IN 1872 NIETZSCHE PUBLISHED THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY FROM THE SPIRIT OF MUSIC --
a wild tome in which the brazen alpine anti-philosopher argued that in order to address the accumulating cultural crises of modernity, we would need to learn from the example of the pre-Socratic Greeks whose world-transformative vitality was not based on fragile rationalized optimism but instead on a deeply liberating trans-pessimism
We get it.
We need to soberly confront the accelerating convergence of transformational shifts that are already underway. We need to fully grieve the loss of the economies, societies, control systems & dreams that have fueled the planetary expansion of the human species. And we need to do this without succumbing to either naive techno-optimism or disempowering despair. Somehow we must feel our way through to the other side of nihilism, idealism and superficiality. The meme for this is: post-tragic.
Okay -- but what does that actually look like? That's where Joe Brewer comes in.
Joe describes himself as "a change strategist working on behalf of humanity, and also a complexity researcher, cognitive scientist, and evangelist for the field of culture design.
" Sounds true but it does not quite capture the post-tragic mood of his writings, projects and interventions.
His constructive, hands-in-the-dirt approach to practical systemic change is accompanied by a deep, perhaps even pragmatically hyperbolic, sense that our current cultural, technological and ecological trajectory is already doomed and floundering.
Our civilization is not hypothetically in peril but already disproven in its depths. We face the demand for an immediate emotional transmutation toward new and archaic modes of sane bioregional survival and thrival -- and the appropriate time for this shift was yesterday
Let Game A really die in your heart already.
In the article The Survivors Will Be Bioregional
, Joe Brewer asks us to envision the kind of communities, individuals and lifestyles that actually can exist and thrive on the other side of a massive destabilization that is already locked in by the procedures, incentives, strategies (and underlying metaphysics) of an Overshoot
Here's what he says:
"[...] hold in your mind every sustainable human culture that has ever existed. All of them (yes ALL of them) were organized as hunter-gatherer societies or subsistence horticultural societies. They were indigenous to a specific place. They built their homes with local materials, gathered what would be woven into their clothes with knowledge of local animals and plants, invested their innovative talents in the use of these capacities in their regional landscapes, and achieved resilience by trading with neighboring tribes who did the same thing. A bioregional economy is one that grows niches around the habitats available to it. This is true for all living beings and it also applies to our species.
Assuming you believe him -- then what?
Well (as he argues here
) there are at least 3 essential pillars that are necessary to move forward from our deep acceptance that the ship is already as good as sunk.
We need to shift to (1) a form of regenerative education in which the goal of participating in the sustaining of enlivened environments and resource systems is explained as a superior value to other social and economic goals (2) the use of systems (already emerging) that quantify the metrics of how society is actually doing based on richer sets of data that take the preconditions of regenerative wellbeing into account, and (3) the production and distribution of platforms that organize the investment of time, energy and money into projects that serve the improved metrics.
Good stuff. Easy to quibble with but hard to fundamentally disagree about. Yet what would we have to go through emotionally
in order to really take this seriously?
What shift in the heart would put you actively on the far side of mere uncertainty, critique & theorizing about civilization -- and set you to work immediately on projects that could exist in a sustainable and regenerative world?
How do you
get more post-tragic?* BONUS *
Check out Bioregioning
from the Regenerative Communities Network.