I’ve been working on a project (or three) for a loooong time, of which this page is only a part.
I started off with the vague sense that it was about being “well-rounded” or “accomplished” (both of which are things that a lot of my peeps aspire to)… but it is increasingly obvious to me that it is quite something else, and I’m not sure what to call it.
To bring you up to speed… I read all these books that contain detailed structural analysis… about how hard it is to resist consumerism, about what the standard narratives about work and our value in the world do to our families, about how your place in the world has been largely pre-determined by a bunch of identities that you had no part in choosing, really about the difficulties of escaping conventional constructions of reality… and then they finish off with a chapter about how things could be different, and we should still try (even though they just told us all the reasons that it almost certainly wasn’t going to work.)
“Here’s global warming. Here is how the money system (and the financialization of everything) necessitates a culture of growth-at-any-cost. Here are all the legal and structural reasons we can’t fix it. um… Try changing your lightbulbs.”
“Here is how the American middle class got hollowed out and all the productivity gains were loaned back to them with interest instead of being passed along as pay increases. Here is how all the necessities of life (food, education, heat, housing) have been basically priced out of reach of even low-tier professional salaries. um… Try not to use your credit card.”
(Both of those are specific books, BTW, not just hypothetical frames.)
I mean, I get that you’re trying to offer us some hope and agency at the end of a pretty bleak story, and that probably your editor suggested that you end on a positive note, but that final chapter… whoa. It’s so often at odds with everything that came before.
It often left me with the sense that I, personally, had to figure out how to resist and fix all the things… or that, since it was impossible, all I could really do was keep saying, “Well, this is how this rule should be different…” but without a coherent theory of change.
I’ll be honest: I still don’t have a coherent theory of change. What I have instead is a theory of chaos (technically and mathematically)… which is that we are currently trapped in a local minimum which almost certainly has a very very unpleasant ending, and we don’t know the way out.
This is not an escape room, or a problem contrived by a mind that has a clear solution. It is a confluence of wicked problems, with entangled root causes. This means that we need to try a whole bunch of things, because nobody really knows which of them are going to help… plus they all will have unintended consequences… plus there is no guarantee that a tipping point doesn’t make things worse instead of better…
My conclusion after many many years of wrestling with these issues is that, whatever it is you are being called to try by your deepest self… we kind of need you to try. Even if it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Even if it doesn’t seem to be working. Even if you friends think you’re wrong. (I have reasons, but this is already getting pretty long.)
What I want to do is help you find your way to (and give yourself permission to execute on) your own personal, “what to try next.” I do not know the answer to that question, but I believe that you do (although you might not be telling yourself just yet.)
If any of this sounds intriguing, I suggest that you make sure you’re on the waitlist for the course I’m offering early next year. There will be warmup exercises available for free while I get the main thing built. (I’m still building them, too. But they’re coming.)
I look forward to meeting you!