So, it comes down to this. The answer to these crazy times, is to evacuate & de-spend the enclosures and to inhabit and re-spend the skill, ingenuity, sensuality (intelligence gathering) and moral probity of the common.
Enclosure desensitises intelligence of our terrains and replaces it with the teachings of enclosed status. There, we will never find the truth. What’s more that status has no skills, it is inextricable from discretion, wage, rent, institutional loyalties, schools of thought, and peer/career review. It is set apart from what people do and resides in a sphere of what people say, pay and have become in regards to hierarchy. It has no sense of the climate changing, though it bends to the consensus that climate is changing. The senses (urgency of action) are secondary to the “professed” idea.
Meanwhile, cultures are what people do to make them. A culture is not a state of things. It is a living process – an organism. If you like, it is a gathering of verbs – not nouns. Sensual intelligence of a changing world is harvested by the “actuality of being”. Enclosure – that is property – intellectual, land, money and status – resides in a place we may truly call nothingness. (sorry Heidegger).
Currently we ask nothingness to solve the problems of being. That is crazy.
In a wonderful poem about Walter Scott (Green Breeks), Douglas Dunn explores how “professional” people (law, medicine, bank and so on) reside (in their residencies), whereas working people inhabit their slums and cottages. We don’t do much in a residence. We do a lot, when we inhabit. Do we want to give further credence to those who reside? Let’s inhabit. We inhabit the common, we reside in an enclosure.
By inhabiting, we touch what we inhabit – our gardens, crops, materials, foraging grounds, dew on the grass… They react to us and we to them. Actions and reactions demand both personal morality and communal morality. They also evoke a story, so that we come to inhabit both a mythic sense of how life is and could/should be, and also a wonder at the sensual truth revealed as we tread.
Here is Tony Harrison, from A Cumquat for John Keats. It is the cumquat’s fruit expresses best, how days have darkness round them like a rind – life a skin of death, which keeps its zest.
Come on, the new middle-class is killing us. There’s work to do, which they cannot. Of course, some may say, Bugger my career, I’m human. – and join us.
Bio-mass, bio-speed and bio-acceleration
Yes, as we saw in the last chapter – pursuit of career, kills pursuit of truth. To pursue truth, we must step into wind, sunshine and rain – to which I may add, into famine, flood and storm.
Even so, a walk in the woods, across fields, to the hill-top, along the shore… is a good beginning. To continue the verb metaphor, we will be walking climbing, descending, listening, scenting, touching… Only by that broken twig underfoot, the scent of bluebells, do we find truth. As a farmer, I can see the deepening, or paling of my crops – which indicate accelerating, or decelerating life – that is the mass, energy and velocity of life. Some of those deepenings, or paleings will follow the weather. Often, they may be reactions to my actions – to my appropriate, or inappropriate behaviours. Listen to those reactions. Nobody – no expert opinion, can change that truth. No one is closer to the cycling of life than the farmer. It is tragic that most farmers concede to utterly shallow, career-led academic advice, when true answers are revealed in crop yield (present, past and planned-future) and in messages from the wider ecology, with which they are entwined.
As I step, the Earth responds. Am I a functioning, or at least semi-functioning part of my ecology? Am I appropriate to it, or not? Legends of the Fall, keep hubris at bay. I step along the edge of the Garden and long to be part of a lost terrain. Here’s a lesson we can take from our own missteps – Never trust a school of thought entirely, when we cannot even trust ourselves. Also, never, ever trust an institutional consensus. Sometimes we concede to it, to keep our social bonds, but we must know that truth is not involved. We compromise for our companions. Weigh the effects of compromise against the weight of sensual truth. We will have lived that truth and we will have loved our friends. Ridicule brings renegades back to the fold of friendship. As a farmer standing in my guardianship of soil, I can see a whole community of renegades. I am losing friends but cannot return to a renegade fold. I confess, my head is in my hands.
What does zero carbon mean? Truly, zero carbon means extinguishing every man-made fire. Net zero means the gathering of pardons and indulgencies from a fanciful reading of life cycles and then subtracting them from our bad behaviour, to suggest that it is good. People call life cycles, carbon cycles. They are deluded. Life cycles have mass, energy and velocity – the energy being embodied in the mysterious thing we call life. Carbon is simply mass. Nobody, absolutely nobody understands what life is. For our purpose we must call it acceleration due to life – the energy that can transform mass at a variety of speeds. We have energy due to gravity, energy due to sun-light, energy due to sun-heat, energy due to fire, energy due to human labour – which, of course is a very small part of acceleration due to life.
