Nonlinearities and change and travel and mountains and moving and the ocean
I recently read an article by Rachel Nuwer that described how western civilization could be coming to an end. The article made reference to an increase in “nonlinearities.”
…another sign that we’re entering into a danger zone, Homer-Dixon says, is the increasing occurrence of what experts call nonlinearities, or sudden, unexpected changes in the world’s order, such as the 2008 economic crisis, the rise of ISIS, Brexit, or Donald Trump’s election.
The concept of a nonlinearity resonates with me, or haunts me. Especially their increasing. Events — noun or verb — that are nonlinearities toe that roller-coaster spot: they’re terrifying, they’re exciting, they seem dangerous, they’re hard to understand (read perhaps as “difficult to describe”).
To segue poorly: we’ve been traveling for the past two weeks or so. First we spent a few days in Washington DC, followed by ten days in Denver, CO. We’ve had a blast, and it’s been exhausting.
A few weeks ago my parents told us that they’re moving to Denver within the next month or two. We’ve been toying with the idea of moving off the island ourselves, so we figured we’d join them on this trip to explore Denver. It is neat, the mountains are gorgeous, but we’re going to be sticking to Maine for the time being.
…but not MDI. We’ve decided to move to Portland!
…and we’ve sold our house (which is an interesting thing to do while traveling).
Times are changing. We’re excited. We’re scared, or perhaps, trepidatious?
Hard left back into nonlinearities! :boom:
While in DC we celebrated Passover, attending a great seder hosted by a dear friend and her family. It was an amazing seder. Avi was a champion (his second seder!), the food was great, and, most notably, the mid-service discussion was phenomenal. The entire group, made up of young and old, jews and non-jews, had one of those conversations that will stay with me for the rest of my life. In the midst of this grape-juice-stained, matzah-crumb-laden conversation we spoke about paradox. We spoke about how it is difficult to carry paradox. Generally speaking (which is to say “speaking in generalities” aka ignoring vast swaths of reality), we struggle to carry paradox. Black or white is easier than a spectrum :rainbow:
Yes or no
Stay or leave
Left or right
I wonder if nonlinearities are dangerous to the status quo because of a general inability to live with paradox? If we could carry paradox — either and or, neither and both — would nonlinearities be tripped up?
The follow up to that question is how do we get better at living with and accepting paradox?
I don’t actually have a clue, but like many things I’m willing to wager that the answer “is read more fiction,” my go-to answer for a whole lot of things — potentially colored by my desire to read more fiction.