Thursday, April 09, 2009

407. A Fishermen's Mind of Metaphors; Initial Thoughts

Let's just first say that I am trying to calm myself down--I am in Tempe, AZ, and it took me about three hours to figure out where I will sleep tonight. I just escaped a Motel 6 on the south side of Arizona State University and realized I will need more cost-effective means of traveling. I looked up all the WWOOFer sites near by Phoenix, Arizona... and all of the "near" sites were far away. WWOOF is an international organization in which you are enabled to work at an organic farm certain hours per day / certain amount of time, in exchange for housing and food. I first learned about WWOOF ever since I encountered "Bill's Farm" in Nipomo, California on an on-line hostel Some guy has to sit right next to me at a Kinkos. He looks like a construction worker. I don't mind his presence in general--I just mind that within an empty room, he had to take the desk space right next to me. Hopefully, desensitization kicks in. He also smells like MacDonald's sausage sandwich... but it's 4pm in the afternoon. Like I said, I hope desensitization kicks in.

Having said that, I had some "organizational" dreaming this morning, and everything seemed to come out very nicely. Potentially a stage/scripted documentary

The Metaphorical Minds of Fishermen (or a Fisherman)

**In response to Wendy T's emphasis of a need to put a "human face" on the MLPA process, in which everyone else in the process dreads. Well, they already put enough "human face" on the fish, eh? Let's put a human face on a human, eh?

**THESIS: Fishermen think in metaphors / Fishermen's Minds are Metaphorical.
**DATA COLLECTION / SPHERES: (1) fishermen's personality / philosophy of life (2) fishermen's game of fishing (toys, technology, landscapes) (3) fishermen's social network or community (intra- and inter- industry, e.g. other fishermen versus scientists, media, government)
**Fishermen are highly visually-stimulated creatures. They think and solve problems through visions and mental maps.
**Fishermen are fiercely independent creature. They are a part of the economy, but more so at the fringes. They have their own independent, self-sufficient operations. Because of that, it ends up that they know several dimensions of knowledge, from fish to fishing practices to boat technologies and repair, to community social networks (intra- and inter-, which then include people like government officials. Trying to get a bunch of fishermen to come to a meeting is like "herding cats," which is something you cannot necessarily do.
**Fishermen's jobs (like scientists) are like being on a ferris wheel (taking a break is getting off the ferris wheel); going round and round; it's all the same even though it seems different; life is everything different, but variation of the same themes; when you feel that you have no time to take off for a break, that is when you need to take a break; when you stop perceiving the details of difference for every round of similarity, that is also when you need to take a break! (Blank slate before you / the road not taken / fractal pathways / areas close)
**What if (when and where) the economy falls bad, or when the national house of cards folds into itself (house of cards / mound of stone), the fisherman will be a hero, because he knows how to paddle his rowboat and harvest some food--not many people know how to do that.
**Fishermen were the first conservationists before they were considered the first competitors / first profit mongers, as the equations of university scholars say; they know a lot about the lay of the land, and they desire to be stewards of it (overfishing, lack of keeping track, diffuseness of responsibility, otherwise overfishing is not profitable, invest 130 for gas and bait and then return with nothing, there is no point in fishing anymore...)
**The formality of university science versus informality of fishermen knowledge; more so like a "citizen scientist" or "barefoot ecologist" the value of tapping into local knowledge resources
**Fishermen make decisions out in the ocean, they are self-regulating about catch, then the government comes in and adds more "generic regulation" to a local region
**Holding the boat in their dock, the politics of boat-placement "We're like mini hot dog stands in a big baseball stadium"
**The ocean is their schooling system / their education system / the ocean teaches them lessons, as well as their community; a fisherman his buddy started fishing at age 15, they started to ditch school, and at one point in an art class, they were asked to draw a cartoon; he and his buddy drew a cartoon about them ditching school and going out fishing while the rest of the kids were suffering and rotting in school; it was the best cartoon in the class, but the art teacher became so mad that he ripped it up... so much for societal values; "educated idiot" versus "unincorporated academic"
**Fishing is like playing a game of CHESS (anything but a Nash equilibrium); you have all these shifting variables, you have to account for them (make them static in your head for a moment); and given the context of these shifting variables instantly frozen in your head, you make your move... and then you make your next move... and then you make your next move....
**Fishermen "whatever's left of the wildwest" pioneering managers and then too many people come in and put on the reigns, self-regulation shifts gradient to global regulation
**Fishermen know the balance of adaptation versus manipulation; they try to tame the ocean, but at the same time at the whims of its unpredictability (make wise decisions); fishermen in their own way, due to their level of independence, are self-actualists; they are their own scientists / their own gods; they create their own destinies, but are at the whims of the ocean...
**Fishermen come to know their neck of the woods so well... their part of the ocean... that it is almost as if their mind's can pull off this blue blanket cloak of ocean off the terrains underneath, and know the intimacy of the terrain... and of course... know where the fish are... the bathymetry becomes the mountains and the fish become birds, and you are essentially floating on the clouds, you are looking at the mountains underneath, and then you are trying to catch "birds" from above
**"A view from the boat" fishermen look at "civilization on land," watching the sirens go off, and they are wondering about the ferris wheel of civilization, and glad though they invented their own ferris wheel of sorts, that at least they stepped off the main one...
**Breeding unique, independent-thinkers requires some level of isolation... and fishermen have a lot of good thinking time on the boat (as their offices) "Welcome to my office" / "This is my little aerobic workout I do almost every day." (great overlay imagery)
**Their jobs are 6 hours of work and 6 hours of hobby; at a point you become a professional; you have mastered the system, but need to learn how to fine-tune it; self-sufficient salsa garden, fish and tortillas and salsa... great staple food of San Diego...
**Fishermen are essentially ranchers of the ocean, they set out their traps with bait, which ends up feeding the community, and then when the time is right, you have an opportunity to harvest the little bugger that became of legal size...
**Fishing / foraging / harvesting / overfishing / extraction--as if geologic minerals or pulling out a tooth; there is initial bias of value systems as expressed in word use, "extraction" is particularly negative view of fishing...
**The Ferris Wheel of Scale; a man with his boat observes a lot of blue fin tuna out in the ocean; he only catches one fish and returns to land; the man informs his buddies about the extensive distribution of blue fin tuna; one man challenges the fisherman--why not catch more fish? sell more? then get a bigger boat? then you can get a bigger house? then you can employ more people? and then you can have a boat fleet? and then you won't have to work anymore? you can go on vacation? And the fisherman was puzzled--Why do I need to run around in circles (spin my wheels) when I am already happy in my place? (notion of scale in decision-making)

