May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Saturday, July 2, 2005


Confessions of a penny-planter (examples of eventuation)

When I was younger, and sometimes even now, I'd plant pennies or other coins (only rarely quarters when I was feeling generous) in places where it'd be apparent that somebody left them there, for others to pick them up.

Sometimes, I'd leave them in a small stack, or in a pattern.

Why? At first my basic drug-addled thinking was to send a simple message to people that there were folks like me who do things like that.

Now to me it seems like a simple and perfect example of eventuation. Eventuation is a word to describe a concept from the Hopi's, a people native to what is now the the Southwest United States. As I understand it, nothing "just happens" but first seeds must be planted for it to happen. What exists now needs time to come into existence. Sometimes the process of eventuating an action or condition takes only a few seconds, as an impulse action, but larger, more complex systems can require decades to come into existence, and in extremely far-reaching causes, several centuries.

Some examples:
  • Plant a seed in the ground, and if it gets water and the ground is right, a plant will grow.

  • Start a meme about an idea and it may spread to others, changing the way they think, or the arena of thought in which they participate.

  • Start a software company, develop an operating system and market it. Gain money and influence.

  • Tell people you're interested in being mayor. A friend says to start out as an alder. Maybe you will get voted in, and become popular enough citywide to be mayor.

  • Pass a note to a girl you like. Maybe you'll hold hands, or get rejected. Or get married one day.

  • Drink a lot of alcohol in the evening, without taking aspirin or drinking water before sleeping. Hangover in the morning.

  • Put a penny on some ledge, or balanced on a mailbox. Someone finds it and may wonder who put it there and why.

  • To some, this pattern is not much different than simple cause and effect, but what I take away from it is that everything that exists now exists because something in the past set it in motion. And everything that will exist in the future will be because of seeds planted now.

    In the beautiful words of Lou Reed, "You're going to reap just what you sow."

    If that statement scares you, or seems offensive, step back a moment. The first time I heard it, I was a bit taken aback by it. But really, if I felt that way, it was probably because I felt I was being accused of planting bad seeds. I've done some bad things in my time, but lately I've tried to be as kind as I can without being a marshmallow. Now when I hear these words of Lou, I am a bit more comfortable with them.

    Over and out,

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