Everyone is measuring mass. Mass is good for pillage. It is good for property. It is (we think) also good to store, like money in a bank. It is dispensation-mass for life’s bargaining. We sequester carbon – we think, in quietude – enclosed like a dead idea – a book in a library, which no one needs to bring to life, by their own life – that is by reading it.
But soil life has constantly changing and exchanging velocity, energy and mass. It cannot be sequestered for our peace of mind. It is one and the same with the plants and animals who tread separately to carbon-deluded eyes and with the atmospheric gases, which that whole regulates. Gravity, heat and light make rigid energetic contribution, but living energy and mass cycle at a near infinite varieties of speeds, maintaining and healing the whole.
However, oil, coal and gas were truly sequestered. The word is appropriate. It is not appropriate for soil. The ignition of many millions of fossilised and quietly sequestered years has out-done life’s balancing – bringing into the equation both the mass-destructive power of human endeavour – aviation, the family car, centralised distribution, pillage of natural systems, and a surfeit of atmospheric CO.2 – heating ecosystems to beyond their evolutionary range.
We must leave the fossils, where they lie, quietly sequestered – also the anaerobic stillness of peat and we must extinguish our bio-fires – timber, oil seeds, sugar-cane, miscanthus..
Earth is heating so fast (yes, consider time, consider velocity) that we must shrug off our careers and urgently find ways to live as small parts of the biomass and biodiversity of the whole.
We need, not the negative of zero-carbon cultures, but the positive of maximum biomass cultures. As we’ve seen in previous chapters, an ancient rainforest is a system in balance with an optimum biomass and complexity, which can constantly adjust and heal. It can provide no pardons, or dispensations for destructive human behaviour outside its borders. It can provide no licence to misbehave, stamped with the title – sequestration. But if we attempt to become a part of natural law, so that we also become a part of that optimum biomass – adjusting and healing…, then that mass may expand to become more resilient in energy and velocity – which may outweigh (in mass, energy, velocity) the contrary forces, which we call energy due to lifelessness – combustion gases, heat and ashes.
A farm is an organism connected to the organisms of towns. They are one. We call it an agriculture. The farmer, standing in her crops is also a part of universal natural law – in her mind are temperature, wind, rain – the deepening and paling of crops (energy and velocity), networks of roads, rivers and canals to market and from the market (she hopes) “wastes” in return. Differing speeds are everywhere. Time is massive, dangerous, imperative…
We are accelerating towards a lifeless planet. Shouldn’t the remedy be obvious?
Economy? Ecology? One and indivisible
The biomass of Earth is shrinking. It is also weakening. Its immune responses are more and more often overwhelmed by lifeless energy – heat, flood, fire, chainsaw… Lifelessness replaces life – accelerating at tipping points for species after species – the intricate web of those dependent interconnections crumpling before human eyes into memory.
We fully understand what is happening – and why, yet we treat it as part of the “knowledge” we have and do not connect it to our own lives. We devise sophisticated – we think “educated” excuses – sequestration (a convenient untruth) and also humility – It’s nice to be humble in the face of the power of time and nature – what can one bloke do?
Yet it is the sum of singular people who make up the whole of the species. The species can only mutate its behaviour, by the adaption of individuals. One bloke can mutate. Every bloke (sexless term) can mutate the species. There is no other way, because the sensual intelligence of the species, always – I mean always – must pass through the senses of individuals. There are commons of good behaviour, which bind us, but human sensuality is mine and mine alone.
Anyway, we face The Great Sickening on two fronts – of nature and of society.
All “developed” economies will now collapse – the weight and energy of applied ideas (lifelessness), outweighs the weight and energy of what people do to grow food and distribute it, to build and maintain houses and so on. The energy; the vitality of the verb to do is outweighed and out-forced by the contrary power of status, that is, of the noun, enclosure. The effects of enclosure include rent for the abstract properties of status, land, ideas and money (interest is rent). The abstract outweighs the real and bleeds it.
We also have debt-created money – that is debt-created abstract property.
Economic collapse is inevitable.
Then, to massively add to the power of lifelessness and the sickening of life, we have a second front – the sudden release of millions of years of sequestered photosynthesis, which both thickens the blanket of atmospheric CO.2 and magnifies the destructive powers of human hubris. Great forests fall before it and human ego is so puffed up by that prowess, that it devises poisons – pesticides, fungicides, herbicides to remove every form of life apart from a few selected crop species and a few pretty garden trees and flowers.
