?

The best idea is generally the one that is accepted by and serves the largest amount of people. Einstein and Hitler were notable figures in the 20th Century because of their ideas. Einstein’s are mostly remembered as “good” ones, and Hitler’s are mostly remembered as “bad,” due to the effects of what those ideas gave birth to. Obama is another notable figure who is filled with inspiring ideas of how to shape America. Unfortunately for Obama, and sometimes the case for other “idea makers,” he was an unsuccessful implementer of those ideas. Ron Paul, another presidential candidate, is someone else full of provocative and revolutionary ideas, but will he turn out to be an implementer of those ideas or, like Obama, another figurehead “scorned” on how he can’t deliver. But, does that make Obama’s ideas “bad?” Hardly. Perhaps his ideas just may not fit into the political system that the United States currently uses. I digress, as this isn’t a political discussion.

A “good” idea is one that serves the largest number of people, so how does one obtain a good idea? The best answer may be “Through the break down of old ideas into the reformation of new ones.” This is often described in art/music/literature as “influences.”  It’s described in Science and Law as “reference.” So often I hear people describe themselves as “critical thinkers.” I believe that a thinker that takes ideas,and breaks them down is so important to the forward momentum of our existence here. But that critical thinking serves no one if all that has happened is the “breaking down” of an idea without the reformation of a new one. It’s easy to assess what’s wrong with a situation, but you must also notice what’s right about a situation, and then what can be improved on in a situation. In other words…..It’s hard to understand the text in a book, if you’re too busy proofreading it.

Religion is something that falls victim to this quite frequently.  Religion is a modality, or mode (which means “a way of doing something,”) which can also be defined as a “practice”.  So religion is just a collection of practices of spirituality…..unfortunately the “Practice” has become the most important part of the religion, rather than the “Spirituality.” It’s a disconnect, which automatically leads to umbrella judgements, leaving all the reason and understanding in the dust….at least that’s my idea of it.

In fact, every altercation on this planet is a result of separate ideas, and the inability to make them fit. Both ideas could have positive implications, or negative implications or both, but if no one can see how the two could work together in a way that benefits both, then the mix will always be unstable.

Speaking of religion and altercations, the concept of evolution is a fascinating one, rooted in ideas. Stay with me on this, in order for something to “evolve” there would have to be an idea or desire as a target to evolve towards. In order for a giraffe to survive in it’s surroundings it reaches food that is out of reach of other animals. Somewhere in time, a creature had to desire the food that would have the least amount of competition. Is this any less an idea? It’s a “concept” that evolved into a reality.

Perhaps I’m grasping at straws now, but the point of this entry is, ideas shape our reality, remember to use them wisely. Just like the human race, every idea is unique and interconnected and if we can step back and see how they all fit, not only will we better understand our pieces, but we will better appreciate the pieces that everyone else has to contribute as well.

Much love,
-Drew

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My life in music

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

That was the quote i chose to commemorate my high school life in my grade 12 yearbook. I find this quote just as prevalent in my life now as ever before. It’s the soundtrack to our lives. The first 3 chords of a song can take you back, back to that specific feeling you had in that specific moment when you were creating that specific memory. Those sounds are forever cataloged in our subconscious just waiting for that random moment in a store, in the car or at work to show up and bring us back.

10 years later so much about myself has changed, but not my thirst for new audible pleasures. Sure my tastes have changed. I now hunger for the discovery of new and exciting sounds, and also the appreciation of notable (and unnotable) relics. Since music is such an important piece of my life, I’ll probably be frequently attaching songs to my updates, just to help enhance their quality a little bit. So, since music will also be a part of this blog, I’m going to use this time to briefly share music’s impact on my life, and  tomorrow I’ll leave you with some new artists that have kept me drooling for more this last year.

Music was always important as a child growing up. From Fred Penner (who I met!!!) to Raffi, Charlotte Diamond to Sharon, Lois and Bram (which i missed seeing in person due to a stomach bug! haha) these were some of the artists available to a 3-5 year old child. My parent’s tastes in music had a big influence on what I listened to as well. I remember road trips with Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits, Bony M and Garth Brooks when my mom was around. When she wasn’t is when the AC/DC, Sabbath, Floyd and Zeppelin among others that my Dad favored, made its appearance. Getting older I gained an appreciation for “Weird Al” Yankovic and his comedic polka stylings, which, surprisingly, launched me into the world of “Alternative Music.” It was this very point in my life I would never be the same.

