The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

apples are good for you by design

November21

why, you, that collective you, ask, do I, the infinitely singular me, love Apple products so dearly?

it’s not as simple as being an “Apple Fanboy”. while its an apt first impression that’s shallow thinking, on both sides. however, coming to a point of appreciation for a company like Apple, its people, and products, takes time. there must needs be a process that tracks experience, acumen, and perspective. some people understand that a reason to deeply love a Porsche is because of the unique “paper-tearing” aspect of sound generated by the power-plant (engine [or “motor” if yer English]), or the smooth if not hypnotic motion realized by the hands sweeping around a Rolex watch.

there is no mystery, thus no surprise, that the United States favors the iPhone, while the masses that surround us must accept an Android device. while we may not always be the smartest people by grade point average, we do amass the most wealth, and evidently insist on a higher product standard. we also appreciate beautiful and well-crafted things. no… we insist on such quality.

consider the spot, called “Pencil”, beautifully written and art directed. it has Bryan Cranston, aka Walter White of “Breaking Bad”, the hottest (by demand, and less so appearance) actor on the planet, doing the voice-over. and, it has a killer demo to visualize just how thin the new iPad really is. a genuine marvel of technology enhanced by the aesthetic that compels utilization.

innovation + technology + beauty + desire + utilization +  utilization = productivity.

I made that up, but it’s an undeniable formula for success.

for most of this 60-second ad, this cleverly photographed commercial focuses on that classic tool of artists, writers and composers – the everyday No. 2 yellow pencil. Cranston goes on about how this simple object can be a powerful tool that transforms how we work and share, as the camera zooms in on a pencil sitting horizontally against various backdrops. that is, until the big reveal – a hand (almost akin to a Davinci painting) comes in the last couple of seconds to pull something obscured by the pencil – Apple’s new iPad Air.

the clever “Pencil” ad points to the various ways that the iPad has become an enabler of content creation. like the yellow pencil, it “can be used to start a poem, or finish a symphony,” Cranston’s narration says.

“It has transformed the way we work, learn, create, share,” he intones. “It used to illustrate things, solve things, and think of new things. It’s used by scientists and artists, scholars and students. It’s been to classrooms, boardrooms, expeditions, even to space.” And we can’t wait to see where you’ll take it next.”

just beautiful, graceful language.

Apple always understood that coolness is an appeal to our imagination and passions, defining who we are and who we want to be. its greatest ads were always poetic, and aspirational. I uses aspirational instead of inspirational because the ads compel us to take action that can make us better tomorrow than we are today.

action creates activity. activity becomes defined by creativity and ingenuity. its all sublime within its symmetry.

Apple ads at their best connect with us viscerally because of their optimism, and appeal to our self-esteem. They encourage us to dream and pursue, and not just follow, our dreams. What can be cooler than technology enabling the possibility of creativity and innovation.

“Apple has over four hundred (400) of the world’s highest grossing stores, while Samsung has succeeded in large part by spending $4.2 billion a year on advertising – four times that of Apple.”

by comparison, Google’s Motorola (that reads odd in the context of how we have always known Motorola, eh) has announced it’s selling a down market discount model, the Moto G, for what reviewers call the “ludicrously cheap price tag” of $179 without a contract, certain to accelerate what Steve Jobs derided as “race to the bottom pricing.”

meanwhile Apple is designing, delighting and pricing its way to the top. Apple’s latest cell phone introduction proved that the company’s core customers are frantic to buy its most expensive model – the 5S, while demonstrating ambivalence toward its less expensive 5C. this is not the “glass half full or a simple opinion. this is a demonstration of genuine power to move people to identify with excellence.

the gold 5S has been a massive, worldwide product phenomenon, flying out of stores largely on design and appearances. some Wall Street analysts call this high margin sales surge a failure, noting that Apple is losing market share in developing markets by failing to sell a cheap phone. they’ve got it backwards. when customers clamor for your top line product everywhere that’s a good thing. let someone else sell more compact cars if you can dominate the world market for BMWs or Teslas.

Michael Welsh But low end companies have a much easier time moving into the premium space than premium brands have moving down to gain market share.

