May 07, 2003

You will have noticed that I write with a constant awareness of "you", the reader who may or may not even exist. I have attempted journals and locked key diaries in the past. They lasted for perhaps a page or two, with entries such as
It rained again today. I hope that it will not rain again tomorrow.
I think this would not be the function of a personal journal. I can seek out a weather service to give me much more precise readings on the specific amounts of precipitation in any geographical place and time at which there is a station or observer, and neither my hope against nor my hope for any specific type of weather in the immediate future will alter what comes by a single raindrop -- nor perhaps should: droughts tend to be well-received by those touring the area; their breaking by farmers who had been wondering if they were going to be able to salvage a single crop. I have nothing like an overview of what would be 'best'. Within my immediate frame, there is or is not rain: welcomed at times, endured at times.

What have I to lose by setting these thoughts down publicly? (for whatever I write anywhere on the Internet I must consider to be accessible to all.) A powerful privacy of self? That evaporated the first time I opened my mouth: for what I am cannot but be expressed in every word I utter. A reputation for infallibility? That is well lost in any case: for I am human, only human, completely human. At most, then, I can discover what constitutes this particular small part of humanity, what perhaps is common with that greater humanity, but also without expectation that the specifics apply to any other person. It is possible that there will be those, reading, who will say 'I told you so', and still others who will revise their opinions of me so as to preclude what I had believed to be an existing friendship. (I would wish the latter to be otherwise, of course! but -- not at the price of pretending to be someone I am not. Yet I cannot cease so easily myself to care for another. I love them, one and all.) From many there is already a silence. If it is the silence of hatred or rejection or apathy or abandonment, well, nothing I say here is likely to alter any of that, and none of it may perhaps be read in any case. But if it is the silence of confusion, of thinking of giving up, of not knowing how to take what I am: perhaps there is something of gain in these words after all ... or perhaps with all these letters I only spell out a greater puzzle.

What I will not lose is the private confidentiality of others. You won't learn here what people I personally know did, or said, or thoughts they told about elsewhere. What is said to me in confidence (and I include e-mail in this category) remains there.

What I may perhaps gain, o hypothetical reader, is your greater insight into the thought processes and foibles of one Kyle Altis -- and, for that matter, possibly even my own increased understanding thereof.

Take, for example, the relatively recent event of my attempt to relinquish power at a board of my founding, releasing it to others in their turn as any community to remain alive and vibrant must be released. I know now that any such release necessarily gambles the translation of and belief in the founding vision. I have learned interesting things about the ability of power to bring out hidden aspects of character. And I have discovered that if I am ever to be able to return to that board without completely abrogating all sense of self it must be as guest only and never again true member: for I have the habit of saying what I think, as a true member I feel I have both the right and the obligation, while as the erstwhile founder my words would carry simultaneously too much and too little weight. (And I do not know even if I can set aside that feeling of membership to that extent.) I do not subscribe to the opinion that the exercise of power, having been released to others, may never afterwards be commented upon. It feels too much like collusion for my taste: a tacit agreement that those who hold or have held power can never afterward be critical of the way in which that power is used (within the same basic governmental structure, within the same linearity of leadership transfer). That is precisely one of the apparently standard developments I had specifically founded that board to avoid! No doubt there will always be those who will take this -- call it ruthlessness, it would not be inaccurate -- as a betrayal of friendship. And yet to me it would be the greater betrayal to be considered a core part of a group, and to remain silent.

What I had not intended to create was a static vision: but it seems a lone founder casts a long shadow. Physical changes were proposed, on a regular basis. I had been known to resist those before. Evolution, change, yet refusal to actively import change against inertia: for if I can resist change, then there is no true will to change. Though I had not spoken one word against physical change since, that previous resistance seems still to have an almost physical component. A psychological inertia, it seems, is not limited to national policy.

My own instinct has ever been to speak, to act. It is the one thing I cannot do if the place ever is to be free of my shadow -- and if that means it must die entirely with my departure, then it was never alive to begin with. One person empires invariably collapse when the person is withdrawn. I had hoped to build something rather more vital -- feel it in fact increasingly necessary, counterbalance the current isolationist trends -- but it seems I lack the spark.

Perhaps another may find some kindling?

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