It's so easy to go tactical. The bad guys raise fees, or start a war, or maintain an increasingly oppressive oligarchic state hell-bent on ecocidal destruction. So in response we decry their deeds and we protest and we get Kettled for our troubles or marched off to Camp Freedom somewhere.
The weaker we are, the harder it is to hope. The weaker we are, the easier it is to settle for wishing. When we're strong, we understand life is fragile, contingent, and ultimately tragic; and that hope is the form of our desire to make something of our circumstances, to give life meaning. In weakness, we settle for wishing that things were easier, wishing that someone, somehow will alleviate our burdens. We enter into bargains, looking for saviors, heroes, or just an end to our suffering, suffering that leaves us feeling that life is nothing but a burden.
We compound our difficult position by maintaining ourselves in this state of confusion. Unless we look clearly at the loss of meaning that has hidden the true natures of these three decisive terms we cannot get on with unraveling our condition.
I put this presentation together last April. I've been "sitting" on it, waiting to see how it held up before releasing it. Now seems to be the right time. This was originally written out as an essay, but after experimenting with different formats, I think it is best suited to the slide show. I use… Continue reading Mastery, Not Control
…regard is where our ability to chose beats against the limits to our existence.
I've been asked by a friend to describe why I found a recent boat design commission such a fulfilling experience. Before I'd confessed these feelings I felt uncomfortable deep-down. How could I reconcile taking this on with all I've been writing recently about the benefits of turning away from customary paths, of doing no-thing until… Continue reading Within the Realm of Acceptance
We're still talking about Enormity. It takes an enormous amount of effort to even glance at these potentialities without wanting to run away and hide. But then, there's more….
Here is where I disagree with those still caught up in the optimism/pessimism see-saw. The coming age will assuredly be Tragic, and it will include untold hardship and danger; but it does not have to be seen as a "Fall." It does not have to be seen as a descent into poverty. As Illich said, "Poverty was invented." If we can use this opportunity to generate new Forms, actually create a New Age out of the ruins of this one – again, the B.S. attached to this terminology threatens to derail us completely if we do not insist on chipping away the coruscation on our language to find real meanings in what we say. Unless we imagine something else out of the threads that present themselves to us precisely at this moment, we will be condemned to a true poverty, a poverty of imagination, a lack of Deep Imagining.
The alternative is an opening up to a continual wrestling with conditions and contingencies so that we can learn to remain on that edge between unknowing and conviction. If we only see this as a linear path going from a situation of lacking to one of having, then we are doomed to reel from paralysis to self-inflicted catastrophe. Unknowing is not a lack, it's a relationship to reality. It's the opposite of Know Nothing, that perennial reactionary stance so popular today. Unknowing is the realization that the most we can do is "salvage reality," to use Berger's terminology, extracting bits of reality from out of the surrounding mysteries.
That is the power of a simple statement like "the innovation of poverty." In a swoop, it comes down and pulls away the veils. We do these things to ourselves and others, not because we are following an intractable Law, but because we find it expedient, or we are confused into feeling powerless to do anything else.
I've had the kind of morning that drives me along. Checking in at the Dark Mountain site, still waiting to hear if they'll be publishing a story I sent them, I was hit once again by the relevancy, the immediacy and a strong sense of connection I've felt towards Kingsnorth and Hines' project, their perspective… Continue reading What Do You Do After You Stop Pretending!