Bug Stu on a Transformative Pie Piece
Potentially. According to Stu.
This is The Shed in Brook. It is Wes’s shed. Wes is a good friend and is the son of my beloved 4th grade teacher, Betty Kessler, to whom many of the poems and other writings in This Project are dedicated. It’s very possible that there’s still an old 4th grade notebook in my parents’ attic with a carefully but God-love-him still horribly drawn sword-carrying beetle.
He reappeared in my mind in 2016, the summer that Betty died (at 99 years old), as a way to understand and maybe transcend the Left/Right cultural divide. His name turned out to be Stu. We started “talking” more openly in 2018, at which point a little owl, a space owl, came along in the poem which “launched” this part of This Project.
The combination of musings at MatchBOX Co-working Studio and at The Shed created the 7th Pie Theory, through Stu of course. Stu also created Rhettie and Wally, the two for-now-triangle-people you’ve seen here. We’ve also learned that Wally’s Dad found transformational meaning in 1970’s lyrics by the band Genesis. He’s also introduced the term Cheesoning and Pan-Randian Reasoning, both referring a sort of shell game of meanings and logic in order to arrive at a pre-determined goal (the targeted choice of cheese).
Ayn Rand was the 20th century poster child and imposter philosopher of the “get what you want in the name of a healthy humankind” mindset. It’s a concept that clicks with many people, especially in their teens and twenties, then often morphs into embarrassing naiveté in their forties. Pan-Randian indicates that it’s not only useful for justifying or even glorifying obsessive materialistic “getting” but also the getting for any other human appetite (a complex phenomenon, appetites). She’s gone, Atlas shrugged, so now we can move on.
Pan-Randian Reasoning/Cheesoning is oblivious of how human flourishing actually works in the mind/body/population. We didn’t know much about that then. Now we know more, hence the negligence in our leaving a Pan-Randian legacy at this point. Unfortunately, in 2021 many brain science narratives have been muddled with old philosophies and politics for enhancing credibility. So it goes. So we won’t go there exactly. And it’s only a minor irritation to Stu (but it bothers me more).
Here’s a photo from inside The Shed, pretty much like the one I took several years ago with Robbie Robot, a Machinery’s Handbook, and a picture of Jenny Conrad’s famous Poland China pig, as the key elements. Robbie Robot inspires the surprisingly and, to some, disturbingly effective mental model of humans as complex AI robots (and in construction, not so dissimilar to insects with shells) seeking internal happiness/pleasure/purpose chemical synthesis and sensations, ideally by way of genuinely generative decisions.
D is for delta. D is for Duuuuude.
There are lots of different meanings of the super-in word transformative right now. I remember when I was still involved with Morocco’s transformational aspirations in 2007, and that word came up a lot. All of those transform____ words are very powerful, but they seem to breeze over some big questions about how and why and tangential effects.
Change is both promising and impossible to stop, but it’s not a magic word, nor are transformational, transforming, or transformative. In a way, they almost invite us to leap over some vaguely understood mountain to a vaguely imagined Better Place, with the Better Place imagined as so alluring that details like definitions, descriptions, precedents, adjacencies, system effects, or even complex system(s) interactions don’t need to be considered. After all, what’s not to love about claims of transformational?
It’s hard to say. But Stu’s view is that the smartest route to a better place and better lives is through incremental and strategic additions or changes. That’s how he came up with 7th Pie Theory in the 1920’s. The 7th Pie, providing a new or enlarged segment of the economy/culture, focuses on integrating elements that can otherwise be squeezed out by natural but narrowly focused market forces. “Market Forces” might sound a little cold, but Stu looks at Market Forces (MF) in a much broader way than just the money side of supply-and-demand effects on us humies. (This MF can be just as ambiguous in meaning as the other MF, which is an interesting story if you don’t know it already.)
Stu’s sense of the MF includes ideas, relationships, desire, aversion, and all kinds of human emotions. That sounds kinda big, I know. But really, I get it. As social creatures, with social proof, social standing, social bonds, etc., affecting so much of how we experience and perceive the world, the MF is a pretty good term for everything from philosophies to fads, fashions, and ultimately, ideas about human flourishing.
So rather than use his insectual instincts and hundreds of thousands of years of passed-down human history to suggest how we change LOTS of what the Pie Bakery (our economic/social culture) has in its display tray, he thinks we should just try adding a seventh, more integrated, more intentional, more neuro-biologically informed piece. It just so happens that old/new-fashioned things like intelligent repair, agrarianism, physical exertion, meta-cognitive explorations, and music, seem to be promising ingredients for that 7th Pie and the piece that it adds to the Pie Bakery’s display tray.
