Cosmologies - New Earth Practise

From Beyond Social


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Cosmology (from the Greek κόσμος, kosmos "world" and -λογία, -logia "study of"). How we look at the world around us. Exploring the role of humans inside the world.

Posthumanism

Posthumanism This term is really hard to explain because it is a term that is interpretable in many ways. Therefore I will start by explaining what Wikipedia (Wikipedia contributors, 2020b) explains as post-humanism. Post-humanism literally means after humanism or beyond humanism. According to philosopher Francesca Ferrando post humanism is an umbrella term. Meaning that it has more than one definition. Here are seven definitions she wrote:

1. Antihumanism: any theory that is critical of traditional humanism and traditional ideas about humanity and the human condition.

2. Cultural posthumanism: a branch of cultural theory critical of the foundational assumptions of humanism and its legacy that examines and questions the historical notions of "human" and "human nature", often challenging typical notions of human subjectivity and embodiment and strives to move beyond archaic concepts of "human nature" to develop ones which constantly adapt to contemporary technoscientificknowledge.

3. Philosophical posthumanism: a philosophical direction which draws on cultural posthumanism, the philosophical strand examines the ethical implications of expanding the circle of moral concern and extending subjectivities beyond the human species.

4. Posthuman condition: the deconstruction of the human condition by critical theorists.

5. Transhumanism: an ideology and movement which seeks to develop and make available technologies that eliminate aging, enable immortality and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities, in order to achieve a "posthuman future".

6. AI takeover: A variant of transhumanism in which humans will not be enhanced, but rather eventually replaced by artificial intelligences. Some philosophers, including Nick Land, promote the view that humans should embrace and accept their eventual demise. This is related to the view of "cosmism", which supports the building of strong artificial intelligence even if it may entail the end of humanity, as in their view it "would be a cosmic tragedy if humanity freezes evolution at the puny human level".

7. Voluntary Human Extinction, which seeks a "posthuman future" that in this case is a future without humans. These are ways of thinking in a post-humanism way according to Francesca Ferrando. But to give you a little bit more of a basic meaning of the word post-humanism I will explain the word post-human to you (Wikipedia contributors, 2020a). Post-human is a concept that has been created in the field of science fiction, contemporary art, futurology and philosophy that means a person that exists beyond being human. The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice.

To give you an image of the different ways you can interpreted post-humanism I will show you some examples of the very first post-humanist and a more modern interpretation.

Friedrich Nietzsche was the first posthumanist. He was the first to identify an end of a humanist future. In his book “Also sprach Zarathustra” (Nietzsche & Richardson, 2013) Nietzsche emphasizes humanity as the means to an end. That end being the concept of the Übermensch. Übermensch can be translated as "beyond man". According to Nietzsche the Übermensch wil be utterly beyond human understanding or concepts. For example, Nietzsche said: “What is an ape to man? A laughingstock, a thing of shame? So too will man be to the Übermensch, a laughingstock, a thing of shame.” So here we see that Nietzsche identifies humanity as having no inherent value. And as something that could easily be overcome like an animal’s nature. In that sense he is the first post-human thinker.

Let's take a look at a more modern way of thinking in a post-human direction. In Donna Haraway’s book a cyborg manifesto (lydia zelda, 2012 & Rosanna McNamara, 2016) she explains the benefits of being a cyborg. A cyborg is a half human half robot. This would mean that we could get rid of our gender. And by living our gender behind we could show our true powers and what we are really capable off without being judged on our gender.

This more modern post-human concept has technology take center stage in developing a post-human way of thinking. While technology wasn’t a part of Nietzsche’s Übermensch concept. This means that accord to Francesca Ferrando (Wikipedia contributors, 2020b) Nietzsche is a Philosophical posthumanism and Donna Haraway would be a Transhumanism. See above for explanation of these terms.

