The indeterminancy of fungal growth is one of the most exciting things about fungi. Human bodies achieve a determinate form early in our lives. Barring injury, we'll never be all that different in shape than we were as adolescents. We can't grow extra limbs, and we're stuck with the one brain we've each got. In contrast, fungi keep growing and changing form all their lives. Fungi are famous for changing shape in relation to their encounters and environments. Many are "potentially immortal", meaning they die from disease, injury or lack of resources, but not from old age. Even this little fact can alert us to how much our thoughts about knowledge and existence just assume deteriminate life form and old age. We rarely imagine life without such limits – and when we do we stray into magic. Rayner challenges us to think with mushrooms, otherwise. Some aspects of our lives are more comparable to fungal indeterminancy, he points out. Our daily habits are repetitive, but they are also open-ended, responding to opportunity and encounter. What if our indeterminate life form is not the shape of our bodies but rather the shape of our motions over time? Such indeterminancy expands our concept of human life, showing us how we are transformed by encounter.
Renewing commitment and engagement is crucial to keep works and life fresh. Renovating the contract comes from opening the eyes, ears and heart. Sometimes it’s necessary to conclude instead of renewing. You then renovate yourself, your practice, vocabulary, language, discourse, work. Destruction is not necessarily the opposite of construction: you can construct a new door by hammering a wall.
What I want to invite people to do is to say: “Look at the protocol of how you act”—and of course the protocol can be a technical thing, or it could be a non-technical thing—and say, “How do we make this somewhat better?” And better for me always comes down to more cooperative structures, it comes down to equitable distribution of resources and of wealth.
That’s where pure independence gets you. When everyone has access to everything, those with the most money and best ability to survey that information win out, which is why we see a monarchic class emerging across culture.
If they disappear, which is happening, what we then have is a chaotic sea of competing, individuated artists, serving as a free-ideas factory for those at the top of the pyramid to extract value from them.