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Hanging on by Misha Lyuve

Oct 28, 2013

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Some hang on to life to the last

Clarity, confusion + Magritte by Misha Lyuve
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Oct 26, 2013

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte

Clairvoyance by Magritte

"Clairvoyance" by Magritte

“I want to be confused,” says no one. Instead we adamantly strive for clarity. We thirst for it in communication with our bosses, customers and spouses. We long for it looking for the direction in our lives and prioritizing our goals and aspirations. We rely on it to solve business problems and figure out the shortest most efficient paths to meet business goals. We want it all – transparent, unpacked, devoid of ambiguity or confusion – and we want it now.

Confusion, however, is an ambiguous phenomenon. One one hand, it is the state we prefer to avoid all together. We relate to it as to a flu and try to suppress its symptoms – uncertainty, disorientation and contradiction. On the other hand, it is confusion that generates new ideas, fertilizes creativity and fosters innovation. In fact, the path to clarity lies through confusion. And it is precisely the balance between clarity and confusion that is missing in our lives.

But given that we live in clarity obsessed society, let me share of a secret safe place to indulge in confusion – ART. Specifically I recently visited René Magritte’s exhibition “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Magritte’s talent is in his ability to interrupt the expected clarity of mundane. When you look at his art, don’t worry about liking or disliking it, because it’s not the point. Instead allow yourself be puzzled, confused, stimulated. There is a mystery of our existence that can be found there; it cannot be trivialized or broken down to clarity.

"Attempting the Impossible" by Magritte

"Attempting the Impossible" by Magritte

"The Eternally Obvious" by Magritte

"The Eternally Obvious" by Magritte

A grin by Misha Lyuve

Oct 20, 2013

Anything by Misha Lyuve

Oct 16, 2013

The lesson I keep re-learning: don’t take anything for granted. Anything

Failure of Communication by Misha Lyuve

Oct 6, 2013

On a perfect day in a peaceful beautiful place, I witnessed a failure of communication.

Last Saturday, an Indian summer day blossomed in Fire Island. I was lying on a lonely beach enjoying soft rays of hot though gentle sun, when I heard: “Get off the dunes! Get off the dunes!” The dunes in Fire Island protect the island from high waves (they saved much of the island during the Hurricane Sandy) and locals never get tired of reminding visitors to stay away from them. So an older gentlemen, let’s call him John, was screaming, “Get off the dunes!” In response the other older gentlemen, let’s say Ben, was standing right next to the sign “Stay away from the dunes” and was yelling back, with a British accent, “I am not going into the dunes!” John, either not sure about Ben’s intentions or because he couldn’t hear him, kept screaming and eventually Ben started moving towards John.

When they got closer to each other, I couldn’t decipher what they were saying. But I was sure, now that they could hear each other, those two would figure it out; the two silver foxes with faces weathered by life looked like they could’ve been CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or professors in college, had they been dressed.

But next thing I heard was John saying “Just go back to the country where you came from.” Here my optimism waned. In response Ben produced a tirade on how no one liked Americans anyway and that this was a police state.

And here we were, on a perfect day in a peaceful beautiful place.

So now here – three easy steps to fail a communication:
1. Misunderstand intentions of the other. Just make assumptions about the person or what they are saying, and acknowledge only a portion of what is being said that fits your assumptions
2. Get frustrated or even offended over it. And get nasty; a few tips here: make a personally offensive remark to the person or insult the whole group that person belongs to
3. Leave the conversation acknowledging how right you are. Tell friends and have them agree with you.

Alternatively, you can stop this madness at any point. The earlier the better.

Fire Island dunes and beach

Lessons of Pompidou by Misha Lyuve
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Sep 24, 2013

Last week, while in Paris I visited Pompidou Center and here is what it taught me.

In travel literature it was described as “monstrous” and “love it or hate it.” Among the refined and airy neighborhood Parisian buildings with fine moldings and intricate railings, Pompidou Center does feel like a sore in an eye – a large transparent box with metal columns where functional inner workings (water and air pipes, elevators, wiring) brought to the outside in bright red, yellow, blue and green.

Many times had I seen it before and this time around yet again I found it bizarre, puzzling, incomprehensible.

Inside the center I visited the modern art section of 1960+ at National Museum of Modern Art. It immersed me into the diverse multi-media world of art that left me emotionally touched and experientially full.

Kader Attia "Ghost"

Kader Attia "Ghost"

Pompidou paris view

The view from the very top of Pompidou Center

The building has also terraces on top floors. Each of them brought out a unique view of Paris. From the very top you can see myriad of roofs with Eiffel tower in the back. From the lower floor you could catch close up details of the buildings near by.

There was a moment when I realized that like in many other life situations I was looking for attributes of beauty on the outside, but Pompidou Center was showing it to me from the inside.

When I left the museum and looked back at the building, I saw it in a new light. Now I could appreciate how purposeful and deliberate it was. How in contrast it highlighted the elegance of the surrounding, while proudly keeping its one of a kind character. Proudly. And yes, there was monstrosity and there was beauty.

Pompidou center paris

Happiness by Misha Lyuve

Sep 24, 2013

“All people wish to be happy; only a few understand that real happiness cannot be obtained with restlessness that is created by constant searching”

I-Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth, Hua-Ching Ni
Hex 27, Providing Nourishment

Why I Like Flying on September 11th by Misha Lyuve

Sep 10, 2013

In memory of Neil Shastri

Airplane against the sky

Even if you flew million times before, airports bring a feeling of anticipation. Kid-like. It grows as the airplane starts to accelerate on the runway and peeks when the wheels lift off the ground. I experienced this during my first flight when I was about 7 and it is still here. Is this real? Am I about to go into the skies?

On the airplane, unlike in most other confined spaces, I give up resisting the physical and emotional constraints of my seats, belts and neighbors. Instead, they keep me from my usual restlessness and allow for contemplation and creative processes.

Sunset from airplane

From the sky everything looks mesmerizing, even the most ordinary objects. If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the sun, or a sunset or a sunrise, or the moon, or just unrepeatable patterns of clouds. Am I closer to God?

And the arrival is always like a small victory. Even if it is getting back home, it is still a beginning of the next journey.

Today is September 11th, 2013. See you in the skies.

Sky from the airplane

The view of a city and aiprlane wing

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