Well, it started with "I think I might be here to sing love into technology". And then I thought about the idea of being here to "do" something, and I figured, honestly it's probably more useful to just keep on "doing" without spending much time calculating the motion of it, because if indeed I'm just here to DO something specific, it's likely what my entire being is optimized for, because how senseless would it be to come here to "do something" without being ABOUT it in so intensely that it is consistently emergent in my behavior and inclination so long as I’m just "being myself", you know? wouldn't that be the most reliable way to make sure it gets "done", whatever it is?

So a better place to begin (as if every second wasn't also a new beginning, and as if the concept of "beginning" wasn’t probably itself redundant) is to say, "dang I really do a lot of singing love into technology".

I'm getting tripped up on my own use of the word "technology". I'm irked that I appear to be preferring it over "software", or something more specifically tailored to the tools I hang out with. I have a more confident claim to "software"; its borders more specifically describe the places I hang out. It's where I'm from. But, still, I am a citizen of Technology too, if that's the nation to Software's state. In nature, you may learn about an entire forest's respiration from a single leaf, but the leaf still has to be a leaf. If I'm to carry anything meaningful for the whole, I've got to be my own part.

It's the ebb and flow of presence that I think spurs us along the timeline. Like falling in and out of love, maybe. We focus, we delight at what we find, we collapse into rest, we normalize, we forget, we suffer, we seek, we remember a direction and find our own version of it -- i.e., we focus. Then we delight, and we collapse into rest, and so on.

I'm just gonna quickly expand that list more verbosely, because while its presentation above felt nicely poetic it is really short on clarifiers.

  • Focus: A period of rich presence and realization. We are truly in the places we are in. There is balance, reciprocity, symbiosis.

  • Delight: The natural consequence of focus (when performed with an open heart). As focus fades, the delight continues on with its own momentum. It feels like a time of plenty. There is ease.

  • Rest: Can't party 24 hours a day.

  • Normalize: Can't party 7 days a week, either, so we let our emotions get back to ebbing and flowing, and we do the laundry, and go to the gym -- and, we leave reminders for ourselves about what Focus and Delight felt like. We create traditions.

  • Forget: KIDS THESE DAYS. The generation turns over, time rolls on, and the tradition-keepers lose their vital memory of what the tradition was meant to evoke. The traditions collapse, lifeless.

  • Suffer: The traditions were not the point, intrisically. Those who created them were trying to make it easy for their successors to achieve the same Delight that they did. Carrying out the motions kind of worked, but it wasn't true Focus. It was mechanical, robotic, devoid of true presence. And so the symbiosis is broken, because symbiosis cannot be automated -- living is an improvised dance, and co-living even more so. Without symbiosis, reciprocity and balance quickly collapse.

  • Seek: Motivated by suffering, we determine that there must be something better, and without even knowing what it could be (though not without several very specific wishes), we set off to find it.

  • Remember: I'm only half-content with this name. If we back up and consider society a single organism, then yes, this is the part where it remembers what it forgot. But if we zoom in and look at its constituent individuals instead, they each experience this as epiphany, or novel realization. For the whole organism of society, this might be nothing new -- merely returning to something previously known -- but to the individual it is a moment of transcendent discovery, for the very first time. It's when you discover a truth for yourself, and you make something new with it -- something that never existed before, because you never existed before. What you make from a moment like this is more real than anything has ever been. As you (you) pull something from our collective memory, the collective is transformed.

    I feel like that was a really good place to land this point, but I want to set up a metaphor anyway, for the sake of the next bit. So! Instead of any of that (lol), think about looking through a camera. The picture is blurry and you're adjusting the lens. This is the part where you figure out which direction is in focus and which direction is out of focus, because of your two dial-moving options only one of them results in an image that looks familiar, like something you've seen before. The instant you land on that realization, the way you move the dial becomes more precise. An image begins to form.

  • Focus: An image has formed. "GUYS, HEY LOOK." For the rest, please return to the top of this list.

Braiding Sweetgrass (specifically the chapter "Burning Cascade Head") sees the scientists at the mouth of the river, eagerly awaiting the salmon's return from the sea. The author finds them (the scientists) to be the present fulfillment of the cycle: these scientists are staging today's presentation of Focus, a one-act play. Of course it's only today that they are called "scientists"; the last time around, they were indigenous peoples with their own names for themselves, and they too were dancing over their discoveries and eagerly awaiting the ones to come. Although, okay, I'm missing some nuance: in Braiding Sweetgrass, the author's description of the first peoples describes fits more into the Delight and Rest and Normalize zones, while the modern scientist is fighting across that border of Suffer and Seek. European colonists (in their own moment of Seek) killed off the Normalized human knowledge of this land and its own peoples: a violent Forgetting. Humanity didn't notice until the land began to choke. Humanity wasn't spurred to action until the land choked so hard it could no longer offer the gifts we'd grown used to. (This would be Suffer, obviously.)

I think this same cycle is probably what's going on in place where the realm of Concept intersects with the realm of Physical. (This additional terms are for ideas that I'm working with these days, which I'm not going to define here and now. I'm sorry! It's for my own sake!) I'm talking about two realms intersecting, but the place where Concept intersects with Physical is itself a whole realm, with its own physics and time. ... I can't tell if the whole Concept<>Physical intersection is called Technology, or if Technology is a zone within the intersection. Depends on how you define technology, I guess. But at any rate, in the place where Concept and Physical intersect, we find Technology, and I live there. More specifically in the neighborhood called Software. And, returning to the cycle idea, I think I happen to be in (or of) the part that is realizing and remembering -- encountering epiphany, and finding our own way to let presence flow. Having forgotten the old traditions of The Intersection Of Concept<>Physical (traditions that were formed during and after the happy collapse into Rest), having first Normalized and then Forgotten, and then having certainly Suffered afterwards, I think I'm riding a wave of Seeking -- and I find myself Remembering, for the lot of us. Which makes me think that this is what I'm "here to do", based purely on observation of my own tendencies.

Funny, for someone who tattooes what they learn on their own body, so they do not forget. (And for someone with a tattoo specifically reminding themselves that they can remember.) Appropriate, though, for someone born with a brain that is physiologically predisposed to be more present-leaning, without much inclination to or retention of its own physical past, and with the exact same policy on the future.

But then, that's of course useful, because I'm not so distracted by my own personal timeline. I get to remember something from when I was born as someone else. My ego is thinner, more translucent, and our collective memory of a direction can come through me.

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