Both these thinkers see post-humanism as a good thing and as something to strive for. I however have a more skeptical way of looking at this because I don’t see how we should strive for a post-human society because of the following reasons.

I explain post-humanism as follows: Post-humanism means theoretically thinking of a world wherein technology or other sources changes/ruins our concept of humanity. This is how I explain post-humanism. It is a way of thinking. Therefore, it is different for everybody. It is very important to know for yourself what you think about the future of our humanity and how this is changing or can change because of technology or other sources. I think that being human means being a social being. We need to be socializing to feel alive. Without others we cannot live. We build our whole identity based upon others. This means that accord to Francesca Ferrando (Wikipedia contributors, 2020b) I am a Philosophical posthumanism. See above for explanation of these terms.

Take Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anno, 1995) for example. This series is about the end of the humankind as we know it. What is interesting in this series is not how humans are trying to save themself but what they think about the end of humanism and what it means for them to be human. The main characters struggle a lot with human connection. This makes them very lonely. They realize that they are willing to end their lives because of this. They feel that humanity is only worth saving if we can unite with one-another. So, the true purpose of a human is to interact. This is also what we as humans have been doing form the beginning of time. And this is also what separates us from other creatures. I am going to end this article with some quotes from this Neon Genesis Evangelion: “Part of growing up means finding a way to interact with others while distancing pain.” - Misato Katsuragi.

See this video from 06:42 till 11:57 to get a better understanding of the phycological path of the main characters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USKzAj1dOq4 (Wisecrack, 2018).

Sources: Wikipedia contributors. (2020, 8 oktober). Posthumanism. Geraadpleegd op 11 oktober 2020, van https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posthumanism Wikipedia contributors. (2020a, 14 juli). Posthuman. Geraadpleegd op 11 oktober 2020, van https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posthuman Nietzsche, F., & Richardson, T. J. (2013). Also Sprach Zarathustra/Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Amsterdam, Nederland: Adfo Books. lydia zelda. (2012, 28 februari). A Cyborg Manifesto (short powerpoint presentation). Geraadpleegd op 10 oktober 2020, van https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiFpaEYbOds Rosanna McNamara. (2016, 20 augustus). Rosanna McNamara, “15 Minutes of Utopia - A Cyborg Manifesto”. Geraadpleegd op 10 oktober 2020, van https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFqOowEsxco&t=617s Anno, H. (narrator). (1995, October 14). Neon Genesis Evangelion [Tv-show]. In Ishikawa, M. (executive producer) Tokyo, Japan: TV Tokyo Wisecrack. (2018, 10 maart). The Loneliest Anime – The Philosophy of Neon Genesis Evangelion – Wisecrack Edition. Geraadpleegd op 10 oktober 2020, van https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USKzAj1dOq4


Oppression and marginalized voices

Feminism

Feminism is "the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes" according to dictionary Merriam Webster (1893). Considering that this definition originated during first wave-feminism in the late 19th century (First-wave feminism, 2020) but since we are the time of fourth wave-feminism now, it seems overdue to revise it, as the role of women in society has changed drastically over the past 130 years.

A term that appears increasingly in the recent discourse of feminism is intersectionality. Coined by civil rights advocate and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 (Blaque, 2019), it describes the idea that an individual can be subject to different forms of discrimination at the same time. Therefore these forms of discrimination should not be treated as separate issues but need to be addressed in regard to each other. Crenshaw references the case of DeGraffenreid vs General Motors; a legal battle where a group of Black women tried to sue General Motors for discriminating against them. The court found the company not guilty because they employed women as well as Black people, only that all the women were white and all Black people were men. The court did not consider looking into the employment of Black women specifically (Blaque, 2019).



As we see, people’s identities exist at different intersections of oppression and privilege. Therefore, feminism cannot and must not be not intersectional. There is no hierarchy in equality, so we cannot make the fight for it a hierarchical matter. Hence I propose a new definition of feminism: "the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of all genders that recognizes the fact that different forms of oppression and privilege can impact individuals at the same time".


