Stop and smell the roses

In “The Poet’s Religion,” Tagore writes, “Our needs are always in a hurry.” This is definitely true in today’s instantly connected society, where we place high value on being busy and actively seeking out the next big thing. Here in the technology sector, a culture of hackathons and startups pairs well with a constantly moving atmosphere. With so little time before some assigned deadline, it is all too easy to focus on the basic facts of purpose: why something is created, instead of how–which can be implemented better/fixed up/improved later.

But what does this narrow scope of view cost us? Tagore writes of ideals where we understand the relationship between the whole and its parts. Can we take the essence of this idea and attempt to apply it to our own lives and the things we create? Is it possible, in our fast-paced era, to stop and appreciate the bigger picture? What would that even mean in the context of technology and innovation?

I think for me in a work context, it means focusing less on fact based reasoning and embracing an appreciation for pure artistry in my designs, at least once in a while.

3 thoughts on “Stop and smell the roses

  1. “I think for me in a work context, it means focusing less on fact based reasoning and embracing an appreciation for pure artistry in my designs, at least once in a while.”

    For me, it’s not just about appreciating the artistry of my work, but making a conscious decision to value technology that has a purpose beyond meeting our “hurried needs.” Tools that spark our imagination, bring us into a more feeling, warm relationship with the material objects around us, tools that slow us down, etc.

  2. Most people work too much. I work too much.

    So for me the idea of stopping and smelling the roses means to spend some time to get bored. Every once in a while you need to stop working for long enough so that you can get bored and realize what it is exactly that you miss doing. I got started in writing OSS simply because I was bored and filt like writing software. At that point I knew that writing software was something that I enjoyed doing without financial or other exogenous incentive. It also allowed me to enjoy it more without feeling like I was doing it to pad my resume, or look good to someone else.

  3. In light of studying technology, I also try to take a step back to see the bigger picture. In 213, one of the things that stuck with me is that good “design” is not so much about adding things, but taking away things, piece by piece, until what you are left with is simple and still effective. With that, I try to strip away the various digital artifacts or apps I don’t really need in my life every once in a while. As an experiment, I’ve done away with Evernote, Word, and Google Docs this semester (all of which I’ve tried to take notes at the I School), and gone back to mere pen and paper for class notes.

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