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longings for passivity

An undemanding morning. Deliverances: Dostoevsky & The NYT.

This mornings most emailed NYT article: "No Furnaces but Heat Aplenty in 'Passive Houses'."

Most emailed? Wow. People looking forward today. Or back.

What it calls to mind, for me, is hobbit-holes. I want those.

And from Dostoevsky I want unfettered conversation.

In Dostoevsky: This morning, an unannounced Prince Myshkin enters the home & company of General Epanchin for the first time, lunches with his family, & discusses "how to look," (as in "how to look at things," "how to perceive"). Prevailing wisdoms are sized up. This is a style of introduction that I rarely encounter in my day-to-day. I fidget on Facebook, struggling to relate 10 years of "to-do's" accomplished (or not) in the body of a not-obnoxiously-overbearing, politely-tentative paragraph or two, to people whom I conventionally "know." I don't think that is what we want from each other. It's not companionship, it's not insightful. Dostoevsky's characters begin with an encounter of ideas, & it's lovely. It's interesting. It's acknowledgement: which is a variation on acceptance. I want those.

"Passive" is a living word. Dictionaries seem to define it in terms of what it is not: not active, not participating, not involved, not resisting or asserting, not emotional or passionate, not responding or demonstrating. It is frequently linked with "victim."

I think "passive" is a living word though, because I hear a strength & foundation in it. An acknowledgement.

A "passive house" acknowledges its climate, & the limitations of its resources; by doing so it creates a more sustainable & less vulnerable habitat. It is more comfortable, less worrisome. Acknowledgement, to me, removes the "victim" status. One is no longer at the whim of everything from the Greater Utility Infrastructure, to the furnace fuse & repairman. "Passive" is good design because it enables. One is freed up to worry about other things, such as "how to look."

Perhaps Dostoevsky's characters can immediately encounter each other's ideas because of a certain "passivity." They passively acknowledge the circumstance: much is unknown about each other, much will be different, agreement is dubious. But rather than politely probe, or adopt impenetrable stance, they speak outside of themselves, from the world of ideas. This is productive. Elemental. By passively acknowledging circumstance they can adapt what they want from their interaction to something realistic. It's an efficient and enabling disposition.

I'd like to continue to "catch up" with old friends found through Facebook. I'm excited to find them, and I do want to know what they've been up to. Experience is part of who people are, and I care about these folks. But too I want to interact with their ideas. And I don't know how to navigate that within the Facebook format. So, leery and intimidated, I begin this blog.

What I think I want is a place/forum to meet/share subjective stuff in an objective way. Maybe that is what I mean by "passivity." Maybe this can be that. I'd like to have expansions posed, ideas challenged. I think I've clicked the correct "layout" boxes to encourage responses. What do you think? Is there a better word than "passive?" A better way?


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