Indigenous

"To have a connection to this place, to have a connection to this land, to have a connection to one another" - that is how Jay Odjick of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community describes being indigenous (Jay Odjick, 2020). A similar notion is expressed through the Quechua term sumak kawsay, or buen vivir (as it is commonly known in South America today). It means "living in plenitude, knowing how to live in harmony with the cycles of Mother Earth, of the cosmos, of life and of history and in balance with every form of existence in a state of permanent respect" (Demos, 2016).

With the colonization of indigenous land and culture came the colonization of sumak kawsay. Not only did European colonizers displace indigenous people and stripped them of their culture but they also destroyed the balance of sensitive ecosystems that indigenous people lived in harmony with for centuries. Indigenous people’s mindset that kept those ecosystems alive; the belief that humans are a part of nature and have a symbiotic relationship with it, was seen as savage and primitive. This exoticization of nature justified the resource exploitation of mother earth for the colonial settlers’ own financial gains. Nature had been colonized by them, too (Demos, 2016).

We can still find the legacy of colonialism in our culture today, whether it is in the privatization of spaces, the resource exploitation of nature and human labor through corporations, or the patenting of biological matter (Demos, 2016).

One powerful decolonial practice is counter cartography. It is based on the observation that maps are tools to maintain power structures as a map is produced by one or a small group of individuals with a certain world view that is inevitably reflected in it. They also put ownership, rights, and social norms on the natural environment. Hence maps cannot exist outside of power structures (kollektiv Orangotango+, 2018). Counter cartography gives people the opportunity to fight those power structures by baring them open and setting a framework for opportunities for change on their terms (kollektiv Orangotango+, 2018). This practice is an especially powerful tool for indigenous communities, as maps have been historically used against them. The following keynote by Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (TEDx, 2020) gives an insight into the use of counter cartography and shows how we can work together with indigenous peoples to prepare communities for the consequences of climate change.


Cosmopolitics

The thought behind cosmopolitics, according to feminist philosopher and chemist Isabelle Stengers, is that decisions must take place in the presence of those who will bear their consequences (Haraway, 2016). This refers to the idea of the commons. Both Rebecca Solnit and Silvia Federici, both feminist writers, deal with this topic in several of their works.

Solnit explores the connections between the structural discrimination of marginalized groups and power elites and the response to disasters. She claims that we can witness the power of community, especially after disasters, when the public organizes themselves in order to help each other (Taylor, 2009). Their ego becomes less important when it comes to the fight for survival and they tend to use a common-ist approach to disaster response. Institutional authorities, on the contrary, often fail in those situations. They imagine that not the public is in danger but it is also a source of danger, leading to disaster response in destructive ways in order to protect their property. This result is what Solnit calls "elite panic“ (Taylor, 2009). She says that we need a different view on human nature that goes against the current notion that humans are inherently bad because that only plays into the narrative that authoritarian power elites cultivate (Taylor, 2009).

Federici examines the role of women when it comes to recreating the commons in her work. She claims that capitalism appropriates the feminist agenda by exploiting women’s wish for autonomy in order to integrate them into the capitalist system which totally goes against equality and therefore against the commons (The People's Forum NYC, 2019). In poorer communities, however, women are on the front lines of recreating the commons by commoning what she calls reproductive activities (The Laura Flanders Show, 2019), such as cooking, gardening, taking care of garbage, etc, i.e. all activities that ensure the continuation of human life. Federici was able to witness this herself when visiting communities in South America, in areas where the state does not take care of the people. She shares an anecdote of a woman asking her what her community in the United States is like. When she responded that these kinds of communities do not really exist in the US, the woman reacted in shock and wondered who would take care of Federici in situations of emergency. Federici concludes that capitalism uses debt to attack community and solidarity relationships which makes it harder for individuals to confront the state (The Laura Flanders Show, 2019). Therefore, we need to redefine wealth, value, and social relations in order to regain decision-making power.

