Carving Spaces


Chris, excellent. The one quibble I have is that I don't think you're considering the full implications of what you've suggested: "It's a recognition of the total futility of any effort for victory for the side of ecology, conservation, or Gaia, on this civilization's terms." The last four words -- on this civilization's terms --… Continue reading Carving Spaces

Awe and Wonder


It's customary to link awe with shock these days. "Shock & Awe!" Followed by that grimacing grin primates and dogs instinctively make when something that pleases them also uncovers a deep well of shame. The look we came to identify with W…. Shock & Awe would come to be the signature spell of the late… Continue reading Awe and Wonder

Are We Lacking Information?


Doing the Web 2.0 Dance, checking up on feeds, following links, keeping up with Twitter…. Scanning, scanning, what are we really looking for? Back in the old days – as recently as about ten years ago? – information was rather hard to find. We had to ferret it out, spend time with original sources, either… Continue reading Are We Lacking Information?

On Medieval Cathedrals and the Limits of Proprioception


The inevitable question arrived via Twitter. "If civilization is all bad, what about the cathedrals?" I must say I invited this kind of question, literally asking for examples to unpack…. Still, I'm leery of the exercise. I don't write to convince anyone. I write as a record and a way to extend and fill out… Continue reading On Medieval Cathedrals and the Limits of Proprioception

The Trouble with Routine


Krishnamurti, So let's come back to the realization that any activity which is repeated, which is directed in the narrow sense, any method, any routine, logical or illogical, does affect the brain. We have understood that very clearly. Knowledge at a certain level is essential, but psychological knowledge about oneself, one's experiences, etc. becomes routine.… Continue reading The Trouble with Routine

The Trouble with “Uncivilization”


There is a tremendous lurking flaw in any initiative that frames itself as a negative. We know that, yet we struggle with finding a framework, and a simple title for it, that denotes the activities around weening our attention from the grip of civilization without resorting to this awkward and negative term, Uncivilization. This may… Continue reading The Trouble with “Uncivilization”

Craft’s Collision with Civilization, a starting point


Andrew Taggart recently asked me to clarify how I see the deterioration and loss of Craft resulting from its confrontation with civilization. This is a big question! Let's begin with a few definitions. I'm beginning to see Craft as a central focal point in examining how our confrontation with civilization has led us to where… Continue reading Craft’s Collision with Civilization, a starting point

Austerity’s Place


Following the last post, Crafting Awareness, here is a series of statements that arose as the result of that insight. The following is no more than a listing of these points as they came up. They are suggestive of directions of inquiry implied by the assertion that craft has roots beyond civilization and that these… Continue reading Austerity’s Place

Crafting Awareness


Skeins of various threads spiral around me. Their common center may be craft. Craft. It's an interesting word. It seems straightforward enough at first glance but once we start to look more closely it expands. There's a broadness to it. It means making. It also means a vessel that transports us. It denotes a variety… Continue reading Crafting Awareness

Shaping Awareness


I began this piece sitting in an automotive dealership's waiting area, a U of chairs arrayed around a television playing daytime tv at full volume. I shared this space with a handful of other inmates, all eying the screen in between looking at a magazine, or a best-seller, or texting on a mobile phone. The… Continue reading Shaping Awareness

Notes On Ritual


Some years ago, a dozen? Maybe more, I had an insight regarding ritual. I was thinking about the way Norse boatbuilders carved intricate designs on their craft. They were almost proto modern in so many other ways, creating boats that are still marvels when approached along our common notions of form following function. The Norse… Continue reading Notes On Ritual

Innovation as Impermanence


Watching this BBC documentary about the Islamic History of Europe I came across the Islamic roots of Convivencia, a term I've associated with Ivan Illich, perhaps its most recent heir, himself part of an Hispanic tradition going back to Al Andaluz. This film is a refreshing look at the contributions of Islamic Culture to the… Continue reading Innovation as Impermanence