Imagine a future in which humanity’s accumulated wisdom about Earth — our vast experience with weather trends, fish spawning and migration patterns, plant pollination and much more — turns increasingly obsolete. As each decade passes, knowledge of Earth’s past becomes progressively less effective as a guide to the future. Civilization enters a dark age in its practical understanding of our planet.
What matters in the story of our human relationships is not whether they lead to “happily ever after” but who and what they make of us. All relationships are our teachers, and this is especially so in a time of societal unraveling.
We need to know that someone, somewhere, has noticed and that they CARE. Which makes US the village, and it’s a job we need to be more careful about getting right. We need to keep a look-out for one another, let ourselves care about strangers, act on behalf of those who are helpless, and encourage everyone we know to do the same.
“Put succinctly, the HANDY study found that, given our present circumstances and the current intransigence of the Elites, a preventative strategy that attempts to evade a crisis in one part of the problem causes a crisis in the other part of the problem. The Elites can neither continue exploiting the poor to maintain wealth and power, nor can they create sufficient wealth to elevate the poor out of poverty without doing irreparable damage to ecosystems. Motesharri and his colleagues found that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today . . . we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” Not surprisingly, the report was not well received.”
When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged.
Could we learn to regard collapse not as a firm prediction but as a scenario worth exploring? After all, the Pentagon has contingency plans for events that are arguably less likely and less devastating.
What we see and what we cannot yet see, what we know and cannot yet know, become the edge places from which we create new ways for humanity to live as part of our Earth community, weaving from the frayed edges of what we leave behind a bridge to the potential and possibilities of what we can become. These qualities and abilities enable us to do a dance of co-creation, visioning and building the future out of and together with what exists today.
Edge-Dwelling: A Social Ecology For Our Times; Part 3: Middle School, Misfits, And The Milky Way, By Dianne Monroe
I believe this ability to see both within and beyond the boundary of something (galaxy, community, culture, civilization) is an important quality of Edge-dwelling – one that can be discovered, learned, cultivated. It’s a practice we can grow within ourselves. This ability to see both within and beyond is a crucial quality for our times – living within and at the edge of a crumbling civilization, entering an epoch of human-created climate change whose impact on our Earth is not yet known. This is a huge edge to be living on.
First in a series about inhabiting and acting in the edge-places of our civilization as crucial for humanity’s passage through these challenging times – and inviting you to share your personal edge-dwelling experiences