This morning, the entire editorial staff of DP spent a productive hour closely observing a quartet of male turkeys making their way through nearby meadows and woodlands: vigilant, alert, very much in touch with each other and with the landscape. We were unable to suppress the recognition that within a few weeks at least half if not all of these sentient and social toms will likely be “harvested” by humans to participate through their death in yet another one of our fantasy histories: Thanksgiving Day.
In the bigger picture, the human species continues its mad descent into the unfathomable depths of what Robert Jay Lifton calls “malignant normality”, a concept we will explore in detail in a future DP. For balance and sanity regarding the whole of life on earth, we have been re-reading Mark Bekoff’s indispensable The Animal Manifesto, with an opening passage excerpted below.
Images: a trio of watercolors from the studio of Rebecca Clark, whose art so gracefully and powerfully embodies reverence and awe for the natural world, a wisdom that we must all embrace if we are to have any chance of breaking the death spiral, of which the psychopathology of contemporary American politics is but one of many alarming symptoms.
Resonant with Bekoff’s manifesto, please also consider a keynote address from this year’s Animal Rights conference, as delivered by Lauren Gazzola:
And finally, a few more words from Thomas Berry, from his magnificent The Dream of the Earth:
“Our challenge is to create a new language, even a new sense of what it is to be human. It is to transcend not only national limitations, but even our species isolation, to enter into the larger community of living species. This brings about a completely new sense of reality and value.”
Now come our friends at the Dark Mountain Project with a new issue that resonates strongly with one of our main themes here at DP: that humans are not the zenith of biological evolution, and that we are surely not the “inviolable sovereign” of this earth, let alone the universe. We excerpt the excellent editorial introduction below as an invitation to explore the vibrant and deeply human offerings assembled within the volume.
The images are from the hand of Rebecca Clark, whose exquisite drawings are featured in the issue, and whose work we have long admired.
WORLDS WITHOUT END, 2015
Let us search for that thread, and let us weave a future away from the hideous tapestry of unfettered grandiosity, narcissism and delusion.
Now comes philosopher and ethicist Lori Gruen, and her powerful idea of “entangled empathy”, regarding various ethical dimensions of human relationships with other sentient beings.
In an interview dating from 2014, excerpted below, Gruen provides a brief summary for ideas more fully explored in Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals. The images are by Rebecca Clark, whose magnificent body of work might well be seen as an extended empathic entanglement with the wholeness of life.
ST. FRANCIS IN THE AGE OF THE 6TH MASS EXTINCTION
Finally, a brief excerpt from the book, regarding the life-world of “very different others”:
This week, we are pleased to urge consideration of a new exhibition of drawings by Rebecca Clark, presented by the Adkins Arboretum. An excellent essay by Tom Jeffreys, with several illuminating interview passages from Clark, can be found courtesy of the Learned Pig, an online resource that resonates strongly with DP.
Below, a montage of her exquisitely fine and deep drawings, and passages from her Artist Statement.
Broken as our planet may be, let us celebrate these soulful drawings in all their quiet grace and joyful virtuosity; let us consider the oysters.
We write today in praise of a recent project by Chris Jordan and Rebecca Clark: an extraordinary collaborative photograph, Silent Spring, the most recent addition to Jordan’s “Running the Numbers” series. The photograph is based on an absolutely stunning series of Clark’s drawings:
CLICK TO FLY INTO SILENT SPRING
The linked report from Defenders of Wildlife deserves careful study in its entirety; we excerpt only the opening paragraphs:
The entire text for Rachel Carson’s Fable for Tomorrow is available here. Rebecca Clark, whose initials underscore a close kindred relationship with the Carson worldview, describes her work as follows: