True meaning of FIRST

I know many threads talk about this, but I found this while reading through the Blue Man Group website, and I know this truely shows the mindset that we can often forget… I think everyone should read this (I grabbed it from in case your curious) It may be long… but trust me, the meaning behind it is worth the read.

"Society of the Spectacle
October 31 | DAVE S. / MUSICIAN (GUITAR)

We played a few nights ago in Dayton, OH and I was lucky enough to have my 7 year old niece, Kayleigh, join me for the day as my lil’ buddy. She has seen the NYC Tubes show and loves Blue Man Group. She is a very bright, fearless and charismatic girl and she had a blast seeing all the inner workings of the show backstage. The video, sound and light techs all showed her how they do their jobs, she got to play the big drum and piano smasher, watch us all record a country-polka version of “Happy Birthday” for Shannon’s boyfriend during soundcheck, have dinner with Tracy (which impressed her since she wants to be a lady cop singer), etc. The thing that affected me the most about being with her was seeing her in the audience during the show and watching her unbridled enthusiasm and happiness in participating and being one with the whole experience. When prompted with “Please yell if you are paying attention” instead of giving a self-aware, halfhearted little yelp she would stand up and give a full, wide-eyed, gleeful scream with everything her 7-year old vocal cords had in them. It made me think about how as we get older we condition ourselves to be spectators to life instead of fully participating in it. I have a theory about it that I call “The Santa Claus Effect” in which the first (and perhaps biggest) lie that we learn in this culture is the fact that there is no Santa Claus. Upon learning this our image of the world as a truly magical place becomes greatly diminished and with it comes growing cynicism and disillusionment. I know that sounds extreme but it may be the seed of those feelings. I think that after that point we slowly begin to lose our sense of wonder about the world and we develop an ego that protects us from appearing silly or stupid by making us self-conscious and more and more concerned with what others think about us. This culture of capitalism and consumption further separates us from truly experiencing life. Instead of climbing a mountain, we can go to the IMAX theater and watch it. Instead of rebelling against consumer culture, we can play a video game where we shoot shoppers in a mall. The pursuit of happiness has been replaced by the pursuit of comfort.
Guy DeBord and the Situationist movement explored all these themes extensively in the 50’s and 60’s best defined in DeBord’s book and film, “The Society of the Spectacle”. The Situationists were a group of artists, writers and intellectuals, descendants of the Dadaists and Surrealists, who sought to fuse art and music into everyday life as opposed to keeping it separate and elite. They also railed against capitalism as a state of mind that stifles creativity and embraces boredom. They said that modern society had become divided into actors and spectators, producers and consumers, with nothing in between. People have become accustomed to preferring the representation to reality, the appearance to the essence, the copy to the original, the illusion to the truth. I think that these ideas have now become entrenched behavior in the current climate. We can see it in modern radio, MTV, Hollywood blockbusters, video games, shopping malls, magazines, TV, etc. We’ve become obsessed with titillation, obsessed with convenience, obsessed with the mundane and ultimately bored and disconnected. But all of this is just in our heads. We can be free by refusing to participate in the culture of consumption and comfort and instead choose to participate in a culture of experience, truth and creativity. The themes of the Complex obviously explore some of these ideas but it’s a fine line that we tread when we celebrate connecting communally through rituals and criticize becoming another sheep in the herd. It’s hard not to appear hypocritical espousing these things but these are (pardon the pun) complex issues. Everyone the world over desires to feel connected, yearns for something to believe in. The new culture of voyeurism makes us become armchair procrastinators, immobile in both body and spirit. The more options we are given, the less value they hold. We want MORE. The world is there to be sampled, purchased, observed from afar.

I’m sorry. I’m rambling here. I guess what I’m trying to say is - we should try to find the essence of who we are by staying young in spirit, shedding the fat, losing the pettiness, decreasing the insecure side of the ego and embracing the meaningful and beautiful things that surround us. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “small minds speak of people, good minds speak of places, great minds speak of ideas”. I don’t mean to be preaching like some pompous $@#$@#$@#, I’m just thinking/writing out loud, wondering about a 7-year old experiencing life without ego or insecurity, just sheer joy. I’ll shut the F up now. Please yell!
---- DS "

Just cause the girl screamed for her love, doesn’t mean we necessarily need to “scream” for robotics with sound, but instead through our cooperation, our friendships, our teamwork, our happy times, as well as our rough times. I think we all need to go out and “scream” what we care deeply about, and hold it close to our hearts. Don’t watch the mountain, hike it, learn new things, and then find an even bigger mountain. When you’ve hiked Mt. Everest, build your own mountain to climb even higher into the sky. That is why we all are here, we all climb our mountains, and because of that all of us are “one”, we laugh together… and we cry together, but in the long run we all grow together, and don’t worry about who you need to beat, but more about how you can congratulate them if you lose. I hope that helps show the power that we ALL have… we just need to express it, and I hope that is as motivating to you guys as I found it.

