One must cultivate one's own garden. - Voltaire
We are exposed to more information on a daily basis than any other humans have been, at any point in history. The amount of information, options, and demands on our attention are staggering.
It can certainly be overwhelming, always tugging us between the decisions to shut it out completely or find a way to engage with it. And, if we aren’t completely shutting it down, there’s the tug to transmute “the impossibly tangled mess of being a tiny flawed human in this infinite universe into a tangible something, and holding it out in the palm of our hands to examine and contemplate and communicate with” (Gage).
But how do we do that? Sure, there are obvious ways, like making art, music, dance, poetry, acting, writing, and the list goes on. But how do we make the jump from “it’s all so overwhelming” to “here’s a finished something”?? How do we identify and lean into what resonates with us and make sense of it enough to let it fuel our creative process?
Here’s where the digital garden comes in.
What is a digital garden?
“Digital garden” is a simple yet descriptive way of talking about building and maintaining a system of thinking and creating.
Likely most curious people have felt the call of 1) taking in information and ideas through books, articles, and even social media, 2) then trying to figure out what it’s all about and how it connects to other ideas, across time and themes, and 3) how to use your knowledge to create and support your own original ideas.
A digital garden can be thought of as a modern day version of a commonplace book.
Who else tends to a garden?
How do I start my own digital garden?
Over at the School of Life, they unpack this famous last line of Candide, and “What Voltaire Meant by ‘One Must Cultivate One’s Own Garden”:
Gardening is no trivial pastime, it’s a central way of shielding ourselves from the influence of the chaotic, dangerous world beyond while focusing our energies on something that can reflect the goodness and grace we long for
A digital garden is an exercise of being in the process, this is an exercise in being in process. (1)
Digital gardening is a way to get compound interest on your thoughts. (Get the sex quote too) (1)
A garden is a place to return to. See here.
To take seeds to sprouts: “Find one that sparks you and sit with it. Ask yourself: Why did this spark me? And start writing. Explore every aspect of the idea. What questions does it bring up? Try to answer them. How does it fit in with what you already know & believe? What can you take away from it?” From Ev