Pattern interruption: In art as in life

Sun thru overhead palms

We’ll remember this time of coronavirus better than most of our birthdays.

We weirdly and fondly recall physical challenges, though usually only long after we’ve overcome them.

How many times have you heard someone tell the story of a broken leg, an accident or even a minor mishap with a glint in their eyes. I know I tell those stories.

Our son does too. A physical lad, he likes to keep count of all the traumas visited upon his body.

Back of his head gashed open after being thrown on a bed in fun. Who knew he’d bounce so far?!

(That was his Mom, not me : -)

Two broken arms by the time he was five.

Smashed testicles, enough to concern the doctor about his potential to sire children — from an overexuberant leap onto a karate-kicking friend.

And about twenty-some-odd more events that hurt oh so much at the time but are now life stories to be shared.

Every time pop music becomes too treacly, something jarring comes along: rock, punk, grunge, rap.

Think of the art that stuck in your head. It took you somewhere unexpected. It started as one thing, then veered.

Hey Jude


The Tropic of Cancer

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Great work establishes a pattern — then breaks it.

It’s the same with work habits. The great ones develop deep focused routines interrupted by explorations in other directions after exhaustion sets in.

Einstein played the violin, taking it with him in his travels.

Darwin, Jung, Freud, Mahler, O’Keeffe, Jobs, Hemingway and thousands more took long walks.

I suspect for Wilt Chamberlin it was sex.

Patterns work for us. From cosmic explosion to matter clumping together to stars and planets to night and day to the routines that sustain us, our existence is enabled by a richly interwoven set of patterns.

Pattern disruption can work for us too.

Without an asteroid to finish off the dinosaurs, almost certainly humankind would not have come into existence.

That’s pattern interruption on such a massive scale it set new life forms into motion. New patterns emerged on our planet as dominant patterns were disrupted.

Michel de Montaigne refined the essay — a new written-word form he invented — during a plague. As life was interrupted, he dove more deeply into what mattered to him most.

Miguel de Cervantes had the idea for Don Quixote — the first modern novel — while in debtors prison, a life interrupter if there ever was one.

More millionaires came out of the Great Depression than any previous time in America.

Coronavirus is the great pattern interrupter of our era.

How will you use it?

Note: Soul adventure
Note: The wrong way