Something happened to me, at some point during the making of What a Way to Go. A switch got flipped. A river crossed. A tipping point tipped. Somewhere in there I became somebody new. A different sort of person.
And now I no longer seem to belong anywhere.What was that switch?
There are a million ways to say it. What comes to me in this moment is this: I now know, deep in my bones, that the collapse of the dominant global culture is unstoppable, that the crash of the human population is inevitable, that both of these changes have already begun and are quickly gaining momentum, and that both of these processes are the best possible news for the community of life as a whole. People speak of hope for the living world. To my mind, collapse and crash are that hope.
It’s one thing to know this. Knowing it changes everything. But it’s another thing altogether to speak it. To share it. To put it out into the world. Knowing it forces me to confront meaning and purpose and change and loss and death at every point in my life. Speaking it forces me to confront my own power, my own identity, my own limitations. I must face my own deepest fear: will I be enough to speak my truth?..........
I would not switch back, if such a thing were possible. The sense of sanity on this side of the mirror is worth every bit of the pain and upheaval it takes to get here. But because my whole world has tilted, I cannot walk easily in the world I once inhabited – what some have called “the consensus trance”. I try. But more and more often, I fail. It’s as if there was a trick I once knew, but can no longer quite remember. As if there was some password that would get me into that club, some key I could use to unscramble that cipher. I go to conferences, to lunches, to meetings, to parties, to dances, I go to the various gatherings I have always attended, but now I can barely open my mouth. My heart clunks. My breathing quickens. And as soon as I can, I slip away, out the door, back into the open air of solitude.......
How many are we, we few thousands in a world of billions? How many haunt the peak oil websites, the climate change listservs? How many are peering right now into the void, trying to decipher how the mass extinction of species and the towering human population intersect with economic meltdown and political insanity and religious fundamentalism and corporate conspiracy? How many are we, we who can no longer walk easily in the consensus trance? How many?
Mutants! Open your mouths and make yourselves known! Flit through the forest, slip through the seas, skim the skies, cross the high passes. Glow and blink and call out your names in the night.
Perhaps we are more common than we realize. Perhaps, right next to you, there sits another mutant, feeling as alone as you. Perhaps.
Remember the words of the Hopi elder: The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Though there are many of us, in absolute terms, who can see both collapse and crash in all of their obvious reality, we are, in relative terms, so few, and so spread out, that we’re often effectively on our own in our own lives. There’s a bone-chilling loneliness that sets in that can deaden the soul and dim the mind. New mutations splashing about in the meme pool, we signal in the night for others of our own species, glowing and blinking and calling out our existence, hoping against hope that another mutant has arisen nearby that can receive our message, and see us, and hear us, and really, really get us.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I was about to say it but someone said it better.
Posted by John at 7:25 PM