I watched the movie Leave No Trace Saturday evening. Loved it. Quiet, soft spoken. A father and daughter living in a national park. Taking care of themselves. Drinking water they have caught. Eating mushrooms they have picked. Practicing disappearing from view when somebody gets too close.
Then they get caught.
This is not a dreadful story. People are kind. Even the social workers are kind. But they do live far away from the experience of the two people. They live in the current ordinary world. Where people work. Live in a house. Go to school. Work. Have hobbies. Watch television. Not people with PTSD.
Anoher book from the library i have been reading over the past few weeks. A Dutch book this time, De kanarie in de kolenmijn (The canary in the coalmine). A book written by Marianne Thieme, current leader from the Dutch political Partij voor de Dieren and Ewald Engelen, professor Financial Geography at the University of Amsterdam. Both write one half of this book.
Ewald Engelen writes from a economical standpoint about the world’s current situation.
Scaling-up. Companies are getting larger. They use their power to influence politics and decision making. For their own advantage.
Debt. We live in increasingly larger amounts of debt.
Wrong measurement instruments. We determine a price not the value of something.
Marianne Thieme writes about biodiversity and ecology. Many species are becoming extinct. Also drinking water is a desperate need. We currently spend too much drinking water on our food and clothes, while we should spend it on nourishing people.
Both Ewald Engelen and Marianne Thieme come to the conclusion that we need to think and set our priorities differently. Not on money, but on the people and animals and plants living on this planet trying to make it liveable for themselves.
Some things written about by this book i have known about. I remember the football world cup in Argentien in 1978. Neerlands Hoop was against the Dutch football team joining this world cup as the regime then in Argentine was a totalitarian one. I knew about the Chili coup. And then of course the Berlin wall, the fall of the Soviet Union empire, the Iraq war. But these were all separate events to me, not linked to each other.
I am not sure about the general story in this book. But still, it gives me so much to think about, so many things to question, not take for granted. I am happy reading this book right now. It gives me plenty of new areas to explore. Naomi Klein’s other books first of all.
Central to the book’s thesis is the contention that those who wish to implement unpopular free market policies now routinely do so by taking advantage of certain features of the aftermath of major disasters, be they economic, political, military or natural. The suggestion is that when a society experiences a major ‘shock’ there is a widespread desire for a rapid and decisive response to correct the situation; this desire for bold and immediate action provides an opportunity for unscrupulous actors to implement policies which go far beyond a legitimate response to disaster. The book suggests that when the rush to act means the specifics of a response will go unscrutinized, that is the moment when unpopular and unrelated policies will intentionally be rushed into effect. The book appears to claim that these shocks are in some cases intentionally encouraged or even manufactured.
Reading this book right now does awaken so many feelings and dreams. Too much to talk about here, right now. It does open a new area of books i want to read. Economics. Ecology. Our current neo-liberalism. The networked society. My head feels rather full right now.
Capra’s is a cool and rational analysis rather than the work of a firebrand. But for those feeling a bit confused or helpless in the face of an unpredictable future, this is a great introduction both to the nature of the problem and the logic of the response. A book that could make a difference, if anyone is listening.
Reading this book gave me insights in the development of science, economics and law over the past couple of hundred years. What is called in this book the mechanization of the world view. In other words, the world is something we can extract something of value from. I have never thought about the role law has played in this. But countries have grown in influence. Private ownership and state sovereignty have a much larger part to play in the application of law compared to the fifteenhundreds. The commons role in our society has been severely lessened.
This book has given me plenty of stuff to think about. Highly recommended.
The first book to present jurisprudence — the theory and philosophy of law — as an intellectual discipline with a history and conceptual structure that shows surprising parallels to those of natural science. The authors argue that at the root of the multi-faceted global crisis we face today is a legal system based on an obsolete worldview; and they explain how, by incorporating concepts from modern science, the law can become an integral part of bringing about a better world, rather than facilitating its destruction.
The Ecology of Law is an ambitious, big-picture account of the history of law as an artefact of the scientific, mechanical worldview — a legacy that we must transcend if we are to overcome many contemporary problems, particularly ecological disaster. The book argues that modernity as a template of thought is a serious root problem in today’s world. Among other things, it privileges the individual as supreme agent despite the harm to the collective good and ecological stability. Modernity also sees the world as governed by simplistic, observable cause-and-effect, mechanical relationships, ignoring the more subtle dimensions of life such as subjectivity, caring and meaning.
The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism.
The past two weeks i have been reading this book by Margaret Wertheim, Pythagoras’ Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars (1995). I’m not sure how i got this book myself. I must have read about it sometime and bought it. It was good to read it again. Livened up my brains.
This morning i did a search for Wertheim. I came across a TED talk about the Crochet Coral Reef. The books she wrote after Pythagoras’ Trousers.
Pythagoras’ Trousers is about the development of scientific thought from the old Greeks to our modern time. It does show the steadfast links with religion and priesthood clearly. It does show how women are excluded from this history till the present day. Minor advancements excluded.
I will leave you with her TED talk from 2009 about the beautiful math of coral. Enjoy.
The past few years i decided not to go to the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Not anymore. It is expensive. I love films, sure. From the late 80s going to the IFFR was a staple in January. For around ten times i volunteered. More times even. I never counted them.
But it has changed. Streamlined. Commercialized. That is not a bad thing. But i do miss the old IFFR. Dancing n the Hilton.
So yeah, time doesn’t stop. Things keep changing.
It has vanished from my awareness.
But today i went with Henja to the IFFR. The Doelen, KINO, Lantaren Venster. Coffee in the Doelen, lunch in Lantaren Venster. Walking through this city with Henja who is still relatively new in Rotterdam. Made me realize how this city is soaked in my memories.
Happy to see small pink flowers in a garden along the way. And snowdrops!