Notes on other things related to sociality.
If you ask us why we decided to go sailing, we don't think we could give you a straight answer. Even the authors of our sailing manuals cannot explain what might compel anyone to do it, even after being made aware of the many perils of an ocean. Why would anyone do something with a very real risk of not making it back to shore, and furthermore, for no obvious reward?
It seems unjustifiable, or at least masochistic, that a person would wilfully put themselves through potential misadventures for fame and curiosity alone, mountain climbers might echo these feelings although we don't know any with whom we can verify this. And so, perhaps we do these things in the name of freedom, freedom to practice direct experience (with all that entails. Discomfort, pain, hunger and so on), here we shall name this calling to live deliberately, using Thoreau's words.
Living by proxies
Smart devices to take away the pain of thinking deep thoughts, social things against the solitude, forever removing ourselves, in exchange for protectedness, for a complete thoughtless socialized inexistence.
A creeping numbness might be to blame for our own search of this direct experience, in the form of long distance sailing, to let ourselves feel cold so we could sense the subtler changes in the weather, to go hungry to appreciate simpler foods.
Similarly, one might begin to talk instead of watching talk-shows and to play instead of watching game shows — To value the entire spectrum of sensations as necessary members of the whole that is the deliberate existence, with its potential for failure, awkwardness, loneliness, harm and death included.
To feel secure
Convenience products will protect those living at odds with nature. Novel and fashionable horrors will be popularized to subvert anyone into docility, else new fears will be provided as obedience demands.
In the name of security, a modern citizen will be thoroughly handled. A modern civilisation will deem itself total as it finally does away with all inconveniences, vanquished the totality of the Unknowable, the Indifferent, the Unorganizeable, of Nature, by means of paving over it.
We have seen the non-participation to the throughput mechanisms of society labeled as escapism, but we look at it in reverse where one escapes by being apart from nature. An illusory sense of dominion and domestication of nature might make one think of it as a place where one can escape to, and this is re-enforced when seen through the lense of a synthetic protective layer of proxies and simulations, but the protective layer doesn't curve outward upon nature, but inward upon the individual. And that is absolute escapism.
We believe that one can use nature's indifference as a reminder of the actual fortitude of their being, to learn of one's own true capacity for resilience when communing with nature — Ideas altogether at odds with modern stories, or an invitation to be part of something.
This edited version of the text was written as closing words for the Hundred Rabbits North Pacific Crossing Logbook, read it here.
To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law — a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.
Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun