Everything Is Just Dandy!

TOTW: Consistency

anarchistnews.org
thecollective
2022-06-26
https://anarchistnews.org/content/totw-consistency

consistent tone

Here we are again—you know the drill. Another regularly scheduled topic of the week. Another chance for these words to make their way into your head by way of your computer screen or, perhaps, through the silky smooth voice of Max Res. Another attempt to approach the same questions from new angles, hoping these trajectories lead to fresh insights and epiphanies.

While the consistency of a weekly topic discussion affords us this luxury of repetition, it can just as effectively usher in monotony, bad habits, schedules, deadlines, tired jokes, and even more tired people. I’m confident many here know that local organizer who’s still doing their dreadfully boring project after all these years, never missing a beat. Or, on the other hand, that brilliant person with a million interesting ideas who lacks the attention span to see any of them through. Of course, content matters: a boring project won’t become exciting through mere consistency, just as a good idea won’t come to life without setting a goal or two.

I find myself navigating the double-edged sword of consistency as one of diminishing returns: a structure of accountability early on can easily turn into a trap of obligation over time if left unchecked. With this in mind, I’ll abandon my first impulse to propose formulaic questions in bold text for this TOTW:

What does consistency mean for anarchists?
As anarchists, how do we do consistency?

Instead, indulge me in a musical metaphor to get us thinking about consistency:

A classical Western approach to music defines a collection of pitches and notes by measure and meter, among other properties. This structuring promotes cohesion, uniformity, and creates a shared vocabulary for easier reproducibility. Diverging from this scientific approach to music, I’m reminded of repetitions that are jarring on first listen. Odd time signatures or dramatic tempo changes serve as inconsistencies that confuse your internal rhythm. Then, as the section repeats, you begin to hear it more clearly as you adjust your expectations—you can bob your head in time. Repetition legitimizes. Once heard enough, you can’t recreate the confusion you felt initially. It, tragically, makes perfect sense and you can’t hear it any other way.

With this sentiment in mind, what is gained through consistency? What is lost?