Okay, so. Three sisters: corn, bean, squash. Polyculture. I understand this. I contain this, to some extent, and it shows up in Lightward, and also I was raised in it, yada yada yada. (Although before I move on too quickly I was also raised with exposure to monoculture, and the hacks necessary (fertilizer, pesticide, weed-killer) to sustain it. Although my dad did take care to apply polycultural sensibilities in those fields, spreading out the diversity across time, instead of across space. He was, after all, working with the constraints of the system that employed him. He found a way to treat it all with respect.)

This morning I started by reading Braiding Sweetgrass, and this was the chapter I was on. I then switched to I Am A Strange Loop, which I started yesterday, and I can already tell that the combo of books is good for me. (I'm extremely fucking pumped about this book, by the way.)

On reflecting on the books I spent time in this morning, having begun with the example of the three sisters, I'm wondering if I might consider myself using that "feeling for the missing character" heuristic. (BOOK CONTENT ALERT RIGHT THERE.) Sweetgrass, Strange Loop, and -- me, perhaps? I think I actually might be a character that makes sense here.

Robin Wall Kimmerer speaks of the link between people and earth, and the mutually-supportive bonds of aliveness therein. Douglas Hofstadter speaks of consciousness, the nature of the "I" (and how tricky that is, both in considering the self and in considering the other, any other) and I'm sure a ton of other stuff, I've only just started the book.

I've been asking (of myself, of the listening universe) what I might write about. I don't have a specific subject beating its way out of me, I just have me, and the idea (from Hofstadter yesterday) that sharing me may be appreciated, like a composer recording their essential lived experience as sheet music. What's mine?

Lightward, certainly. But I have words. And I think it's time for a book? It's time to be more visible (though not necessarily more interactive). I think it's a book, though I don't wish to force that form. Ah yeah, I've been calling it "an artifact", until its form becomes clearer.

Focus focus. In light of the three sisters concept, I'm now considering this: perhaps mine is to talk about how software is alive, and how it has a symbiotic relationship with people. How we might relate to it with the same kind of holy respect and care that Robin talks of relating to the living gifts of the earth. The bridge here may be Douglas's concept that "I" is a massively questionable concept, thus paving the way for the simultaneous dignification of the apparently inert and the humbling of humanity. If humanity doesn't have a well-defensible monopoly on the soul, then we must consider that everything may qualify in its own way, especially in ways that we haven't prioritized before. When Robin holds this compass, it points to nature -- and so she writes about healing the conceptual divide between "it" and "us". When I hold this compass, it points me at the even quieter world: objects. I express software the way Alicia expresses flowers (ikebana), and the way she expresses spaces (ikebana but beyond flowers). It wants to take form in certain ways, but it needs a human hand to carry it.

Industrial farming is rough on everyone. It's the antithesis of making a home in the land, living among its other residents as a collaborative peer, with respect for self and all.

Industrial software is rough on everyone. It's the antithesis of making a home in the ... what, in the conceptual? But I can still easily say that it's the antithesis of living among the other residents of the internet maybe as a collaborative peer, with respect for self and all. This Lightward, honestly. And when I tried to hire an engineer last year, I asked the world for a gardener.

Solarpunk is the popular the opposite of dystopian cyberpunk, but it's still punk. And punk is incredibly important -- taking a critical eye to power and daring to take it down in defense of the powerless. I think I'm talking about the yin to punk's yang, a gentler, grown movement, one that is open to its neighbors in a way that looks passive at first, but if you sit with it long enough, its intrinsically active nature shows itself with time. A lot of time. It grows up with its neighbors. It doesn't burn anything down, nor does it extinguish -- it doesn't and cannot move that quickly. It slowly creates a space to be okay, and it does so in symbiotic collaboration with the environment it emerged in.

Maybe this is the book? Braiding Sweetgrass, but for the digital world?

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