to compose is to enrich within bounds
composition is the practice of becoming
nature is a state of composition, a state of becoming
Making worlds is not limited to humans. We know that beavers re-shape streams as they make dams, canals, and lodges; in fact, all organisms make ecological living places, altering earth, air, and water. Without the ability to make workable living arrangements, species would die out. In the process, each organism changes everyone’s world. Bacteria made our oxygen atmosphere, and plants help maintain it. Plants live on land because fungi made soil by digesting rocks. As these examples suggest, world-making projects can overlap, allowing room for more than one species. Humans, too, have always been involved in multispecies world making. Fire was a tool for early humans not just to cook but also to burn the landscape, encouraging edible bulbs and grasses that attracted animals for hunting. Humans shape multispecies worlds when our living arrangements make room for other species. This is not just a matter of crops, livestock, and pets. Pines, with their associated fungal partners, often flourish in landscapes burned by humans; pines and fungi work together to take advantage of bright open spaces and exposed mineral soils. Humans, pines, and fungi make living arrangements simultaneously for themselves and for others: multispecies worlds.
∆ Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins
To create a World, you have to first pick the damn game. Playing a sport. Surviving school. Chasing likes. Selling a thing. Interviewing enemies. Growing a relationship. Writing a series of stories. Trying and trying an unsolvable problem. Wrestling with God. The game itself is nothing new.
What’s new is that the activity of repeating a game can now become a stream around which a web of relations may easily flourish, without the precondition of massive resources, geographic coherence, multigenerational history, or even human inhabitants. A World can be intimate and niche by design, inhabited by both human and artificial agents, nested within larger networks, started by anyone with a spark of imagination and nerve. A World can bloom in the dark and swallow other Worlds over night.
Worlding, then, is the art of creating and parenting a web of relations - by picking a repeatable game, inviting enough chaos for surprising relationships to emerge around it, programming its sense of autonomy, and ceding control before your own human finitude gets in the way of its flourishing.
Some Worlds will die in a day. Some will grow to outlive you. A culture of Worlding is life lived fluidly among wise ancient Worlds, functional institutional Worlds, and new experiments in Worlding. A plurality of Worlds that nourishes you across ages.
"There are a lot of destructive myths about creativity, but one of the most dangerous is the “lone genius” myth: An individual with superhuman talents appears out of nowhere at certain points in history, free of influences or precedent, with a direct connection to God or The Muse. When inspiration comes, it strikes like a lightning bolt, a lightbulb switches on in his head, and then he spends the rest of his time toiling away in his studio, shaping this idea into a finished masterpiece that he releases into the world to great fanfare. If you believe in the lone genius myth, creativity is an antisocial act, performed by only a few great figures—mostly dead men with names like Mozart, Einstein, or Picasso. The rest of us are left to stand around and gawk in awe at their achievements. There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.” If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.” Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals; it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds."—Austin Kleon in Share Your Work