online: 25 may 2003
modified: 24, 25, 27 may 2003 11 june 2005

23 may 2003 tragedy averted:

introduction to the electric book part 2

After describing my aims and difficulties to someone, I walked in this city forest thinking of the apparent failure of design methods and design research (and other new meta-processes) to make much difference to industrial living and that a cultural explosion is needed to overcome the resistance... we need to redesign our culture... or do we have the time or patience to await the slow historic/evolutionary changes of actuality that can be so surprising?... and do we have any choice?

and after that

and after reading Goethe's introductory summary of his as yet unwritten Faust part 2

I felt I was beginning

to see a way,

at least for my own writings...

...and as I passed the seat in memory of Meta Dachinger, artist, I decided to sit there to write an outline of the

introduction to the electric book, part 2
[rescue of a half-abandoned book and perhaps a breakthrough]

in which Utopia, Numeroso, Unesco and the others in the symposium of Utopia (the first three of whom preceded the electric book) discover and join with its characters on the second earth j-921 to realise their quest... as they explore softopia (as media, and as is on earth, and as this website)

j-921 can now become also the place where 'failed' pioneers like William Morris, Buckminster Fuller, Ivan Illich, Charles and Ray Eames, (and the writer) can realise their visions ... also even Karl Marx, V I Lenin, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler (if there is any good in them) ...And perhaps also or some of the celebrated Greeks and Romans, and Jesus Christ, and the Romantics (and certainly such writers as Henry James, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Gertrude Stein and many others, some imaginary, ...who are already in the electric book part 1)... (and I tremble at the presence of some of them, or us).

This page is a platform or gateway, portal, myth and time capsule for others to realise this writing on the future (as internet 2!)...

...No it is not a plan to be realised but a change or extension to the myth of mechanized work and culture so as to make us capable of evolving beyond our mechanised selves (beyond the money work system, the mind-shrinking tragedy of mechanisation, perhaps irreversible) - and in ways unimaginable and unconsciously resisted at present... (and now I hear the distant but still strong voice of Nikolai Chernyshevsky shouting What Is to Be Done?*... what is to be done?...)

[I'm feeling happy now, as I did when making earlier designs or theories at special moments like this. Yes this is surely the way, or the moment!]

(is it possible for this to become a play, fiction, or such, as did the artificial church**? ... yes! what is still abstract theory can become an envisaged world, capable of being imagined, inhabited, but with changing perceptions I hope)

[and somehow I must scale it physically to the easy flow of the digital diary and limit these large visions to text only... or it will not get done]

I look up and see just one hole in grey cloud cover and sunlit white cloud and blue sky beyond... while crows caw and insects explore and a sudden gust of wind bends the trees and the traffic plane flies over to report on the daily folly of congestion and commuting. leaves appear everywhere fed by rains and by sunlight. These and all this and all of us are the ingredients of what can come of both evolution and history, nature and people, the world as it is and as it's secretly becoming unbeknown to any mind or god or supernature.

God bless us everyone*** say the unbelievers.

A pet dog chases a crow and its owner shouts No! and continues walking slowly and steadily with several other dogs, most obedient. The dog that chased the crow obeys and then disobeys and the owner shouts at it once again and then she shouts no more...

The writer looks at his watch and risks moving now, fairly confident that this page is the missing connection, the entrance to a new watershed that until now was inaccessible, unknown, or unimagined...and that these few paragraphs are enough to bring about what he is seeking... if he can find the requisite modesty, and touch...

...and as he walks by the ancient burial mound (perhaps of Boadicea now called Boudica - or Buddug which is her Welsh name) along the ice-age moraine and over the horizon he sees this city of many buildings and cranes and tall towers filling the plain to the hills on the other side of the valley... A few people pass by and stop to look at this inexplicable sight of millions of homes and workplaces and entertainments and what not, and now two of them pose for a photograph of a small boy standing on a seat by his mother with the city as background - a dwelling place of all evil, all goodness, and so much that may never be so labelled by or known to any single mind... a place of freedom in the raw.

It's very windy up here says another small boy. And now there is a loud and sharp explosion - is it a gun or a bomb or a firework?- the writer saw a headline today warning of terrorist attacks at any moment - but he guesses it was a firework and that all this is history whatever happens, even the greenness of the grass and the colour of our shoes, if we have any, the six or seven billion of us (multiplied by two feet)... Yes it's windy up here above the city and we cannot see it all.

In the train. He was shocked by the sight of graffitists in action and none of us doing anything to stop or question their writing or scrawling on the interior surfaces... and then, on reflection, he began seeing what they do as a sign of the anger, the aggressive reaction against centralised power, of these political artists acting illegally (and in disrespect of 'everyone')... he sees them now as silent but visible parts of the changes that are about us, like them or not... this is our train and our world and theirs too - but none of us feels it perhaps, though we're all people, some angrier and braver than others... as they mark and claim territory and presence in the public world that all of us provide and design and accept or consume in our specialised ways and through the money box and the ballot box but perhaps not as ourselves, our whole minds.

to: electric book part 2

*Nikolai Chernyshevsky, What Is to Be Done?, 1863 translated by Michael R Katz, annotated by William G Wagner, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London 1989.
...the most subversive and revolutionary work of nineteenth-century Russian literature... (William G Wagner, page 23)

...a literary utopia that makes ... use of metaliterary techniques to implicate its readers... (Gary Saul Morson, page 30)

**ARCH, the artificial church', an essay which became a play, in Notes and plays,Spectacular Diseases, c/o Paul Green, 83(b) London Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE2 9BS, UK, 1998, pages 75-89.

***I remember John Cage saying this in one of his performnces but I can't remember which.

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© 2003 john chris jones

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