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Meta Is about transcending and including.


Process/product. Even a relatively small project of mine takes two or three months from start to finish. There is a brief beginning portion, then a very long middle portion followed by another brief ending portion.

The beginning is where I am now (8/22/18) in my current work (which shall remain nameless until the guessing game is over). During the beginning phase I have to count carefully to place the first stitches. Their location becomes a reference for future stitches, so I am especially careful because I know how an error ripples into the future.



A king once asked his wise advisor, "I understand we walk upon the Earth, but what holds the Earth up?"

The advisor replied, "Your highness, the Earth rests on the back of an elephant."

The next day the king asked, "I understand the world rests on the back of an elephant, but what holds the elephant up?"

The advisor replied, "Your highness, the elephant stands on the back of a tiger."

The following day the king asked, "I understand the elephant stands on the back of a tiger, but what holds the tiger up?"

The advisor replied, "Your highness, the tiger stands on the back of a turtle."

Before the king could ask again the advisor said, "And it's turtles all the way down."


The Long Game

Stitching a picture takes a long time. I find I can do two or three hundred stitches a day. Some days I may do twice that, but my long-term daily average is close to 250. I like working 180 x 180 size pieces. That's 32,400 stitches. I can count on a project of that size taking about 130 days to complete.

As I stitch, the picture emerges. When I start I'm adding stitches to a blank canvas. The first stitch represents 100% of the completed stitches on the canvas. It's very easy to see the change in the canvas from having no stitches to having one stitch. The second and third stitches make similarly obvious changes in the canvas. As the number of stitches increases, it becomes more difficult to detect the change any particular stitch makes to the canvas. When I am in the middle of a project I often cannot see any progress after adding dozens of stitches.

Nearing the end of a project a similar phenomenon occurs. As the canvas fills with stitches, there remain fewer and fewer "empty cells." An individual stitch accounts for about .003% of the total picture, but when I'm down to the last few hundred, each stitch accounts for a much higher percentage of the stitches remaining, and it becomes easy again to see the change in the canvas that a handful of stitches makes. This gives a feeling of making faster progress.



I like to pay attention to details of speech and expression. I don't remember who said it. I don't remember what was being discussed. I remember the misspeak. Symbolence.

I think the speaker probably intended "semblance," but she said (or I heard) "symbolence." I immediately purchased the domain name.

Why do I like symbolence? It is a word that describes a common feature of many of my interests. Music is symbolic (at least written music is unambiguously symbolic). Astrology is symbolic. Electronics is symbolic. Computer programming is symbolic. If we take the Webster's definition of the -ence suffix (instance of an action or process) each of those areas can be thought of as a symbolence. That is, an instance of an action or process that is symbolic.



In 1976 I moved next door to an astrologer. I asked her how she could believe in such superstitious nonsense? She asked me what I knew about astrology? I realized that I knew nothing about astrology. She gave me two books: Moore and Douglas, "Astrology: the Divine Art" and Dane Rudhyar, "The Astrology of Personality." Reading those books gave me the knowledge necessary to make an informed opinion about astrology.

My initial impulse to label astrology as superstitious nonsense was born out of ignorance. I had heard astrology described as "pseudo science" by smart people. I had also heard fantastic claims by astrologers that were clearly ridiculous. I consider myself a trained scientist. Those books gave me the perspective I needed to take advantage of the good things astrology has to offer without losing my ability to make rational choices.

Aside: When I encounter scientists or folks who think scientifically, I find myself feeling defensive about my activities around astrology. I worry that people will think I "believe" in astrology. I definitely do not believe in astrology. (In fact, I sort of wish I COULD believe.) The parallel I like is Hamlet. Shakespeare's play is worth knowing. There's lots of wisdom in that play, but I wouldn't say that I "believe' in Hamlet.

Astrology is worth knowing. There's lots of wisdom in astrology, but I wouldn't say that I "believe" in astrology.


What I'm going to tell you

The three steps to successful communicating:

1. Tell them what you're going to tell them
2. Tell them
3. Tell them what you told them

I have a wide range of interests. I'm a performer, an engineer, an artist, a philosopher, a scientist, an astrologer.*

* More to be written about that