incomplete consideration of repetition


so much paper collected, gathered from bins, cut in diagonals and then cut again with a cardboard template reminiscent of grade school, folded, then pasted together to make small triangles, then pasted again to make larger ones.  every free moment spent cutting, folding, pasting.  somehow, when we began, it didn’ seem so bad.  the number 6,000 seemed pretty reasonable.  i think about it now, and for some reason it still seems reasonable.  i’m not sure why.  perhaps it has something to do with my facile mind considering a number beyond my upper limit of comprehension.  still, this doesn’t fully explain why from january through july we muscled through this project in the most inefficient way especially during the span of several months when there was no certainty that planetarium might even happen.

yes, there was feeling of responsibility to drew, but really, i’m sure drew would’ve been fine with reconsidering how to roll out the project.  in fact, she probably would have welcomed it.  yes, there was the fact that we decided early on that in reclamation we would only use techniques and materials accessible to the average human being, hence the use of office paper and rice glue.  but why did i not simply ring up a company and ask for their mounds of recycled paper (as drew suggested…)?  instead of gathering it myself day in and day out?  or ask more people to help out more throughout those early months?  the answer is: i’m not sure.

there’s something in the fact that reconfiguring 6,000 sheets of office paper didn’t seem like a monumental task.  the ignorance is bliss factor.  the “it’s only 1 box of office paper” thing.  and then after about two months of collecting, cutting, and folding during whatever spare moment i had or as “breaks” between other work, hitting the 450th sheet mark, the mild dawning of awareness that maybe this was a bit ridiculous, feeling that it was too late to change things up, that i was too deep into the process — though again, there was no deadline, no guarantee that the project was even going anywhere.  at this point, drew suggested we call up a company to get the paper, but for some reason i not only didn’t want to, but thought it better that i didn’t.  she could, but for me, this was not an option.  by this time, the gathering of paper on my own was an important part of the process.  WA-HUH?  where did this feeling that i was past the point of no return come from?  that abandoning this process of chipping away at a mountain with tiny hammer a la The Phantom Tollbooth would mean that i had failed?  when did this task of collecting, cutting, folding, and not-yet-but-intending-to-paste become tethered to my sense of self-worth?  did it have to do with the time invested?  was that it?  am i just a weirdo?  answers?  again: not sure.

not to get too broad or armchair psychologist, but to get too broad and archair psychologist anyway… on a very basic level, life is a series of repetitions, no?  pumping of blood, breathing, blinking, eating, sleeping, expenditure of energy, refueling, defecating, reproducing.  the cycle of life and death.  so when we just repeat things in life that are not necessary for functioning, perhaps it is on a very basic level, an intuitive mimicking of what our bodies do already.  and therefore, the repetition, the ritual is in and of itself simply an expression of what comes to us naturally.  if this is the case, that we humans have a tendency to just “go”, then perhaps we need to be more aware of it.  use it to persevere when we need to, yes, but also be vigilant and mindful of the tendency in order to steer ourselves out of situations, scenarios, ways of thinking that are at the very least inefficient or counter-productive and at the very worst narrow-minded, myopic, and destructive.  like the tao!  … maybe?  maybe this just applies to me, and not to the entire human species.  once again: not sure… and now i feel like luke wilson’s character in idiocracy.


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