Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The ex-files

Time was, in the vast vault that houses my hard-copy filing
system, I used to have files labelled AGRICULTURE,
ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT etc. What a simple childlike
world that was. With every passing day it becomes harder
to separate material out into such neat, discrete categories.
I hold a clipping about the Emissions Trading Scheme in
my hand: in what manila folder should it be filed for future
reference? ENVIRONMENT? Well, yes; but also ECONOMY;
leaches into everything else now. As indeed it should,
whatever challenges it presents for the finicky filer. This
breaking down of clear sharp categories is a necessary
stage in the shift of our consciousness away from world as
fractionated and finite and towards world as contextual
and interdependent. The philosophers have been saying
this, like, forever; but politics is a terrible laggard.

I think the first dawning in my own consciousness of this
truth was the 1970s ‘environmental’ slogan that you can’t
throw anything away on this planet: there is no ‘away.’
Forty years later it is dawning on all of us, however
reluctant we may be to acknowledge it, that everything,
from cowshit to plastic bags, from BP to TV, from plankton
to post-modernism, is consequential and interconnected.
Once you know this, and live accordingly, you will either
(a) never know peace again or (b) go out and join the
nearest revolution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed. Who was it said "pick up any old thing and it turns out to be connected to the rest of the Universe"