Reading: Event by Slavoj Žižek

“What is really happening when something happens?” says on the book cover.. The notion of “event” has been on my mind since the discussion this February during the Psychological Winter School organized yearly by the Saint-Petersburg State University. Which was an event on its own. It was 20st consecutive edition of the Winter School and during one of the workshops we had a super interesting discussion on what is an event? …

Therefore I was thrilled to see this book in a London book shop, and hence the journey of discovering an event has begun.

All Aboard – Event in Transit

1/ Event can refer to a devastating natural disaster or to the latest celebrity scandal, the triumph of the people or a brutal political change, an intense experience of a work of art or an intimate decision…

2/ Something shocking, out of joint, that appears to happen all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things; something that emerges seemingly out of nowhere, without discernible causes, an appearance without solid being as its foundation.

.. something ‘miraculous’ in an event..


  • eventual nature of Christianity – belief in the event of the death and resurrection of Christ;
  • love is eventual;
  • political event – Tahrir Square in Cairo and Mubarak regime;
  • rise of a new art form: film noir.

3 / Event – the effect that seems to exceed its causes, space of an event is that which opens up by the gap that separates an effect from its causes.

4 / Event – an occurrence not grounded in sufficient reasons.

5/ Event of the disclosure of Being – of the horizon of meaning which determines how we perceive and relate to reality (Heidegger). Big Bang (or broken symmetry) – the primordial event out of which our entire universe emerged.

These words brought me back to the Existential Analysis course I’m currently taking, where we also discussing the philosophy of Dasein, and where the exchange with the world is essential – how do we have this dialogue, both as an inner one and external one.

Is an event a change in the way reality appears to us, or is it a shattering transformation of reality itself?

Event – Slavoj Zizek

I find this question to be a very inspiring one.. was musing over it for some time.. came to think that it’s probably both, these are interconnected things..

6/ Basic feature of an event: the surprising emergence of something new which undermines every stable scheme.

Books in my life

On Becoming a Person – Reading Carl Rogers – part 2

The Person Who Emerges


  1. Openness to Experience

… individual becomes more open to his experience..

if the evidence of our senses runs contrary to our picture of self, then that evidence is distorted -> we cannot see all that our senses report, but only the things which fit the picture we have.

the individual becomes more openly aware of his own feelings and attitudes as they exist in him at an organic level – he also becomes more aware of reality as it exists outside of himself… he is able to take in the evidence in a new situation, as it is, rather than distorting it to fit a pattern which he already holds.

openness to experience = more realistic in dealing with new people, new situations, new problems; … his beliefs are not rigid, that one can tolerate ambiguity.

Continue reading

“Interaction of greed and fear”

Amazing how some things never change – I’m currently reading The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanaponika Thera first published in 1962 – and his words can’t be more accurate to describe our current situation:

“…the turbulence and suffering, that, alas, are generally equivalent with political history, affect increasingly larger sections of mankind, directly or indirectly… Tragic monotony of behaviour that prompts mankind to prepare again for a new bout of that raving madness called war … The same old mechanism is at work again: the interaction of greed and fear. Lust for power or desire to dominate are barely restrained by fear … Fear ..constantly poisons the atmosphere by creating a feeling of frustration which again will fan the fires of hate…”

Some food for thought…


How to be happy: Don’t compare yourself to others

Some days are like that – the first thing you want to do is to clean up the space around, to restructure, to create opportunities for new things to happen.

Spending 5-10 minutes for going through some papers that got accumulated over the past few weeks, throwing some things out, putting away some others, creating space for new or more relevant to be in front of you – feels so rewarding!


I don’t curerntly have an opportunity to set up a permanent table for my creative projects. A friend shared her tips how she does it – she uses a window sill or a small shelf when she is on the go and once more settled, sets up a table. My window sill is currently an extension of my working desk and sudden;y I realized, that actually it doesn’t have to be. Most of my work realted stuff I can bring to another place and actually set up a small creative window sill here.

While cleaning up, I have stumbled upon some interesting previous work. My first attempt at making a cut out poetry from the newspaper headlines, and also my work on vitality from February, when I was rather sick and really needed some strengths to get over a cold. I’ve done it in one of the Creative Rendezvous sessions. We chose a strength that we felt like we really lacking at the moment and tried to picture it while using a non-dominant hand. It was very inspiring – since themovements become more free, since you can’t control the very fine movements that your dominant hand is capable of doing. It felt invigorating and liberating at the same time.

