The road to everywhere

The road to everywhere
It's the umbrella trees that really seal the deal for me. 

Let's paint a scene, shall we?

You and a few friends are invited to the grand opening of a new art exhibit by your favorite artist, and you couldn't be more pumped. A chance to take in fresh ideas, engage in dynamic discussions, to mingle with like-minded individuals. Losing yourself in the swirl of ideas while picking an outfit for the evening, eventually settling on that one stunner you keep in the back of the closet for such special occasions. Shortly after, you and the gang catch a bus downtown to secure your spots in the front-ish part of the line.

Upon entry, you are each given a couple glowing bracelets and then led into a large pitch-black room. Within the room are other guests (visible only by the glowing hoops around their wrists), some sparse dimly lit exhibits, and a large glowing box of replacement bracelets off in the corner. These bracelets, the glow of which is too faint to do more than be a simple indicator of existence, are your only means of navigating the crowd as you begin to tour the showcase. Initially you converse with your companions to chart your course, with the added bonus of providing some means of echolocation with each other, but soon find that they are drown out by the other parties attempting to do the same. Arriving at the intended exhibit, alone, the background noise begins to fade as the party takes in the first sights of the evening.

No longer concerned with the opinions of various onlookers, the art becomes even more immersive. Finding details that resonate within, gleaming some novel techniques that piques curiosity, making assumptions of the artist's intentions, momentarily transported into the scene until you notice, in your peripherals, the glowing rings and shadowy appendages of the other onlookers, made known only through the few rays that escape the art's ambiance. Tuning in, you find that the noise in the room has simmered to mere murmurs. Under the guise of anonymity, one of the shadows fires off an opinion which is echoed in agreeance by the crowd, closely followed by the dissenting retort of another. The volley escalates, essences of tension begin build, until a well-timed comedic observation is inserted by another. The tension, now cut, frees you to take the opportunity to dip out and venture forth in search of other more serendipitous encounters.

With each visited work, a new chance encounter. Sometimes silent admiration for the piece, sometimes full forays into political discourse, a little more than sometimes about how the ambiance has contributed to the overall perception of the evening, that we’re all able to focus more on the art and less on the soiree. As the evening draws on, navigating from display to display becomes more of a dance. A brush here, a bump there, threading between the glowing paths. Every now and again you notice some abandoned bracelets of those that wish to slip by unnoticed, their motives don’t stay with you long as soon enough, others, abound with glowing light, attract your attention as if they were a part of the exhibit themselves.

Shortly after making your first round, and on your way to revisit some of the more striking exhibitions, the lights turn on.

Suddenly I feel better about my ability to draw the human form. Thanks AI!
Party Time, Excellent! 

We touched a bit in the last blog about how social media has created new avenues for people to reach out, connect, and learn about the world. In doing so, this great connection has allowed us to look into the mirror more accurately as a society, and depending on your predisposition, one may be more attuned to finding faults or beauty within this newly revealed image that is society at large. In the same way we analyze our own selves in the mirror, we can easily fail to see the forest for the trees. To hang on minor imperfections or rely too heavily on the marks of beauty as a means for assessing the whole. These trappings are not entirely our fault though. Algorithms have been created to give us more of what we love.... well, I wish, more like, what we pay attention to. Trapping us in a cycle of sameness. Fragmenting the mirror, making it much harder to see the full picture.

Let's take a second to "zoom out" if you will. From a bird's eye, the forest (i.e. society) reveals an array of echo chambers. Each ecosystem within this forest, a microcosm of ideas and feedback loops. Within each system, these ideas reverberate from one to another, growing stronger with each passing. Creating dissonance at the boundaries where differing ideas clash. Defining the camps and borders as each idea stubbornly holds its ground. Refusing to budge until their viewpoint is heard, daring not to concede ground until assured their idea has firmly taken root in another's camp. Irony lost among the noise, save for a few that have noticed the pattern and made for their own escape (though too often travelling only until they find a system that resonates with their own ideals and dips back into the irony again).

Can't blame anyone for wanting to define the world as their own, but there is something to be said about defining a world based off limited ideals. In songwriting, dissonance gives chords much more emotional appeal. Worldbuilding is much the same. However, stopping there would be falling short of the task. How can combine chords to make sweeping movements, finding the long-lost harmonies buried in the noise? What is a world like once we've broken down the walls of each echo chamber and have learned to embrace the harmonies and melodies that these interactions create? Create a world where we see the strengths in differences, weaving those together in a way that covers the weaknesses of another.

I firmly believe that having the ability to self-organize, combined with radical self-acceptance, are paramount to living a fulfilling life. Allowing one to no longer be bound by societal trappings they happen to be born in to and to travel freely in search of a stronger tribe... or for the strength within themselves. Between these two concepts, learning to recognize the strengths of others and the strengths of yourself creates the opportunity to weave a strong network throughout the world. Ever increasingly with our own world, we have the ability to truly see it for what it is. The lights are on. What we focus on is up to us.

Well, that = that. Would love to hear any questions, feedback, encouragement, etc. that you may have, so feel free to reach out! Also, please to subscribe to the mailing list if you haven't already. It's the best way to stay up to date with the latest posts.

Thanks for reading! :)