In the Garden

In the Garden
Leica Q2 Monochrom

A very simple image with minimal manipulation. I’m using some constraints like sticking with the Q2 Monochrom and images in the autumn garden. I’m not spending dedicated time to capture images and processing is casual, so this seems to be a way to be a bit more consistent.

Steering the Horse from the Chariot

The metaphor of horse and rider is an ancient way of understanding the relationship of mind to body. Our control is at best partial, influencing the animal we inhabit. The metaphor is dualist of course, seeing the mind and the body as separable entities.

We now understand of course that awareness itself arises from the brain itself, intimately tied into signals coming both from the environment and from within our own bodies. Those physical appetites and values we assign to the world pull brain function in their determined direction as brain control systems do their best to steer toward goals valued in more abstracted models of how the world works. Food, shelter, stability are basic desires, but we know based on social models that a fat bank account can be used to obtain them if some immediate gratification is delayed for a future gain.

I’m working my way through the classic Jewish book “Nefesh HaChaim” (“Living Soul”) by Reb Chaim of Volozhin published after his death in 1824. In a bit of a twist on the classic horse and rider metaphor, Reb Chaim likens the body and mind to a horse and chariot. It struck me that while it evokes a deeper separation of body and mind, it captures well how the body is physically under indirect control, being steered by the man in the chariot and not under the kind of direct control we imagine. The charioteer says go and we hope gets pulled in the right direction by the horse. There’s some steering and ability to stop, but not much more than that. The brain executes behaviors in the way the horse pulls the chariot. Awareness can influence but rarely control.

The limitations of awareness and agency are truly profound. We’re operating under assumptions of control that are not very accurate when tested. As choice is so limited, the emphasis has to be on training the horse rather than somehow trying to gain more control over it, an effort that seems destined to fail.

Amazing how easy it is to reconstruct a social network on a new platform starting with a few well chosen individuals as starting nodes.

Honestly, I wish I understood what Doctorow really means here:

Online, a lot of us have been unhappy with our social media platforms for a long time, but we hang in there, year after year, scandal after scandal, because as much as we hate the platform, we love the people who use the platform. We don’t leave because we don’t want to lose them. They don’t leave because they don’t want to lose us. It’s a hostage situation, and we’re all holding each other hostage. Collective action problems are hard problems.

_ – How to Leave Dying Social Media Platforms | by Cory Doctorow | Oct, 2022 | Medium

He’s right that we’re locked in because the information is available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not just friends, but services and news. I’d like to leave, but see no alternative.

Somehow, I think, he wants the services to open to outside syndication. Interoperate with a broad set of platforms. Doctorow broadcasts his work from multiple platforms, but I’m out here on what they call the indie web just writing. I stopped the Twitter and Instagram cross posts. It was a nuisance and just feeds their lock in.

We’ve seen social media platforms die or migrate away from their original audience. Flickr of course comes to mind. Odds are that we’ll just see a new platform emerge, like Instagram did to accommodate photographers who left Flickr for the new style of promotion. Now that Instagram has changed, I haven’t seen where these photographers are going. Not their own websites and to no other platform. It’s just become kind of moribund with fewer interesting photographs to see. Either that or Instagram has decided to fill my feed with posts that are more viral or financially lucrative.

Looking for answers, but see my only recourse as my own site and RSS feeds.

One of the advantages of photography as an artistic practice that it requires engaging with the physical or social environment


Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area

The Q2 Monochrom on a rehab walk.

I’m 5 months out from my bike crash and C2 fracture followed by a cervical. Off the bike outdoors, so walking an hour a day became a habit to supplement my indoor bike trainer rides.

Sadly, I wanted to be unburdened by camera, so there a few captures from over the summer. Not sure where this is going, but I’m now looking for full frame subjects as a new project.