No Passengers on this Crazy Ride to the Moon: We Are All Crew!

How can we support one another and the growing Cardano NFT community while moving through growing pains?

Wisdom of the Oracle — Artwork by the Author

While I’m hesitant to draw too many parallels between finding myself in a freak accident which sent me straight to the ICU and being a tad burnt out, it’s impossible to entirely brush aside how exhausted we are as a collective.

There is no shortage of information on dealing with modern day fatigue and sleep deprivation. As a long time practicing yogi I’m adequately equipped to deal with the challenge. Nothing quite prepared me, however, for the high octane exhilaration of the NFT space.

I woke up to find myself intubated the other day and observed in my opioid haze that I had been dreaming about NFTs as my consciousness came back online... While in the past I’ve experienced burnout as a kind of torpor, I find myself feeling elated and and overstimulated these days, rather than depleted. Some simply dismiss the phenomenon as a double edged sword: exhaustion being the price of admission to such a grand adventure. That sounds trite to me; it doesn’t begin to reflect how we have entered an entirely new level of complexity, which seems to call for something more like a multi-faceted vajra, that I imagine woven together by myriad Möbius light strips, where there are at once endless edges and none at all.

As I embark on a path of recovery and select some new tools for my ongoing journey, I intend to be especially mindful about (i) staying grounded with my practice, (ii) nurturing IRL relationships and (iii) generally allowing my mind to be blown as often as possible, be it marveling at artwork in the metaverse, toying with ever more mind expanding ideas about the raw potential of this moment, or delicately puffing away at the end of a 5-meo-DMT pipe.

Infinity Visualized Series 2 (#51) — Collection of the Author

The red pill is potentiated when taken with the chill pill analog

I’ve commented on how touched I was by all the kind messages at the time of my accident. I should add that I was similarly moved by the number of folks who reached out to share candidly, and for no apparent reason, that they were feeling burnt out and/or especially anxious at this time.

There would be little to no value in my offering unsolicited advice to anyone on the subject of self-care. You all know what to do: unplug for a while! That said, the time seems opportune to ask collective questions pertaining to how we can keep this NFT adventure as wild as it has been thus far, while also being kinder to our central nervous systems.

Everything I intuit and understand about consciousness points to the fact that if I’m thinking it, chances you are too… So here it goes: I’m sensing the need to dial things down a notch, I’m finding value in giving ideas the time and space they deserve in order for them to come to fruition, I’m craving community and open conversation around how we can do better both individually and collectively in this regard.

Simple Mind #007 by Don Samec, aka, Poetonic — Collection of the Author

The urgency delusion

As XXIst century humans, we excel at busyness. For many, it’s a default setting. Busyness is the enemy of flow and creativity and is a part of the vast legacy that has been passed down to us by the Western overculture. Even with the proverbial red pill (be it in the form of a 10 day silent meditation retreat, extreme sports, or a full on ego dissolving LSD trip), it’s challenging enough to break free from our cultural conditioning for much longer than sporadic windows of expanded awareness. When we are in survival mode, it becomes practically impossible.

It helps to become increasingly aware of the cultural programs we are constantly running and it’s skillful to observe where we still find ourselves getting caught over and over again. While crypto has been a metaphysical oasis for so many of us, we’ve inevitably carried over some faulty programming from our old paradigm.

Surely I am not alone in experiencing 10K generative art project drop fatigue! How can we begin to think about an environment that would reward intentional projects beyond economic metrics? How can we model for each other the importance of gestation as part of the creative process? How badass are we really: are we ready to trust that we do not need to cut corners?

I’ve come across more than a few projects setting up Twitter & Discord accounts and finalizing their drops under five weeks’ time. Clearly karma will do her thing here and the obvious way of dealing with these offerings, as individuals, is to use discernment and become just a little less gullible. But what can we do as a collective? How do we promote greater intentionality and collaboration?

Here, because I’m also a linguist and a lawyer, I’d like to add that it’s interesting, in the way that say, a mindfuck might be considered fascinating, to see projects inserting language on their websites to the effect of “Don’t FOMO into minting our NFTs and remember never to buy more than you are happy to lose!”. The cognitive dissonance of those statements is laughable, the fact that no one seems especially put off by such a disingenuous approach is not.

Again, I offer only questions here. I was an anarchist long before I was an attorney and take comfort in the common understanding that none of this requires regulating. I do feel strongly that these questions warrant being posed and hopefully discussed.

Confrontation 03 by Wifred Aldrich/NFTrinity — Collection of the Author

The intoxicating but dualistic WAGMI mantra

As the war cry of the peaceful crypto warrior, WAGMI is pretty much irresistible: I love the spirit of this spell as much as anyone. My only reservation is that the “making it” bit is so deeply embedded in the elusive promise of financial wealth. It suggests that if you cannot leave your day job (who knows, you might need healthcare), you have actually not made it: McDonald’s for you all the way, bro!

I’d like to offer a reframe here. Would it not be more empowering to consider that in many ways, we have already made it in that we have started to loosen the shackles that once bound us to a much smaller, centralized world that did not have our best interests at heart?

More open questions: Can we, then, keep WAGMI and inject some nuance? Can we give ourselves some time? Can we detach ourselves ever so slightly from the desired outcome of the collective dream?

Machine Dreamz 0 by Sami Misirlisoy — Collection of the Author

Manufactured scarcity

I recently wrote about this here and here. Short of proposing a deeper conversation on the subject of collectibles, I will reiterate that there is something unnerving about buying into so many projects that have been reverse engineered to manufacture scarcity. It’s further disheartening to learn the intricacies of how said scarcity inevitably finds itself being gamed and hacked by developers far more clever and/or devious than myself.

Again, setting aside some genuinely novel marketing strategies and certain qualities of playfulness, the scarcity issue is yet another shadow of the toxicity of late, late capitalism. The dark side of scarcity is that it hinges on fear and upholds limiting beliefs we have about the marketplace being solely driven by the specter of lack.

I alone see no easy path out of this dark alley other than continuing to support what I identify as the more visionary and truly artistic projects.

The Cardano NFT space naturally comes with its own assortment of unique challenges. We have an opportunity to cut some dead wood and free ourselves from shabby zero sum game economics that were rigged from the start and only ever left everyone starving for more of that saccharine sustenance that seldom truly nourished any of us.

Fractano #1937 — Collection of the Author

Conclusion

Ultimately, I will always support Art being “all over the place”, I dream of more intentionality as far as the conception, gestation and birthing of our projects are concerned.

If these are questions you’d like to explore or discuss, please reach out!

If you’re experiencing significant overwhelm, please do the same. My door is ajar and once I recover the use of my vocal cords I intend to host Twitter Spaces to expand on these issues as they relate to the marketplace we are co-creating on Cardano.

Embryonic Unsig Orb — Artwork by the Author

Thank you for reading through to the end: You Are AMAZING! Please enter the ongoing CNFT giveaway by RT-ing on Twitter and commenting on anything you found interesting or noteworthy.

Also generally inviting conversations, exchanges, collaborations in the following areas: photography, poetry, literary NFTs/publishing, podcasting, consciousness, curation & more!

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Æther Cavendish

Æther Cavendish

89 Followers

Artist, Writer, Tantrika. Practicing letting go, one attachment at a time.