Those ingredients are also low-carbon, high wellness, high mindfulness, high enjoyment, and low cost. Collectively, they’re almost self-supporting, and nice for get-aways or got-aways (longer term stays). Believe it or not, a few years ago I referred to it as Purpose, Profit, Privilege. It’s okay to exhale, because we clearly won’t use that now, even though Profit meant benefit and Privilege meant a vague feeling of general gratitude/happiness. Purpose is always so good, for sure. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention “high purpose” in the list of attributes earlier. That’s an amazingly beneficial ingredient. A catalyst. An adjuvant. Maybe transformative.
Conveniently, a slice of pie, placed vertically with its point up, kinda looks like a delta, which typically stands for change. And to Stu, this kind of change, a new-and-improved-kintsugi kind of change, can dramatically affect the context in which the rest of the world perceives itself and is perceived generally. That’s why he sometimes reflects and says “D…is for delta”, and then “D…is for duuuuude”.
And speaking of that, he was pretty excited on Thursday when he noticed the date was 12/9/21, because in his John Nashian beautiful mind, he saw 12 + 9 / 21 or 21&21. With 21 as 3 x 7, the product of two magical numbers, he was sure this was a sign. And when he looked up at the sky as we got to Wes’s and saw Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus aligned, reminding us both of Copernicus, we both said (again) “Come back, Copernicus, and take a turn with us. Could it be? We’re about to shed aversion…to truth as complexity.”
A while back I optimistically declared, or maybe Stu did, that we’ve been entering an Age of Complexity, after thirty years or so in an Age of Narrative. One of the key realizations for an Age of Complexity is that the interconnections and interactions of systems create the varying landscape, the dancing landscape as complexity scientists call it, that create our perceived contexts and contentions.
Another key realization is that we live in a probablistic world, not an absolutist one. I don’t mean absolutist as in absolute truth about a derived moral code, like from Mt. Sinai, Mt. Kailash, or Mt. PeerReviewed, but in the expectation that things do or don’t work in a certain way all the time. It’s probabilities that we’re dealing with, in complex interacting systems, and thinking otherwise causes us to miss opportunities to make things better for us and our heirs and theirs.
Stu would like me to get into the most-meta-ever third part of an Age of Complexity, metacognition, but we’re out of time. I will mention that this past Thursday after our brief, “Come back, Copernicus…” chorus, he turned to me and remarked how we humies have entered an ambiguously portentous decade, based on recent “20’s” but with a potentially positive important difference.
Stu said, “How’s this: The Sun, Also, Doesn’t Rise.”
“Ah,” I said, “I like it. A study on Hemingway’s book I imagine, from the 1920’s.”
“Yeah, sort of. People connect it to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. And besides the Great War just ending, that was the beginning of serious manipulation of Want, which is related to belief, on a large scale, by Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. Honest cognitive science is what changes things in this 20’s. I mean, it’s a tool, not a panacea. It’s not going to open…Utopia, but it changes some pretty big things.”
I felt like that was the cue I needed to go ahead and put a little poem extension I recently did here today, especially since that conversation was on 12/9/21, a special date, like I explained before, according to Stu.
The extension I did was on just one stanza from a different T.S. Eliot poem. It’s a fairly well-known passage from Little Gidding, which was actually written during World War II, about twenty years after The Waste Land. It’s kind of dramatic, which can imply a little too much grandeur for Stu’s 7th Pie Theory, but I still like it here. You might remember seeing this stanza from Little Gidding here in the past.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we began
And know the place for the first time
Then, after some reflection on that, as I’ve done probably way too many times…
“We shall not cease from exploration”
we shall not cease from exploitation
we shall not cease from manipulation
we’ll find no peace in rationalization
“And the end of all our exploring”
the intent of all our adoring
the extent of all our abhorring
the end of incessant roaring
“Will be to arrive where we began”
if we survive and can still stand
despite contrived and bright Grand Plans
“And know the place for the first time”
know a face for the first time
know The Chase is a cursed crime
go below the space we hide behind
leave The Race for a long time
hold space for this versed rhyme
none can erase or reverse time.
Thanks for reading. Rhettie and Wally will return next time. Tis the Season, and the Stralfs hate that.