I’ve written three new posts recently on Fine Lines that I think address issues that might be of interest to readers of this blog:
My initial impulse to post them there had to do with a sense that my design blog would be a good venue for these more tactical musings. I’ve wobbled between my efforts here and my more occupational concerns at Antonio Dias Design and the “middle road” of Boats for Difficult Times while relatively neglecting Fine Lines recently. This dance between the strategic and the practical, looking for ways to deal with Enormity, while still looking to deal with the day-to-day, while looking to honor the practices that have brought me this far, and looking for ways to take them forward in face of the Enormity we all confront; is something we must all deal with in our own way. I see my “public” twists and turns on these sites as part of the goal I set myself on taking up blogging, a blend of the essay with the journal that shows not only one’s thinking, but how one gets there, and how it evolves over time.
We all wear a multitude of hats, no matter how much we hope to integrate our lives, there are compartments, both in how we organize our selves and how others perceive us. Here this is mirrored in the handful of sites I attempt to drag along with me. Some might be drawn to one, while others might look at more than one. Still others might be drawn to one site and appalled at the abominations I spout on another. These are “risks” I’ve found easier to take on as the continued lack of financial reward habituates me to give little credence to its supposed constraints. “We shouldn’t be controversial or we’ll alienate customers!” “We should be controversial, controversy breeds interest!” That either of these tactics will influence some theoretical success rate is becoming less relevant with each passing day.
I don’t feel I’m alone in this new sensation. That as I find myself, find my voice, my “Chance;” the trappings of any “success” this might bring dissolves like so much sugar left out in the rain. Thinking and writing so much about decline, I’m the last one to be able to admit surprise at the shrinking and closing off of opportunities in the traditional mold. This is a fact of life today. It’s also something we all need to begin to get comfortable welcoming instead of anxiously resisting. If we are to accomplish anything that helps soften our landing as this collapse unfolds it is essential that we learn to narrow our expectations of traditional success and its putative rewards. Still, its wryly amusing, when it’s not profoundly frustrating, to have this insight confirmed again and again.
Yet in a way, perhaps a deeply meaningful way, this might be the very definition of what we can assume success in our new world to be? The sensation of rising on a falling escalator, not going up the down, but rising on an up-escalator that is itself collapsing, may be the best we can hope for? From a strictly geometric perspective, mapping out the resolution of vectors of force, it is preferable to be countering the generally collapsing trend with the force of one’s own striving upwards. The trick is not to confuse this with attempts to bolster the status quo. Such efforts, like all of the efforts of the business-as-usual crowd, only add force to our decline as they augur us in.
The major impetus behind all of my writing, all of my efforts, is the desire to enter into community with anyone who is open to the conditions and disciplines community demands of us. I offer my insights, unavoidably narrow and partial, and I hope for a reciprocal movement from others offering me the fruit of their labor. This cannot be “monetized” in the current “financial system.” This system is blind to the need, or value, of such efforts. That is one of our great challenges, to sort this out as best we can. As with all of the major aspects of our unfolding predicament this is not something that can be “solved.” We need to strive to achieve an ongoing attitude of accommodation coupled with a stretching of our expectations, even in the face of mounting set backs. Our up-to-now privileged existences as literate “consumers of internet content” has done little to prepare us for any of the hardships we face. The one thing this forum – the wider internet forum of which my efforts are a tiny part – can do is to widen our nets and allow us to share our witness and our responses to the growing shocks as broadly as possible with the hope that our effort will be of some use to someone somewhere.
We tap out our signals and we listen for a response. That is the fundamental preparatory act of community. Let’s not forget that in the end any viable communities will be local once again. This is a stop-gap, not a goal. Unless this effort brings us real connections within the scan of our physical horizons it will in large part have been just another exercise in futility. Our own communities will not be brought to us, they must be carved out of the wreckage that surrounds us. Urgency and patience are both open to abuse. As our circumstances tighten around us there is a danger in relying too much on one or the other. We need both. The beauty of our internal faculties is that this is the one and only realm beyond limitations outside of those we impose on ourselves. We tend to forget that even as we continue to insist that the outer physical world is infinite and able to stretch or contort to our wills. Letting go of that murderous assumption requires us to pick up a belief in the resilience of our spirit.
These in their aggregate across all of these cobbled together venues are my thoughts, hopes and aspirations. Thank you for your regard, and I hope for your reciprocity.