Creating Possibilities vs. Solving Problems

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This was a somewhat informal session at Sol 2014.



  • Brandon (convener in the evening)
  • Ben (convener the following morning)


Saturday evening, overlapping the Who should convene Kindred festivals? session

  • Brandon: If Hank were all about domes because square houses somehow cause societal dysfunction, and wanted to solve that problem by imposing domed houses on everyone by law, I’d just want to tell him to shut up
    • But because he just loves domes because they’re so cool, I deeply approve and it makes me want to do something dome-related too
    • The climate movement is all about the former, trying to tear something down rather than build something up
      • Ben: What about wind turbines and solar panels? We have to build those because people won’t accept a world without electricity
      • Brandon: Exactly -- the climate movement only supports building them because it’s necessary in order to successfully oppose fossil fuels
  • Ben: If you’re saying activism is the precise opposite of “life exuberant, bursting through boundaries to flower and spread,” I can’t hear that
    • Brandon: I’m feeling like I’m opposing something right now and am not being very inspiring; I think it’s great that you’re active in the world

Sunday morning

  • Ben: I was thinking about the dichotomy between creating possibilities and oppositional problem-solving activism, and I think there’s a way to be both-and
    • Joanna Macy’s Great Turning concept includes three parts:
      • Holding actions (oppositional activism)
      • Building new structures, some of them only to avoid crisis, others mainly just because they’re better
      • Changing consciousness, creating a new story where we’re all connected as part of a “body of all life”
    • The Pachamama Alliance, which is a close ally of Joanna Macy, has a mission to establish “a socially just, environmentally sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling human presence on this planet”
      • Brandon: So that’s what the Great Turning is aiming toward?
      • Ben: Joanna Macy might not use those exact words, but basically yes
  • Ben: If you want a book about the “greater movement” that’s not about oppositional activism, I’d recommend The Cultural Creatives by Paul H. Ray instead of Blessed Unrest
  • Brandon: I solve problems all the time, so I’m not really against problem solving; I don’t have good insight into my own psyche on this
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