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Of Coffee Shop Culture and Spreading Ideas - Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist
abmann
abmann
Of Coffee Shop Culture and Spreading Ideas

I feel like I’m missing something in my life as my Internet presence diminishes – or as I descend into curmudgeonly old-man crapulence. I used to be more engaged with online communities like LJ, Flickr and the like. Not just in the blogging about stuff but actively interacting in communities and discussions and photography challenges. But as life does its life-y thing, I spend less and less time online. Which, of course, reduces the discussion, collaboration and general mind expanding thinking in which I have previously engaged.

I’ve contemplating re-engaging in those selfsame communities or finding new ones. When I do, it seems like the rules have changed from before. Namely, there is no discourse, no enlightened criticism, no intent to help you improve. Rather, I get a Like or a +1 or, in the case we’re talking self portraiture, a “ur so hot!” Otherwise, total silence.

I suppose I blame Facebook and the ubiquity of the Like button which has turned of the internet’s collective brain. People seemingly turn to the Internet for validation and not growth in anything. I’m finding it harder to find people interested in understanding why they like something, why they want to hit that button. Too, if you start engaging people like this, they get so defensive or angry that anyone would dare to critique them their stuff is just fine thankyouverymuch.

I want a small group of interested, dedicated people one to intelligent discourse and philosophical, technical and emotional exploration of things. I’m not just talking about photography and art, but all the things I like and want to get better at in as many respects as possible- art, philosophy, politics, kink, whiskey… What have you. I don’t feel like I’m getting it online anymore or even in the discussion groups I attend- at least, people seem uninterested in talking about the ideas and ideals of these things as a way to become better at them.

I’ve been reading about the spread if ideas, the creative spark and how people grow as artistic entities in the modern world. I found this, a decidedly *un*modern concept that has an echo in today:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_coffeehouses_in_the_sevente…
The Age of Enlighten was born and bred in coffee shops, houses of discourse and free association intended to disseminate news as much as bring ideas together. People used to go to coffee shop for the purpose if meeting with other minds, debating, rubbing ideas together like two sticks to e flame their creativity.

This is the sort if thing I feel I’m missing. The last few years of my personal development has been done in relative isolation. To a degree, introspection aimed at understanding personal motivation, reasoning and intuition is an infinitely useful thing, one that anyone can benefit from. But it is colored by perspective, limited by perspective. I can only fathom how the external world relates to internal concepts. It’s all hypothetical.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to create this sort of thing in my life. @Alyska and I were aiming for this sort if thing with the inaugural Madison Cigar night t that got rather quickly run off the rails by a person eager to jump right to Human Trials before testing at Scale. (note: I hear it went well, I had a migraine). The local Poly Discussion group is good insofar as thy don’t shut down some if the more philosophical chats we have but it otherwise ardently adheres to the topic at hand.

I think next step has to be more direct: get the people I want; choose a topic; set some boundaries; have at. I’m having some trouble finding people interested in more philosophic discussions on the Essence of Why You Do/Like That Thing but I think that will evolve with the right party. I suspect this will work best for some topics like kink, poly, art (in some cases) and similar nebulous concepts. I’m not sure if and how it would work for more practical topics like Shibari, photography, digital art construction and such, things with a physical bent, things that require craft.

Let alone proper venues. I suppose I could drag a Fro if rope people to Drakenbergs to talk technique. But that could get us in trouble.

I’m probably over thinking that last part.

Suffice: I don’t think I can get better at anything on my own nor with a crowd of folks in a room. I have to find the right audience, the right size.

Further consumption:
web.archive.org/web/20091224035829/http://home.att.net/~w…
www.economist.com/node/2281736
www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_fr…

Aside: most if my longer writing has been on the Where Do Ideas Come From perspective. I’m at a sort of crisis in my non-work life trying to figure out What’s Next. If you have something, I’d love to hear about it.

Will.j.r
"Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: sects weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned."
– James Joyce, Ulysses

abmann.net

Originally published at Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist. You can comment here or there.

9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
nidea From: nidea Date: November 13th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I would like to join in. I like the small group atmosphere.
abmann From: abmann Date: November 13th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Duly noted.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: November 13th, 2012 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Personally, I've found that interacting with friends, going out, meeting new people and learning them has helped me. It's harder when you're an introvert, I think... which I can't speak to, so I don't know how much I can actually help. But being social helps me.
abmann From: abmann Date: November 13th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm fine with being out with small groups and say that I've been going out far more lately than I used to.

It's that when I do go out, the nature of the interaction isn't typically what I'm looking for. With the exception of some of the work talk that moocowrich and slashpyro get into (which others dislike) it's not exactly what I'm wanting - though I'm only sort of aware of exactly what I'm seeking.
zesty_pinto From: zesty_pinto Date: November 13th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it weird that I still use LJ as a journal rather than for the exposure like I once thought it was popularized for? The 15 minutes of fame that seems to come and go for everyone on FB seems to strike me as curious but not so much my thing unless I feel a need to advertise.

I honestly don't know why I stopped really putting things into Flickr either. I guess it feels like there's less of a push for people to interact like it used to be.

It's strange that now that I'm even more alone than before, I seem to also feel more social. I wonder if it's the nature of Boston: to go from a place where people could give a flip for people to one where I get greeted by random people on the street from time to time.

Regardless, I still find things to hold to and LJ still remains part of it, at the very least to keep annals of what happened to me along hte way and to archive those ideas into things I know I may look into again.

The problem you are discussing is probably also the reason why I am going to start taking college classes again, or at the very least a writer's workshop. I hate rusting out and I feel like that's what I am doing in some of the things I originally enjoyed.
abmann From: abmann Date: November 13th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Weird? No. Atypical? Probably. So, if you don't use your blog or FB to advertise, how do you (specifically as you seem to have regular jobs) get work these days?

zesty_pinto From: zesty_pinto Date: November 13th, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
These days I've mostly been dependent on word of mouth. It's not much, but around Boston the saturation isn't as bad as NYC and I've already gained something of a reputation from my common exposure to the music scene and what time I spent doing people's interiors.

I know people who advertise via FB and it tends to come off as spammy, which is not my style.
dylsexia From: dylsexia Date: November 13th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with your sentiment. That was what life drawing kind of has been for me. And, especially, good life drawing classes.

There is a sense of community, a sharing of ideas. But mostly it is just pounding charcoal into dust and wasting paper communally.

Maybe you're looking for more of a University campus-style atmosphere in your life?
abmann From: abmann Date: November 13th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know about University - I'm uninterested in lecture for sure, let alone being graded on anything.
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