Wow… I embraced every word of that speech. It’s so true, and while I’m in my transition from a child to adult… I have done my best to keep the kid inside me. Some may call it immature, others may find it funny… and those who might be envious that I could have such an open mind, I want to help them discover what it is that I’m resembling and how they could help themselves reach that place.

If I ever stop dancing, wearing funny costumes, and/or being open minded when talking to new people… slap me. Being young is a state of mind.

I want to be young forever.

(just another reason why I stick with FIRST)

Mike… its well great… and so fitting to FIRST.

Staying young is all in the mind… not the number. And happiness and having fun is the key to it. And so is FIRST for it is more fun and joy than I know how to describe. Fun, fun, and more fun coming starting January 10th!

OK the first time you showed that to me I didn’t get the connection to FIRST. After reading it again I get it.

FIRST has many permanent impacts on me, I think one of the best was it brought the fun out in me again. I used to be your typical blah teenager, I just wanted to get through my day and get the heck out of the school. FIRST gave me a reason to stay and I enjoyed it, I laughed I joked I had friends. FIRST brought back the fun to my life, we do the stupidest, oddest things and we laugh at it with pure humor, not caustic. Before FIRST I would have never yelled “Let’s all go nuts! Robots! Robots!” (even though it’s not even my teams!) in the middle of Six Flags.

I do plan to read the above (a little short on time right now) but let me just say this:

The answer is in the name…
And that must never be forgotten!

French author Jean Baudrillard described a concept call “hyperreality”, which talks about how people’s view of the world is no longer “reality”, but rather the “hyperreality” created by TV, movies, and the media in general. When the news report tells you something that’s happening in another part of the world, instead of actually experiencing the event, the viewer’s “reality” of the event is actually the string of images on the TV screens. In an age where the mass media are everywhere, in effect a new reality, hyperreality, is created, composed of the intermingling of people’s behavior and media images. (Introduction to Sociology, Giddens, 2003)

When you think about it, a make a lot of sense when combined with the passage from above. Nowadays, a majority of our preception of the rest of the world comes from the media, and the internet. Instead of actually witnessing the events, or experiencing them, we often settle with reading about them on newspaper or some website. After a while, people tend to get used to just sitting there listening and reading, instead of going out and experiencing the world.

A great thing about FIRST is that you can actually participate in it, instead of always being a spectator. I’ve started being really quiet and anti-social, although I still am anti-social, I tried participanting in the FIRST activities around me. It made a difference in my life in the sense that I no longer just sit there and be comfortable with being a receiver. When I see problems, I want to think about them instead of waiting for an answer. When I see fun things happening, instead of watching them happen I choose to be a part of them.

When you think about it, so many kids are preconditioned by school, media, and their parents about how to think. The school do a good job of feeding you information they want you to learn, the media do a great job of capturing your attention down to the seconds, and your parents tends to lecture you about the appropiate social behaviors. After so many years of being a receiver, people tends to get lazy of going out into the world and try to live a little bit, much less trying to do their own thinking. It is very unfortunate that the system try to shape people to fit in as a part of it, instead of independent thinkers. But that’s exactly the kind of things FIRST can help change.

Very interesting and motivating.

Life should be an adventure, not a soap opera.


When we are growing up, its not possible for us to understand the world completely. The way we interact with the real world is like making a ‘scale model’ inside our minds.

as we learn to understand how things interact in the real world, we are able to use the concepts we have learned to predict what will happen, so we can plan what we want to do next, before we try it.

The problem with fiction (TV, movies, cartoons, video games) is that the dont contribute to our internal mental model of the world - we dont know how much of the fiction is real, or which parts could be real if enough time and research is spent on it. Fiction leaves you feeling empty, wishing for things that are not real, things that may never be real, with no starting point or direction.

By contrast, if you read science and technology history, if you read biographies, then you are learning useful information about realiity. When I read about the Wright brothers, taking on the other (government funded) inventors of the time, and beating them to the prize

when I read about Ken Olsen, taking on IBM head-on, to create Digital Equipment Corporation

it boggles the mind to see what people have REALLY done

and it leaves your mind open to the endless possibilities - not based on the fantasy of movies or games or fiction - but on what can really be done.

That is usefull information - that reinforces our mental model of the world - we can put little check marks next to things that these people have proven: “this CAN be done!” That is pure inspiration.

Get out there and fill your mind with real experience. Your own real experience, and those of others.

Then you will hold onto that mind of a child - when you walk into a machine shop, and look at the tools, and catch that smell of cutting oil in the air, and sense that you could build just about anything here

or you sit down with a bareboard computer, and a SW compiler, and sense that there is no limit to what you can program

or you sit at the helm of a sailboat up in drydock, close your eyes and feel the wind in your face, and realize that, once you choose your destination, you can go anywhere you want to.

that is the mind of a child that we must never lose - the REAL knowledge that the possibilities in life are unlimited.

When I was young I used to mow the lawn.

But life is still fun. Why should I let “not mowing the lawn,”
metaphorically, ruin my life.

I shredded a baseball once.