A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
"Do I detect regret that a political grass-roots movement to democratically 'own' the land and enforce social structures that reflect our values has not taken place?"
To some extent, Graham, though I wouldn't put it quite like that. To my mind the necessary political battles have already been won; what's needed now is to bring the framework of laws into line with the values mainstream society professes to espouse. I see that as being more a legal process than a political one.
I'm looking in two different directions; on the one hand I'm looking for a way we can force society to confront the inconsistencies within its own framework (as I wrote last year in my blog posts Passing On and The Root of Much Evil); at the same time I'm looking for people who are interested in establishing an embryonic society which avoids the most blatant flaws in the current one, and which might offer a support system if/when mainstream society falls apart. I say 'if' because I think it's quite possible for the current system to reform itself, particularly if an alternative system is waiting in the wings (Imago Society).
The first of those strategies doesn't actually need mass support - it needs a handful of people who are in a position to provoke the necessary court cases (and are willing to put themselves through that). The second, however, would certainly need a critical mass to be effective, and I do find it frustrating that people who see the failures of the existing system don't recognise the need to build something to replace it.
"I think or is it feel that thatthe Marxist project if it had validity( which DM reasonably contests) has run out of time."
I can't say I know a great deal about it, but I've never felt Marxism had any future in this country. My impression is that it's trying to sweep the whole of the existing system aside and replace it with something equally flawed, and it tries to do it by attacking some of the strong points of the existing system instead of its weak points (for example market mechanisms rather than the underlying definition of rights). But there's much about our current system which I think is well worth keeping, so my approach is to look for small changes that would catalyse transformational changes. My goals might have a lot in common with Marxism, but I'm on a totally different path.
Of course it depends on your viw of evolution, drift or puncuated equalibrium. I go for the later in the beliefe that societies have tipping points.
Alan: I'm not sure I agree with you Bert that people on this site are necessarily introspective. I'm inclined to think that what we have in common is a disillusionment with politicians and a realization that the environmental movement has become a business. The problem is then that we ask ourselves "what can we do now?" DM of course gives IMO no reply, which has its good and its bad points.
Neither am I Alan. If I could edit that text of mine, I would strike out the 'introspective' bit, and just leave it at:
The DM 'objective' - searching for a new narrative - is really on the fringe of what we can think and talk about. No wonder that lively dialogs are sparse here.
Alan: I'm inclined to think that what we have in common is a disillusionment with politicians and a realization that the environmental movement has become a business.
Assuming this is the common motive for DM'ers ... that doesn't begin to explain why the discussion part of the site is not very lively. I still think that this is because 'we' are on the fringe here. Having lost faith in the leading organizations, there is really not much left to discuss.
Some posts back Malcolm pointed out the hubris in my words:
M: You say you are interested in working on 'the construction of a universal narrative to guide a globalizing humanity'; that seems to me to be hubristic.
I think he made an important observation that goes right to the hart of the 'human enterprise.' I commented on Malcolms critique in an other topic about the purpose of religion. I'll now just copy that text :
.... Speaking about cosmologies FireHill writes:
...The old models need to evolve, probably need to be replaced with a new story: that's what DM is talking about, yes?"
B-L: The short answer is: No. I see no value in a new cosmology, and working on one is a waste of time. Please go here (a link to this topic) to read Malcolm's comments on me in the topic "DM is dead in the water."
B-L: The DM 'objective' - searching for a new narrative - is really on the very fringe of what we can think and talk about. .... And: I am still interested in thinking about (working on) a new narrative - in the construction of a universal narrative to guide a globalizing humanity for the next 1000 years or so.
And to that Malcolm wrote: You say you are interested in working on 'the construction of a universal narrative to guide a globalizing humanity'; that seems to me to be hubristic.
Those word make my eyes water, for Malcolm was right on the mark by pointing our the hubris in those words!
[ The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy! (phrase from a poem by Robert Burns - look it up.)]
And he goes on,
Malcolm: ... Unless you've developed something for yourself, that guides you effectively through your own life, how can you contribute to a coherent narrative for humanity at large?
Damn right he is with that rhetoric question! But 'we' can only follow up on Malcolm's suggestion, if 'we' are mentally and psychologically sufficiently developed as individuals, to face the Unknown without question - without the need for a (shared) cosmology.
Now think about that for a moment if you will .... without question means that in a network of such individuals there would be no need for a shared cosmology - because each individual would make his/hers own cosmology, based on his/hers own experiences, dreams, 'viewings' or 'encounters' with the Unknown.
How would networks of such individuals effect society? I do believe that the future of humanity lies in the hands of such individuals, networking there individuality the world around.