**Building an empire? What's the point? That's the philosophy of the individual eusocial ecological niche space, and the fundamental notion that there is saturation or carrying capacity of individual expansion and maintenance of a system, getting bigger is not necessarily better; I also feel that this is the fundamental notion of quotas or self-regulation; just fish for what you and your family needs; don't get anymore fish....
**Fishermen and the MLPA process; some are still going to learn how to adapt to the game and still find a way to keep fishing; it seems like the MLPA process is weeding out the humans who "don't evolve;" dinosaurs went extinct because "they didn't evolve" or more so they couldn't change fast enough such as to live within the habitable framework of drastic environmental change, same with fishermen and the MLPA process
**Fishermen when they enter a dark room, they don't hold a candle in the dark (like a scientist, who has small resolution of a whole area), but they have a flashlight which diffusely illuminates their entire room
**Synergism outweighs "healthy competition" and they provide great service to local communities in terms of bringing local fresh fish out to the market and out to top quality restaurant dining... not only that... aquarium fish for educational / museum purposes...
**Fishermen are like endangered species of human being, there are not too many around (commercial, at least); if you lose fishermen, you lose a level of independence, you lose the notion of self-construction in a society of mass-production, you lose independent thinkers, ranchers, scientists of sorts (early science), you lose fishing stories, you lose a level of freedom that was once originally craved by the American society in the first place (with Manifest Destiny and all)
**Once the ocean gets into your blood, you have a very hard time getting it out; in fact it's impossible, you are completely infected!

12 comments:

Victoria said...

The game of adaptation and manipulation can be summarized in the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity / to accept the thigns I cannot change / the courage to change the things I can / and the wisdom to tell the difference."

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Whatever's Left of the Wildwest...
Keeping Tabs of the Adventure.

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgk9gcrb_4cwq8bkgs

**Don't forget to write about the fisherman who wanted to ride a bigger boat!
**The story about the origins of the word "duke" in the fishing community. It all started at an eventful party.
**When all the cards of our fragile economy fall, I will become a become a hero, because I know how to row a boat and catch fish, for myself, and my community.

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

http://picasaweb.google.com/wildwestfishing is a developing Photography Portfolio.

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

I just had a battle with Google Docs. The actual document of "Whatever's Left of the Wildwest" can be found here...

