01 // Not Deep Enough for an Intro

What happens when you realize you don't know, what you don't know?

August of 2018 was not a great month. I was drowning. Starting a fellowship, adjusting to a rather tumultuous series of events, and overwhelmed with ideas, insecurities. I had too many tabs open in my mind. Plus, there was In a binge to take my mind away from the pressure, I went on an aggressive reading binge, and tripped into a quote that has humbled me repeatedly and changed how I work:

you do not understand a model, map, or reduction unless you understand and respect its limitations. We must always be vigilant by stepping back to understand the context in which a map is useful, and where the cliffs might lie.

The Map is Not The Territory, Farnam Street

Too often, we find things to extract from, instead of simply honoring them. We touch them in passing, but we might not see them. We are only as close to believing in our own ideas and having the courage to explore them, as the nearest space we have to explore that.

When you drag your mind across and through things, you hit bumps. Ideas you hadn’t uncovered, theoretical frameworks that challenge beliefs. It is in that tension,a crucible of your own making, that sets the stage for creativity that is unleashed into you and through you. It is a magnificent terror and even better when you see it happen to and for other people. The maps we have and the terrain we traverse are always going to be different. The geology changes the more we regain our curiosity that we thought we had to give up to be good enough. The irony of childhood is that the things you thought you needed to graduate from, become critical to your sanity as you age.

Throughout the last year, I started seeing myself stretch across topics and apply different patterns to questions I’ve had, and the ensuing struggle that comes when you say I don’t know enough times that it loses its shame, and reappears as power. You don’t always get clarity, but you do get depth. I’m terrified of losing that examination I rediscovered over the past year, so this me holding myself accountable to more of that, more consistently, as I learn dance in other disciplines and practice in public.

The arduous process of displaying thoughts via words and laboring over their construction, and the ideas that they bring to life, is a joy. I love it, even the excruciating parts of it. Especially the excruciating parts.

That’s what Map and Terrain is. It’s about about what happens when what you thought, is much different than where you are, and what you’re seeing. The reconciliation isn’t in making it make sense, but it having the courage to evaluate pieces for where they are, and how they got there. I hope it to be record of things that were, that are, and that might be. We hang the art in our lives because of how we think and the ideas we allow to shape us. We can’t be afraid to rearrange the gallery we constructed.

I’ll weave in my own narrative and context where relevant, pull from sources that are varied, nuanced, and outside my scope of immediate knowledge, and to the best of my ability, provoke you to think and reflect. To be academic in rigor, relevant in timing, and, like my mother’s gene pool, age well. I’ll start with a question, and rarely, if ever, end with an answer. I’ll scratch, struggle, claw and otherwise fumble through things and ask deeper questions. If it scares me, it’ll show up here.

The writings will be long form, as life doesn’t happen in snippets, and I have no interest in being palatable. I’d rather be honest. You’re big smart, so you can handle it. Expect an email bi-weekly, on Sundays.

We have much to talk about.

Jonathan