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for a vining of manifold projectivity
may 13, 2010

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The poet Galway Kinnell recently recounted how a short poem he recited took 3 years to complete. I presume that many other poems were also completed during that time. How many poems were gestating at once? What array of projects does a week’s volume of free associative notes contribute to? Creative life is likely quite a manifold project-ivity indeed, where the “mere” clarity of a set of ideas—apposite to who-knows-how-many projects—can make a week fulfilling.

Fulfilled desire is the gift resulting from imaginability. The appeal of imaginability stays integral due to a legacy of fulfilled past desire. Fulfillment contributes to the appeal of future desire and doing whatever educes desire that might be fulfilled. Anewed desire, a new fulfillment, leads to elations of new desire. Especially appealing is a new scale of desire or new kind of desire born from enriched intelligibility.

Devotion to a prevailing project-ivity requires durably having (owning, being) the aspiration to actualize the Project or purposiveness which project-ivity contributes to (a “having” whose durability was likely rehearsed countlessly in growing up—otherwise implying issues of sustaining, if not gaining, aspiration that may require devoted mentoring, if not a kind of reparenting).

I see a sanctification of durable fidelity expressed in the Buddhist formation of colorfully intricate sand mandalas. But I’m for complex gardens that stay, ideally self-transforming (though I take a satisfactory lesson from the sweeping away of the sand mandala soon after completion). Anyway, a sacred aspect of mind is our capacity for focus, often requiring degrees of solitude that many persons find alien.


Creativity lives for fulfilling project-ive conceptions—actualizing idealizations—like being enchanted by the idea of a destination and actually making it to there.

Actualization of purposes, with variable prevalences over each other, likely generate not a singular Project-iveness of the life, but a garden of projects—a manifold projectivity. Or, a given project complex may become a hybridization organon from which vining of purposes emerges, hybridizing as emerging purposiveness or Purposing—not so much of one’s life (altogether comprehending “the” life as a telic cohering), but as prevailing gravity of project-iveness, exemplified by the prevailing project-ivity as sense of singularity or Project.

Project-ive prospecting leads to realizing, idealizing, designing, and actualizing. Integration of aspects, complements, contrasts, etc. serves a future-led life thereby sustained in terms of project-ive activity. The vining of manifold projectivity, so to speak, is an iterative designing, constructing, remediating, and revising, thereby possibly fruitful and fulfilling, thereby furthering a flourishing (in our evolving) as such vining.

The singularity of a life, reflected in a telos of its activity, would be secured through fidelity to its ownmost purposefulness—telic cohering of its plural project-ivity oriented by the prevailing Project at any given time (or null period of transition as one Project emerges to prevail in place of another, previous one). Not that a life should have such singularity, but that it can has been the basis, I would argue, for ancient fictions about a Telos in history, modernly becoming notions of a singular humanity in evolution. They all derive from envisional singularities of the life conceiving intelligibility as wholly telic.

Back in real lives, aspirational fidelity to a prevailing Project (out of a flourishing horizon that transforms Purpose through time) can give the life span a singularity of developing identity—and Meaning—that may be vital to later years—a fidelity which also instances and models the larger-scale fidelity that societies require for sustained progress (i.e., life span as basis for making sense of general social commitments; e.g., as institutions only exist inasmuch as they are kept alive or valid by those who orient themselves to those institutions, as values are kept alive through valuing lives).

So, to my mind, the baseline or proximal fruitfulness of a life is derivative of an intensive investment of self actualization in a high sense of Self realization. Largely, though, fruitfulness is the productivity of all that comes into the Project of one’s life—that one’s life is, which the manifold project-ivity of individuation brings into one’s life.

Considering a life like an endless Project—purely as modal designing—may be like seeing horizonal worldliness as Self reflection—selformativity in flourishing temporality as flows of telic cohering, weaving manifold project-ivity in centripetal horizonality.


Designing is so much more interesting to me than engineering, but only engineering makes realized design into actuality. So, too, for projects irt implementation and management. Really, though, design and implementation are a recursive compact, as design is not fully realized until it has survived development through envisioned-and-frustrated implementation.

But the degree to which this can be detailed is beyond my intentions here. At the extreme, one’s life may be led with as much articulation as business project development and management: Given projects can be articulated in terms of resourcing instrumental subprojects, requiring variable prioritization (or critical pathing) among subproject developments. This is not a very inspiring aspect of fruitfulness, but some degree of systemization may be vital, as intricate engineering may be vital to implementing a design: task analysis and resourcing, scheduling, time management, critical learning.... To what degree does a personal life prudently model life management like business project management? It’s a question of degree, depending on the project, e.g., building a house or garden landscape vs. writing a book. I’ll just note that, when the artist Cristo did his famous “running fence” (or covered the Berlin Reichstag in plastic), he was very deliberately making engineering into art—or the converse; likewise with Richard Serra’s massive ironworks: Life as a working art becomes a drama of engineering. I suppose that’s analogous to any art as technique, especially work that implies expressed framing or thematization of its technique as part of the content of the work, which, these days, after Conceptual Art as such (e.g., events whose only trace is the document of the happening), we might now apply retroactively to any work of art in any period, as if all art now is conceptual, and technique in any mode of work implements a concept or conceptuality. This is particularly true of highly technical media, such as film (especially “filmic” film that makes its own filmicness part of the work).

However, I’m more interested in a sense of life as artfulness than I am a sense of artfulness as engineering or technique. But I do appreciate the complement of realism (or high craft) in actualizing idealizations (though I avoid the heavy systemization that is typical for business project development and management, while appreciating the latter well enough, I believe).


Next: making life a working art for living fruitfully.

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