Ed Catmull:”Fear is built into our nature”

The Quarterly: It sounds as though you think a lot about fear and how to counteract its corrosive effects.

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Ed Catmull: Fear is built into our nature; we want to succeed and we respond physiologically to threats—both to real threats and to imagined threats. If people come into an organization like ours and they’re welcomed in, what’s the threat? Well, from their point of view, they’re thinking, “this is a high-functioning environment. Am I going to fit in? Am I going to look bad? Will I screw up?” It’s natural to think this way, but it makes people cautious.

When you go to work for a company, they tell you something about the values of the company and how open they are. But it’s just words. You take your actual cues from what you see. That’s just the way we’re wired. Most people don’t talk explicitly about it, because they don’t want to appear obtuse or out of place. So they’ll sometimes misinterpret what they see. For example, when we were building Pixar, the people at the time played a lot of practical jokes on each other, and they loved that. They think it’s awesome when there are practical jokes and people do things that are wild and crazy.

Now, it’s 20 years later. They’ve got kids; they go home after work. But they still love the practical jokes. When new people come in, they may hear stories about the old days, but they don’t see as much clowning around. So if they were to do it, they might feel out of line. Without anyone saying anything, just based on what they see, they would be less likely to do those things.

Meanwhile, the older people are saying, “what’s wrong with these new people? They’re not like we were. They’re not doing any of this fun stuff.” Without intending to, the culture slowly shifts. How do you keep the shift from happening? I can’t go out and say, “OK, we’re going to organize some wild and crazy activities.” Top-down organizing of spontaneous activities isn’t a good idea. Don’t get me wrong—we still have a lot of pretty crazy things going on, but we are trying to be aware of the unspoken fears that make people overly cautious. If you’re just measuring yourself by your outward success, then you’re missing a huge part of what drives people.

 

Source : https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/staying-one-step-ahead-at-pixar-an-interview-with-ed-catmull

Piotr Anderszewski:”there is no such thing as a good piano in the absolute sense”

Do you not find this paradoxical, in a world which is becoming more and more standardized?

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Piotr Anderszewski: It’s less standardized than you think. At the end of the day, I think I would prefer pianos to be identical everywhere (although I’m sure that would actually make me crazy!). Before, there were more piano makers on the market, and their instruments had more unique traits. Today, if Fazioli tries to gain ground, for example, it’s faced with a quasi-monopoly by Steinway on the concert circuit. But Steinway remains a house of high fashion, which makes hand-sewn products: every one of their pianos has its own personality. The tuning, maintenance, storage, the general state of the piano makes each one different – a Steinway from Hamburg is different from one from London, New York, or Tokyo. That said, I hate nothing more than talking with technicians who come to ask you if you want a piano with a ringing sound or a more muffled one, rich or brassy, heavy or light action. That doesn’t make any sense! I want it to ring and be muffled, I want brassy and rich, I want heavy and light! The worst is when a technician assures you that, if you don’t like the regulation, they can “have it all fixed in 5 minutes” – nothing is impossible, they can change everything – in 5 minutes! That makes me scratch my head. I prefer technicians who tell me outright, “You’re looking for something that this piano cannot do.”

The same thing goes for sound engineers: we don’t speak the same language. I just express my point of view (the idea being of course that I be able to recognize my playing), but this kind of conversation seems rather vain to me. I don’t understand anything, really nothing at all, regarding the changes they say they have made on the tracks. For me, in any case, it’s just as bad as it was when they started! I don’t know a thing about all this business of spacing, placing, positioning mikes. I’m not an expert in instrumental mechanics. Is that wrong? Should I be more like my compatriot Krystian Zimerman? Whatever the case, there is no such thing as a good piano in the absolute sense: you always have to account for the space around it that you have to fill with sound. That’s why I don’t think traveling with my own piano would solve anything. At times, I’ve chosen a piano to record an album in a warehouse or in a backstage room, then once the piano is in the recording studio, I think there’s been a mistake: I’ll check, realize that the serial numbers are the same, but nonetheless I don’t recognize it any more, not the touch nor the sound.

Source : http://www.iplaythepiano.com/piano-mag/piotr-anderszewski-interview.html

Lewis Hamilton:”We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us”

Q: Do you think your belief in God helps you in your sport and your job?

