I know now cannot be the future. What I’m saying is there are so many crises that urgently need action now. How long can we keep procrastinating? (That’s a rhetorical question.)
The list of crises is long and new ones continue to appear.
Despite all we are being confronted with now, we will look back on these days in the future and wish we could return to what we have now. Instead, we will increasingly be affected by worsening consequences of these crises.
It is increasingly difficult to make sense of all that is going on today. All the bad things I had anticipated for the future are suddenly happening now. And things I never imagined, like the assaults on truth, science, governance, health, and safety come at a time when they are desperately needed. It is difficult to make sense of it all.
sensemaking–the action or process of making sense of or giving meaning to something, especially new developments and experiences.
At the collective level, a loss of sensemaking erodes shared cultural and value structures and renders us incapable of generating the collective wisdom necessary to solve complex societal problems like those described above. When that happens the centre cannot hold.
Threats to sensemaking are manifold. Among the most readily observable sources are the excesses of identity politics, the rapid polarisation of the long-running culture war, the steep and widespread decline in trust in mainstream media and other public institutions, and the rise of mass disinformation technologies, e.g. fake news working in tandem with social media algorithms designed to hijack our limbic systems and erode our cognitive capacities. If these things can confound and divide us both within and between cultures, then we have little hope of generating the coherent dialogue, let alone the collective resolve, that is required to overcome the formidable global-scale problems converging before us.
Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, originally published by Medium, June 18, 2019
Following is a diagram I’ve been working on to help me make sense of where things are now, and ways to build a better future.
Where things stand now is represented by the path beneath the WHITE heading. Capitalism is outline in red because it represents the injustices capitalism is based on and indicates remaining on this path will continue to result in environmental chaos. See: Rejecting Capitalism https://landbackfriends.com/2021/10/06/rejecting-capitalism/
The BLACK column represents the stolen labor of those who were enslaved and continues today with all the aspects of systemic economic, judicial system, and environmental racism.
The INDIGENOUS column represents the theft of native lands, genocide and forced assimilation. Includes the consequences of destroying the land and widespread pollution of water. And the epidemic of violence against native peoples, specifically missing and murdered Indigenous relatives.
Many people have been working on alternatives, some for years, others more recently. Some of these alternatives are listed in the green box labeled Green New Deal and Red Deal (which is an Indigenous led green new deal).
The website I recently created, LANDBACK Friends, contains more information about these topics.
As sometimes happens, I spend so much time writing background information that I don’t get to the subject I’d planned to write about. What I had intended to write was why I believe we need to think and work “outside the box”. The box in this case represented by columns Black, White and Indigenous, which is a sketch of the current situation. We should not waste more time and effort trying to make incremental changes to those existing systems. And instead work for LANDBACK, Abolition and Mutual Aid. Which my good friend Ronnie James expresses more eloquently here:
I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.
So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”