Find the Imperfection: Exist there

It’s always refreshing to have a drink with Nic. We got onto talking around post + modernity, pre + post incarnation, plausibility structures and the concept of phase changes, which Pete Ward never quite expanded on in his book Liquid Church… Usual pub fayre.

The root question: how do things change? What are the actual processes that people, institutions, societies go through that effects change within them? And how can we effect change? My argument was that there it is not a simple choice between step-change – where things just crunch into a new realization – and evolving change – where everything goes gently along. Rather, because we need boundaries to make sense of our existence, we hold a ‘plausibility window’ intact under increasing pressure from small changes within it, until it ‘pops’ into a new realization. So change can happen on the micro and macro at different times.

Bringing this back to the phase change / solid-liquid metaphor, how does matter actually go about changing state? The conversation ended with a discussion of the process of boiling.

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When you look at water being brought to the boil in a pan you see bubbles forming on the surface of the metal. This ‘localized boiling’ – essentially small pockets of phase change into gas – occurs where there are imperfections in the surface. Nic paralleled this with the advice of Certeau and Foucault, who counseled that we need to seek out the fissures, the cracks in culture and work there.

This is the work of Trickster, the dirt-monger. Trickster finds the imperfections, and works a newness, a change from within it. Not working against the imperfection, but through it.

For those existing within ‘solid’ practices, places, churches: perhaps find that crack, that fissure, and rather than attack it to rupture the solid, use it as a site for localized boiling, for initializing a small pocket of phase change. Not against it, but through it.


3 responses to “Find the Imperfection: Exist there”

  1. kester you always have great analogies. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this in conversation.

  2. Feel free 😉


    I always liked the fact that Penecilin comes from mold!!