Re Humanising + Re Connecting + Re Membering
I listened to the entire brilliant talk given by Mia Mottley, The Prime Minister of Barbados at COP26. It is 8 minutes of remembering our connectivity and humanity.
I found it interesting that we, our SpaceShip Earth, are in the hands of about 200 captains, almost all of them men (see photo).
That in 2021 brilliant humans are still squabbling over the colonial spoils, still seeing the Earth as a giant resource for wealth accumulation, still seeing humans, especially black and brown humans, and those of the lesser caste in any shade, as disposable. Indeed, more than half the humans on the planet do not even get a consideration on our various balance sheets. And the animals, our glorious, gorgeous animals. Meat. Skin. Products.
200 Captains. Many of them fighting for power.
I wonder how we have handed these men, most of them colonial relics, the keys to our kingdom? Given them permission to act on behalf of all-humanity, our collective future, our at-risk animals and ecosystems?
It is clear that the future, if we have one, will judge this time as one of the most idiotic and criminal times in human history. Rich dudes fighting to stay in power, to stay at the beck and call of the big money that pays them to do what they do, while the world burns and people are flooded out of their homes.
Simultaneously to this horror show, I consider people like Mia Mottley, Greta Thunberg, Sir David Attenborough, and millions of others who have decided that 200 relics of colonisation will not hold the keys to our kingdom.
To be active — to get out of the chair, off the couch — to write, speak, email, paint, sing, dance insurrection against the forces of entropy — this is the hope.
And hope is rising. In the nick of time. (Hopefully)
Our colonising impulse has taken humans out of humanity — objectification, reduction, annihilation — the human resource! This single act makes mass atrocities, be they the big quick ones like a drone strike, or the slow generational ones like poverty and cultural elimination of indigeneity, so very easy.
We do not see the face and the story behind the face in our acts of violence. Our morality is completely eroded. Externalities. Collateral damage. Just the way of it, we say, as we deposit our spoils in the bank and eat more food than we need living in a house that has far too many rooms.
With great deliberation, our colonising and capitalistic impulses separate us. To keep conquered keep divided. We mistakenly might think that we have technology to thank for connecting us. Our polarised world speaks a different story. Friends of decades torn apart by falling for the many assorted versions of propaganda — truth almost indistinguishable, no one immune.
Technology and capitalism serve the same master. Capitalism does not benefit when we go to the beach, when we grow and cook our own food, share with others. Capitalism needs us to consume, to work more hours, to make more things to sell in the marketplace. Capitalism celebrates when humans go into debt. Debt means we need to make more stuff, buy more things, work more hours.
Capitalism celebrates when there is a disaster. Terrifying fires. Floods. War. A pandemic. Up goes that pesky GDP — the completely debasing measure we use to determine humanity’s success.
Technology thrives when it makes life more convenient. Convenience gives us more time. Do we have more time? And if so, how are we spending our time?
Falling into the dark spaces of media perhaps? Twisted into emotional wrecks by an algorithm that is far more powerful than anything we have met before. Getting caught in the drama, the endorphin hit, of drama, fear, hate…all the things that have us buy more. Electing another fossil from the colonial age to represent us, zombified now by the god media and its twisted intention to extract from us our humanity and emotions at any price.
Even more separated from beauty, nature, soil… and other humans. Real connection. Heart to heart. Intimate.
To be seen. Heard. Acknowledged for simply being. Ah, the yearning for this. Not a trickle, a flood. A cry so loud into the heavens the stars weep.
Technology and capitalism do not want this. They want the separation. The division. The war.
Memorari — to be mindful of. To be here, now, present. Aware. Open eyed. Seeing others. Seeing consequence.
How often are you mindful — truly mindful — each day? Each hour? Are we so caught in the fray of busy-ness, of debt cycles, too much work, the drama and fear trap of media, the war between us, that mindfulness is something we have to choose as a practice — a mindful moment. We wrench our overstuffed thinking from its endless to-do-list, from the stresses and worries, from the noise and distraction, back to here. Now. It takes a mighty effort. We easily give up and turn back to the addiction of drama, fear and division — assorted causes irrelevant. Ownership of our time is the gold.
When we are mindful we might see the other. Truly see the other. Just as we long to be seen. We might fall in rapture at the waves and their constancy. The song of a bird. The sound of grass growing.
But no…this too does not serve our 200 captains and the remit to keep us busy, distracted, broken, separate, and consuming.
My appeal. Forget these relics of a colonised world. Do not give any power to them. They do not have the keys to the kingdom, to our collective future, unless we say they do.
They have become morally bankrupt in their lust for power. The very system of democracy gives them easy passage, and the right to lie, cheat and corrupt.
Turn instead to the world we know is possible.
Imagine what a world might be like when we RE humanise? When every human has a face, a heart, a story, worth? When we build and design for all-humans?
Imagine what our lives would be like when we RE connect to each other. To intimacy that enables being seen in our multi-dimensional complexity. When we RE connect to earth. To dirt under our fingernails. To the sound of roots calling to each other under the soil? To the wings we feel in our chest as we regard the gull. To the language spoken when we look in the eyes of our beloved dog.
Imagine when we RE member who we are? Not separate individuals in a siloed, boundaried world. Each of us hosts to a million species, a billion microbes hitching a ride, traveling with ease between us. Our breath mingling. The atoms from me having explored your spaces, and the spaces of that stranger I am suspicious of.
RE Humanise. RE Connect. RE Member.
Mia Mottley called on our elected men and some women to think about our whole earth, our whole planet, every human. She spoke of the divide between the wealthy and the small and poor. Asking those who have much to take the mantle of responsibility for those who have little.
No more 200 captains of Spaceship Earth. A collective humanity, humans, seeing each other, knowing the pain of desiring to feed our children, knowing the common parental yearning to provide our children a better future…on these things most of us are connected..
We must rise together. We, the people. The small. The marginalised. The able. The smart.
Not next week, not in a decade. But now.
If we hold the vision of the more beautiful world that we know is possible, if we truly hold the possibility that no one needs to suffer for all of us — including our creatures — to thrive, then we might be able to work together to create a more beautiful future.
Forget our captains — their minds are turned to different ambitions of conquest and power.
We the people..you and I…our enterprises, our infinite capacity to love and care for…to make things better…together..
This is the call. This is the hope.