A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
I have been wondering recently about spirituality/ethics and their place in environmental consciousness/living.
As someone who self-identifies as a Gaian/Bioregional Animist witha dash of neo-primitivist thrown in :-), I was thinking about how part of my motivation for reducing my footprint is spiritual and pondering the way that the cultural paradigm of linear timeline ending in an apocalypse(Raganarok/Armageddon etc) affects the way we view the oncoming crisis and our response and personal responsibility. In saying this I am not trying to offend any Heathens or Christians out there, I would be interested in hearing what others think...
I am new to this site, and hope you don't mind if I share some of my reading?
First came across ' Deep Ecology for the 21st Century' edited by George Sessions ( it has so much in it!) just before going to the 1999 'For Love of Nature?' conference at Findhorn...more impressed by the contributors than by Findhorn ( couldn't quite see how BMW Mk 3s fitted in...). Have also been impressed by Clive Hamilton's 'Requiem for a Species' and Richard Mabey's books 'Nature Cure ' and 'Beechcombings'. Am trying to read 'Ecological Ethics' by Patrick Curry and 'The Enigma of Capital...' by David Harvey - both fairly theoretical and I find them useful...
Interesting, I have not read that. I found Deep Ecology by Devall and Sessions as well as Simple in Means, Rich in Ends by Bill Devall very good, along with The Abstract Wild by Jack Turner. I thought Requiem was pretty good although I would reccomend Mark Lynas's "Six Degrees" and The Lovelock books "Revenge of Gaia" and Vanishing Face of Gaia" , although he is pro-nuclear and a bit nimbyish. One thing I did find important for me was reading more alternative philosohical/ political authors such as John Zerzan (who's critique of modern society is very insightful) and Murray Bookchin who's eco-anarchist idea of federated smaller-scale eco-communities put forward in his books "Remaking Society" and "Ecology of Freedom" have real resonance now.
I almost fainted under the severity of your thoughts.
Best of luck folks, in picking your lifeboat - hope it has good eyes, and that it may carry you to safety, and not sink under the weight of the pieces of the world that you yourselves and the others in your boat carry with them.
The UK can only grow enough food to feed itself for approx 1/3 of a year, so if we cannot import we're pretty screwed. I agree with your stepped collapse, and it I do have great trust that when faced with these conditions people can do quite amazing things.
One issue I would have is your judgment on the right to survival, I think is is very dangerous to cast judgment based on things like this. we are all to some degree created prototypes and if we succeed or fail will be in the eating, so to speak. To judge another based on our own world view is something that most of us has been on the receiving end of, and is not something that will help us traverse the future terrain. That doesn't mean that I don't in some way agree, but I believe in retrospect it will seem petty.
I actually come from stark atheist ideas that I built around myself in my early teens, One of the aspects i see in the Dark Mountain is the placing of spirituality in narrative mythos, it doesn't have the power of the spirituality of the major religions, but with great power comes great corruption. and I am all for the softening of these ideologies.
Yes the choice of the work 'right' was probably ill-judged, it was your comment "deserve to survive", but I may have been inferring the wrong idea from it. I was more pointing to the idea of judging others and the basis for that judgment.
I cannot remember where I got it from but it was based on a stat that we import 66% of the food we use. and that is probably more of an effect of the current system of society, then a cause.
A recent report by Chatham House suggests that the UK could only withstand a week of major system stress before facing collapse. On the food growing thing, I have heard it said that using permaculture methods, one is able to grow about three times a much as conventional agriculture in the same space. in the 1940s, Dig For Victory campaign, the UK managed to provide a significant amount of veg but the population was around 40 million as opposed to over 60 million now. I am not optimistic. While I think that people are capable of amazing things, you only have to look at the news to know that we are also capable of atrocity. I am concerned that in a post collapse situation, the people who are likely to be armed and organised and turning up wanting your food are not going to be the nice guys. I think that to ignore the potential for violence is idealistic and misguided, I for one would not want to be living in reach of a city.
Thinking about a stepped collapse. I can see it being more "manageable" if such a thing can be said, although ooking at history, I am concerned that we will see a swing to the right as things get harder.
I do think that many people are sedated by TV, consumerism and media bias. I agree that preparation is no gurantee of survival and that there is a huge element of luck. I hope that the growth of the Transition movement, the Occupy movement and others means that there will be some sort of change, although as I have previously stated, I do have real concerns around the reformist as opposed to more radical approach.
The lifeboat has to be built. That means conscious design.
conscious design, really?
Nature evolved without conscious design, so do cultures, so do our personal lives.
I will agree to 'a conscious commitment,' but not to conscious design.
"Spiritual Ecology is an exploration of the spiritual dimension of our present ecological crisis. At the core of Spiritual Ecology is an understanding that our present outer ecological crisis is a reflection of an inner spiritual crisis. "
We cannot redeem our physical environment without restoring our relationship to the sacred."
