inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #201 of 231: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 15 Jan 19 14:58
I was a fan of the Netflix series Sense8, presented in that article
as an example of the HopePunk aesthetic.

"In describing the recent finale of what is perhaps the most
hopepunk TV series to emerge in recent years, Sense8, Vox critic at
large Todd VanDerWerff noted that the show is 'endlessly empathetic,
endlessly generous,' and an 'expression of radical empathy,' before
pinpointing that Sense8’s 'audacious' story — which earned a mixed
critical reception — walks hand-in-hand with its unending optimism.
'The final sequence leaves viewers with the idea that love might
save the world,' VanDerWerff wrote. 'Is that beautiful or naive?'

"In the framework of hopepunk, it’s neither. 'Hopepunk is a radical
call to arms for us to imagine better,' Slack said. 'To embrace the
fact that fantasy is not simply an escape from the world but an
invitation to go deeper into it. That we must fall in love with the
world that we so deeply wish to change.' Instead, he argues that
love may be beautiful, but it’s also messy and painful, and far from
being naive, it’s a conscious, hard-won and fully self-aware
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #202 of 231: Jane Hirshfield (jh) Tue 15 Jan 19 18:45
Thank you, gmoke, for your clear & encouraging actions.

Thank you jon, all the ringleader voices especially, and all, for a
chance to start the year with a broadened thinking, once again,
about what matters, what's interesting, what is, and what may be.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #203 of 231: Tiffany Lee Brown (T) (magdalen) Tue 15 Jan 19 21:46

thank you, everyone, for a truly interesting conversation.

jon, thank you so much for bringing up climate insanity (how's that for a
new phrase?) before we all clocked out. it is the elephant in every room.

here is my little formula for attempting to save the world:

1. Stop feeding the Outrage Machine. 
   I have also attempted to stop being fed *by* the Outrage Machine. 
   Participation in Facebook and other amoral, nonhuman, algorithm-driven,
   surveillance economy systems that cajole and control mass behavior 
   from the safety of impenetrable 'black boxes' feeds the machine, 
   and draws us to attach our mouths to its teats, over and over, in 
   place of sleeping, in place of attaching our real mouths to those
   of our lovers or their secret places, in place of tilling soil, in
   place of having a laugh with a friend or playing a game with our kids.
   Turn off Rachael Maddow. Spend at least one day every week 
   away from digital and analogue media that force your mind to its
   angry, despairing surface moment after moment (that means all the news,
   but also put aside those big think pieces, current magazines, and books
   about the State of the World). Keep in mind that the Trumps and 
   Breitbarts of this globe are far, far better than you and your 
   compatriots at using Outrage to advantage. The more you feed this
   machine and allow yourself to be fed its unholy Scooby Snax of endless
   terror, fear, and self-righteousness, the more powerful the machine
   becomes. (By the way, I'm not brilliant at all this, but I'm a hell of
   a lot better at it than I was in November 2016, when my explorations
   began in earnest.) Every day that your Facebook or Instagram account
   exists is your endorsement of Trump, Cambridge Analytica, election
   interference, and a hopelessly polarized America. It doesn't matter
   that you, personally, are far too smart and compassionate and good and
   decent to use Facebook/etc in the wrong way; merely being there tells
   everyone around you, "Yep, you can't escape social media." But you 
   can. Just walk away, and see if you can find your own self floating
   somewhere nearby. Merge with that self and walk into the forest, 
   the desert, the sea.

2. Become Nature.
   You already are, after all, so why not immerse in what Nature is still
   here? Be with the trees that have not yet fallen or burned or been 
   hacked down to make way for cattle and asphalt. Grind your bare heels
   into difficult dirt. Smell the wind on your skin. Collapse in an
   unspectacular heap at the foot of a sheer, rock cliffside and weep. 
   Repeat, repeat, until you reconnect with your own pulsing planet, 
   until you realize the umbilical cord from you to Mother Earth was 
   never truly cut. You and yours and all the rest of us lie huddled
   at her breast. (Had to keep that weird teats metaphor going from a 
   couple grafs up.) Stop taking pictures of her and reading about her
   on your screen. Spend an hour actually in and among her and her 
   many creatures -- animal, vegetable, mineral, indescribable -- 
   for every hour you spend worrying, calling senators, and signing
   petitions about her. 

