Horizons of Significance

Searching out a new compass: Compassion, Conviviality, Creativity & Dialogue


by Antonio Dias

Peeling away layers of Ego I found anger and disappointment blocking the way to compassion. There’s another block hiding beneath them, contempt.

We see it all around us. This is a society choking on contempt. Every faction and group is held together by the contempt in which it holds the rest.

The path to anger, to disappointment, to hatred passes through contempt it seems.

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Startling Sleepwalkers, On the Prospects of Waking Them from Their Nightmares.

by Antonio Dias

The New York Times article on Paul Kingsnorth and Dark Mountain.

I’m left with a feeling that – if my response were to be reported in The New York Times – the headline would read,

“Petulant Doomer Disappointed at Being Misunderstood!”

As calm as this story is, its passive aggressive antibodies hidden from view by a reasonable tone and a desire to be fair, it’s an example of how those who wish not to understand tell a story. It appears to be a neutral report while framing an event as a particular kind of story. This framing then makes whatever might have been disruptive easy to dismiss.

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Isolation, Cross-post from Concentric Dialogue

by Antonio Dias

One of the great killers, leading beyond mere death into extinction, has been the fragmentation of biological communities. Our networks of communication and trade have cut through its living fabric, reducing undisturbed remnants into scattered scraps too small to maintain abundance and diversity. A death by a thousand cuts. Not as dramatic as harpooning whales or poaching elephants or clear-cutting rainforests, but this has been where the day-by-day work of death-dealing takes place, destroying our ecosystem across vast swaths of entire continents. Its signs, like another dead opossum or flattened skunk on the road, so commonplace as to pass unawares.

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by Antonio Dias

There is a pressure on every interaction we have. A push. Sometimes an impatience to get to a result. Sometimes a leeriness that we are being manipulated. Sometimes a form of disappointment in advance, an expectation that things will not go well.

Taken together we might call the result anxiety. Meta-worry another cause to add another layer, we worry about being anxious….

We resist exposure to what we don’t want to see, to hear.

“There’s enough violence!” We might cry. Why expose ourselves to more?

Is it exposure to violence – in the sense of being in the presence of violence, taking part, being victim or victimizer, complicity? Or is it an awareness of our immersion in violence – violence that is at once ubiquitous and also quite specific in origin and intent? Which of these are we resisting, violence or an awareness that shines a light on our complicity that we fear?

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The Consequences of Our Precarity

by Antonio Dias

“Most of all you can break out of your mind’s silo and initiate yourself into the tribe — become one of the people. But however you move, you know you can’t do this stuff on your own. Somehow you have to decipher the law. Our ways of understanding life in graphs and linear narrative are not cutting it at this point because the planet is not shaped that way. Its laws are not made of words or mathematics. Varuna speaks in winds and ocean waves and his law governs worlds of never-ending chaos and creativity. We can no longer peer into our human problems as if we were Freud, and our ‘issues’ a hysterical woman from Vienna. In a dramaturgical age, we are all actor and director and playwright, and frequently find ourselves waiting in the wings, spear in hand, woefully under rehearsed. The Earth, we realise, is our stage. Without it, we are meaningless.”

Charlotte Du Cann

I read this essay when it first came out on the Dark Mountain site. Today, returning from writing this essay I’m about to transcribe from my notebook, I found it again. Charlotte has republished it on her own site.

I am struck by serendipity. As should become clear, there are many parallels between her essay and this one. Hers more erudite and more poetic. Mine more plodding and explanatory. Sometimes it seems as though I’m still in high school geometry class preparing a proof for Mr. Dahill….

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