The collapse – the imploding of life on Earth, is inevitable.
How do we restore sickening economies back to health?
How do we restrain ourselves from poisoning, felling and suffocating our living Earth? We cannot say, how do we restore the health, mass and vitality of natural systems. Natural systems themselves must achieve that. We can only say, how do we return health to human economies, so that they and their wider ecologies become one – vital, regenerating, healthy?
How do we undo what we have done? Of course, we cannot. It was done yesterday. We are not time travellers.
We ride the present and cannot jump off. No future ingenuity will save us. In truth, the future will bear our present effect.
Plainly we must descend from those abstract, yet destructive ideas of property and so on and inhabit sensual reality of the present. The present is the unknown. Who’s for the ride?
That simple idea is heresy to most. It embodies what should be self-evident – economy and ecology are one and indivisible. Even so we walk along the edge of the Garden, looking in dreamily from our fields and towns. We cannot enter. All agriculture disrupts what it has replaced.
So, how do we minimise disruption so that at least we maintain the freedom to dreamily gaze? The Garden must massively expand and human effects must massively shrink. Then, the health of the whole may be enough to begin the healing.
One lesson is that human economies must collapse. We cannot “green” their current form, because they currently have no form – they have anti-form, like anti-matter. The abstract bleeds the real, sucking it into the hands of property (an idea), leaving the living, breathing species on the edge (it cannot be denied) of oblivion.
“The health of soil, plant, animal, man (and the planet) is one and indivisible”. That has been the central principle for organic methods since the days of the early pioneers in the 1940’s. I think that instruction is also much older. Incidentally, organic does not define a state – a noun. It lives in a world of verbs, of what we do. It describes a method.
Here is Lawrence Woodward, who has been a rock in the storm of market opportunists, who ship-wrecked the true organic movement thirty years ago. It needs revival.
At the moment we cannot be definitive on how to farm for health or how to make health infectious. We do not know what the important transmission factors are or how the “mutuality of actions” work – whether through micro-organisms, bacteria, energy, vitality, self – organisation or something else?
However, we do know there are some things which are likely to be important and which farmers should pay attention to; these revolve around managing the soil and above and below ground livestock through biological system management and not through inputs whether these are synthetic or organic.
“Whether these are synthetic or organic” – Yes, if we consider the organism of farm, or town, those organic imports diminish the organic mass and vitality of the terrain from which they are imported. How do we maintain the health – the metabolism, of our own farm, village, town… without that social injustice? You see, where ecology and economy become one is our goal. A balance of ecology also requires the equity of social systems.
They are one and indivisible.
Once again, we return – enclosure (property) defines a state. States do nothing. We lie in state by bleeding the common. The common is dynamic. It defines good behaviour – rations of what we can do and of what we can have and it guides what we do both together and in our terrains.
Lifeboats and landfall
Developed economies are intrinsically destructive and because of their size they cannot be greened. They embody a destructive way of life. Our only choice is to evacuate that economy and to live a different way of life.
De-growing what is destructive is no remedy – it remains destructive.
A green New Deal for what is destructive may shrink its ill-effects, but it will also remain destructive.
But anyway, de-growth will fail as a strategy, even towards that limited end because as we’ve seen, de-growth of monetarist economies will not only diminish their ill effects, it will destroy them. Growth is essential to developed economies. Money-flow must accelerate, but the physical economy of labour and resources is shrinking.
Sooner, or later, the rope will break. Collapse is inevitable.
If collapse is inevitable, we must choose it as necessary – as an essential step. If (Brian Davey’s metaphor) shipwreck is inevitable tomorrow, we’d be wise to launch the lifeboats today.
So, my chosen first step is not of collapse and retreat to my bunker, it is to launch the lifeboats and to colonise what we find at landfall, leaving as small a footprint as we can manage. Collapse will loom darkly over us like a prophesy, but a little delay will give us time to settle. As, we’ve seen in our chapter Being, Nothingness, Cumquats and Walter Scott, we must inhabit rather than reside. Our habits must mingle with those of the other species we find. In the past, the word colonial has meant bloody invasion, pillage and the construction of over-seeing residencies. Now it must be different.
We shall inhabit, which will prove a delight. How do we know the habits of other species, without study and without the physical trial and error of our own habits? Every individual must be involved.