3. Be small.
   Your culture has told you that to be important is to be loud, to be
   heard, to be everywhere at once, to read everything on every subject,
   to lord knowledge and money and status over everything and everyone
   possible. That an ice shelf in Antarctica might melt into the sea
   before you, personally, have gotten to see it may seem unfair --
   but if you keep being big, all around the globe, you and your jet
   fuel will be hastening the ice shelf's doom. 

   Allow yourself to be dwarfed by the stars, the moon, the tall trees,
   the vast ocean. Then imagine all humanity. Be dwarfed by the inter-
   connected megacolony of which you are a part. See what happens when
   you stop resisting your relative insignificance, the short and
   perhaps unimportant span of your life here on Earth. 

   Find meaning, then, in your pinkie toe. In the neighbors you did not
   bother to get to know before. In all the wild places nearest you. In
   your local government. In the school near where you live, the school 
   bursting with young humans like great swarms of ants, those who will 
   inherit this world of AI chess players and rising seas. Mentor one.
   Teach a class full. Go to School Board meetings and demand that the
   school start using real plates and silverware that can be washed and
   reused, instead of disposable plastic ones. (I have not yet won that
   battle, here in my small town.) 

   Yes, the senator still deserves a call, the postcards should still 
   go in the mail, certain protests should be marched. I placed more 
   newspaper pieces, both journalism and political Op-Ed, in the last
   couple years while being "small" than I had in a very long time. 
   That is where hyper-local focus took me. And I can see, quite 
   directly and simply, the real effects my little, persistent actions
   are having. 

   Yes, it'shopelessTrumpwarRussiaArcticRefugegovernmentshutdownoutrage-
   oftheday,ofthemoment,ofthenanosecond. Yes, these things are enormous.
   No, you do not have to be shut down and torn up by them. Look around
   you. Take the soil under your feet in your bare hands and smear it on
   your face, your chest, your knobby knees. THIS is real. THIS is what
   you have to save, for yourself, for your sense of meaning in a crisis-
   driven, threatening time -- and for those who will follow you. Save
   one handful of dirt for the children. For my child, my son, who is
   now eight years old. 

inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #204 of 231: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 16 Jan 19 00:31
    <scribbled by bruces Wed 16 Jan 19 00:31>
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #205 of 231: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 16 Jan 19 00:33

*Yeah, I was also at that Whole Earth 50th thing, sandwiched between
Wavy Gravy and Mountain Girl, and and although Wavy’s pretty frail
now, I have to say that Mountain Girl cheered me up.  She’s quite
the indestructible Bohemian matriarch, full of sturdy gravitas. 
There’s something timeless about Carolyn Garcia: she was like Robert
Louis Stevenson’s Californian girlfriend, the indomitable soul who
pitches in when it looks like he’s coughing his lungs out and then
trucks right along to Samoa and world artistic fame: hey, long
strange trip, no big problem.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #206 of 231: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 16 Jan 19 00:35

*This is what the Whole Earth/WIRED/CoolTools electronicized scene
looks like when you’re not from around here.

This cultural analysis may seem kinda condescending and maybe a
little British and snooty, but it’s nice that it grounds California
counterculture in a larger historical process.  As I said at the
Whole Earth 50th, you might well blame Henry Ford for a traffic jam,
but to blame Henry Ford for today’s self-driving cars is a category
error.  Tomorrow composts today.

There’s a melancholy in learning that your dreams and intentions get
packed down in the mulch of the passing years; that a crystalline
gesture loses its sharp edges; that historic fame turns famous
people into cartoon parodies of themselves.  

