Ai Wei Wei’s Interesting Life
3 August 2012
“Life is much more interesting when you make a little bit of effort.” –Ai Wei Wei
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Summer slump, I guess – but also, actually, high productivity in other areas of life. I’ve been off the Internet in the mornings for the most part, and limiting email and screen time to about an hour or two hours a day, contained. It makes a huge difference, in everything. My brain much clearer and more focused on things like, you know, making words on a page, and reading words in books — without all that cerebral-adrenaline-bursting (to use a super-technical term) wigging me out all the time.
But I just saw the Ai Wei Wei documentary — NEVER SORRY — (see it!) and was inspired (inspired! This doesn’t happen all that much anymore, sadly) by how crucial blogging has been for Ai’s activist goals. That daily blog post was everything to him: you could feel that in how he talked about it, how he treasured that blog, how he felt the reality of wielding truth against lies with every word; until the government shut him down. At which point, Tweeting became everything. In China, there is no taking for granted the ability to communicate freely and truthfully; a world without free speech, without a venue for plurality of opinion, is just not something we can fathom here.
In other words, I was struck by the simple truth that those of us who write — whatever it is we write — are empowered. I’m ashamed to admit that I have never much thought of it that way. It’s a good perspective check. It’s a huge perspective check.
The hours in the day are still limited, though. And my brain increasingly a sieve in the face of screen ubiquity. But you have to make the effort, Ai said. Life is much more interesting when you make a little bit of effort.