I’ve been putting most of my efforts lately into setting up and expanding a net of sites that I hope will consolidate my production and place it where it can find an audience, where I can find collaborators, patrons? I have two interwoven tasks, to inventory what I’ve done and explore where it’s taking me; while at the same time I establish a pipeline to put what I’ve done in front of people who may be interested in engaging with me. This problem is specifically mine, with nuances and particulars that are more or less unique to me; but this problem – and the wider predicaments it touches on – are not mine alone. We each have to find ways to adjust, accommodate and innovate – yes, I would say in that order, no matter how much the Booster mentality wants to push Innovation as a panacea. We each have to find ways forward as business-as-usual sinks out from under us.
There’s a tendency to want to polish and prepare before presenting. There’s a lot to be said for that, to a point. The trouble with that desire is that it leads to a combination of perfectionism on the side of the one doing the work; and the expectation of an efficient, sweet, easy and fool-proof solution on the side of those wanting the results. For the maker/thinker this attitude of perfection leads into hubris. This should burn the Mark of Cain onto their foreheads, or its equivalent. There isn’t much farther to go beyond thinking one’s self capable of perfection before hubris gets up to some pretty horrible dealings! You can’t approach perfection, to hide that desire in one’s breast is poison, get over it! As for the recipient, I think my characterization of their expectations lays out how I feel about the effects of wishing for perfection on one’s abilities to deal with reality.
I don’t strive for perfection, although I do work towards a practice that I hope may lay me open to the possibilities of grace. Neither seems to be working at the moment, as can be seen by the way this post stumbles and plods….
But that is at least in part the point of this post. We need, I need, to remember to work at differentiating between an honest effort and the delusion hiding behind trappings of idealization. This is at the core of the crisis of expertise, it is central to the way we tend to take our most open and honest – again that word creeps in – expressions, aspirations, goals; and discount them in favor of the glib and the polished. We take the essential reality behind their imperfection and hold that against them instead of seeing those very qualities as what makes them true. This self-doubt, different from the sense of awe in the face of mystery and responsibility in the face of tragedy that mark the opposite of hubris; this self-doubt paralyzes us and continues to hold us in thrall of the charlatans continuing to ply the shtick of expertise with ever greater hubris and shamelessness the more visible their fall into irrelevance.
Is this a step towards freedom? Maybe, the dynamic of elites infantalizing their populations, and the people’s collusion in accepting this reduced status, and calling the result Freedom; is one of the most obvious factors in the erosion of agency. There are many other factors that enter into play here. I risk spinning away completely if I send us off after them now…. What is to the point is our responsibilities to ourselves and others begin with how we deal with this question. If we persist in hobbling ourselves through caustic self-doubt, and persist in accepting the trappings of false perfection; we will continue to be unable to act effectively, or even simply grow in awareness of our states, our positions, our stance.
I’ve chosen to do this inventory “in public” – as much as that can realistically apply to the handful of readers of these words – because this particular form of public is the one I have the greatest access to. There’s a whole thread this leads to, I’ll come back to it again.
For now, I would like to invite you to look around at my various outputs and ask you to engage with me at some level if you find anything there you value. Please subscribe if you want to see more, and pass on links, or “ping” my content on your favorite outlet. Feel free to comment, this is a two-way medium, it’s really quite easy…. Without these actions, none of this gets out to a wider circle. This is something I wasn’t fully aware of either until I began doing this myself. The habits of consuming media developed over the years of mass-media are hard to break. This looks like a mass-media, but sites like these are not that at all. Fantasies of going viral aside, the audience for someone like me grows one person at a time, one direct connection at a time.
The following, a micro-short-story, I don’t know quite where to put it, so I thought I’d put it here. It touches on some of what’s been said.
They had tried to use the pressures of climate change as a catalyst to get people motivated to ease themselves out of fossil fuels. As the weather got weirder and stranger year after year. The Ice Caps melting were rather abstract for most people. A sharp cold winter, lots of snow paradoxically can be a sign of a more energetic atmosphere. When the New England Monsoon struck three years in a row, that made an impression. That hit the northeast megalopolis were it lives, got into the heads of the mass-media, movers & shakers. California’s droughts and wildfires helped too. Schwarzenegger leading that state into the land of the Terminator had an eerie poetic justice, looking through the looking glass just too long, the state seemed to just fall through….
You’d have thought combining the message that we’re running out of the stuff with the fact it was killing us would have had an impact. The currents of denial run deep. The habits of self-victim-hood and scapegoating, of splitting off symptoms and concocting elaborate conspiracies to accommodate for them; were all stronger than ever. The powerful got nervous and looked for targets. The stuck got paralyzed by fear and the crazies kept pouring out of the woodwork.
Most car accidents use to happen – back when the damn things still worked and there were roads to drive them on – when a driver simply stopped driving and threw his hands up, whether the situation was salvageable or not. They gave up and simply stopped helping themselves. They used to tell pilots to fly as far into a crash as possible. Things could often be made better even when control of a situation was being ripped from your hands, so long as you were able and willing to make the adjustments available to you.
With something like the energy train-wreck, there were lots of times to have made some corrections, hell, you can go back to 1970 without too much imagination and see how things could have been different….
It wasn’t a lack of knowledge, or prescience, that brought this on. Something about addiction and mass psychology. We’re so susceptible to that mix! Or were….
As things started to tumble down in a hurry, it got more obvious; but not really in the eyes of most people. They refused to give up the prize that had been dangled in front of them for so long…. The delirium of something for nothing. A big dollop of liquid energy – slaves in a barrel – had gone on for generations with all the curves going up and up, the projections trending towards infinity. As things fell, people were looking backwards, as that Exit to Paradise-on-Earth receded in their rear-view mirrors.
Once the bickering started up for real, over who was to blame for each little lost guarantee, there wasn’t much time or energy left to do anything about it.
It was that last bit of oil, that last dose of magic-in-a-barrel that we hoped we could do something with – make as soft a landing as we could out of it.
Some of us hit on the idea that we should save the most important bits of the old cornucopia. What did we think that was? Lots of argument on that one….
Of course the ones that won that argument – that we needed to keep the tanks and choppers and fighter planes going as long as we could – to keep the hordes at bay – they won. They had the clout.
Some of us had a more modest idea. If we could divert at least some of the next-to-last business-as-usual and put it to good use….
It sounds kind of pathetic now, really, we thought if only we could keep the internet going….
How many commuter driving hours worth of fuel would it have taken? Especially once the jobs started to dry up and the highways started crumbling. The equivalent of a season of NASCAR back in the late Oughts – funny how that moniker never took at the time. Now that’s what we call those days. Those of us alive back then hang our heads when we hear it. The Oughts….
You see, if we could have kept the net going – not all the bullshit – the buying and selling, the fantasy time wasting – but a core.
We had this amazing tool that let people all over the world make contact, share information, share ideas, talk to each other, show each other stuff – themselves – forge connections, see what was coming….
It wouldn’t have lasted long, but it could have made a difference.
Hell, for the amount of oil it took to fly one person from New York to L.A. we could have fueled millions of interactions.
Nobody wanted to give up their trip for something so nebulous. By the time the airlines folded, and then the highways really began to wither; it was too late, not enough infrastructure left to maintain a grid and direct it towards a goal like that.
Then it was all about keeping the power on, for lights and heat, in my home town, the hell with the rest.