flow painters in post-civilization world preparing ritual space, from afterculture.org
We have tried to have a discussion on Korten’s book for a couple of months now at my forum. Ran Prieur called it “Final Empire for Dummies” in reference to Kotke’s classic “Final Empire.” He may be right. It’s probably what’s needed. What I have discovered in trying to run the discussion thread is that this view of history is so opposed to how most people see the world, that it simply “does not compute” with them. Even the few that do grasp it, just shrug their shoulders to indicate “Well, it’s always been like that. What can you do? Nothing really.” They then try to change the topic. Anyone who brings this stuff up is easily dismissed as a crackpot or anarchist nutter.
So what can you do about it? A few years ago I first discovered your blog when doing research into the power of story telling. Therein lies part of the solution. Instead of lectures that make people feel as if they are being scolded, you need stories and art to show them that there’s another way to live. One of the best examples of this can be found here. [note: the illustration above is from that site].
Bulldozing the Bottom of the Sea: You thought agribusiness (“contained animal feeding operations”) and genetically engineered monoculture were inhumane and ecologically disastrous. Take a look at what megatrawlers are doing to our oceans.
Australian Video on CO2 Emissions: Making pollution and waste visible and obvious. Thanks to James Rait for the link. James also points out this BBC video with Richard Attenborough taking on global warming skeptics.
Why Wal-Mart’s Move to Organics Will Make Things Worse: Michael Pollan in the NYT explains that embracing organic (or anything counterculture) while still insisting it adhere to the old business model (slash costs, buy everything offshore, squeeze suppliers) is counterproductive, creates fragility in the market, and corrupts innovation and sustainability rather than contributing to it. This is why big established companies make lousy innovators, and why they’re unsustainable. “To say you can sell organic food for 10 percent more than you sell irresponsibly priced food suggests that you don’t really get it Äî that you plan to bring business-as-usual principles of industrial “efficiency” and “economies of scale” to a system of food production that was supposed to mimic the logic of natural systems rather than that of the factory.” Thanks to Umair Haque for the link.
Literature and Art:
Writing for Yourself: A brilliant essay on fiction writing by author Barbara W. Klaser. Teaser:
Of course the writer needs to learn the basics, hone her skills. Then, after writing for self, she needs to be willing to let someone edit her work and be open to revisions. The two-minute rule [you have to grab your reader in the first two minutes of reading] makes sense, too. Something in any story needs to draw the readerÄôs interest in as soon as possible, unless the writer just wants to hide her novel in a drawer and bring it out to read on her own now and then.
But I think a writer needs to begin any work of fiction out of love, a personal hunger to write it. Something has to draw the writer in, make it worth the effort, and perhaps make it impossible not to write.
…And Other Creative Undertakings Require Intention, Too: And coincidentally (or synchronistically) Jeremy Heigh also writes about the importance of intention, rather than commercial motivation, driving artistic or any other creation (it also applies to entrepreneurship). This post of his is sheer poetry:
I was looking at a bit of art yesterday. A small, elegant sculpture made of marble. Polished, flawless, stationary; it seemed to dance. This morning, thinking of dreams and aspirations, the image of that sculpture slipped unbidden into the mix.
There are parts of life that flow as water. And there are others (those where goals and intentions are relevant) where definite choices must be made. Choices that act as chisels, or hammers, or sandpaper, or drills. Decisions that drive directly and ruthlessly in a single direction. Deliberate action.
Creating art and creating dreams can be a long, tedious, intentional process. But both art and dreams require a set of intentions instead of a series of responses.
Sultan [a chimpanzee] is alone in his pen. He is hungry: the food that used to arrive regularly has unaccountably ceased coming.
The man who used to feed him and has now stopped feeding him stretches a wire over the pen three metres above ground level, and hands a bunch of bananas from it. Into the pen he drags three wooden crates. Then he disappears, closing the gate behind him, though he is still somewhere in the vicinity, since one can smell him.