On the other hand, there really is a lot of mortal rubbish around
us, and the passage of years transforms that rubbish into a rich
vitality.  There’s always some fresh, naive, un-jaded guy coming
along.  He can stick a pitchfork into a stack of high-weirdness like
that, and holy cow, look out.

I gotta get to some typing now; I’ve got some deadlines, and, well,
happy to have the schedule, it's good to have marks on the calendar.
I’ll be back next year, with any luck.  So long for now.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #207 of 231: Tom Valovic (tvacorn) Wed 16 Jan 19 06:38
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #208 of 231: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Wed 16 Jan 19 07:06
So long Bruce, have a great year!  It really has been a good
conversation this time around.

T, I love your formula, especially #4.

Appropriate link, Tom.

Looking forward to closing thoughts others may have, as there are so
many interesting paths not fully taken in the posts above.

For me, I'd like to close with one last report from the composted
field.  While I've been sick over the last few days, I've been
reading a book called Native Pragmatism, by Scott L. Pratt.  As I've
said, I've been interested in all things indigenous this year, and
what this book does is look at the Native American roots in the
American pragmatic tradition.  Instead of taking the position that
American philosophy is a continuation of European thought upon
encountering the condition of "wilderness," and that new ideas are a
spontaneous result, explained by creativity and genius, Pratt argues
that, "American pragmatism begins along the border between Native
and European America as an attitude of resistance against the
dominant attitudes of European colonialism."

Why is that relevant here?  Because it is about trying to, "respond
to the problems faced by those who find themselves in a place where
radically different peoples meet and seek to coexist."

The four elements of this thread of resistance that he identifies
are commitments to interaction, pluralism, community and growth. 
(By growth, he doesn't mean "bigger and better;" he means more like,
"the purpose of life is to create conditions conducive to life."

Sound like any current national conversations?

What I want to close with though, is not any detail on his
arguments, but a quote from his introduction.  In it he mentions
those who have proposed similar things in the past, and brings up a
1952 essay called "Americanizing the White Man" by Felix S. Cohen. 
Cohen describes going to a meeting where the Commissioner on Indian
Affairs asked a group of Native people how the Bureau could best
"Americanize the Indian."  A Native American man in the audience
arose and replied this way:

"You will forgive me if I tell you that my people were Americans
thousands of years before your people were. The question is not how
you can Americanize us but how we can Americanize you.  We have been
working at that for a long time. Sometimes we are discouraged at the
results. But we will keep trying.

"And the first thing we want to teach you is that, in the American
way of life, each man has respect for his brother's vision. Because
each of us respected his brother's dream, we enjoyed freedom here in
America while your people were busy killing and enslaving each other
across the water. The relatives you left behind are still trying to
kill each other and enslave each other because they have not learned
that freedom is built on my respect for my brother's vision and his
respect for mine.

"We have a hard trail ahead of us in trying to Americanize you and
your white brothers. But we are not afraid of hard trails."
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #209 of 231: Via email from Giorgos Georgiadis (jonl) Wed 16 Jan 19 07:13
Thanks everyone for pitching in, I now have 'cataclysm' too, and of
course there no problem with any combination of 'new', 'dark' and
'age' Bruce. I think they give the right tone.

I love your story in particular keta, I see what you mean. It made
me think and it made me hopeful, and these are the best stories. If
this was a dharma battle, you would have won. (And how I would like
to see AlphaZero engaged in a dharma battle! AlphaZen anyone?)

'Crisis' as a word is very much alive and in daily use in the Greek
language: it means judgment, as in 'Judgment's Day' (no ominous
undertones there, no sir) but also as in 'use your judgement'.
Naturally it means also 'crisis' in the English sense, which I am to
understand got associated with through 'decision', as in 'tension
that is gradually being build up, leading to a decision point'.

To answer your question Jane, I guess my objection is 'can we still
talk about a crisis if there is no decision point?' At what point do
we stop waiting for it? How do we help people understand and perhaps
do something? Any one thing of the topics discussed here, really -
go Dark Mountain, go German Greens, go light/notice/tend to the
candles in our New Dark, ... 

Love all of those choices btw, and I understand inaction too (not
being inaction at all some times - just life), but I'm not sure it's
going to be enough this time around. I am with Paul Virilio on this,
when he says (in his "Administration of Fear") that besides the
atomic bomb, in the 21st we got ourselves an ecological bomb as well
as an informational one. Tall order, with or without our leftover
roman infrastructure. 
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #210 of 231: John Spears (banjojohn) Sun 27 Jan 19 11:05
The Nolichucky River, in East Tennessee, is polluted with enriched
uranium, plutonium, and thallium. In the long run, will reducing CO2
solve anything meaningful when our air, soil and water are still
contaminated with such poisons?

Yes, we need to clean up the destruction made by modern man, but
reducing CO2 is just one factor. Why does it get so much of the
spotlight? Doesn't focusing on CO2 take away awareness on other
forms of pollution, ones that will take thousands, if not millions
of years to be resolved? 

I'm not advocating for CO2, or minimizing it's threat. I'm just
pointing out that modern man has produced a multitude of
environmental threats to life on earth, yet CO2 gets the bulk of
this press. Could this be misdirection?
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #211 of 231: Virtual Sea Monkey (karish) Sun 27 Jan 19 11:08
CO2 is a global existential threat. It's not wrong to give it
particular emphasis.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #212 of 231: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Tue 29 Jan 19 09:05
Because tipping points, sadly.  When you are dealing with a set of
interrelated processes and feedback loops, there can come times when
gradual changes to values become essentially irreversable shifts to
a different state or condition - hence existential threat.

Yes, the radioactivity spreading via the Nolichucky will gradually
poison a larger and larger area for a profoundly long time, which is
truly dangerous and important.  And yes, cleaning up the
contamination sources sooner rather than later will make the problem
smaller rather than bigger.

But with climate change we can identify very near term tipping
points where gradual becomes catastrophically different.  Someone
mentioned the "game over methane burp" during the conversation -
this is an example.  

It's fairly easy to see that if the conditions for ice cap melting
persist, eventually you will melt all the ice, and to suspect that
you will no longer have the conditions available whereby ice could
begin to re-accumulate.  But we now also know that vast amounts of
methane (the shorter-term but faster-acting greenhouse gas) are kept
out of the atmosphere because they are frozen into the tundra or
kept too cool to release in undersea areas.  When the permafrost
melts enough, or when the ocean temperature increases enough in
certain areas, the methane releases and enters the atmosphere.  This
is a process that we recognize we have no known capability to modify
or reverse, and it begins long before the time when all the ice
melts.  In fact it is beginning in some areas now.

Going back to the radioactive release example, say there is a giant
rusting tank of water at the radioactive source.  The difference
between preventing the tank from bursting and gathering back up all
the spilled water from the ends of the earth after it does burst is
the difference we are talking about.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #213 of 231: John Spears (banjojohn) Wed 30 Jan 19 09:48
By existential threat, I'm guessing you mean "human" existence?

Life has existed on Earth for 4 billion years, through all kinds of
conditions. CO2 has fluctuated on a cyclic basis. CO2 isn't toxic;
in fact, it's basic to life on earth. Plants break it down. 

As a mind exercise, consider what would happen to life on earth if
humans disappeared tomorrow. Which would be the greater threat to
all remaining life on earth, CO2 or the toxic and radioactive
pollutants created by man? Eventually the man made CO2 would
decrease, but the bio-persistent creations like Uranium 238 and C8
would be poisoning life for thousands of years. C8, a chemical used
to make Scotchguard and Teflon, is now ubiquitous in the human blood
stream. It's not breaking down any time soon. 

Count me as someone whose loyalty is first to life on earth, and not
the human race. The human race will pass. That's a given.
Geologically speaking, we've been here a minute, and probably only
have only a few seconds left. 

If the human race won't face the fact that we've poisoned the planet
out of greed, then we don't deserve to exist.   

inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #214 of 231: Virtual Sea Monkey (karish) Wed 30 Jan 19 11:19
> CO2 isn't toxic

Try living in an atmosphere that's 2% CO2.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #215 of 231: Alan Fletcher (af) Wed 30 Jan 19 11:32
Had to look that up.  I thought it was asphyxiation only.

At low levels it's safe .. up to 1,000 ppm
At intermediate levels you can get CO2 intoxication or poisoning
5000 ppm is the max permissible workspace exposure
At very high levels asphyxiation gets you: > 40,000 ppm (4%?)

inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #216 of 231: Alan Fletcher (af) Wed 30 Jan 19 11:33
Levels :
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #217 of 231: John Spears (banjojohn) Wed 30 Jan 19 14:32
As for clean up of radioactive waste, I suggest watching Atomic
Homefront. We can't even clean up our very first atomic weapons

We aren't anywhere close to toxic CO2 levels.

As humans, we face many existential threats. For some reason, CO2 is
the only one anybody gets worked up over. That strikes me as normal
human hubris: we usually don't see what hits us, but we think we
can. Isn't the heart of the man made CO2 problem the vicious cycle
of modernity and overpopulation? Can you imagine 8 billion people,
all owning cars, computers, house with central heat, air
conditioning and fridges? Because, how can we have that, and not
have CO2? Where do we draw the line, and say, no, you can't have
what these other people have?

inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #218 of 231: John Spears (banjojohn) Thu 31 Jan 19 09:18
Interesting BBC story out today. 


Wouldn't the corollary indicate that the contemporary destruction of
the rain forest should be a major cause of the modern increase in
CO2. If such a small increase in vegetation could have a global
effect on climate in the 15th to 18th century, then it seems logical
that the first step in stemming and reversing CO2 increases would be
protecting and even expanding the rain forest.

While the US seems poised on invading Venezuela for oil, shouldn't
we be invading Brazil in order to restore the rain forest? 

inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #219 of 231: Andrew Alden (alden) Thu 31 Jan 19 11:31
Easier simply to vacate our own prairies and the Appalachians.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #220 of 231: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Fri 1 Feb 19 07:42
Very good points in <213>, and I do understand what you mean by the
relatively greater importance of bio-persistent creations in the
long run.

Also though, no, I don't mean human existence for the existential
threat.  I mean much closer to all remaining life on earth, and the
threat comes not from the CO2 itself, but from the disruption of
relationships that cause ecosystem collapses.  Humans will be here
in 50 or 100 years (wandering around is some stunned fashion), but
will coral?

That BBC story is very interesting.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #221 of 231: (fom) Sat 25 May 19 20:05
alden, say more about that?
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #222 of 231: Andrew Alden (alden) Sun 26 May 19 13:43
People persistently focus on trees, when the far greater repository of
carbon is in the soil. The Appalachians are marginal land for anything but
forestry, so, better to leave the soil there alone. Much of the Great Plains
is unsustainable for agriculture (see Ogallala aquifer, depletion of) and
should be encouraged to return to mature prairie.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #223 of 231: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Fri 14 Jun 19 08:47
Would stopping pumping from the Ogalalla aquifer allow it to
recharge over time?  Asking as a geological question - is/was the
water in it from surface rainfall, or is it a lens in a lower layer,
ancient water trapped by geology?
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #224 of 231: Andrew Alden (alden) Fri 14 Jun 19 10:26
It's mostly ancient water, being very slowly recharged by precipitation.
inkwell.vue.506 : State of the World 2019
permalink #225 of 231: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Fri 14 Jun 19 10:47
It's an ice age artifact, ISTR.   It's apt to be a while before the next 


Members: Enter the conference to participate. All posts made in this conference are world-readable.

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

   Join Us
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook