Prefigurative Hospitality with Hestia

I appear to be the last person to figure out I am in some kind of longterm thing with Hestia, but in retrospect it’s really really obvious given my priorities and values.

I recently started making all kinds of leftist type connections to Hestia. Hospitality ethics are important to me (being a good host but also being a good guest) both personally and on like… a broader Global Citizen sort of level. I have a lot of reflexive animism type habits, and I definitely think of a home as a sort of… creature? A partner. Home protects me, and I take care of it the best I can too. I did some emotional/personal work in college around the importance of generally-devalued domestic stuff like juggling the needs of the people who live in a place, and that has stayed with me. Being attentive and curious about what people need is not just important; it’s interesting to me.

This means that, in a very real way, deliberately creating a society that requires a desperate underclass, that requires scarcity, precarity, and deprivation… that’s fucking blasphemy to me. Sweeping the encampments of houseless people? Blasphemy. Evicting people because it isn’t profitable for their landlord for them to be housed? Blasphemy. Buying up living space to make sure it stays empty long enough to appreciate in value? Blasphemy. Shutting off people’s utilities in dangerous weather? Blasphemy. Fuck all of that shit. Utterly repellent.

I also love the mechanics of homes. All the material systems and factors that go into making a building habitable and hospitable? I love that shit. Shit like plumbing and wiring and stuff. It’s really fucking cool to me.

There’s also this concept of prefigurative politics, which is generally considered an anarchist thing but I think is useful more widely across a lot of frameworks. Basically, if you want society to look a certain way, but your methods recreate The Shit, maybe you need to rethink. Like how a lot of activist orgs are hideous places to work: fighting for health care access without providing insurance, supporting the idea of unions but depending on an organizational structure that workplace democracy would utterly destroy, etc. Basically, if you can’t achieve something resembling your goals on a small scale right now, it’s gonna undermine your credibility when you say we can and should do it on a societal level. Because like. Do you really think that? Do you?

This connects for me with the Hellenist idea of the oikos (family/household/etc) because the oikos was society on the smallest possible scale, the tiniest component part of society that still reflects and creates it. Hestia didn’t just have household altars; she had pride of place in the ancient equivalent of the city council and the capitol building. Because that concept of a hearth runs from the broader national scale all the way down to the family, and all these mutually-supporting moving parts do the same thing on different scales and all of them owe the whole idea of being in communion in life-sustaining ways to Hestia.

So thinking about chosen family, or affinity groups, those are the smallest scale representation of the society we build with our choices and connections. The ways in which we care for and defend each other and create and sustain homes, that’s all hers. I care a lot about upholding standards in small bubbles and then just letting them grow and impact others and continually raise standards for adjacent bubbles and then their adjacent bubbles, etc. It’s not just a test of ideals to see if they can be implemented; I feel like it’s the most efficient use of social power and safest guarantee of actually creating change. It’s generally small, but it’s guaranteed and activism doesn’t have many guarantees so I take them where I can get them.

This whole idea of having a hearth space, defending and sustaining the people who are a part of it, that’s hers. The obligation of a space’s host to the tone and impact of the space? That’s a hospitality obligation to me. That’s hers. Seeing that a dangerous person is ejected from a space they’re abusing? That’s Hestia’s business. If you’re gonna host a space, you are responsible for how it gets used.

I’ve seen modern epithets for her be everything from “Hestia of the well-brewed coffee” to “Hestia of the shotgun on the porch.” And that whole… that whole energy. I love it. It’s important to me. And it’s all hers.

To Steal a Wife

the old coast is rocky and long, jagged and filled with colorful and tough things living half their lives in salt under the icy Labrador current out of Newfoundland, and half their lives under the sun in pools at low tide

if you see a girl at peace in the sun, on the rocks, in the pools at low tide, look for a warm comfortable skin, the only thing she owns in the world

for it is her power to transform:

to choose who and where to be

if you keep it, they say she makes an excellent wife
they also say she will be sad all her days but still they say
take it.

they say it to fishermen but men aren’t the only lonely beach walkers, are they?
take it.
what use is transformation, to an excellent wife? what use is leaving?
whose hands but yours could her stolen skin ever need to feel?