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgk9gcrb_5cp5vj68c

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Fisheries QUOTEOLOGY / JOKE / CARTOON: Well, when were are at the FIN meetings, it is absolutely hilarious... because we are given a nice corporate hotel lunch, but Louie right by me was popping a Motrin. I think we should have just had a lunch buffet of Aspirin, Tylenol, Herbal Laxatives, and Pepto Bismal instead of regular lunch material...

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Three (or more) bumper stickers:
(1) "Endangered Species: America's Commercial Fishermen."
(2) "Save the Fish. AND Save the Fishermen."
(3) "I'd kill Flipper for a Tuna Sandwich."
(4) From Jules. "Without Trucks. America Stops."
(5) PETA. Mike Dillin Style. "People Eating Tasty Animals."

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Three More Bumper Stickers:
(1) Commercial fishermen help you live better.
(2). Hungry and out of work. Even environmentalist.
(3). Donations for scientific research in alcoholism.
(4). This boat is undergoing an experimental dirt test.

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

The Dawn of an Era of Fisheries Collaboration:

Last night I had a phonecall with Jules and he told me how he had one of the most extraordinary days out in the waters off Mission Bay. An entire military/ Navy fleet coming out from San Diego Bay. Massive ships, helicopters everywhere! Man! Of all days, I really wished I were out on the boat. Life is unpredictable... you have to have your film camera in handy. That is all I can say!

The second thing Jules told me, which tickled me like crazy is that he told me a few days ago about the license transfer issue with the southern Rock Crab. It turned out that he talked with Rick (rock crab fisherman in Santa Barbara) who then called the right people in DFG and halted the process. Jules and Rick started organizing a meeting of major fishermen representatives of rock crab from all over southern California, and they were going to get together and powwow about ideas for better management of rock crab, and submit their proposal to the DFG. First of all, I'm tickled because Jules will get to meet some of my film characters in the rock crab film I made back in the summer of 2007, and secondly, this cross-disciplinary fisheries collaboration would have not happened if not for the MLPA fisheries collaboration. The positive, synergistic consequences of the MLPA are coming to fruition so soon, and it just makes me want to cry, witnessing this process.

I remember in the third FIN meeting, Diane, John and I powwowed about "the unusual circumstances" of the FIN meeting. I am witnessing and documenting an "anomaly" of fishermen behavior: collaboration. This is the first time in history of cross-fisheries-sector collaboration in the MLPA process, and that was my starting point in baseline. I am tainted because of that... I never knew had bad it was before in terms of relationships of sport and commercial fishing. Jules explained to me how he first started out in sport fishing, where it is an information-sharing environment--that is ultimately how you learn and become a better fisherman. And then he transferred to the commercial sector, in which information sharing has a much greater cost--since your entire living is made through fishing.

I am a very lucky girl. Jules was counting his "blessings" in terms of positive outcomes of the fisheries networking of the MLPA process. It is altering the trajectory of people's lives for the better... including my very own....

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Today Jules said something very important. "When I catch a fish, I am doing it close to blindly. I have to imagine what is going on down hundreds of feet underneath me. And it's funny. Close to the same conditions. Why did the fish bite yesterday, and the fish not bite today? Though there is lots of promise. I look at this giant tank and watch the fish what they caught. I watch them what they do. Stand still. Swim in circles. Feed. Make a pecking order. Who owns the chick. School. Be solitary. Hide. Sleep? Fish sleep? The temperature. What makes them bite? Let me watch them in the tank, and my imagination out in the ocean can become more clear."

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Ernie has a quote on his sportfishing boat in San Diego. Fishermen are full of complex emotions. The ocean is a threat to their life and is what keeps them alive. There is a level of fear, but strange awe, wonder, and respect. There is always a game of adaptation and manipulation--but mostly a game of adaptation. Fishermen are more so at the mercy of the ocean than the ocean at the mercy of the fishermen. The ocean is at the mercy of human behavior as a collective 6 billion human effect, but not specifically nor exclusively fishermen (in California at least). And in another sense, fishermen are ranchers of their fish (particularly trap fishermen). Fishermen are murderers, and human beings evolved to be murderers of the ecosystem, but the issue is to layer our murderous, competitive behavior with compassion and sensitivity. To murder, but to murder not too much. To compete with one's peers, but not to a point that devastates anyone, to cover each other's back in time of need.

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Is it possible to be a compassionate murderer? I think so. I'm one myself. Never thought myself as a murderer, but...

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Another idea--Harbor Seal Endangered Species Idea. Power and magic in the numbers. Mask of Zorro and dental clay confessionals on the cam.