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I don’t usually do this, but I just sawsubbed to my ‘stack, and my head is in the process of exploding.
For those of you who haven’t read him, Dougald is the co-founder of The Dark Mountain Project. I read his manifesto a while back, and while I’m agnostic on some of the causative factors that have led the collapse that motivated him to co-write it, I’m in agreement with his conclusions. More to the point, his powerful writing, his unswerving belief in the value of storytelling, and the concept of Uncivilization were foundational to the direction I took as an essayist.
In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this blog wouldn’t exist without my having first read The Dark Mountain Project website and saying to myself, “Fuck it. I’m gonna do that.”
To quote Uncivilization: The Dark Mountain Manifesto:
THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF UNCIVILISATION
‘We must unhumanise our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’
We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.
The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.
Welcome to Wonderland, Dougald.
Clearly, these are principles I hold without exception. It is interesting that I have thought about this while being enmeshed in the technology that is changing the way we tell stories and discipline each other to regimes of truth. Yet I have needed a philosophy first and a praxis second. I need a club thirdly and now I know another tentpole holder. Ok feck. I didn't know Dark Mountain but I do know Kingsnorth. Good. Double sign.
Well, that's Rarely Certain territory too. Signed up & grateful for the recommendation.