Photo by Candice Seplow
The Atlantic ran an incredible series recently called “Shadowland” on conspiracy thinking in the United States. What a time for this series. I was most taken by the piece Adrienne LaFrance wrote on QAnon, which ends like this:
QAnon is emblematic of modern America’s susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and its enthusiasm for them. But it is also already much more than a loose collection of conspiracy-minded chat-room inhabitants. It is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.
This photo should have been a few weeks ago in Fun with Sound, but it’s too cool to leave on the editing floor. The photo is 126 different screen shots of Koala, a sampling and beatmaking app, during its development. It’s the most fun app I have on my phone. Each shot is a different version of its layout, so you can see how it evolved during its development. Below is the final version. If you’re a sucker like me for design, you can read more about the process here.
Rabbit holes are common in the era of online reading; you stumble down one and eventually come back up with some new insights. But occasionally one leads you to a whole world in which you feel immediately in place and might not want to come back from. That’s what recently happened to me with sociocracy.
The intention of sociocracy was to design a set of governance tools that would give groups a chance to self-organize in a fractal way, inspired by natural systems. It balances the desire to move forward towards the group’s mission with making sure every voice can be heard in the process.
I’m a protocol connoisseur of sorts – one who believes that the right set of constraints for a group is one of the best ways to honor their time, talent, and simply get shit done in unexhausting ways. Sociocracy seems like a useful system for these tasks. So far, it’s one of those discoveries that has me saying, “How are so many people a part of this practice and I am just finding out?”
I am especially moved by consent-based decision making, opposed to voting, authority, and even consensus. From this useful introduction to sociocracy:
Consenting to a proposal means: “I have no objection to this proposal and I am willing to collaborate with the other circle members to put this policy in place.” Having ‘no objection’ does not mean that you think that this is the best solution possible or imaginable or that it ticks all the boxes that are important to you. It means that this proposal is ‘good enough’ to be put in place for now until it is reviewed, revised and changed.
The back porch is coming together for summer. And with the change of season, this weekly newsletter might change to every-other-week. We’ll see, but heads up just in case.
Reading: Making my way through Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi. The book’s jacket describes it as:
…a chronicle of one of the most dynamic experiments in radical social transformation in the United States. The book documents the ongoing organizing and institution building of the political forces concentrated in Jackson, Mississippi dedicated to advancing the “Jackson-Kush Plan”.
Jackson Rising documents the history of this movement, its contributions towards the radical transformation of the United States, and its political implications for social movements throughout the United States, the global South and the world.
Writing: A short “personal statement” for a public engagement fellowship application. Nothing at all profound in these 200 words, but they did lead me to represent how so many activities across my spheres connect.
Listening: A pass through Black Thought’s solo EPs, Streams of Thought.