And I would submit that it is the idea behind the plow — the idea that humans are so specially superior that they are allowed to cause widespread death and destruction in the name of satisfying their wants — that is the actual root of all our culture’s problems.
Instead of abiding by the separatist framing of Modernity, we should start repairing artificially broken interdependencies, learn the re-emergence of relationships, and regenerate ecosystems, and in that way give renewed meaning to what we already know.
From genetic engineering to geoengineering, we treat nature as though it’s a machine. This view of nature is deeply embedded in Western thought, but it’s a fundamental misconception with potentially disastrous consequences.
The somber truth is that the vast bulk of nature’s staggering abundance has already disappeared. We live in a world characterized primarily by the relative silence and emptiness of its natural spaces.
The temperature of our planet is rising, and I’m not talking about global warming. I’m talking about the rising social anger temperature and its potential to create a social, civil, and economic collapse.
Jeremy Lent’s The Patterning Instinct was published a few months ago, but it has taken me this long to process, as almost every page caused me to rethink what I held to be true. Bringing together cultural history with neuroscience, Lent develops a new discipline he calls cognitive history.
When I’m at work I’m staring at a screen. When I’m not at work I’m staring at screens. Checking social media. Scrolling through updates. Scrolling through friends. Scrolling through products. Scrolling through #instagram. Scrolling through #amazon. The customer is always right. Make sure that what you’re selling is something that people want to buy.
Given that within living memory the earth has been home to people who were capable of traversing the Pacific in small watercraft by their wits alone, could it really be that we now need an internet-linked device to navigate our dinner plates? I think I hear the sparrows laughing.
This ideology of human supremacy leads us to believe that our species’ cleverness allows us to ignore the limits placed on all life forms by the larger living world, of which we are but one component.
A techno-shamanic quest to reconnect urban life to ecological reality.
First, I’ll explore the notion that we are living in a ‘desert of the real’. Second, I’ll look at what the desert of the real has meant for environmental communications. And thirdly, to conclude, I will explore alternative ways of knowing and being in the world – and ask what these might mean for design.