msb ~030 The call to paradox

The call to paradox

Looking home

Though social media’s pitfalls are well known, one of the unexpected pleasures of Twitter is to just have people drop in out of the blue. The latest person to follow @ClimateCultures is independent filmmaker Ross Harrison. When I spotted his article on Medium, I knew I could make today’s mini-post even shorter than usual: “What he said: paradox.” Continue reading “msb ~030 The call to paradox”

msb ~026 Negative Capability

Negative Capability

John Keats life mask, by Benjamin Robert Haydon (1816)

In Why we believe in magic, novelist Philip Pullman discusses Negative Capability, poet John Keats’ famous recipe for creative approaches to “being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” For Pullman, “everything that touches human life is surrounded by a penumbra of associations, memories, echoes and correspondences that extend far into the unknown.” This ‘shadow world’ of human life is where Negative Capability is at play. Continue reading “msb ~026 Negative Capability”

msb ~025 Magical thinking

Magical thinking

Image: Pixabay

An article for Uneven Earth provides timely illustration of yesterday’s reflection on imagination (rather than make-believe) being “a means of breaking out of the ‘dull round’ of the ‘ratio’ of abstract reason”. In Pulling the magic lever, Rut Elliot Blomqvist critiques techno-utopianism. “Ideas about the importance of the imagination in an age of political and ecological crisis are popping up everywhere: in the arts, in activism and other forms of politics, and in a wide range of academic disciplines and fields,” she writes. But without a critical view of these imaginaries, “we risk being trapped in the same old stories even as we see ourselves as thinking outside the old story box.” Continue reading “msb ~025 Magical thinking”

msb ~018 There is no away

There is no away

Trash Art, Jan Eric Visser at Groundwork Gallery 2018

Form follows garbage, a new film by friend and Finding Blake colleague James Murray-White for GroundWork Gallery, follows artist Jan Eric Visser. Visser transforms everyday garbage into art — and a new kind of environmental politics.

His assertion that “the story of more should end” comes up hard against the evidence of another excellent film: last night’s BBC documentary The secret life of landfill: a rubbish history. Continue reading “msb ~018 There is no away”

msb ~012 Problematic problems: predicaments

Problematic problems: predicaments

The Best of the Archdruid Report, John Michael Greer

I categorised yesterday’s post under Predicaments without actually using the word. Discussing climate change, I’ve favoured ‘predicaments’ over ‘problems’ (even ‘Wicked Problems’) since I read John Michael Greer’s definition. In the Archdruid Report, Greer described the difference: “a problem calls for a solution; the only question is whether one can be found and made to work … A predicament, by contrast, has no solution. Faced with a predicament, people come up with responses. Those responses may succeed, they may fail, or they may fall somewhere in between, but none of them ‘solves’ the predicament, in the sense that none of them makes it go away.” Continue reading “msb ~012 Problematic problems: predicaments”