Power Moves

During her novel workshop on estate planning, Sarah Deluca of Move Money Shift Power poses the question:

Is holding onto control after your death something you want?

If part of our life’s work is to strengthen connection, relinquish power, share power, redistribute, does a Trust actually violate the moves we’ve been making at the speed of small “t” trust? Individualistic posthumous scheming is not the invention of communities, but of corrupted powerfuls. It would seem.

A few days later I found myself in the next Paper in Systems discussion led by Dawn Ahukanna and Shauna Gordon-McKeon. On the table was Shauna’s essay Interpretive Labor: Bridging the Gap Between Map and Territory. Wherein you’ll find a rich investigation – and then interrogation – of the lopsided power distribution between those that labor to imagine, construct models, maps, and those that sit with the effects of the implementation – who interpret, navigate, bridge the chasm between theory and material outcomes.

I was called in. Software engineers do wield an outsized power from behind the desk. Although the tower isn’t deathly bleached, because 1) we do some interpretive labor at the seam between business requirements and software building (system design, theory of, code/text writing), and 2) failures reverberate back to us pretty hard (midnight pages) – at least more acutely than through the beauracratic layers. (Do the capitalists get to feel much of anything?) Nonetheless, we probably aren’t the ones screaming during the scream test. What do we do with this power?

Jorge Luis Borges self portait
Jorge Luis Borges - Self Portrait