Resistance is necessary
You need something to push against
We have got on to slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!
We try to avoid it in our lives, but we can’t get anywhere without friction.
In my friend Alan Jacobs’ recent post, “smooth things and rough ground,” he points out that “the goal of the attention merchants is to keep us on the ice, to keep us sliding in the direction they choose, to keep us believing that the frictionlessness of the sliding is a sign that ’the conditions are ideal.’ But I want to walk.”
It’s for this reason that he is on a quest for “a constructive friction” and turning towards different, “rougher” ways of operating, such as practicing “handmind” and distinguishing between “productivity” and good work. “Because the rough ground is where walking — a human life on a human scale — is possible.”
This is a point made over and over again by Iain McGilchrist in his epic, two-volume book, The Matter With Things: Resistance is absolutely essential to creativity.
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