We shall receive no instruction from the residences.
When collapse comes – sooner is best for the planet – later is best for our infant plans – we can hope that our colonies are resilient enough to welcome refugees aboard and so expand into new terrain – becoming stronger.
The farm is the perfect place for learning that habitation. It is also the perfect place (where better?) for moral philosophy. Farmers are currently the luckiest people on Earth. The farm is the core of agricultural economies (towns, roads, cities…). It is the primary source. If we can properly inhabit our farms and also properly inhabit those roads to and from market (both at the farmer’s fingertips) we have a glimmer of a chance for whole societies to healthily inhabit their rations of Earth. Remember that economics is just one branch, though probably the stoutest branch, of moral philosophy.
A contagious moral philosophy which is rooted in our habitations – our families, skills and terrains – could infuse the common course of things and shrug off the phantasies of those who pillage and reside. Remember morality tells us what to do – how to behave well. It is a living force.
At their core (removing the cults and hierarchies) Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism… all say the same.
As just about every “Green” writer of substance says (it’s a long list), a moral awakening is our final life-belt for rescue from a sea of colonial residencies tossing wildly on waves of their own making – the consumer consumed by the consumed.
How do we re-settle? By trial & error. But here are some thoughts. Every habitation must begin with some sort of understanding and some sort of a plan.
Potatoes contain about 80% water
Carrots contain 90%
Cereals contain 15%
A tonne of potatoes contains 200kg of nutrients
A tonne of carrots contains 100kg
A tonne of cereals contains 850 kg (dried in the field by sunshine)
That is why cereals have founded towns and cities. They are very light for transport. A ship’s hold can carry 4.25 more of cereals than potatoes. Differing types of bread have been the staple of most cultures.
Cereals and potatoes contain very similar nutrients.
We would not be very well if we consumed a diet entirely of cereals. That has created a chronic (sometimes acute) sickness of the poor in many parts of the world. So, most fruit, roots and leaves are best grown close to home. Without engine oil, that thought is essential.
There is much demonisation of cereals, but not much sign that people can resist a hot loaf, straight from the oven, a flat bread straight from the griddle, or hold back their pride in the local pasta. A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou…
Cereals can be traded between regions, as scarcity and surplus demand. In my dreams (reality is very close) small sailing vessels of 500 tonnes (they are coming to fruition as we speak) will prove ideal (along with river/canal boats and barges) for that trade – or indeed, sometimes for that rescue mission. 2,000 tonne vessels will soon follow. That’s a lot of grain – bearing in mind our primary aim will be to localise.
Cereals are useful both in time and space (tonnage). They can be transported not only through scarcity and surplus of regions and neighbours, but also between scarcity and surplus of hard, or abundant times. They can be stored for years. They will remain central to our harvest festivals!
I begin with a defence of cereals, because they give emergency leeway to otherwise localised food systems – of course, the bulk of our cereal crops will also be consumed locally – or within a town/mill/terrain relationship.
Cuba successfully rode the oil blockade by diminishing the contribution of large collective farms and by encouraging citizens to both “grow their own” and to form small grower co-operatives – the organiponicos. At landfall, we can do the same – vegetable and fruit growing can weave into town – into private gardens and public spaces – derelict car parks for instance, or roadside avenues of fruit trees. Quite literally, hope can sprout from beneath paving stones. Meanwhile, market gardens, orchards and dairies can ring those towns, occupying, and revitalising the oil-desolation of retail park and ring road.
The same will happen in Suburbia as it re-centralises into villages and small towns sat in a sea of biomass – what we currently separate as agriculture and horticulture.
Is the distinction any use for our new adventure? I think not. As man-power replaces oil-power, all arable farmers will be forced into a more horticultural mindset. Mixed farmers will be forced into both a more horticultural and also, a more “dog and stick” mindset.
Fields will shrink into the compass of man-power, with the additional advantage of attention to detail – the intelligence of many more senses. Large collective farms have not worked well in history. In private ownership, they’d become the now familiar colonial plantation owner and his hundreds – even thousands of slaves. In public ownership, they’d become institutionalised and wooden. Our new settlers will not stand for either. They’ll want to use their own senses and their own brains.
With all this shrinking, you say, you are shrinking back in time and towards low yields and inefficiency. No, I say we are shrinking back into a world without fossil fuel and biofuels. We must put out the fires. We cannot have massive tractors and their massive machinery. We replace them with people – the ingenuity, dexterity and sensuality of very many people. To fully utilise people, it must be an egalitarian landfall.
