Tuesday, April 12, 2022

npm 12: we are novices now




 Every time I tap the Audible play button on ALL WE CAN SAVE my mind is blown by the ways in which Americans unwittingly participated in a process  of "progress" that unwittingly brought the planet to this brink of catastrophe. I watch an episode of Mrs. Maisel and I can barely enjoy it because there, on the screen, is an opulently produced depiction of the opulence we were trained to crave, unquestioned, by almost every influence of our history and culture here in the U.S. 

And then I remember: "No, this is capitalism working EXACTLY the way it is supposed to." It wasn't-- it isn't--exactly an accident, how we got here. As Regine Clement writes in "Catalytic Capital," 

"we are a society overly driven by capital and wealth; many of our values and mindsets are rooted in the desire for money. Social identity is in many ways calculated by wealth and channeled through...the unsustainable practices of extraction, production and consumption that have supported blind economic growth."

I have to believe--I know!--that we humans weren't always like that, but I guess intelligence = anxiety, and we intelligent, anxious humans are very creative storytellers. Our stories about survival became stories about competition and control, about winning at all costs. It can't go on like this, and we are figuring that out in a slow-motion hurry.


My project for NPM 2022:
This month I'm making "human stories to move human beings.  Human stories are more powerful for inciting action than counting carbon or detailing melting glaciers." (Favianna Rodriguez, from her essay "Harnessing Cultural Power," in ALL WE CAN SAVE.)
Read previous poems in the series here:
5 A comparison of beaver wisdom with human attempts to control water & fire


1 comment:

  1. Oh, goodness. "we knew the old / truths once" and "a slow-motion hurry." Yes.

    And consumerism. I am currently struggling with myself to be content with my showing-its-wear kitchen. The counters still work, though their edges are worn. I do not need marble. The cupboard doors still work. Maybe this summer I'll sand and paint them. The kitchen table still works. Let the worn-off finish on its edges remind me of all who've sat around it sharing food and laughter. I WILL resist the lure of a shiny kitchen make-over. What I have is enough.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!