An endless stream of disaster stories keeps us busy. Eternally. And it’s robbed us of faith in any good shared futures. But could we yet light a candle for something better than a new Utopia?
I know. We can’t afford to dream. It’s not what you have time for on the front line. Which I think we’re all on, mentally, in a networked society like ours. Which means we’re all feeling a. lot.
Hearing from a friend in Delhi these past two days brought home the realism of the images from India across our news feeds. He works in a hospital there and simply confirmed how fiercely the Covid emergency is overwhelming care capacity. He thinks infection and death rates are way higher than the official terrible figures. But it was his tone, in simple text, that brought us up short, feeling it from him. He sounded hopeless. Not out. But soul-drained.
Do you feel soul-drained? Whether you’re practical front line or not. As a nurse, doctor, teacher, police officer, how could you not be? But as an events organiser, a performer, an artist? You’ve had your own kind of helpless for 14 months. And if you work in local government, trying to administer local life at all possible scales with dwindling public investment in what you do? I can’t imagine the grind, hidden away. Now talk to me as a social message board moderator. How is your faith in humanity?
And this is all before you or loved ones have actually experienced Covid.
And all this is just Covid. You know enough about the climate crisis to not want to look at it.
But can we live like this? And are we supposed to? What do you imagine a better world actually looking like?
If you feel you daren’t even talk this way, I feel the same. Especially because I am no decent activist. I’m no rebel. I’m too reasonable and to easily part of the sleeping problem.
But is there a habitual reason you and I find it impossible to squarely, boldly picture a more hopeful human tomorrow? One that’s got little to do with realism after all?
And is there a practical alternative to the cyberpunk dystopia we’re all just accepting as inevitable? Is corporate techno-global non-democratic misery all that lies ahead? Deeper addictions, deeper sleeps, deeper fears, worse abuses?
Or dare we believe another world IS possible?
If we can picture it?
In my special new episode of Unsee The Future, I look at a topic that I’ve been ruminating on for a couple of years. And I wonder if it’s a way of seeing the future that could change everything.
Is it an art movement, an environmental movement, a political movement? All of them and something beyond. The reason I think it could be the beginnings of a whole new story of us is that it isn’t a new Utopia at long last – it’s something better.
I think it’s time we all introduced ourselves to Solarpunk.
It could change the way you put faith in the human future. By realising that – duh! – faith, like confidence, is built by doing.
Unsee The Future EP31: Solarpunk. This is very definitely just a beginning.