What were other people seeing? I realized I had no idea. Whereas I once watched TV ads with interest — especially those geared toward men during the football games my boyfriend watched, the car commercials and beer commercials and pharmaceutical commercials for hair loss and erectile dysfunction — on Instagram I saw only myself. It was easier to see ideology at work on other people, and at least those TV ads gave me a sense of what strings of the American male psyche advertisers were choosing to pull. Now I was alone with my ads, in a filter bubble of one.
We're always looking at ourselves as if someone was looking at us, only focusing on us... Are we walking weird? Do I sound stupid? What am I saying? What does my hair look like? Is my makeup messed up?
One person investigating the experience of another can be directly aware only of his own experience of the other. He cannot have direct awareness of the other’s experience of the ‘same’ world. He cannot see through the other’s eyes and cannot hear through the other’s ears. The only true voyage, Proust once remarked, would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes. All one ‘feels’, ‘senses’, ‘intuits’, etc. of the other entails inference from one’s own experience of the other to the other’s experience of one’s self. This presupposes that the other’s actions are in some way a function of the other’s experience, as I know mine to be. Only on the basis of this presupposition, however qualified it may be, can one hazard inferences about the other’s experience from one’s perspective of the other’s actions.
Generating a type of feeling is very achievable. Sustaining it is much harder.
Even so, I have always thought about our middle future: the possibility that you could die at moment vs the possibility that you could live for a very long time.
The present matters. What we do now shapes tomorrow — indeed, you can't see the world from the world, but you can see yesterday's world from today.
How this applies to community — we are hungry for it, rallying instantaneously around shared interests and common goals. I'm not interested in quick-grab infrastructure; I am much more interested in something like railways, vessels that allow passage through them for a hundred years. If you can cut through the noise and the hype, then I want to hear you.
Community is the ultimate buzzword. I think it is in need of redefinition and divergence. In our lifetime, we will generate many new notions of community. Which do you want to belong to? I on this end always return to my roots: literal, metaphorical, and without fail, a body of water. I will never forsake my relationship with the land [yes, topophilia, what place do you love?] ... [because the land knows you even when you are lost]
Indigenous concepts of harvest and the cultivation of our relationship with the land should permeate the ways that we build sustainable communities. It does require the relinquishing of hyper-individualism: we rely on ourselves to provide and fulfil every single need. We are productivity machines rather than contributors to a larger ecosystem. There is much conversation around these topics, but I want to focus on material action. It is a privilege to discuss theory, to marinade in ideas.
The irony is that by feeding your community, you feed yourself. By tending to the land, our earth, you simultaneously feed yourself and your community. You are not losing anything: instead, you are sustaining something. If you'll let yourself.
Digital notions of community differ from physical ones. Both, in some part, are about the legibility of your interior. What does this mean for a placeless world?
More thoughts another time.
"I argue for a view of the self and of identity that is the opposite of the personal brand: an unstable, shapeshifting thing determined by interactions with others and with different kinds of places."
how much of what you do is performative, with the intent for others to see?
how much of what you do is born from genuine desire, so much so that no one has to be a witness to it outside of yourself?
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
— Henry David Thoreau
Self Doubt — Doing Difficult Things
Use the support available to you. Talk, don’t shut off, communicate. Things grow out of hand when they're not addressed and the people around you are there to help you.
Take a deep breath and calm down. Have faith in what you’ve been immersing yourself in and separate that from the nerves and doubt.
Run over the essentials. Refresh your knowledge and perspective. Synthesise into the simplest idea.
Remember that anyone could draw, theoretically. It’s just hard and requires continually being assaulted by failure. Saying “I can’t” means “I’m not going to try”. What else are you going to do? Try. Keep a growth mindset.
Take a step back and cut off sources of saturation and distraction. Limit your sources of input while you reassess and distill.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Honestly just don’t look at other people’s work or their bios or their skillsets. There are times for tunnel vision; this is one of them.
Get out of your head. Try to objectively assess the hard skills you need and take the emotion out of it. Make a plan to develop them.
Don’t make any extreme decisions.