by Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Thursday, 07 February 2008
As part of my commitment to holding the tension of current reality alongside my vision, I will continue to spotlight those who are in Kotke’s words “gathering seeds of Natural cultures and the truly beneficial things created by civilization” and carrying them through the apocalypse.
We are proposing to create no less than a completely new human culture that relates to the earth in a completely different way….those who choose to respond in a positive way need gather the seeds of Natural cultures and the truly beneficial things created by civilization and carry them through the apocalypse.
Tending The Vision
In Part One of this review, I focused on the author’s stunning explanation of collapse as a kind of time bomb imbedded in civilization. What I failed to mention is that Kotke wrote this book in 1993 which makes its contents all the more momentous. Likewise, his vision of alternative communities based on the principles of natural culture was ahead of its time in terms of defining how humans need to live in relationship with the more-than-human world.
At this point, I’d like to share how The Final Empire and the timing of its appearance in my life, in synchronicity with other concepts and events, informed my vision of possibilities.
On a chilly morning in Boulder, Colorado I sat in a circle with about 34 other individuals as we concluded a weekend of deep talking, deep listening, and deep feeling regarding the topic of collapse and the end of the world as we have known it. People began to cry and allow words and sounds of grief to pour forth, and not only grief, but fear and rage. My body softened, and tears flowed. Piles of used Kleenex accumulated under my chair, and I felt the deepest connection I had ever experienced with a group of human beings in my life, many of whom had been total strangers only 48 hours before. For several moments I knew as clearly as I knew that I was sitting in a chair in a room in Boulder that these fellow humans were my unequivocal allies and that in a world of famine or thirst, I would never allow them to perish, nor would they allow me to perish.
But not only did I feel a warm, intimate connection with the other individuals in the room, but in the pit of my stomach I experienced a sensation of being profoundly and palpably connected with the earth. For a moment I flashed on an experience I had over a decade ago in Yosemite National Park when a friend and I spent a morning in silence in a secluded meadow. We wandered about, sometimes in close proximity, but most of the time hundreds of feet apart, feeling ourselves joined to the grass, the trees, the birds, a quietly bubbling stream, the sky. While those hours yielded the most intimate connection I had ever experienced with the earth until that time, I felt something far more momentous occurring in my body while sitting in the circle. For the first time in my life I experienced the earth as my family-its other-than-human members as my siblings, parents, and children. Savoring viscerally my relatedness to my family, the awareness that my family is dying because members of my species are killing it, surged through my cells and opened a floodgate of yet more grief.
But grief was not the endpoint-not the final destination of this unprecedented experience. In fact, what I noticed is that my tears had literally cleansed the doors of perception so that I began to notice and nurture a vision of the kind of world humans are capable of creating before, during, and after the collapse of civilization. It did not come from my head or intellectualizing about what would be politically or environmentally correct. It was unequivocally natural, pristine, innocent, and real.
Carolyn Baker Reviews “The Final Empire” By William Kotke
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