The Goal is Resonance

The goal is resonance. Nothing is better than resonance. If you have a billion dollars, you are still seeking resonance. If you are well respected, you are still seeking resonance. If you are enlightened, you are still seeking resonance. Even Buddha was seeking resonance. Why else would he share his teachings with others?

Hopf Fibration
Artist: London Tsai

Resonance is feeling understood. It is improvization. Banter. A jamming session. You’re playing music with others and they are building on it.

But isn’t the goal enlightenment? Going to the hills and meditating? The point of meditating in the hills is to feel oneness with humanity; in fact, oneness with everything. You feel a similar oneness when you laugh at a friend’s joke or they laugh at yours.

When two people work on a shared project – a joke, gossip, a product, an essay – and are able to understand and build on each other, that’s the peak of the human condition.

Resonance is being in flow state but with another person.

To find resonance, you need to create. Any creation is an act of tapping a tuning fork and seeing who resonates. Creation is the risk. Resonance is the reward.

We are alone in our minds. At best, we can describe what we feel using symbols and objects. We feel resonance only when we somehow convert those symbols and objects into something authentic and understandable to another person. It’s magical when it works.

Some seek resonance with people after they die. Hilma af Klint was a Swedish artist who wanted her work to be released twenty years after her death. She sought resonance with people who weren’t born yet.

Creation helps you find friends, partners, and collaborators. Some people build rockets and attract people who resonate with a civilization on Mars. But all creation need not be intimidating. Sending your friend a funny meme counts.

There is at least one person out there who wants this specific version of you – your current state of mind, feelings, and interests. Creation helps you find that person.


Thanks to Daniel Schlabach and Shwetha Hariharan whose conversations helped me build on this essay.