Brian Patrick Cork I can’t speak for the company, but I’m reasonably certain Apple does not equate market share with profit. A smaller number of people can buy their products and generate more revenue than competitors.

aesthetics and design is the new digital divide. most techies, analysts and bloggers simply can’t fathom why Apple soaked up 56 percent of the profit in the world’s mobile markets during the last quarter. sure, Apple boasts a rich, diverse ecosystem (phones, tablets, laptops, content, software, etc.) and powerful and versatile chips, but that’s not what’s driving extraordinary sales. design is what is winning over Apple cohorts – that subtle combination of materials, weight, lines, and how it feels in your hand.

it’s the same elusive quality that gets women to blithely pay $5,000 for a Prada handbag or a man to gladly fork over $6,000 for a Breitling watch.

finally… Apple’s biggest innovation by far has been magically transforming everyday digital devices into iconic things we desire on a deep, primitive human level.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

hate is not greater than love maybe

September27

two words:

love and hate.

or, love and hatred.

they represent genuine extremes, I think.

as an aside… we’ve witnessed; and unfortunately, some of you have lived – “love hate” relationships.

but, some people love to hate. we assign that to terrorists, for example. other folks might submit they hate to love.

“there’s nothing in this world so sweet as love. and next to love the sweetest thing is hate.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’m intently considering my keyboard, and thinking love is an elixir, whereas hatred is fuel. however, both can be the foundation for a cause. and, a result of a cause, I  suppose.

apparently there exists, some where, but I don’t, in truth, care precisely where, a study using a brain scanner to investigate the neural circuits that become active when people look at a photograph of someone they say they hate has found that the “hate circuit” shares something in common with the “love circuit”.

I’m thinking the opposite of love is not hate. however, it could be indifference. but, we’re trying not to introduce other words, here. on the other hand, indifference is not the same result if you say: the opposite of hate is not love. the meaning, if not the entire context changes, and radically.

what the hell, I’ll add an aside, here. me? I’ll fear indifference long before hate, and certainly love. indifference might suggest the loss of hope. And, maybe that’s the key to strapping on a vest stuffed with dynamite, or losing the will to love. love might take more courage and effort than hate, after all.

these words, and their application, might represent an important battlefield. the on-going war that rages (now, that’s an interesting word relative to this line-of-thinking) between these emotions is relentless. we seem to have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another, unflinchingly. it’s more likely that love will turn, and viciously, into seething hatred, and not so likely that hate will transform itself into love. if someone were to say: ‘I hate loving”, it’s sad, but that is more easy to relate to than: “I love hating”, which almost sounds like a chest-thumping cause for action, or call-to-action.

hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled and eradicated. yet, I think were you a biologist, hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love.

like love, hate is often seemingly irrational, and can lead individuals to both heroic and evil deeds. this fascinates me. how can two opposite sentiments lead to the same behavior?

perhaps that line-of-thinking led Ella Wilcox to say: “love lights more fire than hate extinguishes.”

I can’t say I agree with that. for example, love is often viewed as given, whereas is hatred is acquired. but, we can demonstrate how hatred is ladled-out carefully and becomes so much more powerful over time. if someone handed a terrorist (we really do leverage that term liberally, don’t we) a flower, they would likely shove up the givers butt, or grind it into dust and mix it with weed-killer and craftily introduce it into their coca-cola. having said that, perhaps the makers of coca-cola are actually terrorists of a sort because soft drinks are, indeed poison, and slowly killing a large portion of the worlds population. too many people say: “I love coca-cola”, and not enough say: “I hate coca-cola”. but, I digress (although shareholders of coca-cola enterprises love to make money, and certainly don’t hate it).

me? as I continue to explore the complexities of living the authentic life, I’m more likely to try and love, in general. or, at least care. this is where indifference creeps back into the thinking. I’m not sure you can win once love is part of the equation because many lines become blurred and the self can be lost. but, nobody actually wins where hate evolves. that’s a kobayashi maru. I’ll submit once indifference corrupts the soul, there exists hatreds foothold. and, I’ll often try to encourage my fourteen year old daughter to try, and hard, not to even use the word hate in a sentence – especially relative to people, and also inanimate objects (like new cellular telephones) – but more so, then, from a common-sensical standpoint. I also want her to be careful about dispensing and leveraging the word love. there is that tipping-point, after-all.

it all requires a lot of thinking and consideration. a cause, if you will, for that winnie-the-Pooh figgerin’ spot.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

the sound of it all

May25

Okay… So, I’ve taken a few days respite from posting to this Blog.