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HAMILTON: I used to be insecure about the fact that I’m Catholic and that I have a relationship with God. It wasn’t until I got to Formula One that I really started to embrace it and feel comfortable showing it. There’s a quote from Marianne Williamson: “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.” I have that tattooed on my chest. She goes on to say, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Source : https://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/lewis-hamilton

Lynsey Addario:”One reason we stayed alive is that we stayed calm”

How do you mentally prepare for the risk of a war zone, and what about when a situation turns dangerous? When you’re being forced to lie facedown at gunpoint?

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Lynsey Addario: At least a week before I go on any assignment in a conflict zone, I begin mental preparation. I speak with local journalists and fixers about the situation on the ground, with colleagues who have worked in that specific area recently, and try to update myself on the potential risks. The situation is often fluid during war, and I need to ensure I am aware of all the potential issues that may arise. Familiarizing myself with these things helps with mental preparation. As far as being held at gunpoint or kidnapped, I think there’s a survival mode that kicks in. My mind slows down into an almost catatonic state, where it’s all about enduring whatever I need to endure at that moment. In Libya, I was with very experienced colleagues, and we all knew not to panic. One reason we stayed alive is that we stayed calm.

Source : https://theliteratelens.com/2015/07/06/in-love-and-war-an-interview-with-lynsey-addario/

Zaha Hadid: ” I really don’t know. There is a difference between men and women in Islam”

KOOLHAAS: what about the role of women?

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HADID: People ask me this question all the time. I really don’t know. There is a difference between men and women in Islam, but for work I’m not sure if it manifests itself. One of the liberating situations in my life was that there was no stereotype, and I didn’t really care what people thought and how I should dress and how I should behave. That really gave me a degree of freedom. I was kind of freaky, so it worked in both ways. In terms of whether the male and female brains operate differently, I’m sure they do, but I couldn’t say how. It depends on the degree of confidence your school or your parents gave you, and whether you’re male or female has tremendous impact on that. I think this affects women a lot in your careers—if you try different things it gives you possibilities to make it to the next step. Many women don’t have the encouragement and support they need to do that. It’s not about the way they think or their brain being different or whatever.

Source:  https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/home/exclusive-interview-with-zaha-hadid-work-hard-and-invest-in-digital-technology/8629551.article

Allen Ginsberg:”India has a more intimate awareness of the relation between people and God”

So afler almost a year and a half in India, what did you find there that you had not found in the West? 

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Allen Ginsberg:  A more intimate awareness of the relation between people and God. Just the very notion of Ganesh with a noose in one hand and a rasgoolla in the other, and his trunk in the rasgoolla, riding a mouse…. Such an idea of a god, such a sophisticated, quixotic, paradoxical combination of the human and the divine, the metaphysical and the psychological! You don’t often get that in Christianity, except maybe in some esoteric Christianity. The idea of an entire culture suffused with respect for that mythology, that religion and its practices, that poor people could under- stand its sophistication and grant things that hard-headed West- erners are still trying to kill each other over. That was a revelation: how deeply the sense of a spiritual existence could penetrate everyday relations, the streets and street signs . . . Naga sadhus walking around naked—people who would have been arrested in America . . . or for that matter—I remember writing to Kerouac—everybody walking around in their underwear, in striped boxer shorts. What would seem outrageous or strange to Americans was just normal—it was hot and people wore very light cotton—it seemed so obvious. That showed me the absurd artificiality of some American customs. . . . And then just the notion of somebody being a businessman and then renouncing the world and being a sannyasi and going around with an intel- ligent expression looking for moksha, that was such a switch from the American notion of business, such a good model, but it doesn’t work for even Indians now. . . . A n d then the availability of ganja and its use in religious festivals and ceremonies was a great source of release for an American used to government dictatorship of all psychedelic drugs (even marijuana), to prohi- bitions, murders, beatings, corruption.8 At least in India there was some familiarity with what it was.

Bruce Ginsberg: “I have been on a path to deepen my experience of everything”

Why have you followed this path of Zen and tea?

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Bruce Ginsberg: I have been on a path to deepen my experience of everything, to understand the moment before you think when the brain has already made the decision for nine tenths of all the things we do. We have an existence which doesn’t need thinking when we hand ourselves over to the moment.

Source :  http://www.alainelkanninterviews.com/bruce-ginsberg/

Bruce Ginsberg is a South African farmer’s son and a Zen practitioner for 50 years who has immersed himself in Asian cultures and made a life journey through tea. He was Chairman of the Buddhist Society Trust from 1991-2012 and served on the United Nations Association Religious Advisory Committee alongside imams, rabbis, Hindu priests, and Christian bishops and academics in the interfaith field. He runs Dragonfly Tea, a family-owned, British tea company with a hundred year heritage of making artisanal teas.