Not from Concentrate
Essence, or, extract.
Distilled without reduction. A concentrated form composed of characteristic properties. Somehow, not simplified. Complex yet focused.
Isn’t that what we all want? To be clear, concise, eloquent—without losing anything.
You don’t just get the juice.
This is found, extracted, infused.
Essence needs to be culled from the thing itself.
I recently learned what the word “heuristic” means. For a long time I said I knew, or maybe I even thought I knew, but did not. It means problem solving in an imperfect way, but learning on your own. It means finding your thesis by looking at all the books in the stacks around the book you came for. It means designing your project based on closing your eyes and breathing deeply and being drawn to a smell on the site. It means drifting. We do not necessarily know the word but understand the process.
Perhaps we have successfully clung to the essence of school, the essence of work, right now.
We lucky ones can “meet” in some digital “space,” we can jerry-rig our homes, we can deliver the project on time.
But we have lost the stumbled-upon, the happenstance. We have lost discovery, surprise.
If we go straight for the essence, what do we lose?
I’m not sure I have ever tasted real vanilla, for one.
I wonder what it is like.