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I strongly dislike the toilet roll holder in our house

Solarpunk Edgedweller

I strongly dislike the toilet roll holder in our house

I’m not going to say hate. Hate is a strong word. So strong it deserves to be disused. Especially in a world where people are far too comfortable using it with regards to other humans.

Strongly dislike has a much nicer ring to it.

See, we’ve been resident at this address long enough for me to now be noticing the minutia of everyday household life, and I’m picking apart the retro wall fittings.

The user experience of this particular device is terrible! Just terrible.

It’s impossibly hard to do without a level of frustration that I have finally realised I don’t need in my life right now, or ever.

So much so that I have recently decided to boycott refilling it with who gives a crap (um, we do — evidently)rolls for the entire remainder of our tenancy.

I wonder if the other human inhabitant will notice. He probably will… when he reads this.

(update, apparently he already did, even before reading this.)

These are the kinds of things that can be designed into a living environment to make life easier, instead of harder.

* * *

Sub-par design is my number one gripe in 2021.

It probably always was, but it took me three decades of life on earth to notice just how much of it we are surrounded by, and to become frustrated that as a species, we allow it!

This brings me to me other gripe — classism and the intersection between class, sub-par design, and the Anthropocene / impending extinction / whichever terminology floats your boat.

I have recently discovered that I am of the view that a maximum standard of design efficiency could, in theory, eliminate the need for sub-par items to be produced at all.

Sub-par items which — to the detriment of the upper class that are able to attain the upper end of the design-spectrum, end up contaminating the very environment and ecosystems we all share.

As egalitarian as these ideals may seem at first glance, it is actually very simple.

Humanity is on the brink of existential non-existence (whether you deny it or not, it has now been proven — and, even without extinction threat as the motivator, quality of life depends on air, water, soil and climate! These things are irrefutably being contaminated by our over the top industrial ways.)

The solution: we actually can design our way out of this. This involves a complete redesign of everything; equality and equal access to living systems could underpin the human society that survives the coming decades…

The very simple fact is this: highly efficient, well designed living systems could be the solution to all of our problems.

Yes, even that one.

* * *

Solarpunk as a creative genre became interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

For one, the majority of future narratives that have dominated the recent decades of fiction tend to be a dark and dystopian cyberpunk that promote an oppressive and indeed, assumed continuation of toxic capitalism that is highly problematic and frankly, annoying to watch.

Secondly, and further to the first point, anyone who is remotely creative and produces any kind of work that involves creating something, be it a physical or intangible work, will know that the creative process starts in the mind and actualises into the work.

In the same way, I have developed the view that the dominant narratives of our society will define our society. Just like a craft-person will imagine a sculpture before carving it into reality.

A similar perspective has been identified in both the Spiritual and Scientific communities. We create our reality — the many spiritual gurus and whatsits will tell you that, regurgitated from the same unknown source, but ultimately telling a form of truth. And ‘Science’ itself cannot accurately answer the question ‘what is consciousness made of’ as yet; as much as it can ‘what is the dark matter or dark energy that makes up the majority of the universe.’

Now, given that every other species co-creates what their reality looks like; bees co-create a hive, termites co-create a mount, ants co-create a vast and complex network; based on that alone, don’t you think it would be natural to conclude that humans, too, co-create their reality?

So if we are co-creating, the same as any other species, why do we not function and behave like species that are highly efficient at self-organising?

Why do we pit ourselves against each other and waste energy in a race to nowhere, against nothing but the illusion of being against each other?

Forgive me if I’m the first to tell you this, but if you’re watching the telly, reading the newspaper or listening to the radio, you are probably hearing stories about attacks, and other things to be afraid of. Content made to induce fear.

Fear of your own species.

Can you see how ridiculous this is… what other species does this?

In the same way, by falling for the illusion that we need to work harder in order to get the latest, the best…. xyz car, gadget, appliance… we are collectively losing and missing out on the ultimate equilibrium of highly efficient societal design.

My collaborators and I (all 2 of the humans and various non-human resident team members) are of the view that Human Society, if viewed as an organism, could co-create highly efficient living systems design networks that accommodate for the living needs of an indefinite amount of human inhabitants at a number of scales.

This theory of design and co-creating reality stands as an antithesis to proponents of; overpopulation and population control, capitalism and green capitalism as a solution to today’s real world problems; and any other non-egalitarian school of thought that claims to have the solutions but does not offer humanist solutions that actually allow our species to thrive and co-habit the planet in harmony.

