Monday, April 12, 2010

cubically minded

Very few right angles occur in nature. The only one that comes to mind is mineral formation in geology, pyrite for example, the angle of some tree emerging from the ground?

Modern man's environment, very much changed from of those passed, is inundated with sharp geometric angles. Even the cliche, "Think outside the Box" has a visceral resonance of the struggle to deal with this abstract system that we no longer have a choice but to navigate through. Spending a majority of our waking, and sleeping time for that matter, in a small cube, in a larger cube, in an even larger cube, found in/on a grid system based on right angles. The obvious but notable inseparability of the industrial revolution and the response to that in art with Cubism, is an applicable side note. The industrial revolution, bringing hoards of people in from the country side, leaving a more organic existence, towards a more abstracted, geometric (if you will) lifestyle. This is an interesting idea: going from an existence, where a closer existence to nature abounds where work hours happen as they must and leisure hours happen when they are able, moves to a more regimented lifestyle where productivity and energy are scheduled, being just a part of the distancing of industrial humans from an intimate notion of the natural environment.

This is the metaphorical cage, not to sound too alarmist.

Certainly, there are plenty of notable advantages and necessary used in construction to default for the right angle. I am simply trying to point out a correlation with the physical environment that we are constructing with the cognitive, psychological, philosophical and spiritual environment that we are more struggling to come to terms with.


  1. myles14.4.10

    Biggs you remember the conversation we had where I was talking about how if my prerogative was to go adventuring in the amazon or exploring the mountains of Tibet that there isn't a really "socially acceptable" manner or capacity in which that is an "ok" (in terms of society, making a living, perspective, that sort of thing) manner? (and you suggested that while a lifestyle in which that is a constant amazon exploration may not be obtainable, a vacation or study abroad was surely possible. There was also talk of the 40 hour work week, and it as a constraint on "living life" or something to that effect....) What I was only barely stabbing at was this grand and far-reaching (in terms of applicability, not ness. geographically, though that too, is occasionally applicable) principle you've illustrated very well in this post.

    An organic existence isn't a common one these days, yet it is where we all began. How is it we have traveled so far from home without ever looking back? Well I suppose these feelings and thoughts that we have are in a way that "looking back".

    Or do you disagree; would you say an organic existence is common?

    1. Do you think an organic existence is obtainable in this "day and age"?

    2. If yes, can you give any current (as in alive, or within the last 200 years) examples?

    2a. If not "current" examples, who do you feel has (or has anyone ever?), lived an organic existence, or achieved an organic existence?

  2. Myles, I appreciate the response. As it appears to my biased eyes is that it is becoming increasingly hard to live what we have been resorted to call an "organic existence" in this conversation. It seems that one under-riding purpose or at least consequence of capitalism is to eradicate or at the least limit our ability to achieve the above mentioned end. We are increasingly dependent on a system that is exploitative and oppressive on so many fronts, the "organic life" being one of them. If one is hard pressed to feed one's family, the have no choice but to do what they can to survive, probably being forced to resorting to a synthetic lifestyle since the organic one is always more costly, takes more energy, harder to achieve.

    But, this may also be a mindset. I could conceptualize someone living in NYC and living an organic lifestyle. Growing a modest amount of produce on window sills, being mindful of where they funnel their hard earned money to companies that at least try to occupy an honest platform, etc. I am quite confident that there are people who are living such a lifestyle both in and out of major cities but it takes more effort and costs more which is a deterrent for the masses.

  3. myles19.4.10

    You're last statement
    "I am quite confident that there are people who are living such a lifestyle both in and out of major cities but it takes more effort and costs more which is a deterrent for the masses."

    Couldn't ring any more true. However I think there is something incredibly satisfying and self empowering to be gained by achieving an "organic lifestyle".

    Growing up where I did and around the people I was exposed to, I think I was very lucky in that I received the opportunity to meet, learn from, and experience people who had achieved a "quasi-organic-lifestyle".

    As you said it is much more difficult and takes much more effort to "pull-off" but I think the benefits gained from achieving the lifestyle repay the hard work and labor ten-fold.

    The other interesting thing is the way it is viewed socially, and I think it's begging to become more "in" to be organic/earthy crunchy.

    Society (especially it seems the US) is slow to react to a change that requires more effort to sustain, and I think that the undercurrents of a more eco-friendly and "organic" lifestyle have been brewing since the 70's and 80's, and that with the recent awareness campaigns and what not (An incovienet truth being the most prevalent example) the masses are begging a long slow "u-turn" on the environmental highway.

    Maybe it's the optimism that seems to be inherent to each generation, but I think that this time around we've got a real good shot at making or breaking this thing, "this thing" being namely the planet...

    At least the alternative is a much more foreboding thought....

    What do you think biggs? you think we're on our way towards "turning around" so to speak, or are we still driving @ night with the lights off in the pouring rain through Oz?