It is best to value both presence and money, and prioritize one or the other depending on circumstances. But it is tempting to create an identity around willingness to sacrifice one for the other, and let it calcify.
Ok, I concluded that escaping into the future/past arbitrage that we facilitate through concepts like money, and letting the uniquely present moment consume ans change you, are just two opposing forces that form a balance in the human organism. The human story ends if either prevails to the death of the other.
Clods value "money" over "presence".
Snowflakes value "presence" over "money".
Parking is more than going somewhere to do something. It is also being somewhere and experiencing something. Endless parking lots give the illusion that you can go anywhere and do anything, just like endless money does. But really it means what you have to do is park in the parking lots, and spend the money.
I get that pursuit of beauty is an endless [time=money] sink, and people are only motivated to invest if they have enough expectation of reward. But I think Strong Towns has a very good point with We Forbid What We Value Most, that the values underlying the way we use space do not actually maximize value.
I think current practice prioritizes the countable but merely potential value of money over the presently exercised and immeasurable value of having a good time right where you are.
Lots and garages aren't places to be; they're just places to pass through. So we design them to require the barest amount of attention.
I wonder how the world would seem different when everywhere felt worth the ongoing effort it takes to make it a place to be. If what was happening here now mattered so much that saving time and effort to use on something better at a later date began to lose its appeal.
We don't do things that way if there's money to avoid it, because it requires more ongoing work and expense to maintain. But the consequence of the way we do things now is endless asphalt wastelands, where nobody has enough energy to spare for making the spaces feel like home. Our aesthetic budgets are stretched too thin. Parking is an aesthetic void.
I feel like our habits for using space have gone to the extreme of single-use specialization. It makes some sense, because a perfectly specialized place has a minimum of maintenance and complication. But I wonder if swinging back the other direction might be worth it. Solutions like parks where the rules change to allow car parking sometimes, even if the grass needs help recovering; or multi-story "parking" structures that spend much of their time as gymnasiums and skating rinks.
Obviously it's dumb to have vast seas of asphalt everywhere that's only near capacity a few weeks out of the year. But cars don't actually have to be parked on asphalt. The lighter the traffic, the more freedom there is for the parking surface design.
They advise activism like documenting empty parking spaces to counteract claims of inadequate parking, which they say are usually people from surrounding areas who only come into the city for special events that draw crowds. They act as if inadequate parking at peak times is no big deal.
That bothers me because in my experience, event parking is just as important as everyday parking. Lots of places have massive annual events, like graduations, fairs, festivals, rodeos, races, ball games, etc.
Came across an interesting website today, Strong Towns. It's about getting rid of parking minimums in US land use codes.
This article sums up their position - We Forbid What We Value Most https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/11/20/we-forbid-what-we-value-most
Cat sadness Show more
I took this picture of the real Bert today. He is doing the thing he does when I am too busy for him. Slumped near a surrogate object that reminds him of me, like my backpack or laptop (or in this case garden tool), and crying plaintively. I took the picture, and it struck me how similar our relationship strategies are. I basically do the same thing, as if I couldn't think of anything better. Like, I used to wear my ex's coat and stare at them crying while they read a book. Samesame.
Exceedingly rare to find a talk about programming that draws on both Christopher Alexander and James C. Scott, two authors that I keep coming back to myself.
Even better that it uses them to explain why the Design Patterns failed, something that I also feeled but couldn't really put my finger on—I always thought this is just a silly thing that Java people do—and how they could be better.
To truly learn, one must seek contexts allowing for tight enough iteration cycles that the momentum from one attempt can carry into the next.
There's a saying that we learn more from failure than success. I am now convinced that this is only half true. We learn most from a context where one can start with failure, then iterate until achieving success. Without a tight enough iteration cycle, one can easily repeat the failure pattern over and over again, re-discovering the same beginner's insight each time.
Pain Show more
The saddest thing about my life is how my society values me so much as a consumer that there is zero external pressure to produce. All actions I take beyond eating and shitting are 100% optional. My livelihood is so secure that I would need to expend incredible effort to die. Exploration can only have a potentially negative impact on my chances of survival. In the absence of any need to exert myself in self-preservation, I flail wildly, fundamentally confused about who or what I flail for.
Social strategy Show more
My dominant social strategy is to babble uncontrollably and then regret everything (which in anxiety treatment lingo is called post-processing). I think I subconsciously cultivate this pattern of behavior because it minimizes personal culpability for the consequences of my choices. By proactively compromising my informational position, I can circumscribe future possibilities; I can also insulate myself from uncomfortable contempt for others, because I gave them the upper hand.
"...a 1.2 MW community solar garden where researchers will study how best to grow crops underneath solar panels... NREL and other researchers will study how vegetation under our solar panels can create microclimates that improve [their] efficiency...
A large pollinator habitat will be established around our solar garden to provide more forage for local bees."
(This is in Boulder, CO). Very cool!
for those wondering how to establish trade relations with crows:
- feed crows food A regularly
- when crows decide to bring you gifts, feed them food B
- when crows bring you different categories of gifts, feed them a food-per-category, ex: food C for jewelry, food D for paper money, etc
- crows will recognize these exchange patterns and opt to bring you things in order to acquire desired treats
good luck! 🐦
Car people can only make friends with other car people. If you stray from the pact too much, you start to feel bad about how mean your car makes you, and you feel annoying urges to expend optional energy looking for a different way to live.
Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin.
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