Weirding Diary: 4

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Weirding Diary

The Things Fall Apart series on Epsilon Theory is an excellent exploration of the Great Weirding, particularly the “As Above, So Below” principle:

“As Above, So Below” means that our social lives are organized as a fractal, that when there is disorder in the heavens or the seats of worldly power, so is there disorder in our communities, our families, and our personal lives.”

Case in point: Recently, a Starbucks I used to frequent closed. The story was obvious to regulars: it had become an urban deadzone, more attractive to the homeless than to laptop warriors.

Over several years, the store deteriorated. You would often find homeless men parked in armchairs for hours, nursing a single grimy cup. Once, one such man got out of his armchair, and there was a pool of what I could only hope was water under him. He flipped the cushion over and left. Going to the restroom increasingly meant finding a homeless person washing up. I observed the Schelling sorting effect play out to the end, as the clientele drifted to the sort better served by a McDonald’s.

The Starbucks menu has a digital soul. It is a combinatorial consumption feast at the end of a global supply chain weaving its way from plantations, through factory-scale roasteries that  tame natural variety to nail a consistently mediocre taste year after year, to the cups of us cloud mice.

Starbucks stores, however, are firmly situated in meatspace, canaries in the neourban cores of the Weirding at the “below” end.

Today, I’m working out of a Starbucks in laptop-warrior zone, because the other Starbucks I frequent is also closed, for President’s Day, a surreal holiday that makes no sense in the flexwork economy embodied by Starbucks. And Howard Schultz is running for President.

As above, so below.


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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. And Howard Schultz is running for President.

    If there is a political legacy of Donald Trump than it is a peculiar revival of the American Dream: somehow everyone wants to run for POTUS now: if Trump could make it, then everyone can, so why don’t you? Sure, it’s weird but it is also something positive.

  2. HRC == Paul Ryan == “centrist”. We could check how they voted over their careers… right.

    Always vote your special snowflake write-in candidate who can’t possibly win => structural change. Uh, ok.

    You know these “Ima in the center, the only one in the center, and so only I can see clearly now, free your minds” types are just another grift on our corrupt age, right? You didn’t fall for it?