Sources

Non-Human and Making Kin

Nonhuman is a way to look at the world, this worldview clashes with different theories, and these theories are epistemology, ontology, materialism, and ethology.(Wikipedia contributors, 2020)

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature of knowledge, epistemic justification, the rationality of belief, and various related issues. (Wikipedia contributors, 2020)

Ontology is the philosophical study of being. More broadly, it studies concepts that directly relate to being, in particular becoming, existence, reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.(Wikipedia contributors, 2020)

In the social sciences, materialism signifies a preoccupation with materiality and material processes, and how these contribute to forming the social. Both directions of materialism engage with material inequalities, whether it is between different social classes, or between humans and nonhumans.(Wikipedia contributors, 2020)

Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, usually with a focus on behavior under natural conditions, and viewing behavior as an evolutionarily adaptive trait.(Wikipedia contributors, 2020)

Do things have an essence? We give something a reason for being because it’s changing, but we should look further than organisms. We fail to see that there are other phenomena and things that are influencing us. This thesis is strengthened by the big amount of philosophers developing theories on the non-human and the world around us as a whole. One of these philosophies is process philosophy:

“A worldview of process philosophy, more than process theology, is a worldview in the sense of it focuses on change rather than unchanging reality. We are not destined for one specific reality. We’re destined to a reality that can get better and better if we only work at it.”How would you define process philosophy?

In order to have an ever-changing world we have to recognize our responsibilities as individuals and as a group, this is what intra-action talks about: What is Intra-action

Intra-action gives us a whole new way of thinking about our relationship with each other, with the matter, with materials, with nature, and with discourse. When these different things are in relationships with each other, our ability to do stuff changes, transforms, or emerges.

This video to me is very interesting because it talks about a phenomenon that you as an individual don't necessarily interact with but you do take part in shaping the matter and interactions around it. This makes it possible to recognize your own responsibility and that of others for example. Responsibility is distributed among the constitutive entities. This is where agency comes into play: agency is about action reconfiguring doing and being. It does not pre-exist separately but emerges in the relationships in these intra-actions.


Making kin is a way to consider multiple species and interact in a multiple species world. (Wikipedia contributors, 2020b) In other words, making kin is a way to interact also with a nonhuman world. To understand better what making kin means, Donna Haraway wrote the Camille stories to fabulate and speculate on how we could live in the world of tomorrow, the new earth. It is a different way forward, a way in which we would be much closer to nature and be with nature. Here is a video about it: Making kin beyond babies - after Donna Haraway

In short, what happens in the Camille stories (chapter 8 of Donna Haraway’s book of staying with the trouble) is: The Camille stories follow five generations of a symbiogenetic join of a human child and monarch butterflies along the lines and nodes of these insects’ migrations between Mexico and the United States and Canada. These lines trace socialities and materialities crucial to living and dying with critters on the edge of disappearance so that they might go on. Committed to nurturing capacities to respond and cultivating ways to render each other capable, the Communities of Compost appeared in the early twenty-first century on ruined lands all over the world. These communities committed to reducing human numbers over a few hundred years while practicing multispecies and multiregional environmental justice of myriad kinds. Every new child had at least three human parents; and the pregnant parent exercised reproductive freedom in the choice of an animal symbiont for the child, a choice that ramified across the generations of all the species. The relations of symbiogenetic people and unjoined humans brought many surprises, some of them deadly, but perhaps the deepest surprises emerged from the relations of the living and the dead, in symanimagenic complexity, across the holobiomes of earth. (Haraway, 2016) A recent example of the display of making kin can be found inside the documentary of “my teacher the octopus.” Through this documentary, it becomes clear that making kin is more than just interacting with multiple species. Kin is abundant, made not through blood but through relations of care. In the documentary, this concept is visible because you see the emotional relationship forming between the filmmaker and the octopus. The documentary is however made from the perspective of a human so that is something to keep in mind. We will never know what the nonhuman is thinking exactly we can only speculate and fabulate.

Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a term that is often used to define a planetary epoch in which the human species has become a dominant force, shaping Earth’s bio-geophysical composition and processes [1]. The term Anthropocene, meaning ‘The Human Epoch’ in Greek, was first used by Eugene F. Stoermer; a researcher in Diatoms. The term was invented when researching acidifying waters and was later on used to indicate other Anthropogenic influences [2].

Next to acidification of waters, human influence could be measured in factors like nuclear fallout particles, that could be carried by wind across the world. But also organic material like chicken bones, that are resulting from being helt and eaten on a massive scale ,worldwide. Other elements include plastic pollution, aluminium, concrete particles and high levels of nitrogen and phosphate within soils, that derived from artificial fertilizers [3].

In 2014 the International Geological Congress located in Cape Town officially recommended stating the Anthropocene as an epoch [4], but since the Anthropocene isn’t officially internationally recognized, it is considered by many as a theory that will define the future human influence on our own ecosystem, an epoch that will follow the Holocene; which is the current epoch which started after the last glacial period, 11,650 cal years ago [5].

According to a study by Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin in 2012, the first signs of the Anthropocene began around 1610 when the decreasing population of the Americas after the European conquest stimulated an increase in reforestation, causing on the little ice age [6].

Other terms that define the same anthropos caused phenomenon is Capitalocene and Plantationocene:
 The Capitalocene, named after the capitalism which, Donna Haraway suggests, is the main cause of consumerism, materialism and monopoly powers, that increases the environmental costs and the humans footprint on our planet. 
 The Plantationocene calls more attention to monoculture and to the ecological and economic heritages of imperialism including race-based hierarchies, and discrimination among diverse peoples based on gender, sexual orientation, class, and ace.

Both these terms are used to give a more in-depth reason to how humans have become masters of their own faith and the continuing livability of the earth.

“Nobody lives everywhere; everybody lives somewhere. Nothing is connected to everything; everything is connected to something. [7]” 
Anthropocentrism is a term used to indicate the way humans see themself within their surroundings, which is human-centered. With Anthropocentrism the anthropos/human states himself above all other organisms and therefor sating that humans have more inherent value than other organisms. Its counterpart is Biocentrism, where humans are valued equal to other organisms. Ecocentrism takes this term to a higher level, also taking nonliving components into account. It states that humans and other organisms are part of an entire ecosystem in which the terrain, natural forces like storms and planetary effects are all part of.

This is also mentioned by the Gaia Theory [8]. Named after the greek goddess and personification of the Earth, Gaia. The Gaia Theory proposes that every living organism interacts with their inorganic surroundings, which form a self-regulating complex system.

Donna Haraway said “It’s about order out of disorder. It’s about homeostatic mechanisms in autopoietic systems.” [7]. Meaning that it’s a mechanism that constantly searches for balance within a system that keeps trying to renews itself. Making the Earth a constantly renewable balance; an order out of disorder. According to Donna Haraway, after the Antrophacene, there will be an entire new epoch. One in which humans have to deal with that their previous possessors have effected; called the Cthulucene. She states that this process, a process of reworlding, is more like a process of composting that one of being post-human [6].

Symbiosis (Greek for ‘living together’) , is a biological term for a long term relationship between two different biological organisms. This for instance occurs as the clownfish and a sea anemone live closely together. They benefit from each other presence; when one species thrives, the other one will follow. The same goes for when one organism is disrupted, the other organism will react negatively.

The same counts for the Symbiocene, an epoch that should follow the Cthulucene, in which we return to our natural connection towards our surroundings. Benefiting from our ecosystem, while contributing in the same way. Thriving together.

“Everybody lives everywhere; nobody lives somewhere. Everything is connected to everything; nobody is connected to something.”


