20230924, 20230925

I'm starting to feel some shape around the thing that I currently understand to be β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ.

Making Mechanic was sort of a forestalled itch to scratch. I tried to ignore how personal the itch was, pretending it was less an itch in my body (gotta make this gotta make this gotta make this) and more just recognition of a good idea -- a good idea that could be traded away, simply and cleanly. When the concept of Mechanic came up, I was already doing well with Locksmith. I didn't "need" more. At that time, I was still allergic to the language of business, and still very afraid of getting an upper hand that I did not deserve. I still saw it all as a zero-sum game. In an effort to do well by the world that raised me, and feeling that I had bloomed sufficiently already, I singled out the flowering stem of this particular idea and I cut it off of my body. I put it in a vase, and I gave it away.

I gave it to my brother Aaron, himself already beginning to bloom. He did really well with it (I'm so proud), but it didn't last. Cut flowers don't last. He tended to it well, gave it all the right stuff. (So proud!) Still, the end came, and that was good too. In my eyes (he may know differently), what he made with it was a great machine but not one that was alive in and of itself. It sapped Aaron of energy; it moved only as far as he manually animated it. There was no mutually symbiotic renewal, there was just Aaron, and his (not insignificant) strength of will.

I think Business Ideas (TM) tend to be less like living things and more like artifacts -- snapshots of something alive, but not alive themselves. This isn't a condemnation, just a clarification: they may be well worth examination, and may well serve as inspiration for living, but no matter how much care and feeding you give them they are still just a snapshot. As such, their value is in the experiences had by the living creatures that hold and perceive them; Business Ideas do not have their own living worth, and they cannot love you back.

As it turns out, I still bodily contained Mechanic. My attempt to give it away as a lifeless snapshot failed; the living itch remained. Mechanic was still kicking around in my system, waiting for me to acknowledge its wandering presence in my inner halls. It wanted out, but not like I had done it before. Mechanic wanted to emerge under its own power, alive and self-evident, not merely handed to a courier as a picture in a frame sold at auction. (Or, I guess, not sold, but donated as a tax dodge in a zero-sum economy of ethics.)

I think I can describe what happened next as an extrusion. Not really cell division, more of drawing a line around Mechanic, giving it its own membrane, and then pushing it out through my own -- a living thing, umbilically connected, at least at first.

I was reading earlier about lichen, and how it's not actually a single organism but two: a fungus, and an alga. (Feels super weird to name that in the singular; alga, instead of algae.) The alga can photosynthesize, taking in the energy of the world and transmuting it, forming necessary sugars that it brings to the table to share. The fungus, in turn, provides a structural anchor, and (when affixed to stone) breaks down the minerals to offer the alga. They are symbiotic. Over time, their presence in a place "creates new fertile soil from lifeless stone" (Wikipedia), making a place for more life to find its way.

I think symbiosis is the name of the game for me, these days. I don't want to sell snapshots for a living. I want to be a portal through which more life emerges -- a willing birth mother for living concepts that seek their own form. I want to live multi-generationally, within this singular life, by extruding these living things and then doing life with them in community -- respecting their individuality, and trusting our connection. Borrowing metaphorically from lichen, maybe I provide the anchor and the connection to the deep, and these living things (like Mechanic) open their flowering faces to the world, radiantly collecting energy in a way that I cannot but which fulfills me nonetheless.


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