(Originally published on Blogspot)
It’s been an interesting week – I have been in Doha for a few weeks, working and staying in a hotel. I don’t have many friends here so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking – one of the things I enjoy about travelling, combined with seeing new things and meeting people from different cultures who think so differently.
As I said last time, I believe just sitting observing one’s breath for a few minutes each day is the best way to feel better, see my last blog. On top that, the theme of this blog – ‘get a life’ – get out there and enjoy a high quality life.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs I have been ‘connecting the dots‘: I mentioned rereading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance last time. Robert Pirsig talks about quality and how the quality of our experience influences our lives and our present is made up of the qualities of our experience, the past makes us who we are and therefore our value structure.
I am currently reading Vivienne Westwood’s biography and she speaks of similar things, being true to ones self, living life in the highest quality way. The book has been inspiring for me, learning the background of the punk era, developing thoughts on Situationist art and how fashion and art can change ones outlook and ultimately our live. As anenvironmental activist she proclaims the virtues buying less, higher quality things that stand the test of time… as a lover of art and culture she proclaims the longevity of quality, taking much of her design ideas from the qualities she sees in the past. Her ‘Get a Life’ manifesto is intriguing, I get the idea but will need to read it again. Essentially she is advocating living life in the most high quality way we can, which in turn is the most ethical.
Here are a couple of quotes that I like:
Culture is the antidote to propaganda and consumption (I have a manifesto about this). The idea is ‘Get a Life’: you get out what you put in. And if people get a life right now by being engaged with the world (and human genius from the past) they can hopefully get a life in the literal sense for the next generation. (Vivienne Westwood)
One of the key tent poles, if you will, of trying to overcome climate change and have a better world is to link culture and climate change. We’re talking quality: The quality of life, which very much involves culture. It’s about a sort of mindfulness, if you like: paying attention to what you are doing and creating and how you are living. (Vivienne Westwood).
Interesting she mentions quality and mindfulness. Like Pirsig.
So to try and capture my thinking – the keys to a happy, high quality and fulfilling existence seem to be to lead the highest quality life one can by taking time for oneself, being mindful of one’s behaviour and where possible avoiding the low quality experience and moving to more high quality experiences. That might be just treating yourself to nicer coffee and a ponder in a nice environment rather than rushing down the road with a takeaway or simple things like that.
You may ask what is higher quality and in answer I refer to what Phaedrus, Pirsig’s central character would have said. You know what quality is and it is different for us all because we are each unique, made up of our past experiences and our particular sensitivities – just think about what feels right.
Have fun and enjoy a good life….