Sources:

[1] Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from http://www.anthroencyclopedia.com/

[2] Haraway, D. (2014, May 9). Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble - Donna Haraway. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from http://www.opentranscripts.org/transcript/anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/

[3] Carrington, D. (2016, August 29). The Anthropocene epoch: Scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age. Retrieved October 12, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/29/declare-anthropocene-epoch-experts-urge-geological-congress-human-impact-earth

[4] Holocene. (2020, October 11). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene

[5] Frame 29.2 – Perspectives on the Anthropocene: Frame – Journal of Literary Studies. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.tijdschriftframe.nl/portfolio/item/frame-29-2-perspectives-on-the-anthropocene/

[6] Parsons, A. (2019, April 25). Course Compendium. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from http://compendium.kosawese.net/term/anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/

[7] Haraway, D. (2016). Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from https://www.e-flux.com/journal/75/67125/tentacular-thinking-anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/

[8] Gaia hypothesis. (2020, October 10). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Durham (N.C.): Duke University Press.

Tsing, A. L. (2015). The mushroom at the end of the world: On the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
 Tsing, A. L., Swanson, H. A., Gan, E., & Bubandt, N. (2017). Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Storytelling

According to Yuval Noah Harari in his book ‘Sapiens, a brief history of humankind’ storytelling is one of the main characteristics why we humans differentiate ourselves from other social animals like chimpanzees, ants, bees, etc. This all started by a form of storytelling which we now describe as gossip. While chimpanzees needed to form exclusively direct bonds, we could talk amongst ourselves about who would be fitting to become the next leader of our group. In the times when we were hunters and gatherers, we could inform our people after a day’s hunting the location of a lion or a piece of land rich on fruits. Later this developed into creating narratives that enabled us to cooperate in large numbers. Humans are capable of cooperating in numbers up to a 150 people, if this limit is reached there is only chaos. By creating narratives, shared myths like religions, we were able to cooperate in larger numbers because the group then shares the same values and believes.

Ursula K. LeGuin, prominent science fiction author of the 20th century, wrote an essay on her view of the importance of storytelling called ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’. In this essay she proposes a new insight in our current way of viewing the history of humans. The dominant narrative amongst historians in our Western Society is that of the Human as the Hero, a storyline of victory and slaughter in which the Hero is a male. We humans came to be where we are now, as many believe at the top of our food chain, by slaughtering animals, our first tools being weapons like spears and knives. Ursula K. LeGuin states that this is false and that actually, since we started as gatherers, the bag is our first tools. When we were gathering food, a bag or a sling freed our hands and enabled us to carry even more. Gathering food took about fifteen hours a week and this led us to bringing back to our huts not only food but stories.

“Fifteen hours a week for subsistence leaves a lot of time for other things. So much time that maybe restless ones who didn’t have a baby around to enliven their life, or skill in making or cooking or singing, or very interesting thoughts to think, decided to slope off and hunt mammoths. The skilful hunters then would come staggering back with a load of meat, a lot of ivory, and a story. It wasn’t the meat that made the difference. It was the story.”

Donna Haraway describes herself as a ‘scholar practicing her profession as a fabulator’ and explains in the intro of her book ‘Staying with the trouble, making kin in the chthulucene’ that she is not interested in mending a broken past. She wants to acknowledge and deal with problems we face today and speculate about a future in which there’s “still possible finite flourishing, still possible recuperation.” One way she’s doing this is through her Camille stories, her Children of Compost, the concluding chapter of her book. These narratives speculate about an earth that is not (yet) destroyed on which people in the form of syms and non-syms, are living freely.

"If the Communities of Compost had not proved from their earliest years so successful and so infectious among other human people and peoples, the earth’s population would have reached more than 11 billion by 2100. The breathing room provided by that difference of a billion human people opened up possibilities for ongoingness for many threatened ways of living and dying for both human and nonhuman beings."