I remember it well, the summer of ’97. That summer we not only took a road trip to Terrace, BC to visit family, not only did we head south to Disneyland to visit Mickey, this was the summer my musical eyes opened. I remember it well, it started with 2 bands. Our Lady Peace and Moist. 2 Canadian “Alternative” artists (who, ironically, can now be frequently heard on the adult contemporary & classic rock stations) that had a sound i had never heard before, and loved. It was louder than anything I had heard before (don’t worry, i soon discovered much LOUDER music, haha,) my parents hated it, and it was readily available on the radio!!! When we weren’t traveling or enjoying usual summer activities (swim lessons, parks, etc) my time was spent either i my room, or in the tent i set up on the back patio, with my radio and a stack of discarded cassette tapes my mom used to give away for promotional use of products she sold. After carefully placing scotch tape in the right spots, so I could successfully record over the voices on the cassette, i would anxiously sit there glued to the radio, waiting for the opportunity to press “record” so I could capture this music i was slowly discovering. This is when i discovered classics like Beck, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Smashing Pumpkins or flashes in the pan like Veruca Salt, Poe and Bush “X.” There was even some amazing local talent like Age of Electric, Zuckerbaby and Econoline Crush. This is when I started to connect to music emotionally. Creating important ties to it and constantly hungered for continuous exposure to it.

Then along came those “rebellious” high school years. Back in those days, the gleeful strums of “punk” and “metal” resonated deeply with me. As wonderful as the music was as it carried me through most of my high school years, it was the sense of community I found at the later part of those years, that I grew very attached to. Sharing live musical experiences in small intimate halls and basements with close friends and new acquaintances was a highlight, or also the gleeful excitement when a favorite artist released their latest. I’m also proud to say, that some of the closest friends of my whole life came from these experiences. The 3 or so years that followed music was the central point of my social life. These were the days of spending every afternoon & evening driving around the city just as an excuse to listen to, and sing along with, artists like Sublime, Incubus, Bob Marley, Rancid, etc. Laying out under the stars to whatever “slow” song that could be justified as “stargazing music.” The days of concerts twice a week and used CD shopping (saving money building the CD collection, so concert tickets could be afforded.) This was living (hence the many videos.)

New music had felt uneventful to me for a good 5 or so years, and although every year I’d discover a few new artists I found exciting, most of my musical discoveries involved traveling to the past. Big Band to Glam Rock, Industrial to Outlaw Country and the smokey crooners to Bruce Haack. These are the times when the CD collection took a backseat, and i started to discover the joy of VINYL RECORDS! There’s something about the low hiss and crackle over the speakers, the large cover art, or maybe the overall tangible nostalgia of them that completely captivated me. That collection still sits with me, and periodically gets added to when the occasion calls for it.

Then in 2009, new music started to twist for me. The sounds I once found too obscure, became catchy and rhythmic. The radio hits I once ignored, soon had artistic integrity and became playlist staples. I discovered an appreciation for music that seemed to drop boundaries and become transcendent. I am now again doe-eyed in a world of art that I was once too jaded to pay full attention to. Inspired artists like WU LYF, Tuneyards, Yeasayer and Delorean, to name a small small few, brought flavour, variety and excitement to my musical catalog. Artists that aren’t afraid to showcase their love for varied genres, world cultures, lifestyles and unique instruments is what now inspires my ears.

Combined with this love of progressive new artists, comes a new love for Electronic music, which has fully blossomed in the last year. I’ve always been a fan and an indulger, but for some reason a wide variety of samples, beats, tempos and ambiance has new meaning for me. It connects somewhere deep and sends me to other places. I now see how a computer, synthesizer or musical samples can take just as much talent (and sometimes more) to create beautiful music, as Eric Clapton has. Because isn’t the real purpose of music to evoke that special somethign in us, no matter what the genre or intrument.

Hope that you’ve all thoroughly enjoyed this homage to my musical time line. It was a “just for fun” trip down memory lane, and still provides an important lesson. No matter what is going on in the world, be it political, social or whatever, never lose sight of the gifts that people have to share with the world, and always remember to stop and “smell” them. These are the gifts that create beauty, function, or insight to our planet, and every one of us does have something to offer. Take the time to not just appreciate them, but also remember to keep sharing your own and, as always, keep singing and dancing like nobody’s watching!

Much love,

-Drew

Beginnings

We live on an awe striking planet, which we share with an abundance of amazing animals, landscapes, people, their ideas and creativity. Over my years I’ve been absorbing everything this world has to offer, and have now reached a place where I’m wanting to share what I’ve seen.

Blogs are such a fascinating thing, They allow their writers the opportunity of public self expression, without means of finance, education or social experience. On the flip side, they allow their readers the opportunity to discover new concepts, social circles, recipes, instructional manuals, among countless other things, breaking down many social, financial, political and religious borders that would otherwise separate us from each others ideas. We live on a planet that feels more intimately connected on a larger scale now, than ever before (at least in our “recorded history”), and that interconnectedness is important, because it’s the first step to understanding those that we would normally be in conflict with.

This connectedness is what has inspired me to write and share and post. The words, images and sounds in the posts to follow are all extensions of the world through my eyes, so I hope it paints a lovely picture and provides some entertainment along the way.

Enjoy with loads of love,

-Drew