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Rabbit Holes 🕳️ #40
◉ The Age of Reorientation ◉ Earth-Centered Design & Endineering ◉ Practicing Non-Duality ◉ The Power of Killing Time ◉ City Foraging
THIS WEEK ◉ The Age of Reorientation ◉ Earth-Centered Design & Endineering ◉ Practicing Non-Duality ◉ The Power of Killing Time ◉ City Foraging
Rabbit Holes 🕳️
As always, five perspective-shifting ideas that I’ve come across lately, plus some fun extras. Enjoy!
#1 🌀 The Age of Reorientation
I haven’t been at The Realisation Festival but I love this framing by Jonathan Rowson here. This idea of post-conventional obviously links very well to what we are doing here at Creative Destruction and reminds me therefore also of my all-time favourite quote by Erwin Schödinger: “The task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.”
“We call it a festival of ‘unlearning and reimagining’ because we believe the overarching early 21st-century conundrum is not so much about problem-solving or policy innovation, but primarily a challenge of perception and imagination. The most fundamental task is to help each other to reorient our life and work through a sensibility that is prefigurative of the better aspects of our emerging future. We prefer not to over-specify the alternative view, but in my own language, it might be thought of in terms of a post-conventional aesthetic. That aesthetic includes an orientation to life that is
post-tragic (meaning and agency on the other side of despair)
post-extrinsic (driven by new societal purposes)
post-rational (open to ways of knowing that transcend and include the intellect),
post-exploitation (reflective about the uses and abuses of power)
post-tribal (whole-hearted togetherness in a world of love and power; an expansive ‘We’ is sought, but neither presumed nor coerced).”
» | A Festival for the Soul by
#2 🌎 Earth-Centered Design & Endineering
The New Designer is a recently published book by Manuel Lima that’s high on my shopping list. The below is an excerpt from the book and here is a little general description of it: “The choices made by designers have a significant effect on the world. Yet so much of the discourse on design focuses on aesthetics rather than ethics. […] How do you make room for humanity, with all its wondrous variations, in a society increasingly driven by metrics, algorithms, and profit? How can ecologically responsible designers consider a product's entire life cycle and look well into the future? And how can designers better respond to a community's local needs while taking advantage of global networks?”
“Instead of a human-centered approach, we need to think of a life-centered or earth-centered design methodology. Humans make up approximately 0.01 percent of all life on earth. Yet a vast majority of all we do as designers is done with them in mind. If we want to invest in sustainable design and reduce negative impacts on the environment, we need to stop centering on the human. We must understand the problem from the viewpoint of nature—investigate its unique needs and requirements, identify its fragilities, and embrace the immense opportunities it offers for cooperation. We need to see ourselves as part of a symbiotic, greater whole and start planning for a “long now” that looks deep into the future. This means changing the storytelling formula […] so that the main character is no longer the human but instead our planet. It means to design for the end of the customer journey, what British designer Joe Macleod calls Endineering, but also well beyond single usage and single users. It means conceptualizing objects, structures, and systems that can be continuously adapted and modified and that can incorporate different types of unforeseeable handling. It means adopting transformation and reconfiguration as if they were features. Designing for now will not be enough.”
#3 🧘 Practicing Non-Duality
I have written a lot at the problem of dualism, this idea of seperation between humans and nature as the core problem of many of our current challenges – just have a look at Survival of the Most Symbiotic or A Crumbling Old World or here. This interesting article below looks at the meditative state of non-duality, the benefits of it and how to get there.
“Okay. So we all know that the hard boundary we place between ourselves and the world is somewhat artificial. Sure, on one level you are a separate being, different from any other. You can move your own arm, you probably can’t move my arm. On the other hand, your life is a product of an incredibly complex enmeshment of influences that can be traced back long, long before you were born. At any given moment, your consciousness is being influenced by many things that are not “you”—the global political climate, the societal memes you absorbed in childhood, the words on this page. […]
So, this boundary (this “duality” of self and other) is maybe not super solid. Also, “you” are hardly an unchanging thing. You are different from moment to moment. Different when you’re alone, different when you’re with friends, different when you’re dreaming, different tomorrow.
Instead of thinking of yourself as a separate object from the world, like a pinball in a machine, it’s maybe just more accurate to think of yourself as a drop in the ocean. This can be a scary idea, in the sense that it forces you to confront the arbitrariness and flux of existence. But it can also be a relaxing alternate frame—it’s a way of looking that can bring a sense of letting go, as well as greater empathy for you and others: we are all just trying to ride this wave together and none of us is totally sure what’s going on, or totally in control.
Another thing that you also might know already: sometimes there are moments of conscious experience when it seems to be easier to recognize this non-separation. Experiences in which our sense of separateness is mitigated—when we feel like we are part of the fluid dynamics of existence. […]
These moments can be really nourishing. Your problems and fears and worries, which seem so big, can seem less imposing. Or, instead of seeming like “your” fears, they can seem simply like a variety of noise or weather passing through the universe. You might have that most precious intuition, the sense that it will All Be Okay.
