When you are young and healthy, you believe you will live forever. People tell you “the world is your oyster,” “the sky is the limit,” and so on. And you are willing to delay gratification—to invest years, for example, in gaining skills and resources for a brighter future. You seek to plug into bigger streams of knowledge and information. You widen your networks of friends and connections, instead of hanging out with your mother. When horizons are measured in decades, which might as well be infinity to human beings, you most desire all that stuff at the top of Maslow’s pyramid—achievement, creativity, and other attributes of “self-actualization.” But as your horizons contract—when you see the future ahead of you as finite and uncertain—your focus shifts to the here and now, to everyday pleasures and the people closest to you.
| Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
Sometimes she felt a nameless anxiety, sometimes an excessive and sudden calm. She often felt like crying, which generally was no more than an urge, as though the crisis spent itself in the desire.
| Clarice Lispector, Gertrudes Asks for Advice
A future that is trauma informed, consensual, and with sustainability in heart and mind.
So yes let’s think about the agency of horses and forests and planets. Let’s think about the agency of the elements: earth, air, fire, water. Let’s stop surrendering to an apocalypse we secretly desire. That’s the easy way out. Repair and composition are harder – especially because we are broken ourselves. We’ve created a system that keeps breaking people, that thrives on breaking humans and worlds, that wounds in mind and body those who live with us now and those yet to come. Fixing what we keep breaking is surely the antidote to melancholia, the best way to live with rather than be consumed by fire and ice. And maybe we would feel more compelled to repair rather than consign if we saw better the agency and power of the nonhuman.