Notes on the Sources of Art


This piece has grown during the writing, pushed ahead by the ambition of its title, only slightly modified by the insertion of the word “Notes…” I’m resisting the urge to break it up into my customary 1,500 words. I need to break that habit as much as we all need not to get too comfortableContinue reading “Notes on the Sources of Art”

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 NorseContinue 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 theContinue reading “Innovation as Impermanence”

Innovation, Creation, and Change


Sick as we are, finding further bad news of our diagnosis and prognosis at every turn; we look to innovation, creation, and change for some way to turn back the clock, or at least carve out some detour from the horrors we see in our path. This is understandable. Predictable. But is it good orContinue reading “Innovation, Creation, and Change”

Afloat, not Adrift


A fresh breeze blows in my window this morning, cutting through the haze of so many muggy hot days. I awoke in a dream of delayed sailing, a farce in five acts of finely delineated procrastination on the verge of setting sail, but never getting there. The excuses kept unrolling before me like a finelyContinue reading “Afloat, not Adrift”

Stray thoughts on the purpose of gatekeepers


I’ve had difficulty dealing with the disruption in publishing over the last decade or so. I was unlucky to find myself entering the lists just as the publishing world began to fall apart. Those fragments of an old guard I was fortunate enough to encounter showed enthusiasm for my fiction, though in trying to findContinue reading “Stray thoughts on the purpose of gatekeepers”

“I never thought of that!”


How unintended consequences wreak havoc on our expectations concerning the connection between intention and responsibility. I’ve been looking for ways to illuminate the space hidden behind our expectation that the only way to be responsible is to plan and then act out our intentions. Everyone I know, including myself, has had a hard time dealingContinue reading ““I never thought of that!””

On Conservatism


Humans have been profoundly conservative for most of our existence. That statement is rendered meaningless if we take conservatism to mean what is sold in its name today, or believe in what passes for the span of human existence as our self-professed conservatives would insist it to have been. Let’s pry the term away fromContinue reading “On Conservatism”

What does it mean?


Tying our existence to a belief in destruction as the ultimate good is such a contorted position to be in! How we got here, what it means, where it will all lead; these are also questions whose answers appear in glimmers and hints, passing doubts, premonitions and inklings of what is down there, at least as it all appears from “up here.”

Reflection/Projection


I’m not sure what to call this post, even of what to say. It’s time for introspection and time to reflect on media. People whose thoughtfulness matter to me are struggling with the form their expression should take. “We” – an amorphous “group” that might only exits as a projection in my head! – areContinue reading “Reflection/Projection”

Between Spectacle and Sight


“So as to Present a Short Digression on the Difference Between Spectacle and Sight; How an Inability to See Leads Us to Seek After Solace in Spectacle.” I keep running into what I consider a conflation of the visual with naive or unthinking, with what we might call Spectacle versus something with substance. I suspectContinue reading “Between Spectacle and Sight”

Action without Striving


This concept appears to be the most difficult to comprehend. It’s also the one I’ve had the greatest difficulty discussing. We tie our notions of action so tightly to the process of striving. We cannot seem to imagine one without the other. We tend to fall back on rationalizations that to reject striving is toContinue reading “Action without Striving”