But then what ? What chance is there of sufficient numbers of human beings suddenly - or even gradually - seeing the world as sacred ?
I don't think of the world as sacred. I don't wish for a future dominated by an ecology priesthood, telling the people what Gaia demands. In theory I hold the individual sacred - human or otherwise.
"Our present political climate does not give me any hope that we will do enough to avert or adapt to the oncoming crisis."
Yes. The political leadership seems utterly incapable of understanding the challenge. It must rate as one of the greatest failures of leadership in all of history.
Perhaps we can try and understand why that is ?
That's easy:: they are not enlightened super men.
Ego-mania is rife amongst them politicians - no news there. Here in Holland we have a small (1 seat) party that strives to places animal rights on the agenda. Pity they have not yet been able to formulate a realistic deep ecological ideology that speaks to the general population.
With the lifeboat approach one distance oneself from the mean stream that flows into the abyss. I think this is a very good idea. To teach your children survival skills is super!
Recently I viewed a BBC production on a survival experiment held in Britain. A mixed group of people with no survival skill in a hunter gatherer situation. At first is was bad, but after an intervention in which they were taught a few tool making techniques, they did rather well - suggesting that they could have gone on to reproduce and carry the human gene in to the future. So no worries there.
Now what are you really worried about? About your own personal lives, or are you worries more about the immense loss of knowledge that is to be expected with a civil crunch?
I have never really tried to make fire from scratch without matches. You know what .. tomorrow I will ask my partner to join me in a fire making experiment in the backyard.
I do have some theoretic knowledge on fire making from watching Discovery Channel - see how that pans out.
On conscious design. I am not a designer - I'm a fixer and a hacker.
Good luck with the fire lighting, are you talking by friction or with firesteel? I recently moved from matches and firelighters to making charcloth from old clothes and using a firesteel to light my stove. This site www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/content.php is really good, with loads of videos. One of their stated purposes is to offer a bushcraft education to those who cannot afford the courses.
One of my issues with the collapse is that I fear. I do not believe that people will necessarily act from their highest principles, when they are hungry or even just deprived of what they regard of their "rights" . Also in looking at history, we have in the past seen the rise of fascism when times were hard. I wonder how the state will react when resources are scarce? Will we see the targeting of "gypsies" the poor, or people with "abnormal" sexualities, religion or other easily targeted identifiers?
I do agree that there is a need to address our inner dislocation from the planet and that as long as we regard the Earth as just a big pile of resources we are more likely to fail. But I also think there are other factors to the crisis, such as the inequality and deliberate distraction and promotion of competition and " individualism" at the expense of community.
Speaking in terms of designing your own life does not make much sense to me.
We all like to think we are in control of our lives - of what we feel and what we think. But scientists are now discovering this is often simply an illusion.
WB: By conscious, I meant fully aware. ... Everyone is a designer.
Does that imply that everyone is fully aware?
WB: You can't help doing it (designing.) If you decide to walk to one shop to buy bread, rather than another, you're designing your life.
Well,.. there's Annie's point to consider.
The lifeboat has to be built. That means conscious design.
BL: conscious design, really?
Nature evolved without conscious design, so do cultures, so do our personal lives. I will agree to 'a conscious commitment,' but not to conscious design.
In other words: to begin shaping your life on a path that will lead you away from the mean stream, is a matter of faith, and not of conscious design as you say.
I'm thinking of the method of friction - still will need a good knife. The steep learning curve will be in the preparation of the kindling, the transfer of the amber onto it and the fine art of blowing life (I mean fire) in to it.
I think that we do have conscious choice in many aspects of our lives and that these decisions can have a significant impact and that it is very possible to design for example a greywater system or a forest garden, accepting that there will be elelements outside our control such as weeds or other factors.
I have never tried friction fire lighting, although it is something I am definitely considering, probably using the fire-bow, or piston as they seem more efficient.
wolfbird, you are as clear as mud all the way through.
Consciously design ... what a strange notion.
WB: Do you know what 'design' is ? Or means ? Like designing a cupboard or a bed to plant beans or a dress or a boat ?
No. I don't know what 'design' is.
The term 'design' has different connotations depending on the context. I could not find a general definition.
Within the larger context of the search for a new narrative, the matter of making your own personal choices towards a more Eco harmonious life came up and was quickly encapsulated within the metaphor of a lifeboat. And about this 'lifeboat' you said that it had to be consciously designed.
I am commenting on that.
WB: Conscious. Fully aware. Awake. i.e. Become that...
Fully awake - the medical definition. OK.
... Become that ..? metaphysical/religious. I really don't know how to take that.
Things like buildings, houses, clothes, software, .... can be designed for a purpose. Sure. --- But to design your life, your future, let alone to consciously design 'it' ... well ... I don't know how to say it.... The thought is pure hubris to me, if not madness.