The Psychology of Security

I simply cannot—I refuse to believe it!

It’s been nearly two months since my last Blog Post. Unforgivable. In the Age of Busyness there’s no excuse for it. The only thing I would say in my defence, however, is that I'’ve been hard at work with the most amazing collaborators, putting together a dynamite edition of YES & NO for you. The next issue could well be the most ambitious to date. That’ll be for you to decide.

So why my Editor’s Blog now? What’s the substance of it all?

What you will find below is a slightly amended version of the Editor’s Letter I wrote for YES & NO 02:01. Why am I revisiting it here, you might well ask?

Because YES & NO 02:02 is due to come out very soon, I wanted to give you the opportunity to compare this letter with the one that’s coming next…

Read the letter below, then check out the new YES & NO, which is due out on 29 November. Ask your local newsagent for it. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it for you.

By the way, the picture at the end of the Letter is randomly chosen from the archive of images we’ve featured on IG—it’s one of our Interventions, and a common phrase that’s on the minds and the tips of the tongue of many…

Before we get into the Letter, please subscribe to YES & NO HERE. As a totally independent publication, we value your support, indeed we need your support to survive. Thank you.

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Dear YES & NO Reader

Welcome to the first edition of YES & NO Volume 2. Making it to this milestone is largely thanks to you. The magazine continues to attract an international cohort of like-minded individuals, and I believe this attraction is happening because we advocate creativity and individuality.

We champion the individual and the creative mind—from all backgrounds; the individual spirit that’s passionately determined to remain unique. YES & NO stands for creative individualism.

Recently I met someone at a dinner party who was telling me how they’d been feeling like they’re living on the periphery of something. Intrigued by this statement, I questioned what they meant. Alas, they could give me no definitive answer. It got me thinking. It seems there’s a pervasive state of being which is at odds with the status quo—particularly at a time when ‘Peace, Stability, and Prosperity’ is the choice slogan of the day, the rhetoric we often hear on the airwaves. It’s a bit like a feeling that’s closely related to not belonging, but just existing on the margins, an unsettling feeling of disenfranchisement.

It is said that we live in a New Era of Great Power Competition, specifically in relation to Europe. An interesting concept to mull over. But whichever way you look at it, the concept points to a need for new forms of media to match the present cultural sensibility. Not just new forms, but also, I believe, new ways to think about old forms. This is what I’m trying to do with YES & NO, one of my main goals; to give you a publication that’s more than a magazine. But YES & NO isn’t a book because it does’t have an ISBN number. It does have an ISSN number; the distinction that makes all the difference.

Since producing edition 01:04 of the magazine, I’ve had two astonishing experiences. The first was when I’d been standing in the bathroom doing what one does when nature calls. Looking out the window I saw one of the most striking and, as it turned out, awe-inspiring, sights I think I’d ever seen. To my amazement I saw an ear of wheat growing out of a neighbour’s red-brick chimney stack. The miracle of life seemed to manifest and present itself to me in that moment. In an instant I thought about how remote the chances were of a seed taking root in the crevices of inner-city bricks and mortar, and actually growing into a single ear of wheat; a likelihood as remote as there is life on Jupiter.

An infinity of chance occurrences make a point in time. In that minute, I thought about all the things that had to coalesce for that solitary stem to exist. How a seed had to be carried on the wind at just the right height and speed to allow it to become lodged and take root. Then I thought it could have been deposited there by a bird, either from its beak, hiding it for safekeeping, or, having feasted on some wholegrain bread discarded in an urban recycling bin, from it’s derrière.

Apart from the dry climate it needed, a little water, and plenty of sunshine, what were the other miraculous conditions that had to be so perfectly right for that seed to flourish? Whatever the answer, so many things balanced so essentially, the forces of nature came together for that single ear of wheat.

How delicate it looked against the vivid blue sky chequered with fluffy wisps of white and silver-grey clouds, as it swayed defiantly and majestically and comically in the breeze. It was an image of perfect serenity and solitude that made me feel confident and hopeful in the fortitude and beauty of nature. It was a moment when you realise how precious the sanctity of life is, how simple gratitude can lift your spirits and carry you through the day.

There’re always two or three unifying qualities that bind an edition of YES & NO together. Though the approach is intuitive and quite often experimental, themes resonate throughout. In this edition we look at nature and art, the natural world and the urban environment. We look at film and music, and writing and life. And, as always, we savour what we eat and drink. All these things we look at through the lens of storytelling. The stories presented here are personal—based both in fiction and non-fiction. I’ll leave the rest for you to explore, and hopefully you’ll reflect on your own story—which, in the end, is the greatest story of all.

A final note. The other thing I found astonishing recently was when I woke up to the sound of nature. It happened one afternoon. Taking a leaf out of my grandfather Vittorio’s book, those carefree times when I was a child in Trieste, I’d taken a siesta after lunch and woke up to the gentle, comforting humming, reverberating sound of a wasp. The wasp was darting about and between the slatted blinds of an open window. I watched as it explored its alien environment until, almost as if I had wished it to happen, instinctively (or was it by chance?) it found its way back out of the gap in the sash window through which I’d pictured it entering. As I drifted back to sleep it felt like a sacred moment. What beautiful experiences have you had since your last YES & NO?

—Cassius

cassius@magazineyesandno.com

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