Important Essay About Ambient Trauma

I don’t do a lot of reblogging on here, but this felt really important and maybe it’ll resonate for others the way it does for me.

Healing from ambient trauma will require destroying the ideologies and systems that engender harm and in their place cultivating more just and caring ways of living.  CW: discussion of trauma in the general & abstract form (i.e. no specific details), with occasional reference to specific environmental disasters and general events By Jonathan Fisk Nobody is…

Ambient Trauma: Giving Name To The Burgeoning Pains Of Our Times — Wear Your Voice

Refusal to “Live in Fear” of Covid19

Are there oreos in your cupboard? Do you want there to be? Do you know the difference between these questions?

Most denialists are walking gish gallops waiting to happen, but one common bumper sticker catchphrase they fall back on sheds a lot of light on what is fundamentally wrong with their epistemology.

There’s seemingly always some variation of, “I refuse to live in fear.”

But here’s the thing. Deciding what you want to be feeling about a topic is not actually an approach to learning the facts about it. Motivated reasoning is a thing for everyone and nobody is totally immune to it, but denialists freely encourage and endorse it.

They don’t need to learn things, if learning those things would maybe make them feel a way that they suspect they won’t like feeling.

The fact that we associate fear with weakness and failure to be an adequately macho individualist hero is a separate problem. But even if denialists had healthier relationships to the full range of emotion, if they’re using what they want to feel as a way to determine what is factually true, their worldview is still fucked. Just… less fractally so.

They’d still have no tools for learning other than what, from an uninformed distance, they’d prefer to feel. Even the things they got right would be by accident.

“I’d be excited to learn there are oreos in my cupboard. That sounds nice! Therefore there are oreos in my cupboard.”


Shave and a Haircut

I found poetry I’d written, posted to my drafts on Wattpad. Why did I do it lol

If I were a toon, this would be easier.
My feelings could escape however
as whatever
they needed.

When you tell me nobody has called you adorable since 1999
but in 2000 I started carrying a torch for you and never stopped
I cannot prove you wrong.

Tamping the secret down inside
this well-worn bottle of mine
resistance of compromising confidences is unconscious
I cannot speak of this
but that’s all right,
because I cannot speak this.

As a secondary measure my body
gives way to strange impulses
it wants to split open and
spray joyous trilling organs from its cracks,
raining candied memories in your lap.

If I were a toon, this would be easier.

The Secrets of Sphagnum

For the past few centuries peat bogs (or mosslands as we call them here in Lancashire) have been considered god-forsaken wastelands, impassable ‘by man or horse’, ‘too dry to farm, too wet fish’. Drained and excavated they have only been valued in so far as they provide land for farming and peat for energy and…

The Secrets of Sphagnum

Appreciate the complexity of moss! Appreciate it!

May 2021 Linkdump Post

Things I enjoyed reading recently! An excellent resource for the things we’re taught to call 911 about, but really would be better handled without law enforcement involvement.

Bonfires and Revelry: Pagan Primitivism Really appreciated having someone on this site address some of the major problems with primitivism (which can be summed up by pointing out which specific human lives primitivists consider particularly expendable).

Sensory Processing is Only Half the Story: Movement Differences in Autistic People More reasons why treating autism as a series of irritating behavioral choices we make out of pure sadism to martyr our parents: it’s not just our inner experience that differs (though it does). It’s the way our brains and bodies form and execute our intentions. And that is not actually something that can be obedience-trained out of us.

Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments We’ve been saying forever that neurotypicals refuse to meet us even 1% of the way when interacting with us, so of course our connections stall out at 99% and never complete. Here’s more data to suggest that we may actually know some things about our own life experiences.

Cottagecore, Colonialism, and the Far Right

In Obesity Research, Fatphobia Is Always the X Factor Also noteworthy, because it seems to always need to be said: being “healthy” isn’t actually what defines a whole person either.

Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind. In three decades of advocating for prison abolition, the activist and scholar has helped transform how people think about criminal justice.

The answer to police violence is not ‘reform’. It’s defunding. Here’s why Alex Vitale’s The End of Policing was a major read for me, so I wasn’t surprised to find great articles too.

