Starting all over

A NEW THING started today.

We are opening a new circle of conversation participants in virtual dialogue. It’s called THE VILLAGE. Reading the applications always gives me such a feeling of great warmth, because, as much as I want to quit all this email and blogging and have high-quality real life adventures at the salons, the truth is… bunches of people don’t really show up for those, anymore. I mean, they did, in the 1990s and the 2000s, it was like you throw a party and wham, it’s packed, and you have people coming in off the street to your office, ground-level (the one in Seattle) or up a hill (the one in rural Ireland) and mixing and joking and jamming with you about philosophy, art, food, design, jazz, software, architecture and making meaning.

But things are different now, aren’t they? We are emailing. We are texting. We don’t really talk in real life when we meet. Sometimes we go out of our way to avoid meeting when we might meet, when we see someone and literally avoid their eye. (This is why I left Seattle, ultimately, to return to North Carolina… where I used to feel people might smile and say hey from the front porch, and say, ‘How y’all doin’?’, and while they did, they really did, it just… it just wasn’t the same as before… all this… internet.)

A. says I should embrace technology instead of hating it. I guess that’s fair. I use it. Really, if it weren’t for internet I wouldn’t be able to write and share like this, like I’m doing right now. Connect. And connecting is important to me. So I feel… sad about disconnection. I miss the fervor and height of actually enjoying being in a place in real life—freely conversing, unrecorded, undocumented. Where people eat their food without taking a photo of it first, and they can sustain a dialogue without having to go and check something online, or type while pretending to listen to you. Ugh. That’s the worst. Is technology making us less human? I wondered. Wrote a little more on this topic, not so ranty, I hope, at this post.

THE VILLAGE. A lot of people have been in correspondence with me through the last few years about ** work, family, and relationships ** and I thought it might be neat to bring us together in a forum-style space. Working title is THE VILLAGE. The idea is to convene a small group, as we design and build this next thing (a book? another co-created anthology? something else?) together as we go. Does that sound interesting to you? Connect with me through the form on this page, if  yes… Plus, I’ll share with you the ‘why’ of this stuff, if you want to know? Ask me. I have a one-pager, now, thanks to a hearty conversation with MC.

Is humanity regressing?

PAUSE YOU who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day. ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations 

IN THESE LAST FEW DAYS, I have been visiting a lot of weird thoughts. I know that might be an unusual thing to post on a blog. Then again, people post all kinds of weird everything now, and so much of it (to me) seems rather… Ah… How to put it? Attention-grabby-seeky. Exhibtionism and narcissism and Internet kind of seem to go together, now. Did it used to be this way, all the time? I mean, did it? I thought blogs were for propagating new and fresh thinking, or interweaving, rather, with new and fresh thought, sharing and open web-bing our way to something bigger, better. More artful. Than what we have become, or are in the midst of becoming.

Or maybe this is just the usual kind of stuff that comes with aging.

Cynicism.

‘You sound a bit jaded.’

But. Do I? Or is it really kind of boring, now? Boring conversations. Boring meetups. Boring blind dates. BORING ART. That is probably the saddest, to me. Going all over the world and not seeing anything that is truly intriguing. But maybe that’s just because the real art isn’t in the galleries or the places where you used to think it was. Because, like science and media, even art people have to play a certain kind of tune to get their funding. This tune tires me. I think it’s designed for a set of people who, quite frankly, are out of context and irrelevant to me. I realized I must write the kinds of books I want to read. And so I do, from time to time. Slow going, this kind of jam. But important, I think.

Because… I don’t want to regress. Pros and cons, right? Technology?

