Advancing the Fourfold Vision Quest in 2021

As 2020 began I tried to launch what I am now calling the Fourfold Vision Quest. I don’t remember what it was called then, and it doesn’t matter. It sputtered along in small weekly bursts without gaining much momentum. Other projects demanded my attention. As 2021 begins I intend to try again.

Today I inserted into the Voyageur Storytelling web site, the focus of much of my internet attention for the past nineteen years, a few thoughts that might serve as an orientation to the quest. As I begin to transfer the locus of contemplation from that site to this, I took a screen shot of one of the panels there, to give you an idea of where they start.

The promised ‘recalled pictoverbicon’ is not here; you can see it there at, if you are curious. It is labyrinthine, cluttered, and somewhat out of date. A new version will appear here before too long.

Two ideas are worth a little more verbiage today. First, the idea of “Complex Thinking for Complex Times” is fundamental. Our news media, politicians, and advocates, do a splendid job of presenting us with a running mosaic of simplistic, one-fold impressions,—they can hardly be called visions,—usually mutually contradictory, but give us no help with integrating them into some coherent understanding of how the world is turning and what needs to be done. The term ‘no help’ hardly does justice to what they give us. They cultivate confusion, either deliberately in pursuit of their myriad single visions, or as a by-product of their clumsy, ad hoc, disorganized efforts to keep us informed. Their noisy disparation drives the mass of us, their hapless listeners, straight into the lives of quiet desperation that Henry David Thoreau so stigmatized.

The Fourfold Vision Quest is a response to this deplorable situation. It may or may not yield a method. It will yield a way of thinking, a guide to coping with the inescapable plethora of points of view arising from our contemporary life. It will do that, I promise you, although probably not right away. The Quest will require contemplation, deliberation, conversation, and the more the better.

As the next push is for 2021 which has not yet quite begun, I will simply display the pictoverbicon for the last day of 2020, and sign off, pausing only to wish you a prosperous, healthy, safe, and unfettered year. Here is the pictoverbicon:


Paul Conway, Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

(the background picture, by the way, is our front yard at this time of year)

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