Category Archives: bearings

Like An Acid

Now come a few trenchant excerpts from a recent interview with Rob Wallace, an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer presently visiting the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota.

He is author of Big Farms Make Big Flu and the soon to be published Revolution Space, both with Monthly Review Press. Wallace also co-authored Neoliberal Ebola: Modeling Disease Emergence from Finance to Forest and Farm, and Clear-Cutting Disease Control: Capital-Led Deforestation, Public Health Austerity, and Vector-Borne Infection. 

Images added by DP.











Just A Dark Hole

This week, marking the twentieth anniversary (!) of the “detention” facility at  Guantánamo Bay, we hear from former detainee Mansoor Adayfi and former chaplain James Yee, himself a victim of psychological “no touch” torture.

Excerpts from recent interviews below, with paintings by another detainee, Muhammad Ansi.







Next, we hear from James Yee himself:




Relayed from, we find the following bio for artist Muhammad Ansi:

Muhammad Ansi, originally from Yemen, was detained at Guantánamo for almost 15 years before being released to Oman in January 2017. He learned to paint and draw at Guantánamo, working mainly in landscapes and still life. His art often features cities seen from far away, paths without beginning or end, and empty boats adrift at sea. These images are most often imagined – based on photographs and scenes glimpsed in movies or on television, rather than directly observed by him, such as a depiction of the Titanic, remembered from being shown the movie during an interrogation.


Storm Warnings


We originally conceived DP as a five year research expedition. Five years then extended to ten. From here, we shall take the journey one year at a time, in search of viable bearings through increasingly threatening seas.

To summon the experience of the Titanic: in our considered view, it’s time to talk about lifeboats; that will be surely be one focus for 2022. On the “unsinkable” Titanic, lifeboats were an afterthought. Such hubris did not end well.

As always, we shall rely heavily on readers to alert us to both shoals and lighthouses. Onwards into the chop.


What We Look For

For our final navigational bearing in calendar year 2021, we offer a timeless passage from Thomas Berry’s Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community. Image added by DP.






Grateful, as always, for the countless kind, thoughtful and illuminating missives sent our way over the course of the year.

2022 promises to be yet another wild voyage through deep fog; we will do our utmost to float a few helpful buoys as we try to shed light on an increasingly opaque reality. Cheers and stiff drams of grog all around.


When We Love the Earth

This week we note the untimely death of the brilliant writer, scholar and activist Gloria Jean Watkins, widely known by her pseudonym “bell hooks”, a name that descends from her maternal grandmother, referenced as “Baba” in a characteristically prescient essay first published in Orion way back in 1996. Every word still carries weight today.

Excerpts below with images by Alma Thomas, as relayed from the Smithsonian website.











Viral Revelations

Across the duration of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we have refrained from saying much about Queen Corona, once it became clear we would blithely ignore her deepest lesson, namely that we must change how we are living in relation to the web of life that sustains our earthly presence.

A recurring theme within DP for the past decade: we humans will do anything to avoid changing our basic behavior. Yet that avoidance, typically accomplished through various tech fixes and fetishes, always releases consequences unanticipated by the fixers; the social and political complexities of the inverted utopia in which we live makes it impossible for us to imagine the implications of our clever inventions. Through time, this predicament tends towards what Anders identified as a world in which “we make ourselves superfluous, eliminate ourselves, liquidate ourselves.”

With this theme in mind, we bend an ear to a recent essay by Paul Kingsnorth, distinguished novelist and co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project. The entire essay is worthy of close reading; brief excerpts below, with images and captions added by DP.








We strongly recommend this related interview, as well:




Nurtured Into Being

Now comes philosopher Iain McGilchrist with closing thoughts from a recent lecture on the deeply relational nature of human consciousness. The entire lecture is worthy of close consideration.

Images added by DP, and relayed form the website of Aman Badhwar, a distinguished interdisciplinary researcher in the realm of neuro-connectivity.










Where Poetry Sings

Now comes the 23rd Poet Laureate Joy Harjo with her signature project, Living Nations, Living Words. Click on the image to explore the story map.






Now come Penobscot national tribal ambassador Maulian Dana; Penobscot Nation citizen Neptune Adams; and Upstander Project co-founder Adam Mazo, announcing the limited public release of their timely documentary, Bounty, linked through the below image.




For more discussion of the Phips Bounty Proclamation:


“They tried to bury us, but they did not know that we were seeds.”



In Praise of Fungi

Now comes Giuliana Furci, founder of the Fungi Foundation, dedicated to celebrating and protecting fungi, without which the world as we know it would not exist. A few passages from a recent essay below, with images added by DP.