To copy my own text into this topic does not mean that I'm very pleased with my words - I'm not. It means that I'm looking for a vision.
Bert Louis: To copy my own text into this topic does not mean that I'm very pleased with my words - I'm not. It means that I'm looking for a vision.
Who isn't? Even those who seem most sure of their beliefs are constantly propping them up with apologetics of various sorts. Maybe the enlightened beings, the Bodhisattvas, are free of this, but I never met one.
Seems the search for a vision is what life is all about. You're probably right, we can't go constructing a new story, because that comes from within, organically. So what are we really doing here, this Dark Mountain thing. Is this all purely academic? Is this just dry, dusty armchair philosophy, a mere reflection of the real action, the people out there setting up resilient communities, permaculture, organic gardens, new political movements, survivalist bunkers, primitive skills, and so on?
Malcolm: I think what you quote of your own words illustrates it: "Structuring beliefs may cause large numbers of people to change their behavior".
Yes, that's a historical fact.
Malcolm: To my mind this is the opposite of how it works; to a large extent people's beliefs are formed to fit with, and make sense of, their behaviour.
No no, the individual need to conform is the key here. Individual behavior is most strongly influence by group behavior, because the individual depends on others for his very life and happiness.
Malcolm: And much of our behavior is shaped by social structures and institutions ....
Again, the individual becoming aware of his/her natural tendency to conform to group pressure is the key here.
Malcolm: The point I'm trying to make is that we cannot expect to change our beliefs until we have changed the man-made social structures which cause us to behave as we do.
And now I am lost in your words.
In support of my idea that "Structuring beliefs may cause large numbers of people to change their behavior". I like to point you to a running series on BBC 2 : A People's History presented by Michael Wood.
This is about how structuring believes shaped the society of the British Isles.
... By the 1580s the establishment had triumphed and the old world was all but swept away. The programme traces the rise of radical religious ideas at Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, ideas that would lead to the radicalism of the mid century in England and the Pilgrim Fathers in America and as a woman at the village fete said: 'America began here in Scrooby'!
On the purpose of this topic:
Since I'm satisfied with the contributions to the question of why there is not much activity on the forum section of the site (still thinking that this is because we are on the fringe of complexity here) I'm inclined to close this topic.
But I do think it's worthwhile to open (and make a here link to it from here) a new topic to bring more clarity to Malcolm thoughts and comments to me on the above addressed idea.
Any idea's for a new topic on this?
Sorry I've not been responding recently. I got married last week, so life outside the internet has been a bit busy!
I think opening a new thread would be a good idea, because this discussion's certainly gone quite a long way from what the current title suggests. However, I'm going to leave it to you to do it because if I did it I would end up writing an essay as the opening post.
"This [BBC2 series] is about how structuring believes shaped the society of the British Isles.
By the 1580s the establishment had triumphed [....]"
I don't think the establishment triumphed through 'structuring beliefs', I think it triumphed primarily through establishing rules which gave people a clear position within society. It might have tried to manipulate people's beliefs to discourage unrest, but I'd say that was secondary.
I'm not trying to deny the power of beliefs, and I don't mean to suggest that belief is not hugely important in bringing about - and shaping - change. What I want is to get people focused on those structural features of our system which have not changed for many centuries despite the fact that they operate in ways which are inimical to a healthy society; things which did not come about in response to particular beliefs, and which are positively incompatible with beliefs (in equality, for example) that most of us hold dear.
When I said that "to a large extent people's beliefs are formed to fit with, and make sense of, their behaviour", I was thinking of the ways in which people come to terms with 'the system' and their place within it. A prime example is the 'myth of progress' which Paul and Dougald suggest in the DM manifesto is central to civlisation. As I said in the New Narrative thread, I regard that as a secondary myth; the primary one is that poverty can be banished through growth. To a large extent, that belief allows people to live with the inequalities and injustices that our current system creates - in other words, the belief is a response to the state of the world, and our need to reconcile ourselves to it.
That's just one example, but as far as I can see that's how most beliefs arise. While I'd agree that, on some levels, we set out looking for an objective truth we can believe in, my guess is that most of our beliefs are formed, largely unconsciously, as an attempt to make sense of the world we find ourselves in.
But of course, I'm trying to change people's beliefs here, in order to bring about reform of social structures - so to that extent I certainly agree with you!
Late to this conversation, but hopefully better late than never.
DM isn't dead in the water, but this forum may well be. I very rarely come here and when I do, I find little of interest and quickly move on. Everyone I know feels the same - I'm not even sure what function it serves for DM. And I don't think that's necessarily anyone's fault - most of us have better/different things to do than get involved in forum threads like these, so we're just not here. Which leaves a small group who do post, leading to stale conversation and little of the magic that draws folk to DM.
I've never found forums like these conducive to good conversation, and that goes for almost everyone I know, too.
As this site's one of the public faces of DM, I'd seriously think about winding it up. I honestly can't see any reason to keep it going and everyone's energies could be put to better use.
My 2p worth.
Rise and root.
Malcolm: Sorry I've not been responding recently. I got married last week, so life outside the Internet has been a bit busy!
Wow Malcolm, a commitment for life to an other individual ... that's truly a leap of faith!
I'm sure the spell of material and spiritual happiness on your union has already been put on you by the appropriate authorities - emphasizing your individual responsibility to make your marriage a happy one. So all that's left for me is wishing you two all the best in live.
The DM 'objective' - searching for a new narrative - is really on the very fringe of what we can think and talk about. No wonder that lively dialogs are sparse here.
Tom: Late to this conversation,..
Where have you been, you opinionated but well versed writer?
Tom: DM isn't dead in the water, but this forum may well be. ... I'm not even sure what function it serves for DM.
I think I can help you on that:
The Main Forum is for arranging get-together's and meet ups, swapping stories, and engaging in respectful discussion.
The Main Forum has 9 different section, among them are : Stories&Journeys, Projects Meetups & Local groups, Articles, Links & Stuff to Read. This particular section of the Main Forum - Discussions, Debates & Arguments - is intended for engaging in respectful discussion.
All above mentioned sections show recent activity.
Tom, you question the 'existential right' of this little Discussions, Debates & Arguments section with an ad populem argument: " most of us have better/different things to do than get involved in forum threads like these .."
Most people I know also don't visit forums, so I can't accept that as an argument for closure.
Do you maybe have a more solid argument against the existence of a little space for topic-wise discussion and argument on DM?
Why not try a topic of your own, on something that you want to think about? You posted before in other topics. I just re-read some old stuff on structuring the forum in the time of Stranger and Wolfbird. I am still impressed by the well formulated honest thoughts of the various participants to those discussions. The need for some form of structure and control became clear, and that lead to the appointment of a moderator, who took affirmative and well argumented action against the domination of the forum by zealots.
I see this discussion section of the forum as a sort of field experiment of how a community develops, structuring itself in a sort of anarchistic way. And that can be instructive for people who are interested in the world at large.
'searching for a new narrative'
surely it is simply that humans have always exterminated species and altered landscapes with fire and later with agriculture and civilization. NOW as world civilization we face the responsability for planetary stewardship which includes the use of big science and grand geo-engineering experiments or alternatively a shambolic and undignified collapse as has happened many times before. Feference: I have just read 'Deep Time' by Gregory Benford whilst airliners contrail above my deck-chair. Cheers.
Tuesday, july 24 I received an email informing me that the forum and blog facilities have been removed.
And in fact, the (click-able) headings of these these two sections are not there anymore on the main page. However the forum and blog section is still accessible in an other way. I'm still able to read this topic and write in it. Maybe I can't actually post - I'll find out shortly. I also can still see all the forum topics and essays in the blog section through an other route.
A question to Malcolm: will this alternative route remain open? Will the old topics and posts and blogs remain on the servers? Or must I take action to copy some topics that interest me asap?
I'm feeling somewhat apprehensive, because I'm expecting all the topics and all the blogs to disappear at any moment.
So quickly now Graham, ..
it now don't matter anymore that your remarks are of topic, and that your comments have nothing to do with you quote. I know you as a bit of a joker, so I'm not sure if you are serious.
No matter, I completely agree with you. On DM this is a minority view I believe. In my view man has been on the path of knowledge from its very beginning. There is no way back, 'we' have to push on with science, and with socio-, bio- and geo- engineering, and just take the risk that it all goes very wrong. Because anything else will surely bore us to death.
"Planetary stewardship" - nice one! That's where the ethics of man's knowledge 'game' come in to play. Artistic and poetic ethical schooling seems to be the core business of DM - To attract writers, artists, poets, and organizers to awaken people to the reality of the interconnectedness of all life. To artistically and personally nurture the notion (the personal awareness) that mankind (by it's sheer numbers and industrial impact on the natural cycles of the Earth and it's biosphere) can no longer permit to behave as if it is exempted from the laws of nature and it's life cycles.
I don't know much more than you, Bert, though I'd known for a few weeks that Paul and Dougald would probably be removing the forum. I saw yesterday that the blog posts are still accessible through the blogger's own page, but I hadn't looked for forum posts, and I was surprised to get notification of your post.
Group forums are still there, however, so it is still possible to have discussions (in the Feral Forum for example), but they won't appear on the front page (except when a new discussion is started - though that might change perhaps).