An Indispensible Uselessness
A businessman’s one dying instruction to his grandson was to pay proper attention to the roses. Useless things can still be life or death things. At Still, the activities we choose are quietly, uselessly, indispensable.
Stillness is not about efficiency and rationality. We seek value in the useless things that remain indispensable to humanity, like art. Art does not cure disease nor fill stomachs but has remained essential since the dawn of humanity, no matter how tenuous the necessities of life.
The candle has transcended its own obsolescence, and is still precious, more precious. Having lost its mechanical utility, we treasure its emotional utility all the more. Useless to us for light, we buy it for a hundred times its original price.
Useless things outlast useful things. They are not obsoleted or disrupted by technology, so they persist and strengthen over time. They are like layers of ephemeral mud coalescing under the pressure of great time into stratified rock. Culture, the bedrock of life, is the crystallised momentum of generations of useless play. Still helps lay down those layers so that, over generations, we may contribute to the shape of a more beautiful culture.
As the context of a great thing evolves, so too does its function and its meaning. The greatest musical works of our culture start out special, but become extraordinary only through the layering of tens of millions of performances spread of centuries of enormous, violent change. Just as great works of art are not dilute by time, but gain potency from repeated performance and reinterpretation, so too must the projects of Still.
Our role is like that of the composer of music: creating projects that will be reinterpreted, refined and kept relevant by generations, and which will get ever more potent and precious with time.