Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

11 DECEMBER, 2013

Brené Brown on Vulnerability, Human Connection, and the Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy, Animated

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“The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.”

In 2010, shame and empathy researcher Dr. Brené Brown gave us the wonderful and culturally necessary The Gifts of Imperfection, exploring the uncomfortable vulnerability and self-acceptance required in order to truly connect with others. In this charming short film, the folks of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, better-known as the RSA, put a twist on their usual live-illustrated gems and take a page out of the TED-Ed book, teaming up with animator Katy Davis to bring to life an excerpt from Brown’s longer talk on the power of vulnerability and the difference between empathy and sympathy, based on her most recent self-helpy-sounding but enormously insightful and rigorously researched book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (public library).

The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.

And that connection often requires mutual vulnerability. Brown writes in Daring Greatly:

Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.

[…]

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

Watch Brown’s full RSA talk below:

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09 DECEMBER, 2013

Connected: A Charming Stop-Motion Papercraft Music Video Inspired by the Universe

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We are all stardust.

As a lover of books, papercraft, and the universe (and, especially, papercraft books about the universe), I was instantly smitten by this lovely music video for the song “Connected” by singer-songwriter Luke Dick, from his album Abraço (iTunes) — a heartening homage to our shared stardust, featuring papercraft by artist Benjamin Wright Coleman.

Abraço is wonderful in its entirety. Sample it below, then pair with Carl Sagan on books and the sublime You Are Stardust.

Thanks, Jenn

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13 NOVEMBER, 2013

The History of the English Language, Animated

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“The Sun never sets on the English language.”

The history of language, that peculiar human faculty that Darwin believed was half art and half instinct, is intricately intertwined with the evolution of our species, our capacity for invention, our understanding of human biology, and even the progress of our gender politics. From the fine folks at Open University — who previously gave us these delightful 60-second animated syntheses of the world’s major religions, philosophy’s greatest thought experiments, and the major creative movements in design — comes this infinitely entertaining and illuminating animated history of the English language in 10 minutes:

Complement with these 5 essential reads on language and the only surviving recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice, in which she explores the beauty of the English language.

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30 SEPTEMBER, 2013

Janis Joplin on Creativity and Rejection: Her Lost Final Interview, Rediscovered and Animated

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“You are what you settle for.”

On September 30, 1970, four days before her death, Janis Joplin gave her final interview, a profound conversation about creativity and rejection with Howard Smith of the Village Voice, found in the altogether fantastic The Smith Tapes Box Set — an archive of Smith’s restored interviews with such icons as John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jane Fonda, James Taylor, Jerry Garcia, and more.

Smith and Joplin had been scheduled to speak in mid-August, but Janis, distraught over an eviscerating piece Rolling Stone had run about her — which included the assessment that her bountiful jewelry made her look like a “Babylonian whore” — canceled. When they eventually did speak, however, what emerged was a portrait of Joplin as a complex person brimming with the sort of inner contradictions that make us human — at once insecure yet full of conviction, opinionated yet concerned about offending, fierce yet tenderhearted.

Now, the fine folks of multimedia nonprofit Blank on Blank — who also gave us David Foster Wallace on ambition and Maurice Sendak on being a kid — have brought this bittersweet final conversation to life in their signature style of visual storytelling.

You are what you settle for. You are only as much as you settle for.

The interview was aired four days after Joplin’s death.

Complement with Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin (public library), the excellent biography of one of our era’s most influential musicians and most tragic cultural icons. Also of note is the memoir-biography Love, Janis (public library) by Joplin’s younger sister, Laura.

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