“Then what is the answer? Not to be deluded by dreams.” – Robinson Jeffers, “The Answer”
Wow. This is going to be hard. I wouldn’t blame you at all if you skipped this one. I always write a post on New Year’s Day about my goals and expectations for the coming year. I am not a cheery person these days and I don’t want to bring anybody down. But philosophically I have belonged in the camp of the Dark Mountain Project for quite some time. This kind of gloomy realistic thinking does not resonate with most people and most certainly will not get you invited to parties, but I’m not a people person anyway. If I had children, I really don’t know if I would still be sane as this point. Also, I’m not really interested in discussing it, but here’s what is in the back of my mind, and I feel that it is important to put it out there today.
THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF UNCIVILISATION
“We must unhumanise our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.”
- We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
- We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
- We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
- We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
- Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
- We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
- We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.
- The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.
From the Dark Mountain Project Manifesto
So, there is the broader view of my thinking for the years ahead. Next, a cheerier post about our plans for the year.