Sultan knows: Now one is supposed to think. That is what the bananas up there are about. The bananas are there to make one think, to spur one to the limits of oneÄôs thinking. But what must one think? One thinks: Why is he starving me? One thinks: What have I done? Why has he stopped liking me? One thinks: Why does he not want these crates any more? But none of these is the right thought. Even a more complicated thoughtÄîfor instance: What is wrong with him, what misconception does he have of me, that leads him to believe it is easier for me to reach a banana hanging from a wire than to pick up a banana from the floor?Äîis wrong. The right thought to think is: How does one use the crates to reach the bananas?
Sultan drags the crates under the bananas, piles them one on top of the other, climbs the tower he has built, and pulls down the bananas. He thinks: Now will he stop punishing me?
The answer is: No. The next day the man hangs a fresh bunch of bananas from the wire but also fills the crates with stones so that they are too heavy to be dragged. One is not supposed to think: Why has he filled the crates with stones? One is supposed to think: How does one use the crates to get the bananas despite the fact that they are filled with stones?
One is beginning to see how the manÄôs mind works. . . .
At every turn Sultan is driven to think the less interesting thought. From the purity of speculation (Why do men behave like this?) he is relentlessly propelled towards lower, practical, instrumental reason (How does one use this to get that?) and thus towards acceptance of himself as primarily an organism with an appetite that needs to be satisfied. Although his entire history, from the time his mother was shot and he was captured, through his voyage in a cage to imprisonment on this island camp and the sadistic games that are played around food here, leads him to ask questions about the justice of the universe and the place of this penal colony in it, a carefully plotted psychological regimen conducts him away from ethics and metaphysics towards the humbler reaches of practical reason. And somehow, as he inches through this labyrinth of constraint, manipulation and duplicity, he must realize that on no account dare he give up, for on his shoulders rests the responsibility of representing apedom. The fate of his brothers and sisters may be determined by how well he performs.
Other Writers About CollapseAlbert Bates (US)
Andrew Nikiforuk (CA)
Carolyn Baker (US)*
Catherine Ingram (US)
Chris Hedges (US)
Dahr Jamail (US)
Dark Matter Women Witnessing (CA)
David Petraitis (US)
David Wallace-Wells (US)
Dean Spillane-Walker (US)*
Deena Metzger (US)
Derrick Jensen (US)
Doing It Ourselves (AU)
Dougald & Paul (UK)*
Gail Tverberg (US)
Guy McPherson (US)
Jan Wyllie (UK)
Janaia & Robin (US)*
Jem Bendell (UK)
Jonathan Franzen (US)
Kari McGregor (AU)
Keith Farnish (UK)
Kristinha Anding (US)
NTHE Love (UK)
Paul Chefurka (CA)
Paul Heft (US)*
Post Carbon Inst. (US)
Richard Heinberg (US)
Robert Jensen (US)
Roy Scranton (US)
Sam Mitchell (US)
Sam Rose (US)*
Tim Bennett (US)
Tim Garrett (US)
Umair Haque (US)
William Rees (CA)
Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 145 Posts, by category, from newest to oldest ---
Dying of Despair
Notes From the Rising Dark
What is Exponential Decay
Collapse: Slowly Then Suddenly
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Making Sense of Who We Are
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Post Collapse with Michael Dowd (video)
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
If We Had a Better Story...
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
A Short History of Progress
The Boiling Frog
Our Culture / Ourselves:
The Lab-Leak Hypothesis
The Right to Die
CoVid-19: Go for Zero
The Process of Self-Organization
The Tragic Spread of Misinformation
A Better Way to Work
Ask Yourself This
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
May I Ask a Question?
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
Learning From Nature
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
Republicans Slide Into Fascism
All the Things I Was Wrong About
Several Short Sentences About Sharks
How Change Happens
What's the Best Possible Outcome?
The Perpetual Growth Machine
We Make Zero
How Long We've Been Around (graphic)
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self, and Free Will:
Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark
Healing From Ourselves
The Entanglement Hypothesis
Nothing Needs to Happen
Nothing to Say About This
What I Wanted to Believe
A Continuous Reassemblage of Meaning
No Choice But to Misbehave
What's Apparently Happening
A Different Kind of Animal
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
Reminder (Short Story)
A Canadian Sorry (Satire)
Under No Illusions (Short Story)
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
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