I’ve posted more than once now so I think it is time to introduce what drives my work here, and what will drive it going forward.
What is Selonomics? I rambled toward a tentative answer at this Medium post several months ago. Selo is the East European/Slavic term for village. Economics, from its Ancient Greek is literally the study of household management. As such, Selonomics is the study of village management.
You see, Selo is a word replete in meme magic. As a dual Canadian-Croatian, Selo is a place to me that means far more than village or podunk backwater shit hole, as is the case colloquially in the Croatian language and amongst native Croatians themselves. The Selo to me is more than just a summer respite between trips down the coast, so the direct translation of “village” doesn’t quite cut it. To quote a particularly wise and admirable seljak:
To me the Selo is homemade wine; it’s barrel-brewed rakija (fruit brandy bordering on moonshine), the bursting fragrance of the overripe plums, figs and pomegranates from which this traditional liquor derives. The Selo is old babas (grandmothers) covered in the black shawls with which they honor their long-dead husbands—warriors who served and died defending their homeland during several generations of Balkan war.
The Selo is traditional women playfully berating you for not eating enough just after stuffing you full with freshly-baked bread, a hearty stew and all the lamb you can stomach. The Selo is Bura, the sharp, howling Northern wind that emerges with absolutely no warning and just as rapidly decays into nothing, a signal perhaps to unwelcome visitors that their time here is fleeting.
To me, the Selo is a home that is at once very real and a very distant dream.
To attempt a more precise definition, Selonomics is the science of maximizing social status given desired work effort, or energy expenditure. It is the process by which one continually deconstructs one’s mental village in order to do better by doing less. I suspect, however, that even these are not the best definitions. One can not always do better by doing less, all the time, especially as others come to know the secrets which allow such advantages to be possible. Therefore, Selonomics is a nonlinear, disequilibrium science, one in which returns to effort are as fleeting as they can be fortuitous. However, with a keen eye and an adventurous spirit, pockets of opportunity are ever present and, as I will show over however many months or years going forward, they are clearly worth capturing.
Selonomics more broadly is something of a culmination of 10 years of too-voracious a reading appetite coupled with far too little ambition to make much of anything from the endeavor. I do hope to transform my insights into a book, perhaps one or more, eventually… And yet here we come to the crux of the matter. Why work at all unless effort flows effortlessly from the soul? Work, status, effort, community, recognition, all politics in the cutthroat arena of social comparison… How much? How little? How does one get as much as one can get without working a second more than one wants? I’ll finish this sentiment later, in another post. I’m too tired right now.
As a parting goodbye, let’s talk about the logo:
I like Polo shirts. I think they’re fucking classy. Every man should own a few polos. The inspiration should be obvious to you now.
Color is so important. Monochromatic designs should be broken up with a splash of color, one dominant and one minor.
Goran the Goat here was looking a little too noble for a seljak. Seljaks bool. Now he’s booling. A few dabs and the splotch in the background resembles The Motherland. There are no coincidences in the Selo.
I love when things you don’t plan turn out as if you had planned them, when the end result does not consign itself to the local optima of observable ergodic expectations, but rather with global unknown optima that turn out to be much, much higher.
I can only now sip on my brandy and ponder where investigations of a similar kind will ultimately go. Cheers, and Živeli.