Although Donna Haraway took great inspiration from Ursula K. LeGuin, the latter wrote speculative fictions in a different, more doomed way. LeGuin’s book ‘The Dispossessed’ written in 1974, is a story about different planets colonized by humans. Every planet has it’s own society, developed in different ways. On the planet Urras the society is a propertarien one, everything is based on possessing thing, humans and the natural world. Much like our world the top most rich group of people has all the power. Wealth is distributed unequally and women are suppressed. From this planet some 170 years before a revolution started led by a women named Odo. This group emigrated to a new planet named Anarres, on where they live by a anarchist manifesto written by Odo. On Anarres there is no government and power is equally distributed. Everyone works, not because they have to to earn money (and survive) but because it’s a shared value to contribute to society.

"Decentralisation had been an essential element in Odo’s plans for the society she did not live to see founded. She had no intention of trying to de-urbanise civilisation. Though she suggested that the natural limit to the size of a community lay in its dependence on its own immediate region for essential food and power, she intended that all communities be connected by communication and transportation networks, …"

Later on in the book a planet called Terra, is introduced and with this LeGuin speculates about a possible future for our earth.

"A planet spoiled by human species. We multiplied and gobbled and fought until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first. There are no forests left on my Earth… There are nearly a half billion of us now. Once there were nine billion. You can see the old cities still everywhere. The bones and bricks go to dust, but the little pieces of plastic never do--they never adapt either."

Donna Haraway writes an opposing speculative fiction centralized around human's love for life and the earth:

"These eruptions of healing energy and activism were ignited by love of earth and its human and nonhuman beings and by rage at the rate and scope of extinctions, exterminations, genocides, and immiserations in enforced patterns of multispecies living and dying that threatened ongoingness for everybody. Love and rage contained the germs of partial healing even in the face of onrushing destruction."

What Ursula K. LeGuin and Donna Haraway have in common is the belief in the importance of storytelling. Although in different forms, together with Noah Yuval Harari’s findings I agree with both. However David Wallace-Wells, in his book ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ is sceptic to the ability of storytelling to help maintaining a habitable earth.

"Today, the movies may be millenarian, but when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. This is climate’s kaleidoscope: we can be mesmerized by the threat directly in front of us without ever perceiving it clearly."

Reading David Wallace-Wells’ critique I think he falls in the trap of only looking at storytelling in pop culture. Huge Hollywood movies are inherently commercial and not designed to actually induce change, rather they evoke consumerism. Therefore to state that storytelling is of no use in changing our behaviour seems short-sighted.

Sources

Donna Haraway / Speculative Fabulation. (2016, 24 mei). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFGXTQnJETg

Guin, U. K. L. (2002). The Dispossessed. Gollancz.

Guin, U. L. (2019). The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. Adfo Books.

Harari, Y. N. (2015). Sapiens. Harper.

Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Experimental Futures) (Illustrated editie). Duke University Press Books.

Ursula K Le Guin debate con Donna Haraway. (2018, 24 januari). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59bLqzrM2r0&t=723s

Wallace-Wells, D. (2019). The Uninhabitable Earth. Adfo Books.

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Create a new article. Beyond Social is written and edited by its community. Contribute to this online publishing platform with an article (text, photo-essay, video, audio and so on) about your project, theory, event or initiative in the field of Social Art & Design.
Edit this page, or any of the other ones. If there is any missing information or spelling mistakes in this article, please don't hesitate to change it. Other complementing work, such as including media files (images/video's/audio) is also very much appreciated.
Talk with the contributers and others by taking part in one of the discussions on the TALK-page of an article. These pages are the semi-hidden backside of articles, hence ideal for discussions about an article without changing the initial text.
PROPOSE a new editorial. Beyond Social invites guest editor(s) to emphasize a certain issue, topic or theme. Guest editors write an editorial, invite others to create articles by an open call and/or add existing articles.