the lights were moving
when I entered the tunnel
it was dark
I am still looking for a subject I can put my teeth in and write about. Today I had another idea; it cam while I was making a fancy molding. I do this on a milling machine, for these complicated moldings, you have to use several differently shaped cutters and figure out when and how to use them. It can be challenging which one to use first, and we have almost 100 different cutters, but it is not always clear if we have the one we need. Knowing this, you can do this job in different ways; you can try to figure out precisely which ones to use and in what order and make sure you have all the cutters. This takes a lot of preparation, and the end result is not guaranteed; there are almost always surprises down the road. I usually work by finding one cutter that cuts out one part of the shape I need and then look for the next cutter when I am done with the first. This is committing to a road without knowing where it leads.
The strange thing is that I also like order. On my computer, you will not find one folder with all the pictures; it is all placed in a specific folder, easy to find. I do this in other places too. My toolbox is well organized, and when I rebuild my computer and need a specific cable, I don’t have to untangle a bundle of cables; every little cable has its place in a special box. I have done this for as long as I can remember, probably to make some kind of order in a chaotic world. The strange thing is that I don’t organize as much when I start a project, as I explained in the example above with the moulding, though there is some expectation of chaos.
I have known for years that looking for a tool in a disorganized toolbox is a waste of time; that’s why I organize my tools. I also learned that planning a job is important, but there are many factors you can’t plan, so I plan as far as I can. When you just start in a particular career, it is always stressful when you don’t know what to expect. I started working with wood twenty years ago, and in the beginning, I tried to plan everything, but you almost always bumped into problems end needed to improvise. After a couple of years, I learned that less planning was needed; I had learned that it is not so hard to improvise and react to the situation and that I almost always found a solution.
The reason why I tell this is because, while I was making this molding, I was listening to a lecture about economics. The professor talked about the different systems, how many people try to predict and plan the economy, and how this rarely works. He also told an anecdote that you might have heard before; it is quite famous. The story goes that monkeys can choose the stocks in the stock market as good or even better than professional advisers. (search “monkeys choose stock” in a search engine, and you can read all about it)
The point is that people, in general, like to plan, probably because they hope this will confirm that there is order in the universe. Order is reassuring; think of all the religions that give order or all the isms like liberalism, communism, capitalism etc. If the universe is in chaos, you can forget about planning, and you have to learn how to deal with the chaos.
This reminded me also of a conversation I had with a colleague last week. We talked about politics, and he wanted to know what I would vote if I were allowed here in Norway. I told him that I had never voted in my life. He asked why and told him that at first, I was always in another country when it was time to vote, but later I started questioning our form of democracy end that I didn’t want to be a part of it as long as I tried to figure out if it was any good. I also told him that I was more like an old-school anarchist and definitely not a modern capitalist. He was a little shocked when I told him about anarchy, but I encouraged him to look it up; political anarchism has nothing to do with literal anarchy, I explained. I gave him an example; we work for a company that wants to make a profit, and there is some structure necessary for that. The strange thing is that when I get a new assignment, I get a piece of paper with some numbers from the boss, or it is taped on an old window. This is all the communication; the rest is up to me. This is how an anarchistic society can work. There is a job to do like repair this 90-year-old window; my “boss’s” job is to collect these jobs, my responsibility is to do these jobs. He is not telling me how to do my job, and I am free to choose how I do it within the job’s parameters.
For the people here in Norway, and probably for many others too, it is very important that you leave them alone while they do their job. I found that out the hard way when I was project leader, don’t micromanage. Everybody knew what the common goal was, and my job as a manager was to make sure all the resources were there where they suppose to be at the right time. This is a form of anarchy; there is not one person that has control of everything; in principle, a few people come together to do a job, and in our current society, you get money in return. In a utopian society, you do the same thing but without the exchange of time for money. I call it a Utopia because I am not naïve; the world is too divided, and why would you work for “free” in a world you don’t care for.
“Human nature is so constituted that the propensity for evil is always intensified by external circumstances, and the morality of the individual depends much more on the conditions of his existence and the environment in which he lives than on his own will. ”
― Mikhail Bakunin
“The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.”
― Peter Kropotkin