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.
Of course, if we push to build an opposition between the sacred and the profane we do begin to lose some of that inclusion. Perhaps if we can see this more as a distinction than a division? We could also say there is an anti-art or an anti-craft. These attitudes and modes of action exist and form the same kind of distinction with their pairs as sacred does with profane. Technology as an attitude and an approach could be called anti-craft. Maybe “entertainment” could be the comparable anti-art?
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.
Linear thinking and the Machine Model lead us to want to eliminate complication, or at least manage it. In this mode we don’t even see complication for what it is: Complication is a condition of perception. It is not inherent in what we are looking at. When we see something as complicated we have misunderstood complexity.
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.
Whether and how it is found is another story. The ease of entrance, the web’s widespread adoption, has flooded us with information. With the loss of authority of traditional gate-keepers, we’re on our own as we struggle to filter what we will spend our attention on. Everyone else is doing the same, and so, the chances of our actually being found are no where near as high as they might appear. Having been at this web-presence game for nearly ten years, I’ve lost any naive dream of “Going Viral!”