The mail (hail) of concern resonates.

And, speaking of which… I’ve also been listening, and carefully, to a broad-range of music.

When was the last time you really listened to songs, and strains, and felt the movement of it all, through your bones to your soul?

Do it now!

Along the way…

“Do you know what love is… Can you really feel it”.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

existentialism isn’t cool it just Is

April21

I may have the coolest vocation on the planet. I work with people that change the world, in turn, helping them make better decisions.

And, I learn things as well.

Recently I started to meet with a fellow that refers to himself as a: “serial entrepreneur”. To be candid, I feel that phrase is, in truth, silly. There is, and it’s true, once you bother to consider the nuance, an immediate negative connotation attached to it – from the “serial” perspective, mind you.

Me? I’m working daily to be a successful entrepreneur – just so we are clear.

It’s not just how you do it; how you say it, matters. Sometimes potentially more so. In fact, former United States President Bill Clinton reminded us recently in a TIME Magazine interview: “What we learned from Oklahoma City,” Clinton said, “is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold. [But] the words we use do matter.”

Read more:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1982949,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz0lZ1UBfOB

One of my points, here (that makes all the more sense if you’ve been following other recent posts), is a cross-roads when it comes to existentialism, heterodox and being Jeffersonian.

In any event, this fellow (mentioned earlier, mind you) is forty two and has realized not but a string of failures – this includes two marriages, and other collateral damage (not the least of which includes lawsuits and burned investors). But, he has an image in his head about what an entrepreneur has, does, looks like, acts like, and can do.

So… I asked him a simple question: “Is it possible that you are living someone else’s dream, and not your own”?

He was stunned (and angry). And, thusly, I had the potential, at hand, for my desired effect. And, the promise of a change evolution in behavior.

And then he began to weep…

“The truth is I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. I was always looking for the easy button. Now I’m so far behind I don’t think I can ever find it”. And, he added: “But I hate all of it. The work is so hard. I never make any money. I can’t save. My credit is ruined. I just want a decent place to live, a reliable car, and to make sure my kids can go to college”. And, finally: “Can you help me find a stable job? That would make my wife happy. Me too”.

So, I did just that.

He had to walk away from a life-long dream, just like that. And, I believe this is when he became  an existentialist. He finally recognized the dangers of living an inauthentic life.

Right. So, what is an existentialist?

If you have been following this Blog the last couple of weeks (and, it’s likely you have), you know we have begun to explore the existentialist, relative to the heterodox and my jeffersonian leanings.

So, how might they, the existentialist, be different than you?  What do they know?

According to Wikipedia, Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of 19th and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, generally held that the focus of philosophical thought should be to deal with the conditions of existence of the individual person and their emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts. It is not some abstract set of theoretical truths. In simpler terms, it’s a no-nonsense philosophy that encourages you to take a hard look at your life and ask two essential questions: Who am I, and how shall I live?

Its goal is to awaken us from the morbidity of irrelevance and, have us grab life by the lapels and start living authentically.

Unfortunately, there is no particular school that offers a systematic account of existentialism. Its founders were fierce individualists who avoided labels, detested “-isms,” and refused to be lumped into any group.

So there is no grand philosophical system here. Essentially, existentialism exists at the intersection of the essays of Friedrich Nitzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre, the novels of Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoevsky, the religious writings of Soren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich, and the plays of Harold Pinter and even William Shakespeare (particularly Hamlet and King Lear.)

Clearly, existentialism is older than the term itself.

