Now come a few brief passages from a lucid December 2016 conversation with philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, as transcribed from a radio program affiliated with the Los Angeles Review of Books, Entitled Opinions.
The mission of such conversations, as described by host Robert Pogue Harrison: “To practice the persecuted religion of thinking; to think in the midst of the wasteland; to make sure the wasteland does not grow within.” Such is also the mission of DP; onwards to the Zarathustrian rope-walkers.
My subject is growth, the imperceptible growth of cells, of plants; the incremental growth observed in shells and coral and the explosive growth of mutating organisms. I take my inspiration from close observation of the woods, fields and coastline of Lincolnshire. I work with natural materials – rope, wool and charcoal – these materials best reflect the physical world for me as I strive to suggest natural forms without reproducing their likeness.
It seems logical that reversing the vast environmental damage caused by the Great Acceleration will require an equally as forceful Great Deceleration. Yet at exactly the time when humans need to do less via dramatic contraction, both economic and biological, we prefer to sustain the delusion that we can fix the broken world with yet another spasm of frantic human activity.
This week, we relay brief excerpts from a December 2018 article by Eileen Crist that provides a concise delineation of the human supremacist self-understanding we must overcome if we are to avert the worst consequences of the deepening ecological emergency.
From the imperative of love springs the need to re-conceive and re-member that most essential conversation: the dialogue between humans and the rest of life.
Below, a few excerpts from a wide-ranging interview with Paul Kingsnorth, whose writing and philosophy revolves around the recuperation of stories and voices embedded within the natural world. Images represent different seasons in Natalie Jeremijenko’s MASS MOCA installation, Tree Logic.
More from the voice of Paul Kingsnorth, this time in a more recent essay relayed from his own website:
And finally, linked through the below image, a VPRO documentary about Kingsnorth and his County Galway homestead, highly recommended for consideration:
This week, we return to our familiar motif of “inverted utopia”, a world wherein we cannot imagine the implications of our clever technologies. Such is the case in many reactions to climate catastrophe: fear not, we will invent new tech and engineer ourselves into a Green New Deal.
Yet fixes that leave deep structures in place will have the same result as wrapping infected wounds with bandages without treating the infection. Without a fundamental change in the relationship between Homo Sapiens and the whole of life, ever more clever tinkering will only serve to deepen the crisis while feeding the toxic delusion that we are in control as rulers supreme.
Concurrently, the CEO of one of the most toxic companies in history (Amazon) has announced his plan to “build a road in space”: “Do we want stasis and rationing or do we want dynamism and growth? This is an easy choice. We know what we want. We just have to get busy.”
Oh my. A man apparently addicted to “getting busy.”
In the midst of this death dance of neoliberalism, we turn to a historian who has devoted a lifetime of research to recuperating and celebrating histories of resistance to the commodification of every living and dead thing: Peter Linebaugh.
This week, with much sadness, we take note of the untimely death of one of the most extraordinary environmental activists of our times: visionary barrister Polly Higgins.
Higgins devoted her life towards establishing ecocide as a crime against the whole of life on Earth. The following tribute by Satish Kumar, editor emeritus of Resurgence and Ecologist , underscores the deep significance of her life’s work:
Below, her proposed legal definition, relayed from Eradicating Ecocide. We also link to two videos, the first recording a conversation with Charles Eisenstein dating from 2013, the second a recent interview with Real Media.
We note that as of this writing her death is still not mentioned on her website; that is as it should be, since her pioneering work will certainly be continued by her skilled and devoted legal team. Subsequent conviction of those responsible for the plunder and devastation of Earth’s ecosystems will be her lasting legacy.
Now comes Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, a traditional healer, storyteller and carrier of the Qilaut (winddrum). By his own account, his life mission and spiritual task, given to him by his mother, has been to “melt the ice in the heart of men”.
For more on the spiritual crisis of environmental unravelling, we highly recommend the below video of a recent program at Harvard Divinity School, featuring both Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq and Nainoa Thompson: