To me, ‘resilience’ in the face of climate chaos involves more than a garden, neighbours, and stories of guiltlessness. That means…
I’m not going to be joyful about collapse.
I’m not going to prioritise my survival.
I’m not going to give up on challenging abuses of power that harm people and nature.
I’m not going to give up on serious efforts to protect more of nature and give young people more chance of an OK life, which requires me being actively political.
I’m not going to give up on the goal of more justice and healing during the descent of consumer societies.
I’m not going to stand by as elites and their officers screw up more of the world as they anxiously exert their power and worldview.
I’m not going to avoid disagreement with people just because they also anticipate or accept collapse.
I’m not going to prioritise my serenity, but also not going to ignore helping my own equanimity, health and joy. Just as love, courage, inquiry, beauty, creativity and humour have always been glorious aspects of being alive, so they will remain.
I’m not going to be joyful about collapse, but not unjoyful during the time I have left, or unjoyful about being alive at this time.
Once you accept the predicament, what are you going to do and what are you not going to do?
Here are some further reflections on some limiting ways of acting from an anticipation or acceptance of societal collapse. Meanwhile, there are so many ways to be pro-social and self-caring, so I don’t need to ‘prescribe’ some. Rather, for any of us, it all begins with open-minded and open-hearted dialogue with fellow seekers. It is why the Deep Adaptation Forum plays a small but crucial role.
3 thoughts on “I’m not going to be joyful about collapse, but…”
“Truth is more bearable than illusion” [ Julia Segal: Melanie Klein, 1992, p134]. Noting that this is still only sometimes and someplaces an acceptable thought, it becomes clearer that what we deal with is UNBEARABLE. As our unconscious protects us, in this case I believe wrongly, we need each other so much to share feelings that bring the unbearable back into “can bear” for a while. An dof course we are also dealing with another difficult UN … uncertainty. Keep writing.
As much as I can see a utilitarian benefit to deep adaptation as a community I just… don’t really like you people very much. This isn’t from a position of misantrophy, I love individuals and I cannot exist without my fellow beings. It’s politically unified humans I am terrified of. There is nothing that argues the deep adaptation community is less capable of violating human dignity than any other “self-recognising virtuous political movement”, ie, the hippies, the (many hundred strains of) communists, the christians, “green” parliamentary parties, neoreligious yoga-societies, young people on acid etc. etc.
How are we supposed to help eachother when power structures of organisations remain identical to the ones we see under our current system? How can the total add up to more than the sum of our parts? All leadership of a thought-community will, in due time, come to see itself as possessing “messianic/buddha-esque” attributes as each community becomes an ecosystem/faith-economy/cult serving a need in the lives of its members. The members will protect the legitimacy of this economy and the virtue of their leaders as the value is abstract: the notion of being right, the feeling of community, and more importantly: the ability to negate the truth-value of beliefs that do not create the same rituals and conclusions (ie conform) to the thought-community creating the illusion of a “truthful, apllicable and universal dogma.” (that might be so, but a dogma nonetheless!)
No group have created a form of self-censoring anti-dogmatic anti-power-consolidating organisation so far. The emergent form of our organisations is the opposite. Power corrupts and the scale of the ideas deep adaptation addresses is the exact type of *thing* that makes one renounce individuality and doubt to join a larger thought-movement, because of how small and powerless you feel. I have already used the word cult once, I will use it again to underline a point. Thought-leaders gain massive clout. Philosophers and politicians are never good people, there are no good people. We are a gradient of environment and nature, but if society is shit and the majority of our genes adds up to an emergent shit society then the gradient of us adds up to ~75% shit (p<0.05). We have no argument for believing in our own virtue.
Abuse is inevitable. The thought-movement, fundamentally built on capitalist principles of organising peoples, will corrupt into a depraved parody of itself with its ideals dangled as justification for policy and not its momentum.
This has happened to every other righteous cause. Counterculture is the image in the mirror, not the usurpers. Please consider.
You are viewing politics through a moralistic lens. Hierarchies are not ‘bad’, nor are they all created equal – they are inevitable. The questions ‘hierarchy for whom, based on what, and why’ are all pertinent here.
Our existing power structures are all based on capitalist accumulation, which is itself an extinction algorithm. You cannot challenge capitalist accumulation without very powerful counter-organization. Our entire civilizational predicament is here because we lack such large-scale counter-organization, not because organization is in itself evil.
As for individuality – we are always doing shared social practices with others. There is no escape from ideology, but there are ideologies that are honest enough with themselves to acknowledge themselves as such. Again your framing here is a product of the civilizational predicament itself; the fundamental antagonism is not ‘the individual vs the group’, but a cataclysmic deadlock between competing group interests (the perpetuation of capitalist accumulation dynamics vs civilizational/human survival).
As long as accumulation wins, everybody loses.