102.  Wandering between Lao-tzu and the stars, it is difficult to grasp the immediacy of the future and the crisis of our choices about it.

        Our industrial technologies are even now undergoing transformation, but in a distorted Way. Already demand and manufacture are highly rationalized and integrated, and labor freed. But the hallelujas are premature, for the greeds of power and profit outlaw Golem's development in ways that would mean his control by those whose production he reflects. Still, given present trends, in twenty years all but the poor of Amerika will be employing an apparatus that makes mechanically possible a system of direct participation in political decision and radically-decentralized education. The struggle between the freeing and the imprisoning uses of this apparatus will be tremendous, and crucial to our further development. It will determine the uses of the cyber-automation of our industry. which will take another twenty years, and of the human energies freed by this transformation.

        Twenty years; forty years. This century's examples of nations hell-bent on industrialization suggest that, if we chose, these conditions could be extended universally in forty and sixty years. At this point there will be no functional necessity for the human city -- think that one over -- and non-urban civilization will become possible. (18)

        103.  Build something; indwell in it; express the experience. An exercise in the tao of doing and resting, of creation and reception, of material and non-material work, of need and art. An experiment in the technology of writing. I had a paper due for a conference, and the kid needed a nursery first. I spent most of my weeks of building just sitting around among its incomplete structure, mind as blank as the Fool on the Hill. And then sat down under the butterfly, to have this come out: umpteen struts and a thin skin pieced of individual triangles which make a common chord of colors, not built like the standard house of an essay. Dear me, how Form does move within.

        And other things as well, as I realize when I ask myself why so many words awkwardly striving for some coherent perspective should come out from me now, on this subject, in this time. And the phenomenon of media-intervention in thought, most familiar to acid-heads, comes in the form of a story in this morning's paper. It gives the first clear picture of upsurgent crisis in the technocratic ranks. Twenty years of radical overproduction have now run head-on into the cutback in aero-space programs, etc., caused by public reaction to the Military State. Elite unemployment is ten per cent and rapidly rising, bitterly discontented. The article predicts its energies will focus on the ecology movement and social reform, goes on to talk about how the cities are all fucked up, need change ... On the front page of my family paper, no less.

        Me myself, when I left the technological priesthood, I figured it would take at least a decade for me to seriously begin to try to recover for reuse the outer edge of the skills in which I'd been trained. I think every person who was raised inside the System and trained in specialized skills, and who has chosen to bolt role and move for freedom, faces this problem, of how to reconvert his or her portion of the skills of the old Yang culture for liberating use, rather than just abandoning them (and a large part of the self) in flight, through seeing no way of using them without being involved in their whole original context. (But first the skills we were denied must be slowly learned as foundation.)

        Half of my decade has passed now. In the presence of my newborn son and the dome, and at a time of trying to understand how to enter the future, through these notes my being comes together a first stage on this, and I begin the turn-over for re-entry, right on schedule. I wonder where and how I will accomplish it: playing in the cat-tail ecology of some pond we know with the other children, or mixing thermite and building electronic jamming devices in a ghetto underground bunker. At the moment, both images seem pretty strong.

Postscript, 2008

        If that ending seems dramatic, it was for good reason: the date was autumn 1970, and the context and my mood may be read at

        Thankfully, the pond won.  After taking my son there in infancy, I brought it with me as I followed him into pre-school, beginning a twenty-nine year career of teaching natural science to children.

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