How strange things are! Yesterday I was on the verge of dropping out, the meaninglessness of it all swelled up so – but fret not! an evening of friends and tea, followed by a good night’s sleep, turned it all around. Now the same wrenching division between the high-tech and the low, the wish to go one way or the other, that was causing me such pain, has become the self-same inspiration for continuing and loving it! How can that be? Yesterday I couldn’t stand being suspended in that void, and today I am filled with wonder and a desire to embrace this dichotomy: to draw from it direction for study, and work towards a fuller understanding of what it really means.
I rode my slow bike to school today as a way of reminding me of the importance of the small and the simple; the low-tech and the old; anything that points me to an intimacy with my personal environment… This bike (that I would have a few good shots of if these blasted computers were operating as they should) doesn’t work very well – slow, clunky, hard to start (and stop!) – but as an aid to reflection upon what is important in transport (and indeed all of life, but I don’t want to make this too big a picture) it is supurb. It is okay, and even desirable, to slow down and do things in a (slightly) uncomfortable way, and in doing so I am forced to ponder why people do not like to do things so. We don’t need to get anywhere!
Hmmm, I seem to be faltering in this stream of appreciation of the overlooked; I shall turn to the overlooked to seek appreciation of these thoughts.
The things around us need be noticed in order for us to value them, this is obvious; what I want to get at is that everything around us is capable of admiration, regardless of what it is. I look past this computer today to the wall and the conduit saddle that is holding the power cable to the wall, and I think: Why is this insignificant little thing there? Where was it made, by what and who installed it? The screw is a countersunk one, but sits proud in the hole designed for a cup-head; this is ugly and unnecessary, and (to skip the leaps and jumps that gets me there) draws my mind to News From Nowhere. This saddle was not made, nor installed, with the thought that prehaps this could be a divine act of worship of nature! Shall every thing we do be an act of love for our environment, society and self? But why not?
What makes work unpleasant? Surely endless repetition, mindless drudgery with no hope for escape – things brought about through greed and the exploitation of others. Think, though, about the materials that one uses and how they make or mar pleasant work; if I strive towards an intimacy with my media, and that same intimacy is going to give me cancer, what then shall I do? Why on Earth would I cover my walls with a substance that I know I find toxic (as evidenced by my emotive wish not to ingest said substance), if I also know that one day those walls should be pulled down and that substance be spread about the land?!
I’m hungry now, and tiring of this: I wanted to write about bookbinding as one point at which the intangible and the tangible meet; I love to hold a book, and I love too to read it. For the former I might easily take a stick up from the ground; for the latter, the ubiquitious A4 photocopied page would sufice – where we can unite the two, there lies my inquiry.