I’d say that most work done today is not only futile, it is destructive – insurance, banking, advertising, market research, manufacture of useless shiny things; of cars, trucks, aeroplanes. We scurry to destroy ourselves. Those many millions engaged in destruction can instead be engaged in useful production. Eventually, as the hard work of transition passes, people will have far, far more leisure time without oil, as they had with it.
There will be work reviving canal and navigable river systems and small harbours all around the coastline. There will be work building the new sail-trading ships and smaller craft and there will be work on the farm and with rural housing – plus new tool-makers, weavers, millers…
I say we cannot have fossil fuels, or biofuels, but anaerobic digestion is different. Fermentation is everywhere. It is essential to the continuation of life. It happens anyway. Harvesting gas is rather like hunter-gathering. We anaerobically ferment agricultural and household “waste” and use the gas. We exchange one gas for another and use the energy. CO.2 for methane seems a good idea.
Tiny digestors may provide for the domestic stove. Farm digestors may provide for some small machinery. Neighbouring farms may share that machinery, for initial cultivation perhaps and what about a combine harvester – used for only 1 month every year – travelling between farms.
I am talking low horse power. The scything, stooking, stacking and threshing could be done by hand. In difficult weathers the combine harvester can dash between rain-storms. It’s a pleasant thought.
Another thought – ceramics and metal working (re-purposing) need considerable heat. The digestor may provide it. We shall only know if it can, by trial, error and rationing – that is by fair distribution. Bear in mind the end is to shrink our impact on both climate and ecology, so that we cannot grow crops for the digestor, we can only place it as a part of the cycles of use and return.
How do we minimise our impact? My own remedy is to think of human cultures occupying glades in the larger forest, rather than the permacultural remedy of imitating the canopies and understories of the forest. I think we can grow a greater biomass in the glade – one that meets our needs in a smaller space, while around us, the wilds can expand. We’ll only learn by doing it. Certainly, my crop of wheat needs full sun. Why do I say remedy? – because our culture is currently very sick and will not survive.
Dog and stick
How do we extract crops, while maintaining future yields? – By cycles of use and return, but also by introducing generative phases in rotation. Perennial cropping of fruit and nut trees and bushes is useful and perennial cereal prairies as dreamed by the Land Institute may be a thing of the future. Nevertheless, even perennial cereals will need regenerative phases – by either cutting and mulching, or by grazing.
A very old rule of thumb is one year of cropping to two years of pasture (once called fallow). Many organic growers, practice two years of cropping to four years of green manure, or pasture.
I don’t see how we can escape that simple rule. I think a vegan rotation could work very well, but I think the introduction of animals would work better. Meat, eggs and dairy add to the diversity of both biomass in the field and to the quality of diet.
Used as part of rotation, animals increase the final yield. Pasture and green manure work equally well, so that animals add to overall harvested biomass, rather than being (as is commonly cited) an extremely inefficient way to grow food.
If efficient growing systems do best by imitating natural cycles, then that sort of proportion of animals is surely appropriate.
Of course, we cannot have feed-lots, broiler houses, battery houses and piggeries, but also how much area can we dedicate for perennial grasslands dedicated solely to dairy, beef and sheep production? Think of a glade in the forest, dedicated to human cultures. How big can that glade be, to avoid collapsing eco-systems and swelling atmospheric CO.2 ?
All agriculture disrupts the natural system it has replaced (my mantra). How much of the natural must re-grow and how far must human interference shrink? Whatever the grassland polemicists say – no (UK) grassland is as rich in life as the forest it has replaced. Yet, beautiful human cultures have evolved with grasslands. How can we deny that?
Here’s something – thinking of the UK, those wide upland pastures were not created by ingenious local habits. They are not an ancient cynefin, terroir, or clan territory, they are the result of a vicious aristocratic (most of it) expulsion of people from their lands. The enclosures were a land grab for the currency of sheep’s wool. A very few got rich, nearly all ended in starvation, city slums, or in voyaging Atlantic, or Pacific oceans.
Close cropped uplands are nearly deserted – economically but for wide-scattered farmsteads and ecologically, but for sheep, crow, buzzard, a few skylarks, curlews and so on and of course tourists – who may be the largest economic contributor – along with farm subsidy and the meagre lamb trade. The tourists come for the wide, desolate spaces and think it wild.
