Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wendall Berry on Community

I've been rereading Wendall Berry's "Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community".
I posted a few quotes on Twitter. 

"The indispensable form that can intervene between public and private interests is that of community."

 here is another:

Again from SEF: "the colonialist principle...the assumption that it is permissible to ruin one place or culture for the sake of another." 

and another here,
and, "The Luddites thus asserted the precedence of community needs over technological innovation and monetary profit..."

"What is so fearfully arrogant and destructive is the implication that what is represented, or representable, is all there is." SEF&C, p164


"The social and cultural pluralism that some now see as a goal is a public of destroyed communities." SEF&C, p169 

Its not the most articulate way to get a point across.   (Posting 140 character quotes on Twitter), but its an easy way to get the gist of something perhaps.
This question of community, how we can develop it, (or not destroy it!) and how internet communications can fit into this in a positive way has been a long time question of mine.

Friday, February 03, 2012

building in the center

I continue to try to figure out how to work in this area of the interface between the electron beam and the photon beam. I see that there is a close parallel between my personal life story of trying to figure out how to live with both my mom's family and dad's family.

How to create space and build something substantial between two different things?
Perhaps the key is that secretly one gets help from a third thing. With my life in Santa Cruz, I think the key was to have good friends. It was within this context that I came closer to finding a common ground out of which I could exist in between both parents' houses and not feel like I was having to change myself so dramatically that there would be no continuity.

So, one claims a bit of ground somewhere in between this and that. Both this and that each think you belong to them. Or perhaps I myself think I belong to each of them, periodically. At one moment I am this. At the next, I am that. And while I am in the space that I am creating and building between the two, I try to make something that relates to the other two.

The title of this blog "adiabatic invariants", expressed a hope that I could find a space of more stability without the dramatic shifts. Perhaps I might also use a double well potential as a physics model for the kind of dynamics I am trying to deal with. And, for yet a third image, I have often thought of building a bridge between this and that. Building a bridge, however, is helpful for traveling in between, but does not in itself constitute a place of residency. One does not live on a bridge. And the imagery suggests a deep chasm. Perhaps it is not a chasm, but simply forest. And thus, instead of building a bridge, all that is needed is a path, and perhaps a map.

The task of life, then, is to inhabit the in-between territory, or if uninhabitable, to go elsewhere, but perhaps to keep the paths back alive. What are some topics where one must do this? Food is certainly one area. At my mom's house, we cooked and shopped ourselves. At my dad's, we were cooked for. Food meant something different. Meals had a different feel. So, today, I still do not have a way of shopping and eating that feels comfortable. Perhaps by continuing to think and write about this topic, I will make more progress. Creating a personal space which is comfortable is another area where I have a hard time. Choices feel political and charged, and what I actually create is often not very coherent. The same applies to how I dress and how I clean, and how I organize my projects and papers and other belongings. I have made progress, but the result is still not so coherent. I am trying to build in the center, between this and that. And the result is not always as satisfying as I might like.