The philosophy is apparently based on six general themes:

  1. Acceptance of the Absurd. Each of us drops unexpectedly into this world, in a universe where time – at least as we know it – has no beginning, space no end, and life no pre-set meaning. It is an inexplicable mystery. This realization is hardly new, of course. Ecclesiastes kicks off with the words “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. What does man gain from all his labor and toil here under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3). Existentialists believe that it’s only when you confront the fundamental absurdity of life that you begin to live honestly.
  2. Personal Freedom. Life itself may be meaningless, but you give it meaning when you begin making important choices. These, in turn, reveal who you are. With freedom of choice, however, comes responsibility. Taking ownership of your decisions means not blaming your parents, your spouse, your teachers or anyone else for the shape of your life. More responsibility brings greater freedom. And with it: hope.
  3. Individualism. Existentialists are keenly aware that society continually pulls you toward conformity. There are immense social pressures to go along, get along and live pretty much like everyone else. Existentialists challenge you to buck conventional wisdom, express your true nature, and follow your dream, whatever that may be.
  4. Authenticity. Most people are so consumed by desire, guilt, fear or anxiety about what other people think that they find it almost impossible to follow their true calling. However, it’s only when you begin to do what you want – and not what others expect – that you begin to live authentically. But expect resistance. Institutions want to mold you. Other people want you to go on their trip. It’s far easier to live unthinkingly as part of the crowd. Yet authentic individuals are in control of their own lives.
  5. Passion. Being passionate and engaged is crucial. This doesn’t mean acting crazy or hysterical. Quite the opposite, in fact. Existentialists believe you should devote yourself to a cause, one that you’re willing to organize your life around, perhaps even die for. For Kierkegaard, that passion was the pursuit of truth. For others it may be artistic expression, healing the sick, or building a business that employs hundreds and serves thousands. In all walks of life, you’ll find that passionate men and women are more purposeful.
  6. Acceptance of Death. Life is finite. Yet existentialists don’t see this as a reason for pessimism. Facing death is what forces you to take life seriously, use your time wisely and make meaningful choices. It should invigorate your life. As the character Andy puts it in The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Nietzsche, the philosopher most closely associated with existentialism, refers to it as the noble ideal.

Your life, he argues, is an unwritten book that only you can write. Or, he says, visualize your life as a kind of artistic project, except that you are both the sculptor and the clay.

This concept runs throughout existentialist works. Martin Heidegger counsels that we should learn to “dwell poetically.” Kierkegaard offers that, “to exist is an art.”

All existentialists agree that life has the meaning you choose to give it. Sartre even declared that man is “nothing else but what he makes of himself.”

This view is fairly widespread in the West today. But it was once considered revolutionary. The Catholic Church, for instance, decided that Sartre’s ideas were so dangerous that it placed his entire works on the Vatican Index of Prohibited Books – including those he hadn’t yet written!

Ideas can be dynamite. And the proclamation that you should live your life on your own terms rather than according to the dictates of an institution was explosive.

Well… Bold and fearless, says I. If you have a servants heart and you seen synchronicity, daily, combined with a keen desire to reflect and represent the best virtu that God could inspire within you through discernment, what better terms?

Perhaps that’s why existentialism is called the philosophy of freedom. No matter how things stand in your life, you choose how to interpret your situation. You choose how to respond to it. Even if you do nothing, you still have made a choice. There is no escaping the consequences of your actions – or your inaction.

This makes some people profoundly uncomfortable, of course. They don’t like facing up to the world as it is. They don’t want responsibility. It’s easier to blame others, circumstances or “the breaks.”

Existentialism, however, is known as “the no-excuses philosophy.” You may be old. You may be broke. You may be sick. But existentialists say you start from where you are and move forward. How? By accepting responsibility and making choices.

This isn’t always easy. Pursuing authenticity requires relentless self-examination. It exposes you to things about yourself that you may not want to know. It may cause discomfort or friction with others.

But inauthentic lives, by comparison, are shallow, trivial and unsatisfying. They are often marked by the dogged pursuit of material goods, social status or the approval of others.

In many ways existentialism is a return to the roots of philosophy, a return to the ancients’ concern with truth, virtue and the art of living well.

Existentialism offers a guide to the perplexed. It shows us not just how to live, but how to flourish, how to create meaning in a senseless world. Those who reject this philosophy often do so not because they don’t understand it but because they can’t face it.

And that’s unfortunate. Existentialism provides a practical way of thinking about the world. It offers personal freedom and empowerment. It is a path to dignity and nobility.

An existentialist doesn’t live as though he has forever, frittering away his time and putting off until “someday” the things he really wants to do. He or she recognizes that each day, each moment, is precious and irreplaceable.

The next, and on-going test: Combining Existentialism with Heterodox and Jeffersonian ideals. Hang on; this must needs be a barn-burner. God gave me discernment. I might as well use it.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





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