April 23, 2020

Toward a more resilient future

It’s been about seventeen years now that this website has been my little corner of the internet. It’s gone through a few different iterations in those years — some sarcastic, some serious, and some arbitrarily personal. Many of those iterations are lost to poorly exported databases, absolute positioning, and the whims of archive.org. So it goes.

I’ve wanted a new Warpspire for a while now, but I’ve struggled to figure out what it should be. My initial instinct was to start with the content — because we all know that’s the best way to build anything important. Content is King and all that jazz. Wait — do people even say that anymore? I guess I still believe it. So I wrote. I made outlines, collected notes, revised drafts. I thought about where I wanted to go in life — no — where I should go in life. I wrote more. I kept iterating. None of it ever felt right.

But you know, Warpspire isn’t important. I forgot that. I don’t think there’s anything of purposeful value here. I’ve made some good arguments and some bad arguments, but there’s nothing on this site that is revolutionary or essential. When Warpspire has been at its best, it’s been a place just for me — not a thing for anyone else. I’m not really an expert. Not a genius. I’m just figuring out the world through my own eyes.

My world has changed pretty drastically over the past few years. Or is it a decade? I don’t even know anymore. I’m not sure it matters. Here’s the thing: the entire world has changed in the past ten weeks. Whatever comes next is going to be different.

It feels like time for a new Warpspire. Not one of the versions I’d outlined — those potential futures have been left behind. This is something new, something with space to grow. It’s exactly what it needs to be: a website that doesn’t know what it is yet.

Yes, all of the old links work. I am not a monster. The world changes, but it always remembers.

It feels very much like the world right now. We had a lot of ideas that weren’t working very well. So much of our world was just teetering on the edge of failure when the cliff fell out from under us. We find ourselves Wile E. Coyote floating in the air above a ground that isn’t there anymore. We haven’t started to fall yet, but it’s not like the cliff is going to come back any time soon.

I know a lot of people think things will go back to normal when this is over (and that there is an “over” to be had!). They believe this is just a hiccup, everything is still on track just maybe a little delayed. I’m not so sure. Revolutions need not be interesting. They are often quite boring.

We just hit pause on most of the modern world and we don’t know what that means. One thing I do know is we’ve been presented with an opportunity. Opportunity for growth. Opportunity for corruption. Opportunity for failure. Opportunity for something new.

I want that something new to be more resilient. I don’t know exactly what that means, either. I only have fragments. I guess that’s kind of what I want this place to be for now. Fragments toward a more resilient future.

Fragments

Can we take whatever this hamster-wheel idea that is The Economy, mash it up in a blender, and come out the other side with a hamster-wheel that pushes toward a healthier planet and a better society?

Everyone should have this. We should give them these things because they are good things to do. It does not matter whether people deserve it, who qualifies as a person, or how we will pay for it — these are distractions. It matters that we believe it is right. If it is right and it is possible, we should do it. It is definitely possible. And I am certain it is right.

Kim Stanley Robinson on Making the Fed’s Money Printer Go Brrrr for the Planet.

We have plenty of work for people to do. Work that is far more fulfilling than running in the hamster wheel of the economy. The New New Deal? The Green New Deal? These are too small. I wish we had a progressive wing in America. We have a lot of interesting work that would be good for the planet and its people. And we just don’t do it? I’ve never understood that. What if we did good things because they are good?

This is frustrating. I do not have the answers. I really wish I did.


The Future of Work is a very real thing right now. Not in that silly way Venture Capitalists talk about it: when an employer forces you to use a website, that doesn’t mean it’s the future of work. That’s just a website. Sorry.

The current state of work is rapidly morphing into a new hierarchy of classes. The Owners. The Work-From-Home. The Warehouse Shufflers. The Line Cooks. The Delivery Drivers. This is a scary look. It does not fill my heart with good feelings.

There are promising looks! Many who work from home now always could have. We never needed to commute. And we sure didn’t need that massive office building. It turns out that yes, most meetings could have been emails. Most emails need never have been sent. We never needed to fill our air with pollutants. We can do all kinds of work just fine without burning millions of gallons of jet fuel.

John Roderick and Merlin Mann in Garbage Island. An introvert revolt! Load up the office with mylar balloons — I’m staying at home. I love it.

The Extroverts are not the problem. And the problem with the Introverts is that we think the Extroverts are the problem. And the problem with Extroverts is that they don’t think about Introverts at all.

The scales are definitely tipping in favor of the Introverts right now. I wonder if they will take advantage.


The Future of Living is another thing I think about a lot. You can live your life without ever coming into contact with the act of living these days. Washing your sheets. Gardening. Cooking. Building a deck. Sweeping the floor.

There is inherent value in spending more time in the act of living. It is likely to be the antidote for the anxiety of the modern world. We are all spending a lot more time living these days. It is not an antidote for anxiety. This is a troubled thesis and needs a lot of investigation.

43 minutes of Shawn James in the act of living.


Regenerative Food Production. Tahoe Businesses. Carbon Removal. I’d love to invest in you! I’m a terrible correspondent. I’m sorry.

kyle@warpspire.com

I’m probably not interested in your app.


Books of the moment:

Apparently, I like books titled after dates.