I love the internet for helping me find others. But I hate it for overwhelming us with lots and lots and lots of mostly noisy blasts of ‘look at me.’ I think the ‘I had a baby’ and ‘I just got married’ posts are my least favorite, but there is the cynicism again. I think people are doing this to get attention. Why does the world need to know? I remember letterpress. I remember postage. I remember the feeling of crispness of putting pen to paper, long fountain pen letters. I miss those. Not because writing in this way I’m writing to you now is super different. It’s just way, way, way less… Intimate. Isn’t it? And without a boundary like limited edition of 1, which is what a letter is, there is a loss, necessarily. Of quality. This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about Quality. Following up on some old threads inspired by Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance, and then, after, poems by Tagore (and Gitanjali, especially). More stuff came into my world after arriving in Asia four years ago. More from the East that is hard to bring up, because it’s so locally important but not taught elsewhere. The whole thing about Western arrogance, Western riches, Western imperialism in all kinds of ways makes me very tired, from this angle on the old life, ‘over there.’ I guess this is such a giant topic that it’s impossible to continue without sounding like I’m not ever going to revisit. I will. Just, not in public like this. This kind of really… Ah… Comment-starting stuff is where I will put my things behind private walls. So that our comments add to one another, instead of troll.

***

BEFORE THIS BLOG ACCIDENTALLY got deleted, it had lived for 10 years as a kind of open question. A sort of question mark on a permanently blank page. The aesthetics of this blog are always going to be about possibility, spacemaking, and creating rooms for dialogues… Some of them online, some offline, of course, but… This used to be a kind of sharing spot. Then it got deleted. Then I started making private posts all over the place. I guess because of… Fear. Fear of showing too much of my real self. Fear of not looking this enough or that enough. Then someone tells me this blog is intimidating. Then I think, ‘Huh. That was not my intention.’

The rest of this post is a bit of backstory. On the evolutions from design to blogging to the new stuff. Skip to the questions at the end, if you like, and do leave a comment. Listening.

Going into the private rooms was mostly a result of, I think, the kind of warp in the Internet that makes it impossible (or so it seems) to locate thoughtful and original people whom I love to connect (and interconnect). I guess I am starting to wake up to it, now. That you cant’ stick your head in the sand. It’s not going to get better just because I turn off my screens and cover them with towels or placards that say, for example, ‘We have reliable motorbike, private car, bicycle for rent and sale.’ Well. Today I’m not in the market to buy a motorbike, but thanks for the info. INFORMATION. OPTIONS. These are what get in the way. In my opinion, that is. According to me, that is. I mean, who am I? Who am I really? But if I start to show up as an ‘I’ then I add to the collection of nonsense that is one-person’s opinion and not a collection of thoughts that are given a chance to percolate, in conversations… Together… And if humanity is progressing it is only because we can work together, truly collaborate, with the systems and technologies at hand. instead of texting useless strings of pizza emojis. Or. Maybe that’s just where it goes. (I guess I’m sounding like a grump. Sorry. I don’t meant to. The super young generation looks at me like, ‘What? What’s the big deal?’ But. I guess. I’m not sure. I’m writing my not-sureness. Is that… Even done anymore? Logic-boxes are such a drag. Even after the quantum theory of the world was proven to be right, in 1982. EVEN THEN. Sheesh. Do we really love the status quo that much? What the? WHY?)

What happened? To real life? Let’s make space for real life, then. Is that even… A thing? Like, does this really have to be. Need, now? I am learning: it DOES. So. Let me try. I am trying to gather handfuls of new and different others to connect. To get us talking again. Like it’s still the 90s. You just go, and you show up, and you are there, and it’s real. And there is no, ‘Oh, let me see what other options I have.’ Or FOMO. Or anything involving instant access to information online. There was not that much online, at least not for me, back then. And I miss those days. I miss just laughing and talking. I have been to the weirdest meetup now, of my life. Oooo. Creepy. I won’t ever do it. That’s a lie. I will. Banning something unconditionally is not in keeping with the whole ‘out of my comfort zone’ thing. But hey. I’m good. I’m hosting, again. I’m organizing S P A C E stuff. Sometimes in cities that aren’t my usual stomping grounds. Hanoi, for example. On Wednesday. This. Feeling good, quiet. Calm. Viet Nam. Processing things. Writing, for the inner circles.

Your thoughts? Is humanity regressing? Is technology making us nutty? Is real life so intense? Do people not know how to socialize without their phones to introduce them first? If yes, why. If not, tell us about the positives. I am listening. Comments are open for a time. Kindly go ahead.