But those scattered farmsteads could surely find a better living in re-foresting and re-wilding? We certainly need timber more than we need sheep. We also need to overturn the terrible injustice of the enclosures and bring people and life back to those places. Those farmsteads can still provide lamb for local butchers and (if soil permits) milk to local dairies. People can widen their skills into forestry and wood-working and bring new meaning to the word cynefin. Eighty percent of Welsh lamb is exported. Well, eighty percent of that land area can certainly be re-wilded, or re-forested without the smallest economic harm. Eighty percent is a precarious percentage.
Thinking of pastured flocks and herds, the East of the country is in desperate need of them for its tired and half-dead soils, while the West has far too many. Is that a recipe for a beautiful friendship, which also increases the species diversity of both West and East? Also, bear in mind that we’ll not need the vast acreage of cereals, previously destined for animal feed. Economies will gain some slack. Also, efficient, most ecologically-integrated flocks and herds will follow, not the grain market, but the seasons. People will re-learn the true calendar (UK) of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Communities may synchronise with the true movement of time. Each month will contain ecologic/economic meaning. That is a delight.
A very short but tangled tragi-comic plot
Each month will contain ecologic/economic meaning. For us – for developed economies – all of which are agricultures, or dependent on agricultures – that meaning will contain a large thought-stifling smog of tragedy. We think we cannot do what is right, because of the tragedies our action will cause.
The central premise of all I write is that we must embrace tragedy – that there is no other course, but to take the tragic rite of passage towards the light on the other side. Our ways of life are causing terrible tragedies. It is illogical to say that we cannot act out remedies, because of the tragedies they’d cause to our tragedy-causing ways of life.
For me, another essential mantra, is that comedy and tragedy share identical plots – the one of mind – the other of heart. Of course, as we see in the best writing and hear in the best and deepest music, comedy and tragedy can weave together as one – just as heart and mind are one.
It is illogical to say that we cannot act out remedies, because of the tragedies they’d cause to our tragedy-causing ways of life. – Is that not the archetype for the best stage comedies and tragedies?
Of course, we could also say, it is illogical to say that we cannot act out remedies, because of the ridicule and laughter they’d draw from those still engaged in ridiculous ways of life.
That last applies to most of peer-dependent, career-dependent academia and in particular to “climate science”.
It applies to me in conversation with friends and family – I am ridiculous to some and dangerously tragic to others. Usually I draw back – accepting the role of clown and resenting the role of darkness! My life is entangled with theirs. I’ve no wish to disentangle. How on Earth do we disentangle from our common tragedy, together? One thing I know, is that I’ve only partially disentangled myself.
We can be jongleurs de joy, or prophets of doom
Supressing the tragedy and enjoying the comedy, seems a profitable course. Remember that reality – the plot – is the same for both. Taking the tragic road to the light on the other side is the same as taking the comic road. The roads are the same.
Comedy is of the mind – we do need the mind – we need a quick wit and quick responses. Releasing too much of the heart to public gaze aggrandises us as heroes of noble tragedy – and apart. Comedy makes us ridiculous, but included. Truly, whole societies – indeed the species herself are ridiculous. Laughter brings us together.
Tragedy can bring us together in laughter. As we leave the oil machinery behind – evacuate the enclosures and settle the common – we must first pass through tragedies, which we ourselves have made – well, though tragi-comedy. Let’s be jongleurs de joy; lords (and subjects) of misrule; Don Quixote as Everyman (sexless). If laughter defeats the tears, we’ll have a glimmer of a chance.
Those seriously engaged in maintaining suicidal ways of life – that is, nearly everybody – will label us comic. Keep the label and keep throwing it back. Might we not eventually fall in a common heap of helpless laughter?
Never forget that seriousness is a biological catalyst – an enzyme, which extinguishes thought. It is the puffing up of authority in the face of danger – the posturing of rival animals. Many species use it to extinguish sensuality and fear. Those serious peer-reviewed articles, or newspaper editorials use posture (seriousness) as a replacement for thought – just as rival silver-backs swell with stupidity to achieve their status.
Seriousness proposes “realistic” responses to the ecological, economic and climatic cliff edge – that is, it shuts off the problem and swells with stupidity. It cannot not listen to truly reasonable voices, because it has blocked its ears.
Perhaps it is true that we have but three ways of seeing – the tragic, the comic and the serious.
We can escape neither the first, nor the second, but the third – seriously?
Featured image: Kumquats. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumquat#/media/File:Fort-hindsii.jpg
Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members.