I got up this morning and made coffee. While the coffee was brewing I sat in the kitchen and processed about 50 emails. Good news! Only three snarky youtube comments while I slept. They were actually pretty borderline. Not quite sure what I want to do about them.
I got caught up in some conversations at the table, so by the time breakfast rolled around I had not made my customary trip to the office to mend some issues that can only be mended at my computer. Like youtube comments.
I thought I would share these three borderline comments to see if people had any good ideas on what to do with them.
The feedback was that I share far too much of the negative stuff I encounter and it is wearing on others. As much as I feel like I share less than 10% of the ick I experience each day, I do see the validity of the point.
About a dozen years ago, a woman I knew asked me to advise her son in how to build a career in software engineering. I visited with the young fella for about three minutes. Three minutes seemed to be the most he could tolerate of me. Apparently, all on his own, just for fun, he once wrote a bit of software. He never finished it. He never shared it with anybody else. But he did have the expectation that software companies should be banging on his door to pay him millions for his obvious genius. Therefore, there was nothing to talk to me about. After all, I had spent decades doing software engineering and if I were raking in the millions then I would drive a better car and live in a better house. So whatever it was that I was doing was flawed, and his plan was clearly superior.
This morning I learned: Accomplishment often comes from hundreds of struggles. And if you intend to accomplish a thousand things, then you need to work through hundreds of thousands of struggles. And permaculture is hundreds of bits and bobs all working together in a symbiotic symphony.
In my very first corporate whore job, I sat at a desk in a sea of desks. I was an accounts payable clerk in an office with 70 other accounts payable clerks. In a building with all of the other accounting offices and executive offices and marketing offices, etc. of a large company. The other desks were rich with personal trinkets to help the clerks feel a little culture and life in their otherwise banal job. I had almost nothing like that. But I did have a tiny piece of paper that I had taped up where I could see it and others could not. On it I wrote “fat, dumb and happy.” I had heard it once as an insult to somebody. But I thought it was a noble goal. One possible interpretation of this is that the pursuit of being attractive, or intellectual pursuit leads away from “happy.” As the weeks and months passed as I read this little note dozens of times per day, I came to the conclusion that apathy was an ingredient that would allow intellectual pursuit. But it had to be a very special flavor of apathy. Something where you could care about a spec of knowledge, but not care about what others thought. But it gets much richer than that. And to this day I still try to refine what that special flavor of apathy smells like so that I can pursue the philosophies I enjoy and simultaneously pursue happiness.
When you see a thing that can be accomplished, you can see a dozen obstacles that will need to be resolved along the way. And during the work involved, a few hundred new obstacles present themselves that you had not considered. So you plow through and make the best of it.
Back to breakfast this morning …. after being asked to shift my sharing ratio toward something more positive, I threw out “I would think it would be really hard to share three meals a day, every day, with spiderman.” Sure, he saved that busload of people, but the guy that caused the bus to go off the road is still out there – and you kinda get the impression he is probably going to do something really rude again.
I was topped when somebody suggested that sharing meals with batman would be even harder. That guy is just so dark.
So, on the bright side …. discussion at permies is great. There are lots of excellent threads from the last 24 hours. Information rich. Lots of healthy discussion. And it would seem like no big deal, except for the stark contrast of the comments at youtube and a lot of the rest of the internet.
I think the problem of being a downer at meals is a real thing. Again, I go back to the value of the potato village and a few other changes in the works for the future here. It seems that people value my presence and comments, and at the same time, I appreciate that that same presence would be difficult to live with long term. So I think the community would be happier if I shared meals about half the time rather than every meal.