Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Future Post on Future Posts

For several years I've been reading John Michael Greer's The Archdruid Report. Once a week he writes a thoughtful and informative essay on some topic, usually relating to sustainability or our future given peak oil. Often he gives detailed historical examples of major social changes or failures which mirror whatever challenge he brings to our attention.
I suspect that this tendency to bridge together the past, present, and future stems from some aspect of Druidry, and that this same mode of thought prompts him to give a distinctive structure to his writing. Every post begins with few paragraphs broadly outlining what he has written about in the past few weeks or months, and ends with a few paragraphs hinting at the topics which will be covered in upcoming posts. While this is not to unusual, he extends this pattern down to paragraphs themselves.
Just as he does with posts, he will often begin a paragraph by referencing and idea introduced in the paragraph before it. He explores and develops this idea and in one or two final sentences he hints at a topic to be introduced or explained in the following paragraph. This gives his post a quality which the Archdruid borrows from nature: fractal self-similarity.
Fractal self-similarity is the quality that lets us pretend that a broken off branch is a tiny tree. It is often evident when a simple initial process creates something rich in complexity. The style of The Archdruid Report encourages to you continue reading and to go back to the archives and read more.