Cyberspace: “A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators…”
–William Gibson, Neuromancer
As I wrote in an email introducing the Kloncke project (an email now appended to the first post — and thanks again to everyone who wrote me back!), for the last half a year I have been running full speed ahead in the opposite direction of all things blogospheric. The “consensual hallucinations” that had once captivated me, that had held such promise, suddenly felt hollow. Bankrupt. Not only did they fail to build the kind of physical human community I wanted — they also seemed to corrode the ones I already had.
But, as George Mumford says, there’s no failure: only feedback. So I’ve changed my aims and altered my expectations. Before, it was about informing, exposing, debating. A blog was a boxing ring. Or a soapbox. Or an echo chamber. Now, I want to try something different, less grand, and maybe implausible. A hallucination that helps to ground us in reality.
You may have noticed that Kloncke contains lots of pictures. Pictures of mundane things, like the apartment. And Brassica oleracea. There’s not a lot of information, or opinion, or blueprints for fomenting feminist revolution. No hard reportage. Walking away from the world of political New Media, with its fast-paced news addictions and adrenaline rushes, is not easy on the ego, I can tell you that much. In comparison to what I used to write about, the things I now post seem frivolous and bourgie. Sharing them requires a good amount of pride swallowing: it was much easier, honestly, to write about, say, connections among environmental nativism, sexism, and anti-immigration. But my dear friend Ellen, in an email yesterday, beautifully expressed a purpose of the site that I hadn’t quite articulated to myself:
I was just reading through your blog and thinking about how healing ourselves necessarily involves elemental things like food (one of my too-many jobs right now is all about food policy, actually, and I love how it’s gently pushed me toward feeding myself better) and family and good lighting (good work w/ your place!!) and practical skills and walking/biking along riverbanks.
Ellen is right: healing is largely about getting down to basics. Which brings us back to the question of reality (what could be more basic?) and how on earth a cybernetic hallucination could bring us closer to it.
Reality isn’t a place so much as a relationship, or an attitude that each one of us can take toward what’s around us. In my experience, it’s a mixture of calm and curiosity, a kind of lilting interest. It welcomes and enjoys pleasure, but doesn’t obsess over it. It recognizes and honors pain, but doesn’t demonize it. This orientation reflects reality not because it’s one-dimensionally true, but because it allows us to see what’s really going on.
Now, what’s really going on includes, as we know:
- things more important than photos of what yours truly is having for breakfast
Again, this blog isn’t about acting on these Big Things. Nope. But it is about small-r reality: trying to pay attention. Joyful attention. To the things that happen offline. And as a warm, friendly space dedicated to embracing ordinary wonders, I hope it can help restore us for whatever struggles we undertake.
A list. A hallucinatory diary of genuine gratitude. A different spin on the reality-based community.
Wow! Just discovered your blog thanks to a post from flip flopping joy and I’m so very happy I have. Thank you for sharing. It’s delightful!
Well I’m so very happy you’re here! Thanks for saying hey!