You can take this for truth: Breathing is Not Trivial. Whether you are conscious of it or not, breathing is an activity despite an unfortunately not-uncommon tendency to take it for granted. Discounting the importance of breathing as an active experience, as one worth paying attention to, is an excellent way to encounter hell in a hurry. A laissez-faire attitude towards breathing gets a sharp comeuppance right quick if you find yourself with any type of breathing problem.
Methinks it's a good idea to start counting your blessings if this has never happened to you since if it does, someone saying "Stop that at once!" isn't worth the breath it takes to utter those words. Isn't going to give you a quick fix.
To turn a breathing problem off is - Not Simple. A breathing problem is - Dire.
But if we're getting down to the wire, better consider this: turning breathing off, that's - Game Over.
Doomsday, ya know? No more breathing? That life you were leading? Done.
Because what happens either way is, you get to contemplate being within reach of Doomsday.
And even if Doomsday makes Dire look less grim, you still have to be lucky enough, determined enough, if/when things get Dire, to get a grip, take your chances and opt to relearn the art of breathing.
Maybe none of this is on your radar, right now, but - a word of caution, here - you might want to make sure you're not one of those people who is subject to denial. An insidiously opportunistic flaw in judgement that can affect any behaviors requiring human reasoning, denial greatly interferes with the likelihood of rational decision-making.
If denial figures into your coping strategy, the path to your desired goal is likely gonna be a long row to hoe. Matter of fact, that's practically guaranteed.
I noticed this recently at a meeting at Arcosanti during which I heard someone declare a variation of a mistaken assertion that had repeatedly been made by Paolo Soleri over the course of his tenure as President of Cosanti Foundation. The statement made at the meeting was that people in search of "community" should not come to Arcosanti to look for it.
It was a tacit way of suggesting, it seemed to me, that there is no "community" at Arcosanti. It was an echo of an oft-repeated mantra chanted by Paolo Soleri (which might perversely have been loved for its contentiousness, even though it was hotly contested throughout the era of its frequent recitation) that went like this:
IT'S NOT A COMMUNITY, IT'S A CONSTRUCTION SITE.
The statement was patent nonsense from a scientific perspective. Construction site, farm, office, monastery, war zone: people act to create community no matter who or where they are. (Try and stop them! You cannot.) There is scads of evidence to support this: every military installation, every school classroom, every household functions as a community - even if it is a temporary one.
As McGill Transcultural Psychiatry Professor Dr. Laurence Kirmayer says, "Human beings are social and cultural beings: we are born unable to fend for ourselves and spend the first decades of life acquiring language and learning to navigate culturally constructed social worlds. Cooperative social activity is essential for human adaptation and flourishing."
Every imaginable type of collective association of people finds and develops unique ways to maintain its own social (qua cultural) norms. Those norms figure into that group's identity, its perception of itself, as a community, Arcosanti is no exception to this rule-of-thumb.
To be fair, the confusion behind the assertion when it was made by Paolo Soleri was likely due to the fact that Arcosanti was often referred to as an "intentional community" and building "intentional community" was not in his mind when he struck forth to construct a "prototype for arcology" on 800++ acres of land near Cordes Junction in the geographic epicenter of AZ.
That said, despite that historical aside, every individual person, every group of people convening at Arcosanti, engages in some kind of social interaction not only with those with whom they may be traveling but with people they meet while they are there.
It's a given that humans are social creatures. Ergo: Arcosanti is a social environment as well as a physical one as both a matter of fact and as a basis for conjecturing.
As an inescapable "matter of fact" this essential truth is one of Arcosanti's most valuable assets. It cannot, should not, be taken for granted. To disallow the importance of the social experience of Arcosanti is at best a grievous mistake. (It might even be perceived as a form of bullying or lead to a legal complaint. It's a litigious society, the US of A that surrounds Arcosanti.)
The fact that Paolo Soleri was not personally able to maximize to its greatest extent the investment of human capital (which has been gifted to his magnum opus over the course of time) has no bearing whatsoever on the beneficial consequences that strict attention to the value of such investment can engender. Nor should it have any bearing. Such recognition is only the beginning of its legacy potential, barely scratches its surface.
Furthermore, Paolo's unfortunate assumptive error should not prevent those who want to see the legacy of that investment of human capital magnified from pulling out the stops, from making whatever the required effort is, to increase the amount (and rate) of interest that such investment can/should rightfully earn.
It is, after all, the generous donations of time, energy, enthusiasm, and talent which constitutes the human capital that has been invested by over seven thousand Arconauts - including those who constitute the Cosanti Foundation's Board of Trustees this very day - that has helped to bring into being the Arcosanti that is manifestly visible at this moment. And from a behavioral health perspective, there is plenty of hard evidence to warrant the firm assertion that denial interferes with perception. To deny that community isn't a concomitant of people gathering together for a common purpose, to ignore the significance of the will to create community, is, in and of itself, practically pathological.
For an obvious example: take someone who says: "If I say blue is red, then blue is red;" or, "If I say I'm not a gambler, I'm not a gambler;" or "If my wife and I say I don't have a drinking problem, I don't have a drinking problem." You hear that, chances are pretty good there's a Big Problem.
All of which leads to the conclusion that denying the significance of materially productive, emotionally gratifying associations with others is every bit as problematic as denying that a chemical dependency (such as an alcohol or drug habit, as an obvious and common example) causes problems for others or oneself.
Ignoring difficult truths doesn't make them disappear. This means - not to belabor this issue but to reiterate its importance - it is essential that Arconauts conscientiously consider how to effectively weatherize Arcosanti, and how to meet the admittedly grand challenge of disability-conscious design for Arcosanti. It's federal law, after all, the ADA, and, as has been stated previously in this blog, meeting the requirements for ADA-compliance is not a frivolous pursuit. It is a practical, productive one. "Nearling" rationalizations - or any other excuses, for that matter, won't do. Arcosanti can only benefit when getting around its structures is not limited to the able-bodied.
If arcology is as good an idea as Paolo Soleri thought it was - as good an idea as the many, many thousands of people who come to Arcosanti think it is - it surely deserves to be made available to everyone who might benefit from "breathing it in" - who might benefit from breathing in it.