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5 Walking - Literacy in the landscape of the heart-mind

Here in 5 Walking we’re concerned with the living of the life of an activist. The one who is writing this is a libertarian socialist  . . libertarian embraces a whole lot, there is no sectarianism here but, rather, the opposite: we're concerned here with the #pluriverse of people, and their emotional landscapes; and the literacy of navigating in this space. We’re concerned, first, with the emotional life of the activist whoever they may be and, second, of people generally. Both of these, pivotal concerns of activist political conduct.


This is a fundamental, difficult field of evolutionary #literacy, a critical sector of the #longrevolution. Post-Trump and post-Brexit (I write in 2018) amid fundamentalisms and fervid nationailsms, no-one could underestimate the central contribution that is made in politics by affect, emotion and deeply entrenched formations of Self and Other; by splitting and identification; by (necessary?) fighting and (wise?) embracing; by involuntary movements-towards and movements-away.


This stuff - deeply in the body, forceful, refractory, ceaselessly arising in what the dhamma calls #sankhara, mental formations - is the pivot of wisely or foolishly staying the same and intentionally, carefully, becoming different. We need literacy in these things - and how! This is the deepest challenge of our times.

My sense of what it takes to navigate these things in real-life practice means that along the way we’ll need to look at these four vectors, at least:

  • Affiliation and clinging, selfing and #Othering . . the well of sankhara; dhamma traditions.

  • #Splitting, 'basic assumptions' vs ‘work group’ sensibility in groups, the vernacular handling of counter-transference outside the consulting room, ‘unconditional positive regard’ in everyday life . . the Bion/Tavistock/Klein tradition in psychoanalysis and ‘sociatric’ work; Carl Rogers.

  • Historians’ approaches to socialism, 'a common culture' and sankhara @ Britain mid C20 . . Raymond Williams on capturing & working with structures of feeling (#culturalmaterialism  #longrevolution). Also, EP Thompson on ‘the moral economy of the crowd’ .   an ambivalent, volatile and by no means progressive phenomenon, but critical in the continuing self-making of the working class?

  • The compass of #affect-shame - an aspect of the #negativity_bias of our species’ partially evolved human mind . . the enormously powerful and frequent, defensive and protective, affective process, of disaffiliation, shutting-down, turning-off of appetite and interest . . a fundamental and intrinsic dynamic in human affective machinery which, in modern times, is a root of confusion and havoc, being triggered so frequently in a world of persistent forceful image and affiliation, and constituting such a force itself: bludgeoning, hammering, thuggish, a neurochemical/endocrine cosh. This is the experiential chemistry of what, in psychoanalytic discourse, might be spoken of as ‘death-instinct’, and which is, indeed, a powerful and immediately present physiological force, which ‘deathifies’ live experience, opens a yawning liminal chasm, inhibits openings of the heart and mind, and generates actual sensation and body-sense that trigger actual physiological defence (which has, within its compass, violence, flight and passivity - a range of autonomous vagus responses).

  • Etcetera.

Follow these links for expansion on these perspectives . .


As a field of FoP RoP we’re necessarily concerned in this thread too with forces and relations of production. The forces are the forces that, moment-to-moment, produce our movings-towards and our turnings-away, our desiring and disdaining, upliftedness and collapses into shame, hungers and disgusts. Within the pattern-language project of 2 Commoning, the patterns we attend to here are ones of equanimity and emotional tide, expectation and propriety, generosity and greed, Self- and Other-making: fundamental concerns - and processes, and commitments - of liberty and its opposites. The forces are also the forces that pattern these patterns, establish and modulate the patterns. Our topic here, then, is the FoP of the #heart-mind.

In the pattern language of 2 Commoning, this is the defining landscape of the third sphere of living and making, §3 attention & intention; the movement that we conduct and promote in this landscape is the surfing  of the currents of the  heart-mind These forces are what also mobilise and motivate and orient our knowing and capability in the second sphere, §2 the landscape of knowing & capability; they inform the generative dance of knowing. And mundanely, they organise and cement the weaving-together, each and every day and moment, of the fabric of practices - people and people and stuff - that is the material economy of use-value, the material landscape of provision and access, sphere §1.


Literacies in all three spheres are dialectical, they weave into and back-on each other. Necessarily so, because it's the same body that is present in all of them . . continually re-weaving material order, live-choreographing the dance of knowing, moment-on-moment surfing the tides of sankhara. But because of the forcefulness and in-here immediacy of the forces of the heart-mind, #literacy in this third landscape is the most basic, the most foundational in #liberation. If we are ill-founded here, our senses of use-value will be skewed and compromised, our hunger for knowledges and capabilities, half-blinded and misinformed.

More on these three spheres of living and making, as dimensions addressed in the pattern language of commoning . .

This thread

There’s a lot of difficult and unusual material to be organised here, and it will be done in an ad hoc fashion: some pages here in this thread, some under §3 in the #pattern_language thread, some blog posts. It will be a mix, a kind of travelogue, a stepping from one epiphany to another, an event-by-event continual re-mapping (which is how it was encountered anyway, in the wild in-here, so that’s authentic) . . but with a theorisation that is more than ad hoc: the FoP RoP pattern language frame.

For starters (August 2018) . . there’s a page on a puzzling dimension which lurks beneath the skin of s ‘political compass’ of the lower-Left by Margaret Killjoy. The compass is a map (built by an anarchist) intended to shed light on what kinds of common ground can be expected or constructed in liberation struggles. But what about sectarianism, and Othering within 'the lower Left’?

Walker, Rogers, m - An activist's life

The materials in this thread are part-map, part-travelogue . . the entire field being addressed here, in the life of this activist, has been opened by his own travelling, and by what have turned out to be three personas. He has come to know this challenging landscape in an evolving choreography of their movements,, weaving of their paths, surfing of their tides, decade on decade. The personas are #Walker, #Rogers, #m. For more on the framing of an activist life in their terms, see . .

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