And that’s it, really. That’s all we’re talking about. Non-dual experiences are experiences of feeling like the self/other boundary has thinned dramatically, or even dissolved. Non-dual practice is a way of intentionally bringing about this quality of experience, increasing its depth, and, eventually, perhaps, after some amount of practice, installing it as the default flavor of consciousness.
#4 😎 The Power of Killing Time
I am a huge fan of just “hanging out” with friends, family, even strangers, without any purpose. During my early years as a student that’s basically all we did, every day. Probably non-coincidently I also only had simple Nokia “dumb phone” (we called it a normal phone) back then. Today, hanging out has become difficult: finding the time to meet with friends; not being distracted by smartphones notifications or googling stuff during conversations; people also aren’t that comfortable with being bored anymore…. As I’ve recently written, we are primed to optimize every little bit of our daily life, so hanging out today always feels like losing time, losing productivity…
“Hanging out: It’s a loose social dynamic in which people spend unstructured time together with no set agenda. […]
The shortage of idle hangs in our culture is what inspired Sheila Liming, an Edith Wharton scholar, writing professor, professional bagpipe player and devoted socializer, to write “Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time.” The book conceives of hanging out as a way to reclaim time as something other than a raw ingredient to be converted into productivity. Just as she does in her book, in a recent video interview from Vermont, Professor Liming made a philosophical argument for the chillest of human interactions. […]
[Sheila Liming:] We live in a hyperscheduled Google Calendar world, where we make appointments with each other to get any face time. So there’s a sense that if you hang out with someone, you’re stealing time away from their calendar. It adds pressure to perform, to make it good. But I think that that’s a really damaging way to go about seeing our interactions. That’s why so much of the book argues in favor of unstructured time with people: There’s a great freedom that comes from low expectations. […]
But you’re into hanging out, in a day-to-day way, on the job?
[Sheila Liming:] I think those kinds of casual interactions are part of what makes work meaningful. It’s part of what makes it bearable when it’s bad. It’s also what allows you to feel that your job is not just your job. You’re not responsible for solving every single problem by yourself. […]
I keep thinking about this concept with reference to democracy. Democracy hinges on our ability to care about each other, whether or not we actually know each other very well. Like, we have to have this feeling: I want you to have good infrastructure and good schools, even if I don’t benefit from them. This hypothetical care is very important for sustaining the workings of the society that we live in.
I live 2,000 miles away from my family, so I totally get prioritizing that. But if that means that we’re taking ourselves out of a contemporary situation and ignoring the people around us, what we’re also doing is sending the signal that those people don’t matter to us — that the person sitting next to us in a room might as well not exist — which I think is a somewhat dangerous message to broadcast in a democracy.”
#5 🍎 City Foraging
I believe decentralized solutions will become increasingly important in the future. Decentralization is a macro trend, and especially when it comes to food production. I like how the founder of Fallingfruit.org, an open-source map of edible plants in cities uncovers the hidden opportunities of food foraging within cities and how that concept could also be integrated much much more into city planning.
““You need to flip a switch in your mind to see the space around you differently,” says Welty, an adventure, nature, and conservation photographer. “Once I started looking for food in the city, I found it.” Using a handheld GPS device, a paper and pencil, a camera, and a local tree inventory from a previous project to track locations and fruiting schedules, his foraging became so robust that he did not have to buy any fruit at all. His Boulder finds have included lavender, which a local gelato store used in its burnt honey lavender gelato; staghorn sumac, which Welty used in a “sumac-ade” drink and as a spice; yucca; and black walnuts. He’s even used ponderosa pine needles, cones, and bark to flavor a beer.
In 2013, Welty and Caleb Phillips, a computer scientist and fellow forager, launched Fallingfruit.org, an open-source map that charts edible plants in cities around the globe to encourage urban foraging. They wanted a better tool to record locations and fruiting schedules recognizing the vast resource of food at hand and sizable number of potential converts to the practice. […]
Since its inception, Falling Fruit—which currently features 1,533,034 locations around the world as varied as from Australia, South Africa, Poland, and Vietnam—has had 2,046,228 unique visitors. Users skew American, followed by the French, and range from professional and recreational foragers to older folks stretching their pensions. The site’s diversity is also evident in its available languages—which range from Hebrew to Arabic to Greek—and its wide variety of plants around the globe. Foragers are finding calamondin, an acid orange originally from China in Australia; common sea buckthorn in Poland; lilly pilly berries in South Africa; European dewberry in Lithuania; and the tropical fruit uvalha in Brazil.
Thanks to this botanical breadth, Welty says he’s also gained a great deal of knowledge, from taxonomy to identifying which plants are edible and how to prepare them. […]
Welty envisions great potential in Falling Fruit to reimagine cities as places that can provide food to residents. “We share our cities with all kinds of food-bearing plants, almost accidentally,” he says passionately. “There is a lot growing that we should be more aware and taking advantage of, and ideally building community around, so that in the future we can actually demand more, expect more from our city, that we can imagine a more edible, urban future.””
💡 Seaflooding: Should we create more Mediterraneans?
🖼️ True Value by Ted Hunt
🚿 Shower Thoughts
That’s it for this week!
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