2020-07-26 - Chapter One

Local sunrise / publish time: 0418 UTC (+10m)


Hey, how are you? It's slightly mad I can type out some words and have no idea what you're doing when you pick them up. Maybe you're on a bus, a sofa, or beach. Maybe this is the day after I wrote it, freah as dew, or maybe I've worked out my archives and this is part of some strange collection a year, 5 years, 50 years down the line. Maybe I'm myself reading this back, wondering what I started or what I forgot all those years ago. Writing is weird like this. But however it happens, one thing is certain - writing is about a connection. Through time and space. From one culture to another. Injected into minds I can never obtain a true idea of the authenticity of. But here we are, here to conect.

A few things have happened recently.

  1. I set up a notebook for Beamspun. It should probably be called PROJECT BEAMSPUN or somesuch now - once you write a name on a notebook, that's it - it's Official. Its part of your life. I've been collecting thoughts in my notebook, freeform among the unlined, ungridded pages to allow me to map out links and scribble out changes in my mood. I keep it in my pocket so it can assimilate my thoughts like dust, and so that my own movements get captured as physical curves and wrinkles. Thought, movement and memory colliding under buttonholes. Here it is, I couldn't resist one of the amazing ones from the wonderful Hare and Tabor shop showing the Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel.
  1. Brucie, one of the family guinea pigs, passed back to other energies. It's funny being around death again. I wasn't ready for the closeness of it all, but was fortunate to have the time to process it, and was lucky enough that Maria Popova's article on Elizabeth Gilbert's description of being accepting of grief hit my RSS feeds. For some time I've been realising that to celebrate life and growth, and to understand cycles, necessarily implies doing the same for endings as well, but in a generally 'conscious' way. Seeing the soil has shunted something in me a little - the notion that though we have limbs and move around, we are never separated from the earth and the sun.

  2. I've been very, very busy. Intense, even. Lots of thought, many fingers in various conversational pies, decisions being made and futures being spun. But - yin and yang - that busyness also left me somewhat drained a few times, or feeling like I'd done enough. And so more than once, I've actually done nothing - or rather, nothing distracting. Just enjoyed time, reclaimed the space to just be. And around that I've finished off reading Looby Macnamara's book on thinking differently and permaculture values, as mentioned before.

Here comes Chapter 1.

In among all these hours and pages, I've still been thinking. Last week's thoughts on how Beamspun as a portal for change have got a little clearer. Deep down, writing this newsletter and seeking out all the links have been not just an information dump, but a gathering of force - a gathering of permission to change. A validation, in some ways, that this path is ok, whether it's needed or not. Because right now, despite all the great conversations society is realising are needed, our approach to change is still driven by a very imbalanced narrative.

Change is happening all the time - no instance is the same as the one before. Yet we are badly adapted to Change. We are torn between wanting the same thing to happen over-and-over-again (day after day, or decade after decade), or we surrender our vision of change to others - novelty and progress handed down from companies we think we trust.

This, now, feels a bit insane. Seasons are an inherent and natural change, yet no year is like any other, and we cannot go back and live our lives according to what we did a year ago. We check today's forecast to decide what to wear, not yesterday's. Such memories are there to contrast, compare and to inform us, but that's it. And that's vital - we can adjust ourselves according to what we've learned, have some prediction within limits from what we experience.

Yet we have replaced the rotation of seasons with a singular idea of one-directional progress, onwards and upwards, better always better. Currently, this is in the hands of a global techno-capitalist regime and paradigm, embodied through gadgetry and silicon, branding and surveillance. But it is not unique to that setup - it is simply the latest manifestation of the illusion that we can always be better - superior, a single path to ascension rather than cyclical coming-and-going, aging-and-rebirth.

Beamspun is my own antidote to this. We can shift our approach to Change, despite all the funds going in the other direction. I'd like a few things to come out of where this goes next.

  1. Work in stages. Change comes in steps, and not all steps are relevant all the time. But we can break it down, explore each step in more depth rather than fumbling around. Step one I think is about DISRUPTION. And so this will be my main focus for a while. Until I've catalogued, understood, and started applying it.

  2. Work with people. Simple collaboration. All this stuff exists, but we have the tools and the abilities to make it larger.

  3. Work for the long term. I'd like to turn each stage into a chapter of some sort of book, or collection, to lay the breadcrumbs for anyone else interested.

  4. Work at the right pace. Honestly, I've got to admit that weekly newsletters is also pretty tiring - and not necessarily productive or focused. Too much pressure to just 'post something' instead of necessarily the right thing. I'm going to try switching to more irregular updates, but more coherent ones.

I don't like to leave things in fours, since hearing it's an oriental unlucky number. 5 and 6 are featured a lot more in taoist lists - 5 has a more beautiful assymetry to it, which encourages change, whereas 4 is ... stable. Static.

So I'll keep thinking on the 5th element over the week, as my own challenge to keep things moving. But I'd love to hear from people out there - what do you think the world needs right now? What are the important - no, fundamental - steps we need to take to get this thing moving? Let me know, contact details below, and open up.

Perhaps we're all looking for permission.

Get in touch

If you enjoyed this, then please spread the word and tell someone else that you think might be interested - https://beamspun.exmosis.net/ is the address to spread!

For any feedback, suggestions, broken links, comments, or general 'hi there' type stuff, leave a comment, or you can find me hanging out in any of these places:

I'm also documenting my own 'everyday solarpunk adventures' over at the 6suns blog.