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A Sea Change
Since starting this blog in July 2009 I've posted 436 essays for a total of well over 500,000 words. Over the past year and a half the frequency of posting has dropped off. While this is not an announcement of an end to this blog I do find it's time to let you all know that I am still writing and that the focus and primary outlets for my writing have changed.
From its inception Horizons of Significance has been one person's attempts to make sense of the great upheaval of our time. It has, as its name states clearly, focused on scanning our horizon and seeking to find hints of what its portents might bode; what they might mean. Over time this has become both harder to achieve and also, perhaps, less important. It's become harder to trust what is presented to us in an age of an increasing and metastasizing manipulation of information. Propaganda has come a long way. The tools available and the sheer quantity of allied and competing actors toiling ceaselessly to destroy any possibility of a clear signal getting through any of an array of proliferating media has meant that, as is hidden in plain sight in the babbling of the MAGA cult, "FourD Chess is being played!" It's just that it's not their pitiful, fearless leader who's playing it.
In this climate, it's as if a fog has descended. The horizon has been obscured. It has increasingly become more and more difficult to distinguish what might actually be out there and what is being pushed on us. Even more alarming is the way this environment has not brought on any prudential slowing of the Juggernaut, steaming headlong into unsure waters. All parties in the manipulation of perception and the battle for control have been escalating their efforts. The less we can see of what's coming the harder they press on.
This clouding of perception does not mean that it is impossible to tell what's coming in its broader strokes. All of the trends of the last decade, of the last century, of the last four or five millennia, are intensifying. The battle of the willfully blind against their worst fears has only gotten more strident, more dangerous. The outcome is, if anything, more certain. This will not, is not, ending well.
What is no longer feasible is to continue to peer into this fog, this barrage-cloud of meta-misinformation, and write about what is found there. It is not only more difficult – more and more time and effort spent on decoding the influences subverting this or that perceived situation – it has also become less and less useful.
Looking out at the horizon and sounding warnings of what's coming is only of use so long as there is time to change direction. If our last clear-ish view showed disaster dead ahead and there has not been any change in course since, only a dogged insistence on speeding up, then the need for a lookout stops being a primary concern.
This, in hindsight, appears to be a major force in why I've found it so much harder to write here.
But I have not stopped writing. I have been giving much more of my attention to my painting practice – a practice, it's never been a career – but I have been writing and find that the pace of writing has sped up again. It's just that the outlet for it has changed.
Most of you are aware of my primary site, Antonio Dias. In the past this has been more of an online "CV" than a place to look for my essays. This has changed. It has felt useful to strip back a layer and make a more immediate connection between the place where I hang my virtual signpost and where I place what the internet euphemistically calls, my content.
It may seem quaint today, but I do feel it is worth noting that ten years ago it was considered quite fringe, really off the edge of the known world, to bring up the kinds of subjects and to talk about them in the way I was doing here. Until I discovered the Dark Mountain Manifesto and went to their first festival in Wales in 2010 I felt an almost complete isolation in my need to raise the kind of questions so well delineated by the question Kingsnorth and Hine raised at that time, "What do we do when we stop pretending?"
I still had fantasies of putting together some sort of a career then. It just felt necessary to put a bit of distance between what was driving me to write here and the public gateway to my profile. This is no longer the case.
So, if you have found any of what I've written here worthwhile and if you would like to read more I would recommend that you follow my home site.
While I've got your attention I'd also like to ask you to take a look at a new site, Navigating the Tangible. It began as an attempt to find a home away from WordPress over at Medium. I never did warm up to Medium as a place for the kind of web presence I'm interested in maintaining and its recent evolution into a pay-walled enclosure has confirmed my suspicions. For better or worse I still find WordPress to be the least evil of all the value-extractors making money off unpaid content providers. What's "free" here is not free, but it is not as constrained as it appears to be elsewhere.
I moved Navigating the Tangible to its present location a few months ago, working on it privately since then. I've recently gone public. I feel that it might be a better fit for the kind of writing I am finding myself compelled to offer. Its format and title, and its tagline, "a particular anthology," more directly convey the aim and thrust of what appears to be most useful in our current situation.
If this is no longer a time for warning of impending dangers then it is more of a time for illuminating what can be done where we find ourselves to be. Navigating the Tangible combines two major thrusts of my lifelong approach. I've always been drawn to the value of navigation. There is a substantial difference between being led by the nose and finding one's path. Unless we practice navigation we are at the whim of whoever can trick us into herding us where they want to take us.
I've always found a need to touch what is out there; a need to engage with the tangible. I've always felt that "realism" and being "down-to-earth" had been useful notions hijacked by insane fantasists, claiming that following their monocular vision of life, and signing onto their prescriptions and proscriptions of what was and could be acceptable action, was the only possible way forward. As they insist on taking us past the point of no return I feel it is essential to place a counterclaim on the tangible, on what can be felt and touched; what can be a ground for action that is not delusional.
There are a number of posts up on the site. I would like to invite you to follow my writing there.
I cannot say that I will or will not be writing further posts here. I will keep this site live as long as that is possible. It can still function in its other capacity; as a record of what it has been like to be alive during this past decade.
Thank you for your attention.
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