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2020-05-18 | Subject | Climbing Reset

I am a sloppy climber. My face is splattered with pitons. I switch faces and mountains. Sometimes my faces and mountains are entirely external. Sometimes I don't know what is internal and external. Sometimes I fall. I do make progress, though, on multiple faces on different mountains, internal and external.

I see the way others climb. They appear to already understand the route and the mountain. They have the right amount of gear, the right amount of knowledge, and the skill for the climb. They make it look easy.

I also rewrite the rules of the climb, change my climbing equipment, and attempt to erase bits of the climb. Am I limited to old books? On page 37 of Pete Sinclair's Journal of Explanation, he writes about the idea of old books:

Finally, it has been seventeen years since Robert O. Payne called to my attention Chaucer's couplet, "And yf that olde bokes were awey,1 Y loren (lost) were of remembraunce the key." I've been looking for keys to memory ever since. The journal is one that helps me and may help others .

In the past, I have associated old books with a form of simplicity and reality. I also studied Chaucer and Middle English Literature at the same time as I learned about Pete Sinclair's journaling method. I morphed this into the idea that the extent of the world in the Canterbury Tales was a constraint that was helpful in interpreting the world. As I write this, I look up at my anchoring books, and I don't see any Chaucer. I see The Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog. The first paragraph in the supplement:

Charles Manson announced the new decade: "Death is psychosomatic," he said. "I am just a mirror. If God is One, what is bad?" he asked. His message is terrifying and inscrutable. It promised the marriage of two outlaw cultures: the hood and the head. Clearing space for the complex metaphysical gangster film Performance. Decreeing the ruthless realism of the new John Lennon and the grizzly cinema verité of Altamont.

I know most of the references. The ruthless realism of the new John Lennon is currently my favorite play in 2020. I've listened to the album John Lennon by Plastic Ono Band thirty times or so. Last year Tarantino's version of Manson and the Tate/LaBianca murders came out. I thoroughly enjoyed Tarantino's movie, but certainly that quote from the The Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog reminds me that something else was going as the time rolled from the sixties to the seventies.

Chaucer's point about old books and memory makes more sense, then. Further, from a perspective of climbing, old books form an anchor. This is directly opposed to information as a stream of attention. It also reminds me of the challenges of an agile mode of software design. We have transformed products into streams of attention, turning the spotlight of effort on customer features instead of anchoring product in a more historically intentional design.

Even the act of writing this has enriched my ideas about what I am doing here, right now, at the keyboard, and how it fits into my past ideas and those that I have turned to for inspiration and instruction. This is all that my climbing reset entails: a small bit I've learned, a bit of perspective from history; I have placed a new piton for "old books". Hyperlinks in writing help, as well. The fact that I can capture the more arcane stuff, scans of the first page of The Last Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog on archive.org and provide a link is a significant addition to the power of a journal.

Comments:

2020-05-18 :

I was watching Performance while I was working out today, and saw a plane that reminded me of the plane on the Blind Faith album:
plane

mountain_climbing mcj bob_dylan

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