One of my favorite excercises in the Creative Flow as a Resource course is my adaptation of a Life Ring exercise. I believe that it is very beneficial for own mental health and life satisfaction not to compare your place in life to others, but to you, 3 months ago or a year ago. Reflect on how are you actually doing since then? What has changed? What got better? What goe worse? What can you improve? Are your priorities and interests still the same?


Making connects the hand, eye and brain in a very special way

An interesting article about transforming and empowering role of creating by Paula Briggs, director of AccessArt:

Creating is not just a ‘nice’ activity; it transforms, connects and empowers

We don’t need to make to entertain ourselves: in the past we might have kept our hands and eyes busy with making in our spare time, but now we occupy ourselves through binary code.

I hope that more of us will choose making and creating instead of the ‘binary code’!

Reading Brassaï about Henry Miller

While reading “Henry Miller: The Paris Years” by Brassaï I made a few discoveries about Miller, but also about Anais Nin and Brassaï him-self.

Henry Miller by Brassaï

Henry Miller by Brassaï

Revived my interest in the surrealist movement. Currently am looking into finding their essays about the automatic writing and such. But it is amazing what an impact the psychoanalysis had! The power of dreams that became legit in all the different forms of arts — literature, visual and performance arts. At same time it is not really measurable by the impact factor of scientific journals at all! Some of the ideas just go through and nowadays it is even hard to trace their origin and put a tag on it.

I discovered also that most of Miller’s novels are not as autobiographical as I thought earlier — it’s just he had a very strong power of imagination and sometimes couldn’t even distinguish between reality and fiction or dream. “…like the Surrealists and the Dadaists, Henry believed that the dreams provided fertile soil for writing, and that the writing did involve the struggle to bring to the surface that which was unknown, hidden, and unrealized” (p. 155). I’ll have to also look up his work “Into the Night Life” which he thought was like the Surrealists were doing.

So much like Brassaï “I live in what I see and hear” and Miller’s “treasures are buried deep within yourself, deep within the bowels of your inner self, and from them you can bring forth copper, or silver, or gold”. I am all about the details which have to match somehow. Scrupulous and pedantic… and so is my art, well, most of it.. Funny fact is both Brassaï and me were born on September 9th.

quote from Brassai

I have also discovered that some of Miller’s prose can actually be read as poetry and it makes a lot of sense. And I am curious to reread his books in English now.

I was hoping that the book will have more photos by Brassaï in it, his nocturnal Paris. But I ordered a few from the library to complement the reading with some visuals. A journey to Paris that doesn’t exist any more. Likewise Istanbul depicted by Orhan Pamuk and Ara Güler. Somehow these poetic city journeys are very interesting for me. Like many other people, I love to walk the city. To see where the feet will take me. What discoveries I will make on my journey.

I wish there was a similar book about Riga. There are so many different interesting corners in my hometown. Every time I go back there, I want to document every street of it. Every story that those streets have…

Books in my life

“What is time?”

You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.

You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day. A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.

What is your question?


My question that I’m going to work on through out 2016 is “What is time?”. The upcoming year is going to have “time” as a red thread.


As a co-founder of International Time Perspective Network I’m organizing Celebrating Time conference and festival in Copenhagen in August 2016. And everyone is welcome!


In the fall semester I’m going to teach a course “Psychology of Time” at DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia. And I’m really looking forward to that!

Very recently I have started “Creative Time Studio” where I aim to use time creatively, to shape time to create and to discover. I will continue my exploration of the relation between creativity and the limited time. Some of it I am offering as a course on Creative Breaks:


I will continue to work on our International Time Perspective Network’s online journal Time Talks:

And in January I will be launching Temporal Matters Salon in collaboration with Creative Roots: Collective Urbanism. It will be a series of talks and workshops on time, temporality, city life, urbanism and co-creation. Join us for a cup of coffee and a chat about time!

Temporal Matters Salon


The art of doing less – observations

Some observations I made while following the online course on CreativeLive on the Art of Less Doing with Ari Meisel.

People get stressed by how things work. Some other people develop an app / technique to lower that stress. Something that supposedly helps you out, makes you more productive, but then there are so many solutions to the same problem that we actually need a guide, who would review all those available solutions, test them out and pick the best for us. He/she figured it out for themselves, fine-tuned to address the challenges they face and then it works for them. Would it work for us? We don’t know, but we buy the guide anyway.

What I learned from the course:

  • if you have “what” to share, the “how” will follow
  • ideas of setting up an email based course
  • organization, like creativity, needs limits and will-power

What I will act on:

  • have a heard a few times about pomodoro technique by now – will try it out
  • restructure my DropBox

Significance of impact factor

The best news ever, in my opinion, came in unexpectedly from from Quora forum regarding this issue. Someone asked “What is the significance of the impact factor?” and a very interesting answer came in from W.Gunn:

It has little significance anymore, except among those who haven’t been paying attention for the past 10 years or so. There  is international consensus by bibliometricians on the idea that the IF  should not be used by researchers. Please read the Leiden Manifesto Bibliometrics: The Leiden Manifesto for research metrics and the Declaration on Research Assessment San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The  best thing to do, if you’re looking for a journal in which to publish,  is to ask an academic librarian in your field of study. You can also ask  a senior colleague which are the respected journals in the field, but  if they start talking about Impact Factor, give them a copy of the above  referenced materials and go ask someone else.

Even the countries which used to include IF in assessment exercises which determine grant allocation are now moving away from using the metric.

I hope it will change the picture very soon!

Debate on melting science with businesses

Some random ideas and thoughts I got from participating in a debate hosted at the Suitable for Business 2013 conference (Copenhagen, Denmark). The debate was between Kim Brinckmann (from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education), Hanne Leth Andersen (Pro-rector of Roskilde University), Morten Kold (creative director at the agency 2+1) and Rasmus Brygger (National president of a Danish youth party) and moderated by Thomas Buch-Andersen (Danmark Radio).

Kim Brinckmann (from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education), Hanne Leth Andersen (Pro-rector of Roskilde University) at the Suitable for Business 2013

Kim Brinckmann (from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education), Hanne Leth Andersen (Pro-rector of Roskilde University) at the Suitable for Business 2013

The discussion was sparkled by the report presented by Kim Brinckmann. Here you can find all the documentation about the innovations strategy that Denmark is planing to implement. As I understood, the problem is that although Denmark is ranked as an “innovation leader” (according to the latest EU Commission’s report “Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013“), it does not translate it enough into growth in terms of GDP.

The innovation strategy will ensure that more of Denmark’s knowledge and business positions of strength are translated to new jobs and growth. It will support a more goal-oriented Danish approach to creating innovative solutions to global societal challenges. The innovation strategy contains 27 policy initiatives regarding research, innovation and education. It focuses on a better knowledge exchange between companies and knowledge institutions, across borders and between the public and private sector.
Some of the points of the proposed strategy are very interesting, like giving some business oriented education to the students and PhD candidates. I agree to that. However, I’m not so sure that limiting the research by very specific projects and partnerships will foster creativity and innovation. Mr. Brinckmann has mentioned one of such partnership would be in the field of pig production. How many innovative methods of pig farming can you create? Reminds me of the old creativity boost task – what can you do with a brick?

But at the end of the day it will be only a solution to one particular problem. Researchers will produce innovation in one very narrow area, but they will stop producing general knowledge about how things are around us. We’ll need to learn to package our ideas about a general mechanism that can be applied to a variety of situations into a box addressed for specific needs. But then how the innovativeness in that particular area will be transferred to other domains? Or it’s not the aim?

I understand that research results should reach the society, the intended user, in one way or another, but from the other hand, all of the research shouldn’t be completely market driven. If we think back to the biggest discoveries – there wasn’t a need for them from the society. In some instances the society was even against. It took years until they got accepted and applied, like observations of Copernicus or the use of soap in hospitals.

The government wants us to innovate, but when we do the scientific society doesn’t really support this process. Both the industries and the research institutions talk about cross-disciplinary research and applications. However, when it comes to reporting the results – it’s a very difficult task. There is no platform for that.

There will be something happening in the scientific bubble soon, I think. The demand for publications is so high these days, that one single study is being chopped into parts, into smaller pieces in order to produce more papers, in hope of more citations, the struggle to get into a journal with a high impact factor, etc…. In the end we loose track and the big picture…

I agree with another speaker at the conference – Anne Skare Nielsen (Future Navigator) when she says that right now we experience abundance of solutions and we do not need more, but we should use what is here already. Productivity should be about creating more value, producing meaning and meaningful stuff and gross national happiness.

We do not need more soap. We need more people that can teach others how to use it.
Why exactly do we need more innovation? For statistics? Why not instead of aiming at creating more innovations, aim at creating opportunities for make a better use of what is already there?

Sometimes less is more!

Suitable for Business 2013 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark

Suitable for Business 2013 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark

Anne Skare Nielsen (Future Navigator) at Suitable for Business 2013 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark