We Are Failing

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The Anthropocene is the label of choice for the success and the failure of humanity. Yet now, the signs of Nature withdrawing its endorsement of modernity are multiplying in frequency and diversity. She is fighting back against the totalitarian ideology of objectivity, which, ironically, we could say is something She created in the first place.

Linearity is disrupted. The plantation of Modernity is being liberated. We have not saved humanity from poverty or ignorance or inequality. We cannot Save the Planet from ourselves. We are not saviors at all. We are becoming fugitives, uprooted from our comfortable illusions of growth and permanence. We are now the dispossessed. We are the ones losing our home because we pursued the belief that we could have an objective home, some place that is “ours.” But no, our home is not a place. It is a state of mind. Culture is our home. Communion is our home.

Peter Block, a renowned consultant in organizational and community development, has said, “All transformation is linguistic.” The very idea that we view our selves and each other as objects, thereby separating our selves from the immediate, the entangled, the subjective, we become distinct from nature and view reality as dead. All of this renders true communion far more remote.

Making a simple linguistic shift from objects to subjects, we reimagine ourselves as perpetually evolving in imaginative and poetic ways, sharing an identical subjectivity with all others, human and non-human elements of the biosphere, which is itself a continuously emergent generative process without beginning or end. As subjects, we access an ego-less dimension of participating in the shared experience of co-creation, of the emerging meaning of our nature, bringing forth the aliveness in every moment.

“Nature” is not coming apart. We are coming apart. We are colonized by a totalitarian system of our own making, an inverted ideology in which we are conditioned to believe we are objective actors who have exercised our freedom, as it were, to act in our own interest, while our primary interest is obliterated by the colonizer. And, make no mistake, there is a colonizer. By believing in our objective status, we act against our own interest.

We are seeing the unraveling progress everywhere. The Enlightenment tells us—and we imagine—we are doing something ‘to’ nature. As is clear even to the most casual lay observer, by failing to acknowledge we are part of the very metabolism of the biosphere, in distorting and undermining our own sanctity, we are injuring our selves and the homeostasis of the whole. Thus, by failing, we arrive at a new ethic. But there is no arrival. Our failures will become seeds of something new. But we can never fully leave the failures behind and we will never fully arrive at success. We will always be in the middle.

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