Joining the dots is the above ground equivalent of mycelium at work, then there is the potential of going deeper and the warp and the weft of weaving starts to become visible.
It has been that kind of a week, a dot here and there and then a pattern starts to emerge. It is not always one you want to see. I became curious about where the word pattern came from and discovered its origins in the word patron. According to the Oxford languages, via Google:
Middle English patron ‘something serving as a model’, from Old French. The change in sense is from the idea of a patron giving an example to be copied. Metathesis in the second syllable occurred in the 16th century. By 1700 patron ceased to be used of things, and the two forms became differentiated in sense.
The pattern was perhaps the origins of an algorithm. Maybe the early dots to join and be followed as desired by the patron setting stepping stones out in front for followers?
The algorithms at play following me and trying to entice me, as Mayor, to respond on platforms, are plentiful this week. The use of the tag function to connect me to stories, places or to coax me into conversations are not always dots I will be joining. This practice is designed to co-opt at best, but shame and/or blame is high on the agenda. As we all know the algorithms thrive and grow and were designed by their patron for the market where the currency is hate. Like patrons before in other dot joining platforms like the tabloids of the UK, hate and fear are big sellers.
The challenge is to work out how to counteract, ignore, help people to fact check, suggest alternative views, offer hope, love, safety. Some of the opposites of fear are acceptance, tolerance, endurance, peace, calmness, tranquillity, confidence, assurance, boldness. Conjuring up these dots and infusing them into the mycelium seems to require that old adage of eternal vigilance. It is so easy to lapse from the practice of hope and fall down the proverbial rabbit hole into fear. I notice my own wobbly voice and find a deep breath helps get back on track. I also notice the need for beauty, rest and good humour as excellent antidotes. The negativity and mean-ness and the desire to fuel hate is very real, and while I know it is not personal, it does wear me down sometimes.
It is very unpleasant to be accused of grooming, when reading stories to children in the library. And this is nothing, compared to those who were part of last week’s Pride March being accused of so much worse and being denigrated foully on line.
Patronage of hate and fear is what we enable and encourage, when we get caught up in online rants, scoll and read the seeds of terror embedded in the nasty posts. Resist.
This is how it begins, we need to be watchful, prepared and ready. It is not just to balance these assaults with goodness, it is also necessary to create the safe places, new systems and have an abundance of joy to draw from a deep well of love.
Keeping the tank topped up and making sure I am not running on empty is my best strategy. Find the joy coloured dots and join them together. Before we know it our patronage of joy will create patterns of hope as the mycelium for justice and equity bear fruit.