We invite proponents of a new theory of Living Systems Network Design, or a Living Systems Design Network (interchangeable) to watch this space.

* * *

In other news, a lot has happened since the time of my last journal.

Towards December, our place became a bit of a social hub of activity.

I guess it all co-incided with our end of year tea-party for our community, a project we started as a festival space but lives on as an ever expanding and adapting community moving between spaces. The buzz could also just as much attributed to the inception of our gifting station and accompanying acknowledgement sign to the local mob (traditional custodians) which attracted more interaction. Then again, maybe everyone was just glad to be out of the house again.

The hub consists of a shelf that came off the free group anyway, painted with house paint of the same origin, and I have written

‘Abundance grows →pay it forward → →→’

and other instructional phrases such as

‘community starts at home’


‘give what you can, take what you need’

The whole thing is a bit of an experiment, and the interaction we have seen from our street and surrounds is encouraging. In an era of social isolation, ways to engage are far and few between at the moment, but we have seen evidence that this handy hub has done just that, and might be able to save a few people a trip to a shop at the very least.

Saving seeds and watering the garden are becoming habits. Some of those seeds we saved became seedlings and found new homes through the sharing hub.

We recently acquired an underutilised vacuum blender from online local marketplace which we were able to get at a third of its online retail value, and are enjoying the tech (zero oxidisation = more nutrients, supposedly) taste and the fact that today I was able to put in several strawberries from our patch before critters got to them, as well as plenty of garden greens.

I have also discovered a plum tree. Though the tree isn’t on our side of the fence, plenty of fruiting branches are. They aren’t quite ripe yet, neither are the apples.

I made a social media post to our local community about the sharing hub we set up at the front of our house, with a suggestion of popping their fruit there if they happen to have a tree that is producing more than they know what to do with.

Lizards from the rainbow family are coming out frequently again, with the weather warming up and all.

One afternoon we watched as one of them took an unusual path across the grass, up behind the bird bath and into the garden bed. We had never seen them do this. We mused over whether this was to shed the skin that had been coming loose and hanging off their tail. We don’t know for sure, and I have seen lizard movement in the pile of garden litter towards the back of the yard, so perhaps they do hang out there from time to time.

I have started weekly livestreams, playing songs which I am now more able to do having worked though the whiplash mostly, though the impact is lasting. This is also somewhat community building in preparation for the eventual release of the record that has taken many, many years now to bring into existence.

I’ve also started sharing information from my moon diary daily daily online, which is helpful when I’m at a loss for things to say because I don’t really want to drop a play by play of my day or life to people (I’d much happily do that here) or I don’t want to comment on politics because I can’t even agree with the word itself, let alone the entire concept and the assumption its actors make that the rest of the population agree and bow down to its overarching and oppressive influence.

Additionally, last year I began upcycling clothing and small retro animal toys, plastic leaves, and plastic junk into jewellery. This venture started as a response to the damage fashion and plastic are doing to the planet. A small drop in an ocean of change needed. But from little things, big things grow.

I have found that likeminded people seem to be drawn to what I am doing, and for that I will push on forward, regardless of other trends and aiming to pave a way for the people that what I’m doing makes sense to. Occasionally I get a really nice bit of feedback that reminds me of my ‘why.’

Similarly, that has happened over the years and has kept me from dropping the music game all together, as hard as it gets and as tempting as that may be.

Admittedly, my passion for the whole thing was getting a little lack lustre as 2020 wore on, but with the new year in full swing, and a fresh set of strings, I’m beginning to find that person from pre-2020 who loved everything about life and loved doing what they love.

And maybe part of it is just being somewhere for longer than my soul feels it can handle.

The road beckons once again.

Even in uncertain times of pandemic this and border closing that. Returning to road life after a year and a half of living like solarpunk settlers in a not-forever rental taught us a lot and enabled us to do what we do and get better at it all — together.

We’re growing food. We’re hanging out with blue tongue lizards. We’re meeting neighbours. We’re showing people how easy it is to share.

Now let’s up the challenge a little, can we do it on the move?

Time will tell.

For now, I have sufficiently emptied my head of thoughts and have — hopefully — given you something to read that is not fear-drenched propaganda, commonly known as the news



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(Zoe/She/Her/They/Them) Songwriter at heart and probably from birth, it was a parallel interest in place that took Zoe down the path of Architecture, Design and Planning via Events before ending up here. A weaver of worlds, Zoe uses words in music, daily life and here at Paradigm O, encouraging humanity to bend the road ahead towards a better version for everyone on this planet.

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