THE INTERNET ISN’T CONNECTING on this computer (Dell, borrowed), but I’m okay with that. I’ve been meaning to write you for a while. Tell you some of what’s been happening, in the heart of the city where I’ve been living a year plus now. Seems weird. Phnom Penh. Cambodia?? Who knew.
I guess that’s part of what I wanted to share, today. The not-knowing but thinking, ‘Heck. Why not?’ series of steps that started as concept, vague and ambiguous, but caught form when you had to do something concrete, like buy a visa.
Things that you did and realized, with time, were taking you to a general new direction. Where things you thought, before, that were obvious and given, now you question, daily. With a critical eye. Like: Capitalism, sure. Politics? That’s about people caring about the greater good… isn’t it? Art and artists and contemporary galleries and the way it’s really about commerce, not beauty, not really, if you get down to the heart of it. And then there’s the whole regime of the school system, the work system, the things that Robert Pirsig synthesized into the mammoth work Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (imploring us to think about stillness and artfulness versus just the nuts and bolts of getting things done), that masterpiece that really in a big way was the prompting towards this thing that got started, this thing we now call ‘N+1’ work. well. All of it. It’s… different, when you’re away, especially for a long stretch, and you can see the far horizon from whence you’ve come, and kind of be glad you’re away.
Learning from crusty, gritty, and terribly wise people on The Road
THE ROAD TEACHES LOTS, and you can occasionally forget to notice its lessons. A guy in Gangtok with a hat in his middle years said, ‘Ýou don’t know what a trip’s about until it’s over. And even then, it takes a while.’ The work that I was doing here with Design Kompany changed after my 1-year amble around South and Southeast Asia. You could say I was looking for something, but I’ve done this thing before, a couple of times, so I knew, too, that the thing was always right here, right with me. And now I’ve found it. It’s ‘N.’
The making of space. For uncertainty. For others to experience that which we learn when we move, one step forward, into the territory of the not-known. It’s pretty fun, actually, when you start to get confident with it. It stings, too, (but less with age), when you meet with blank stares, name-calling, or the other thing: hate. America and other parts of the West have tremendous volumes of it, and I sense, even though I can’t know, I sense that the reason why there’s so much of a mess right now in the USA with regards to hate crimes is because no one ever really sat down with someone else (new, strange at first, seemingly so different) and just had a conversation, out loud. Real life is relegated to the realm of Guy Debord‘s Spectacle. He called it. So did Orwell. Damn.
Is there a way to ‘fix’ this? Tolerance. Empathy. Sizing up the self and learning to connect deeply, with real awareness, to others. It’s self-actualization stuff. I know, top of the pyramid in the hierarchy of needs. But some people who might be reading this know: it IS a need. And that is why there is this project. That is why there’s 16N.
Meet. Connect. Find the new.
This, this very opening, inspires the way to the Next.
Which, of course, is the point of everything. Who really wants the status quo? Not me, and not anybody I’ve learned to care about, deeply, and over time.