Throwing out of the window this week: guilt about wishing to inhabit a New Reality. Also on: Finding our Village in the City & Eliminating weekdays.
Jupiter, 16 February 2023
That day during which I am likely to end up at Ficken3000
__No more Tuesdays in the Crow's Nest
__Finding our Village in the City
__Re-routing Escapism & Living for it
__Power to the Party
__And to close: Mum Wisdom
(I have many thoughts to share but I promise __nice pictures to keep your attention)
No more Tuesdays in the Crow's Nest
Once upon a time, I cycled up a steep hill every morning to go sit and work in the library of Oxford Brookes University. I would walk up the stairs to the top floor, contemplating the concrete casted walls of the newly delivered building as I was passing departments with books about all possible subjects. My favourite place was at the window overlooking the plaza, seeing known and unknown people as well as busses to and from London passing by. For years, I watched the seasons change in the cycles of the chestnuts and the poor little Ginko tree that was planted in the middle of the paved plaza desert. Up there, in what I started to call my Crow's Nest, I worked on my PhD, studying how people learn, how change happens, and what the role of creativity can be in transforming an unsatisfying status quo into something worth living for.
Today I find myself on the top floor once again, in Neukölln, holding conferences with the crows and squirrels that inhabit the tree in front of my window. Many times I stand there by myself, smoking a cigarette, or with another person, having a moment of appreciating the world together while watching the sunrise at one of the Afters I've been hosting. To feel fully comfortable staying up all night, breaking through the internalized imposition that I ought to be sleeping at certain hours, has been a recent achievement.
__Who is the authority to tell me to feel guilty about watching a sunrise?
Joseph Beuys, the German artist who coined the term social sculpture, used to joke that he doesn't know what a weekend is. As far as he was concerned, he was always at work, and he didn't care about escaping it. Well, I don't want a weekend either. I don't even want there to be a week anymore that can end - that social construct that makes us believe we should be working five out of seven days. I don't want there to be any Mondays anymore, or Tuesdays, or any days that make people feel like they owe something to the Old System. In an attempt to override this tyranny of time-imposition, I have taken to renaming the days on my calendar after the celestial bodies again, like back in the days. I'm just about still fine with keeping this cycle of seven.
Finding our Village in the City
What's also new in this Crow's Nest 2.0 is that it gets temporarily inhabited by an ever-growing crowd of people, and I'm seeing a social fabric emerge. Not only at my place, but also as I move between other spaces, meeting the same people over and over again. There is a theory that says human beings are able to meaningfully know about 60 other people - if these people also have connections between them. The size of a small village. I speculate that we are in the process of finding our Village in this big city, and wonder:
__Who is in it?
__Who is here to stay?
__Who is here on a brief visit?
__What are we capable of as a village?
__Can we create our own systems of care?
__Can we create a micro-economy to support each other?
__Can we collectively get rid of the Tuesdays that have been annoying the shit out of me?
I studied Social Sculpture in Oxford, but I felt alone compared to where I am now. I felt trapped in a system that, in many absurd ways, didn't make sense to me. It was like constantly being in a different version of the story of the emperor's new clothes, looking around and asking, don't you see the emperor is naked? I still study Social Sculpture, but now it feels like I'm sharing the endeavour with people who are less willing to pretend and choose to be more honest with themselves. And as I realise how serious we are about this, I ask more and more insistently: What do we want to make of this precious time we choose to spend together? What version of reality do we want to inhabit, and how are we creating it, here and now?
__Village Gathering Gorgeousness @ Impromptu Mercury Potluck
Re-routing Escapism & Living for it
At a recent After, I asked people: Why are you here? None of them said to get wasted or loose themselves in ignorance and forgetfulness - although given the state of the world, I would fully understand. Instead, they were here to find connection and because being in these Gatherings nurtures their souls. Some people spend about half the week in The Party (!), and I, personally, decided to never leave again. What does this say about the Reality we want to inhabit? And how can we ride that wave of already existing motivation and desire to make these Party Spaces work for us even better?
If you ask me, the idea that a party is a space where people come to loose themselves is an imposition of the Old System, shoving guilt upon us for wanting to inhabit a different kind of reality than that space we call 'everyday life' or even 'real life'. What if we turn it inside out, and instead of shaming ourselves for our escapism, embrace it fully and say: of course I don't want to go back to my shitty job or my bullshit job, or my important social work job for which I only get paid minimum wage, or the Jobcenter - if I'm already lucky enough to have the privilege of access to work and state money in the first place.
I want the beautiful people I meet at The Party to do what they are good at, to have the space to use their creativity to do something meaningful with their lives, and contribute the best of themselves to this Social Sculpture we are creating together. That is what this world needs: our combined creativity to take this shit and turn it into gold. #universalbasicincome I am taking all the material that is already here - nothing new is ever added to the substance of the universe - and do my best to use it in unbelievable and surprising ways to create something new. In this moment, which is all I ever have, together with you.
__Of course I don't want to slot back into the Old System that treats my Queer & Trans* & POC & other Siblings like shit, I am fucking fed up with it and I AM MOVING OUT!
Such a Radical Escapism means I turn away from an exploitative, numbing, overwhelming, saddening, and in the end unsustainable version of reality, and FUCK YES to that. I shed fear, guilt, shame, expectations, and judgments, I shed stories of victimhood and let go of familiar narratives explaining who I am, I see the past and mourn it and yet decide that I won't take it as the all-determining factor of my life. I choose to work and rest to Heal and ask: What Freedom do I have Here and Now, in the face of this monster that was once created, too? I am finding myself surprised as to how much turns out to be possible.
__ Mehrdad Gift of Sun living Possibilities
Power to The Party
I feel more empowered in The Party than I ever felt myself in the university - supposedly the center of knowledge creation. The question what Social Sculpture is and how to do it becomes much more relatable in The Party, too. People just get it, it's what we're here to do. And so I find myself in the delicious place where I can say with the enthusiasm of a child for whom the future is not yet decided:
"I'm not at all who I imagine myself to be. I'm something entirely different and far more vast and strange. Hmmmm. I wonder what I really am?"
Carolyn Elliott (2020, p. 33), Existential Kink
For all I care - and I care deeply and vastly - I want to be The Sexiest Escape Route in town, outsmarting the Old Reality. And from what I learned about how change happens, I know that riding the already existing wave of desire for an Otherwise together, we can unleash superpowers.
__Let's make that Path, so that when we die, we can say: this Ride was worth it!
__See you at The Party xxx
And to close: Mum Wisdom
When I wanted to leave school because I felt like being there seemed like a waste of my time as my motivation to learn was going down the drain, my mother told me:
"Al dat nieuw is vindt bestrijders, maar het komt nooit op in hunne geest, dat hetgeen waarvoor zij strijden, ook eens nieuw moet zijn geweest."
Meaning: everything that's new finds people who will fight against it, but rarely does it occur to them that the status quo they are defending, this monster we're facing now, was once new, too. After researching the educational system for my school's debating club and making a case for eliminating it, I won with this argument. I was also able to leave school early.
Wow, awkward, Mum and Grandma in the same space. Grandma and Us never became a match.
♥ ♥ ♥ Thanks Mum, you are the best ♥ ♥ ♥