This Compromise

A wistful report of a strategist who has little tactical competence.


1/13/20242 min read

This may not be the best, but it's my best in this particular moment.

Satisfaction is elusive and maybe illusory, yet I cannot deny myself the benefit of idealizing my vague goals. I can strategize, I can sacrifice, I can define. I can even make progress. But I have always struggled to carry out any project. Figuring out why I have this persistent difficulty is one of the projects of my life and thus consigned to the same doom.

A large part of the problem is that I can't accept any particular set of available options. The website platform into which I was initially typing these words on January 13th, 2024 is one example. I have many complaints with this website builder, not least that it keeps nagging me with an option for AI automation for almost everything that it allows users to make or to configure. And that is another example: AI, the latest efficiency breakthrough that modernity and High Technology have given us to allow us to idealize concepts and bring those concepts to life without skill or effort.

As a wobbly bumbling dreamer who can't seem to ever do anything real with his dreams, I should probably love AI. In truth, it intrigues me – but not for the potential to automate creation. It also worries me. I'm mainly interested in AI because of its application of the collective narrative, which it pulls out of its sophisticated models drawn from the Internet. It's a tangible manifestation of the collective subconscious, the narrative ideas that we are all conspiring to create through our intercommunication – and it's another topic.

Here, I'm just trying to take one more step forward. I'm trying to figure out my website and Internet presence, and I'm struggling because my own identity is, as always, in chaotic uncertainty. When I was previously redoing the latest version of my website, I wanted to only use my own photography and create an oil-painting effect on all the post images using the artistic filter in GIMP. Instead, the image appearing here is from Lightstock, downloaded through my unlimited membership, which I bought partly because I like stock images and wanted to support this less mainstream company against the threat to its business model. The actual reason I used the stock picture, and in fact the GUI web builder into which I am typing, is because I don't have the materials to implement my other idea immediately at hand. And that idea, which I would have preferred to be following through on, was itself a practical compromise.

I'd much rather be using a static site generator to write a blog post in Esperanto about epic fantasy in isometric strategy computer games, or something. (That's one example.) I'd rather be updating a personal wiki with ideas and resources that other people might hypothetically find interesting and that I know I'd like to return to later. I've made so many things and attempted so many things, and I wish I'd had a central way to organize it and put it together.

I'm becoming anxious to put my history "out there" in some archivable and materially real way, because I'm saddened by the past experiences that I never had, trying to cling to the ones that I know I did have. It's a weird and specific battle, and it's not less worthy than anyone else's battle. But it's not even the premier struggle of my life, nor even my most important project.

Image credit: Lightstock