Drafting in public.
I am drafting in public.
I believe in process.
In a draft I see an attempt.
In a series of drafts I see an approach.
As the drafts march on, they asymptotically achieve their expression.
By a calculus they describe their true form.
What is unthought in a thinker’s thought is not a lack inherent in his thought.
What is un-thought is there in each case only as the un-thought.
The more original the thinking, the richer will be what is unthought in it.
The unthought is the greatest gift that thinking can bestow.
In my early thought I was held back by not understanding this principle.
I felt that my thought must achieve a static, coherent system.
I wanted to build a castle of thought, a comprehensive worldview.
A master-perspective, a system of systems.
And in that desire for a perfect thought polygon, I was not alone.
Some of the great thinkers: Aristotle, Aquinas, Russell and Whitehead…
Had desired the same thing.
A single codebase. A single dataset. A single true theology.
A single source of truth.
And yet it cannot be achieved for reality is too dynamic and unstructured.
Our static structured systems lag behind.
Reality withdraws from us, even as we approach it.
By a zeno’s paradox, we never arrive.
Because even as we make progress in understanding the world,
We realize that the universe is expanding.
Extropy is only a sub-system of entropy.
Order is only a subset of chaos. And emerges from it.
Thought stands upon impossible economics
The micro-economics of thought prevent thought from catching up to reality
There are simply not enough hours in a day to order the universe
Even as we organize what we think, we think new thoughts
We are bicyclists and we cannot stop
We cannot always stop to also draw a picture of the landscape
There are breaks to draw sketches, mere snapshots of what has been passed
And these will always frustrate us for their incompleteness
A monolithic edifice cannot be achieved by mortal minds
And yet, even though I now know this
I cannot stop building skywards
The tower of babel rises
Even as the builder knows it is doomed
For we build what we see in our minds
That which is possible and desirable calls to us, commands us to build
And so we build, perhaps in madness, perhaps in faith
An impossible project
Accepting that even though we will never articulate the voice
Never give form to the shape
Design the vision
It is somehow the failed attempt
The rough draft
The flawed human artist
Who somehow, instead of defiling the work, is called by the work
And must answer the call, or die unfulfilled, unexpressed.
Somehow we must overcome the embarrassment of speech
The embarrassment of mortal imperfection
Mortals must speak of immortal things
Imperfect things must make perfect things
To live up to one’s ideas is impossible
To do justice to one’s aesthetics is impossible
But it is better to give them imperfect expression than none at all
We will be forgiven our errors
We will not be forgiven our omissions
I am embarrassed of the role to play
I am ashamed of my unworthiness
Let me come back when I have paid a higher price
Let me return after achieving a higher wisdom
No you shall not have the time
The time is ripe, the hour has come
The ministry must begin, or rot in its fullness
Stand back, stand aside, get out of the way
Provide no resistance, human
Let it come through
Just show up
Do the work
I remember in my adolescence being taken to The Getty Villa in Los Angeles. There I saw, for the first time, art as process.
There is a calculus by which the artist iterates towards fuller expression.
The process itself becomes an art.
A window into the soul of the artist.
Very naked, very raw.
I don’t remember the artist whose work I saw.
But I remember seeing study after study, sketch after sketch, on a theme.
And then you see the final work.
The final work seems somehow to emerge from the last iteration.
But it rises above to a new level.
It isn’t perfect, but nothing is perfect.
Wabi-sabi — stare decisis — L’arte non è mai finita, solo abbandonata.
The artist sees the last draft.
There it stands. There he leaves it.
He did not even make it.
It is strange to him.
οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν.
I know not what I do.
I know not of what I speak.
When the artist surrenders to process, the artist loses control.
When the artist publishes the process, the artist surrenders ego.
The ego is present in all the work, but the ego is not in control.
The ego is completely naked, exposed.
The ego knows not what it is working.
I know only that I am working.
I know only that I am moving.
Spirit is moving through me.
It is not for me to judge my own work.
Nor is it for the living to judge the living.
It is just for the living to create what is calling them to create.
It is for me to surrender my critic.
It is for me to show you my nakedness.
It is for me to expose my naked thoughts, my naked process.
And for the process to unfold itself in its own evolution.
For us to watch that dialectic unfold.
Hear the ravings, the reveries, to watch the red hot molten words.
To take a hammer to them and see if we can forge meaning.
To see if, as they cool, they emerge worthy of shape and handling.
Who am I to create?
So much has been created by so many souls.
What can I possibly contribute to the corpus of civilization?
I am small and these things are great.
These things I would speak of are so much vaster than I.
These things I would express are too pure to flow through me.
I feel an unworthy, impure vessel.
I would not have others drink from my well.
I am afraid of contaminating the water.
I would not expose others to this my naked expression.
And yet I cannot not.
I cannot not express — for were I not to express,
ἐὰν οὗτοι σιωπήσουσιν, οἱ λίθοι κράξουσιν.
If these will be silent, the very stones will cry out.
Here is my well. Here is my water. Drink if you will.
I would be happy if no one came to drink.
But I am a spring well, not a dam.
I can no longer hold back the water.
Truly my only wish is to die fully expressed.
The sand festers within my shell. It irritates me.
I must form these into a pearl.
Are there enough years left to make pearls?
Will I be able to turn this coarse sand into pearls?
There is too much in me that desires expression.
Too much that affirms life.
Too much that is hungry and thirsty for life.
To live is to express.
To fully live is to be fully expressed.
There is much to express, and very little time.