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March 16, 2018

Is patience a virtue? I think it is a necessary evil.

We are trained not to wait: it is a primary good to eat when hungry, sleep when tired, love when loving, wash when dirty and on and on. Cause and effect does not have a “Pause” button.

Acting in haste does make for repentance when you err, but not when you crush it. Seizing the moment is not deferred gratitude. Clicking to a new channel, or website, or on a picture, is not done upon reflection.

In case you were too into clicking to notice, it is pretty clear to me that time is collapsing and the alternative to patience, acting out, is being facilitated in an ever increasing pace. Things are spiraling into instant gratification. Guns launch death. You can order anything instantly and receive it almost immediately. The news does not arrive with a morning paper, it’s screaming at you NOW.

But I help build things. Unlike the web candy that talks of prefab houses you unfold, or xerox cut homes a billion people will assemble, the truth is that beyond survival it takes time to find a place and create it, because it is not a choice, it is creation.

We are becoming programmed, like Pavlov’s dog, to see-click. That timeline conditions us for mass frustration, and ever depreciating exaltation.

If the usual action is not creation but choosing, we come to expect choices.

Choices are not defined by you, or by me, they are defined by life, or, something.

We are not good with not controlling choices, but we lose hope if we forget we can create them.

The loss of creating is the looming danger in Artificial Intelligence. Our cultural creativity is ficused on defining choices for everyone in the Unversal Brain that is being assembled like the Tower of Babel in a zillion Server Farms all over the place.

We click for love. We click to get food. We click to find out about our liver. And the response is given to us.

By who (or is it whom?) ? No, it is given to us by a “what”, the huge interconnection that has exploded in a generation, it is a far cry from the simple power of thought and patience of creativity.

Creativity often fails. It sets expectations and dashes hopes. It can be frustrating, even heartbreaking. But it puts me in touch with me, directly, no filter. I may be typing this, but I am creating this. I am not choosing between 56,984 pieces on “Patience” seeing if one makes sense, and going on to the next.

If everyone did that with their homes, I would only design for myself.

But others know that there is more than choosing, there is creating, even though it takes a great deal of time to build almost anything.

But the corollary baggage of creating is twofold: it takes longer than choosing, so patience enters the reality of desire. And secondly, more elusively, you need to have faith to create. Faith in ability, the contexts of money and skill, of place and technology.

But those direct, necessary faiths, facilitated by inspiration around patience as necessities simply evaporate if it all just has no point.

If it’s just too messy, unresolved, risky or simply useless to create, no amount of inspiration and beauty makes sense in any possible outcome. You need Faith that the gift of beauty that you make is there, like the sculpture inside the block of marble Michelangelo revealed, if not it’s all a vain hope, a self serving diversion.

I often wonder, more now that we know that “opioids” are all around us, killing people, why aren’t we all high, drunk, stoned, having sex, breaking things, singing, eating, sleeping: why have we not simply “clicked” into chemical joy, within us, within that little place in our brain that makes ecstacy?

I read ‘Brave New World 40 years ago, and saw the point of the “Soma’ everyone took. I lived through a time when many (many) thought cocaine was “The Answer” – just like Sigmund Freud. But “clicking” ecstasy is not a state that most people aspire to buy and ingest.

I do not think it is just the requirement for money to buy the clicks, nor do I think there is enough fear to keep the horror of opioid engorgement down to a few percent of us. But despite is horrors it’s a tiny frantic part of us.

I think it is that creativity is more powerful, I think we know sleep is necessary, food is really fuel and first, a home shelters you. But we know there is more.

Beauty has extreme joy that nourishes me, and makes me ever hungry to make more of it. I have Faith, that while beauty has meaning and that I will never understand it, it is yet the central good in my life. So I love my family without understanding it, I enjoy the 3,564,989 piece of buttered bread as if I had never had the first, I quake a little when a line on a page or a piece of trim, is not me, it is more than me – or the ink or the wood.

Beauty is only there because Faith is there, not just in the details, definitely not in what I can control. Faith is there because I do not understand, let alone control it, and it crushes me.

The music bit that overwhelms me, the cold breath that snaps my memory, the color that transfixes me are all powered by the opioids we produce within us, because we, we, were created to feel them, live them, create them.

For me, it’s a God thing.

Especially in Lent.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. M. Slinger permalink
    March 16, 2018 8:06 am

    Gracious me. This piece is like a long drink of cool water on a very hot dry day.

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