The Crumple Zone: Partners Who Bear the Impact Good piece about how the polyam community highlights the broader problem of emotionally-skilled or reliable people being objectified as convenient relational meatshields.

You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide For when the problems are heavy enough that you can’t also carry the burden of figuring out how to solve them, here is a good way to outsource that mental load and still get the solutions.

Things I still want to read

We Do This Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba. Waiting for this one on audiobook, because I absorb nonfiction better that way. For folks who like viewing the words:

Cursed White Supremacy Walking Tour 2017

CW: chattel slavery (antiblackness, human trafficking, descendants of traffickers still making money off it), my mother being a smug horror movie waiting to happen

So this is simultaneously the spookiest thing that has ever happened to me, and the unpleasant spiritual experience I begrudge the least, because I think you will agree that all of these responses were entirely proportional and frankly pretty generous.

So in 2017, my mother went on a trip to Savannah, Georgia, to do one of those Haunted Savannah For Tourists walking tours. She was so excited! And she told me I should come join them! I knew, just knew, when she said the house was beautiful that they were going so far as to stay in a goddamn plantation house. This is the exchange we had via text.

She told me, “LMAO!!! I will lol”

She clearly thought I was kidding. My best friend’s first comment when I told her about this was, “she gon die” She didn’t die but… Well. Please enjoy these screenshots of the update I gave my friends on Discord.

Long screenshot of a Discord conversation

I did stop having thematically-upsetting dreams and inexplicable sudden injuries after I went outside to leave some food and apologize. I think I said something to the extent of, “I don’t know what she is doing down there, but I’m sure it’s awful, and I am really sorry.” What else can you even say?

I didn’t hear of anything unpleasant happening to my mother (other than being seen hitting on Paula Deen’s son), but her best friend who went with them on the trip, the one who was having such a great time laughing at me, got home and had multiple areas of her life collapse inside a week. I am still not sure if my mother noticed the timing, but well… she notices what she wants to notice. This was her chatting to me about the state of this friend’s life all of a sudden.

screenshot of an iOS conversation

I warned them!

Now, on the one hand, this sucks because this is the only one of my mother’s friends I like. On the other hand, it sucks because I was definitely not intending to get my mother off the hook for all this nonsense behavior. Like I said before: entirely proportional.

But the moral of the story is, show some goddamn respect to the accumulated suffering of generations of human trafficking victims that is the foundation of our entire history as a nation. Or else. Don’t fuck with dead people. Especially don’t fuck with these dead people. If minimal common decency isn’t enough of a motivator, maybe fear will get the job done. Are you a white person going out of your way to benefit from the legacy of chattel slavery? You’ll deserve what you get.

How to Get Nothing Done

A guide for perfectionists!

Note: a lot of this is tongue-in-cheek and I swear I don’t hate you. but some things there’s no gentle way to say.

Most importantly, you MUST assign yourself mutually exclusive or at least contradictory goals. When your premises are
If A, then Not B
If B, then Not A

You must make a single effort that achieves both A and B. You get ONE CHANCE and must achieve A and B simultaneously.

Then you must refuse to use any shortcuts. If you make the process any more efficient (read: easy, which is for lazy bad people), it’s as bad as just not doing it at all!

Preemptively assume that you cannot use any skills or materials you already have. Rule everything out that you can already do, or that you already know. None of that can possibly be useful, so you’d better discard it right from the start. You need an entirely new problem solving infrastructure and it had better be comprehensive and a flawless fit.

Do not allow anyone else any control or input. Only bad people work cooperatively, bad lazy people. It doesn’t matter if someone else COULD help you. You MUST not let them. Only you can solve every problem forever. Or only you SHOULD. same thing, surely.

How much time would this realistically take? NO. It will take… well, don’t worry about that. It’ll take a long time. So long. Longer than you have. Your great grandchildren will be toiling away at this. It will consume your life forever. Goodbye. No one will miss you because you failed to complete this thing.

Congratulations you have done absolutely nothing but make yourself feel like shit, but since that was your real goal here, you win!

(For more genuinely helpful information, I recommend Joseph Ferrari’s book Still Procrastinating?: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done or the Ologies episode on which he was a guest.)