The proposed topic for this discussion is “agency or being?”.

Elene Rakviashvili Where You Belong 2010


This gathering will take advantage of the welcoming space created in Ari Fish‘s upcoming High Seas Low Planes installation at La Esquina to think about ways of responding to and initiating change. If you have suggestions for short readings on either of these “positions” please submit them here. The final reading choices, if any, will be sent out to all participants in mid February, to leave time for completing the reading before the gathering on Saturday March 3. The group will meet from 11 AM to 12.30 PM. If you are not already on the SWALK email list, please leave a message here to receive updates about this conversation.

There are strong arguments to be made for actively engaging in creative change, for imagining new futures and then leading or participating in large-scale actions to make these ideas take form as quickly and gracefully as possible. Does this commitment include resisting change as well, if this runs counter to one’s vision? How do we derive the moral certainty required to persist in the face of resistance? Is the passion of an “opponent” in a struggle for change of any value? Does the struggle itself engender more resistance and slow the process of change?

In contrast, might there be persuasive value in a more responsive, local pattern of life, that relies on setting an example, modeling magnetic alternatives, practicing a peaceful attention to changing conditions and adopting adaptive personal strategies? Is resisting change futile? Is it better to deflect force or resistance by yielding to it and transforming the energy into something new? Is this a practical strategy for a contemporary world deep in many troubles? Is there time for depth any more?

Might these ways of being interact, and provide a vital alternative to apathy or obedience? If so, what might such a hybrid look like in a model of personal and collective decision-making or governance?
Please bring your thoughts and experiences, and let’s talk together!