To begin to free ourselves, the first thing we need to do is to see ourselves again as historical actors, as people who can make a difference in the course of world events. This is exactly what the militarization of history is trying to take away. The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make. And could just as easily make differently. — David Graeber (1961–2020)
"I don’t believe in self-care, I believe in collective care, collectivizing our care, and thinking more about how we can help each other."
Mariame Kaba, We Do This 'Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice
“Maybe it’s time to recognise that at the heart of our work is the need for those around us to be able to imagine a better world, to tell stories about it, to long for its realisation. If we can imagine it, desire it, dream about it, it is so much more likely that we will put our energy and determination into making it reality.”
— From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want by Rob Hopkins
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
∆ Hart Crane, from a letter quoted in Hart Crane: The Life of an American Poet by Philip Horton (Norton, 1937)
We all live one-of-a-kind lives with a unique set of experiences, and therefore the way we interact with the world is always somewhat different. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a vast amount of overlap, and I think it is exactly this dichotomy that makes life so wonderful. When we expose more of the web (the connections, associations, and representations), we enable a greater amount of opportunities for people to relate and discover new perspectives.
In its ideal form, it involves no audience or judge, just partners; no fixed agenda or goals, just process. As the philosopher Michael Oakeshott observed, in conversation “there is no ‘truth’ to be discovered, no proposition to be proved, no conclusion sought.” What matters, he continued, is the “flow of speculation.” Conversation is casual; it isn’t a chat (too noncommittal), a debate (too contentious), or a colloquy (too academic). And yet the cachet of conversation, with its connotations of open-mindedness and open-endedness, also encourages an overly broad application.
What do I mean by non-goal directed activity? In spaces, instead of looking for actions that advance a goal, we follow paths of attention that lead somewhere interesting. In a conversation with friends, you might attend to what you could reveal about yourself. At a jazz jam, you might attend to dynamics contrasts. While dancing, you might explore being slightly off balance. You combine these paths of attention like a painter combines colors, to uncover possibilities.
The world doesn’t need another note-taking or bookmarking tool but it does need more spaces that feel sublime – calm, intellectually and creatively nourishing, meditative, full of wonder and possibility.