Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.
Navigation is at the heart of everything we do on the water.
I’ve been asked by his publishers to review George Michelsen Foy’s new book:
Is disaster… always envisioned geographically, is it always navigational in the deepest sense?
Finding North, page 22
George Michelsen Foy asks this question early on in his extended ruminations in the form of a record, a log of a voyage. We join him on a quest woven of varied lineaments gathered over decades, facing questions ranging from the intimate and familiar to the latest discoveries of neuroscience. He takes us on Continue reading “Finding North, a review”
Art and craft, these two simple words do a fine job of naming two of the three realms of living. I’ve had some difficulty finding an equally straightforward and simple term to describe and name the third. For a while I’ve latched onto John Michael Greer’s “Theosphere.” It is literal enough. It describes a realm centered on our relation to the holy while studiously avoiding any of the abused and overused terms like religion or even the holy…. But it has a harshness to it. It’s not direct enough. Too disconnected from what it attempts to describe.
Recently it struck me that what I’d been aiming at is already covered by a word like sacred. Sacred is specific in the feeling it describes while remaining totally inclusive, embracing all of the ways we can approach whatever it is we may call sacred. It appeals because it does keep the emphasis on the feeling and keeps us looking at how we acknowledge and act on these feelings. This works in much the way art and craft do. Each describes a realm of activity and a broad aspect of what it means to be alive.
More and more it’s fragments that feel true.
Fragments show their edges. Edges that intrude into the illusion of completion. Edges that cannot be ignored.
Fragments insist there is more we don’t see. Can’t see.
“Write hot and edit cold.”
A powerful admonition! It seems easy enough to grasp. Until we see how long it can take to get cool enough….
My thoughts have been circling around what may best be described as questions of purpose. This might be considered central to any life led with some degree of introspection. As with most things of value this pursuit has been short-changed by our culture’s dominant modus operandi. It’s taken quite a while to sort this out.
Not that it is sorted now; but certain features are coming into focus. I’ve known for a long time that working creatively in isolation is a frustrating business. It’s also an incomplete business. While a certain and even a prolonged apprenticeship may be required; until what we do has connected with others; it is not quite complete. We have not quite done what needs to be done. Doing what needs to be done is a definition of Purpose, Isn’t it? So we come full-circle.
That my calling has had so many seemingly disparate elements has not only confused others. It has confused me. Sorting out how the parts are to fit together – an activity central to all art, craft, to the workings of communion – has been a central focus in all I’ve done. A qualification, I guess, to tackle this job!
Queequeg’s Coffin is a thought experiment. An image around which we might connect an intriguing conceptual stance with a pragmatic call to action. What I find most valuable is that it does not presuppose what that action might be. It is a container transcending the motivation behind its origins.
Queequeg was Ishmael‘s bunk-mate in Moby Dick. As the juggernaut of Ahab‘s obsession takes all aboard the Pequod further and further into imbalance and dis-ease, Queequeg becomes convinced he is ill and will soon die. He commissions the ship’s carpenter to build him a coffin. Chips protests at this waste of his specialized talents; but relents and builds a wonder of a casket, watertight and ship-shape in every regard. As he prepares himself to meet his maker Queequeg carves it with signs and portents beyond the crew’s understanding.
Let’s be clear. Confusion is part of the message.
This fact has been elusive. One effect of confusion is that we struggle to find some simple way to untangle it. The real lesson of confusion is that it is a sign we are perceiving complexity as complication.
More than enough time for another cocktail. Continue reading “Desperado Philosophy: An Order So Unwieldy”
“That’s what I like about you Julien… you are always able to show me the futility of everything. Well, the futility of everything except Nothing.”
Reading this line Julien has posted on Mirrors of Encounters brought a smile. I’ve never been complimented, even sarcastically, for doing this. I have been accused of it, even in so many words, over the years. It has cost me friendships and closed off acquaintances before they could develop. For decades I felt this as a curse, part of the corrosive self-criticism and aggressive disappointment that fueled a chronic depression and its underlying anxiety. It was another cudgel I could grab hold of and use to beat myself – and others – “…whenever my hypos (got) such an upper hand of me….”
It’s becoming more clear every day that our predilection to interact by means of identifying with ideas and then battling to have our ideas prevail does not address any of the dire circumstances we find our selves in.
I see this as it touches on each of us as individuals. It divides us from each other, even as it divides our own selves. It promotes a view of the world and how it works that does not function. If it did, no one would need to convince me. It would be clear. Problem solved….
A personal website has many functions. It can be hard to sort them out. Most often they are advertisements for a Persona, a means to find a job, or a signpost in an attempt to reach a cohort of the like-minded.
Sometimes they are attempts to sort things out. The effort of presentation becomes a path of self-discovery. “Here’s where I’ve been.” Can be a good way to find where we might be headed. Or, at least to discover that we’ve been pointed in a certain direction. If it’s to be more than just a vanity project there needs to be an honesty, a sense of precarity, that what is chronicled is a journey and not just a triumphant parade.
The promise of the web has been inherent in a lessening of the friction – and cost – of making information available. It is easy – if we can afford to keep the lights on and have the time and predilection. We can place almost any kind of information on the web and send it out there.
Last year we co-published three of these conversations which delved into some of the processes that underpin the sense of isolation and fragmentation we had both experienced (albeit in different ways) as well as the ways in which we were beginning to find community. As a way into approaching and practicing dialogue and proprioception my interactions with Tony have been, and continue to be, immensely helpful for finding new inspiration/insight and for clarifying my own thought process.