The Release and the Reveal

It is all there.  We just can’t see it all at all.

Over the weekend I had an issue with our tractor.  The transmission case filter needed to be replaced.  Clogged.  When these filters fail the tractor has a fail safe that won’t allow the ignition to engage.   Smart…but annoying.  I was pretty near the “800 hour” hydraulic fluid change so I decided to go ahead and renew the fluid.

This is not a trivial task.  Simple, but not easy.

In the picture to the right you can see a square dark space.  That is the fill hole for the transmission fluid, its destiny (or destination).  The problem was that I could not find the uniquely useful tool, a 1/2″ breaker bar, that fits that hole.  I could not find it anywhere. What I did find was the little swivel ratchet pictured to the left above.

Problem.  It would fit, but it was short, had little leverage, and was nearly worthless as a tool. So very cheap.  Not designed to do what I intended it for. In fact it was a leftover tool I got from my days as a chimney sweep.  When I bought that business, I got the ratchet.  That was 35 years ago. I had never used it for anything.  In fact, I actually tripped over it as I was looking for the breaker bar and stuck it in my pocket thinking only vaguely that it was my emergency tool plan Z. Literally, the last thing I expected to work.

I attached a vise grip wrench to it, stuck it in the hole and turned. After some initial protest, the plug released.  Then I realized how unlikely a chain of events had just occurred. A tool I bought along with a business 35 years ago and never used rose to the surface in a moment of need and got the job done.  I had kept this tool through 35 years of consolidating and moving around and reshifting.  Then…it slotted into position, into its destiny. Really? Perhaps I would not think so normally, but other events conspired.

I was putting my phone in my pocket later that day after the tractor triumph when I accidentally invoked a Google Hangout, a “butt-dial” of sorts.  I hung up hoping I hadn’t disturbed anyone and went about my business. My friend Autumm responded on Twitter:

My response:

buttdialal response


Release and reveal.  That appears to be the pattern.  While on the tractor that afternoon, listening to a TED talk podcast I found George Monbiot connecting us to the wolves of  Yellowstone, Bernie Kraus’ remarkable bioacoustic revelations and Marla Spivak’s idea that the death of the bees is not caused by one thing but by connections to many things.

Release the wolves and we get a reveal.  Release toxins and monoculture in agriculture and we get a reveal with the bees. Release commerce upon the wild and we get a reveal from the birds. These are not trivial reveals like the one with the ratchet above, but full blown Gaia demonstrations.  What the ratchet forces is personal awareness.  I am sure that all of us have these epiphanies of connection and disconnection.  Connection across decades, connection across continents, negative connection and positive, too, but for me these moments are coming not willy nilly but in a seeming stream of meaning, a signal.  This post is my way of struggling to tune the broadcast.  I know it is there.  It is all there.  I just can’t see it all.


I am satisfied somewhat by my walk through one connective door after another in the palace of the adjacent possible, but more is coming.  I feel the release and the reveal behind it, the turning knob and the opening door, the ratchet turning anti-clockwise into eternity.

I am a bubble

who rolls unseeing

toward the others.

We blind bump merge.

and embiggen

and release

and roll on,

a funny little bit of magic,


“Together” revealed.



I have been playing about with a resurrected version of Z33ga. Not resurrected by me, but by my daughter’s significant other, Brennan. Not sure if he wants his name bandied about. He has been a total mensche about getting me running after I asked him to just take a glance at the github source code for the program. He is an astonishing tech dude with a little free time so he just took on the project. It’s not open for prime time yet, but my goal is to exercise due diligence and get this on my own server and see how much I can share without things breaking the bank for server access.

I recommend as always that you click on the play button then hover over the lower right hand corner of the image box and go to full screen. Much better that way.

Also, please read Simon’s post first. Why? The post and the multimodal z33ga are supposed to work together. In fact, I have always envisioned each z33ga as first intended for an audience of one and then afterwards for others, but only if they read the post first. Ideally, folks would come to their own translation via the remix aspect of zeega.

I first started doing z33gas as a method of close reading by translation. By recodifying text into image and music I was able to really do the original work much greater justice. Besides…I am a slow wit not a quick wit (don’t go the rest of the way there, pardner) and this tool is perfect for getting me part of the way into a text. My first reading of Simon’s post was basically, “WTF?” By using z33ga, I got my camel’s nose under the tent.

Bret Victor: A Revolutionary Look at Embodied Dynamic Cognition

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The hair on the nape of my neck rises as I note the approach of a new idea, a new friend. I take hand and we walk together. And then I am never the same again. It’s the “check valve effect”. The function of a check valve is to allow flow in one direction. A new idea can be that check valve. Perhaps this is what walking with Socrates felt like, a peripatetic check valve. What new idea am I nattering on about? Bret Victor’s hour-long talk last October, “The Humane Representation of Thought”. And yes, it is worth watching the whole thing because it is whole idea.  You could watch it over a few days in Vialogues if that makes it easier, but I think you will be riveted by it.

Here is the talk below. I will save my further natterings for the Vialogue that follows further down the page because I feel the need to walk this path with others.

The Humane Representation of Thought from Bret Victor on Vimeo.

Here is the Vialogue space for those who might want to explore like Bret Victor suggests: