Making worlds is not limited to humans. We know that beavers re-shape streams as they make dams, canals, and lodges; in fact, all organisms make ecological living places, altering earth, air, and water. Without the ability to make workable living arrangements, species would die out. In the process, each organism changes everyone’s world. Bacteria made our oxygen atmosphere, and plants help maintain it. Plants live on land because fungi made soil by digesting rocks. As these examples suggest, world-making projects can overlap, allowing room for more than one species. Humans, too, have always been involved in multispecies world making. Fire was a tool for early humans not just to cook but also to burn the landscape, encouraging edible bulbs and grasses that attracted animals for hunting. Humans shape multispecies worlds when our living arrangements make room for other species. This is not just a matter of crops, livestock, and pets. Pines, with their associated fungal partners, often flourish in landscapes burned by humans; pines and fungi work together to take advantage of bright open spaces and exposed mineral soils. Humans, pines, and fungi make living arrangements simultaneously for themselves and for others: multispecies worlds.
∆ Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins
I speak today with a sense of scatteredness. I hope you can accept me that way. I speak with a sense of brokenness… hope seems to be spread very thin at this moment.
It seems that holding on to hope is a failing expedition, a breaking enterprise. We are holding on tenuously while the system continuously encourages us to "keep the hope alive! keep the faith alive!".
I think it was Winston Churchill that said, "we will never never never give up"- I wonder if that is part of the problem. I wonder if endless hope is what the system wants us to do maybe that is something which needs to die?
The world is alive in stunningly beautiful ways, ways that our systems of learning, our education systems and paradigms do not know how to approach. When a star burns it burns with hope, when it splutters and dies and spits its guts across space that's hopelessness; and yet that hopelessness is generative, it is that hopelessness that makes our bodies, that spits the matter and makes us alive, that makes us human!
What I'd like to invite is for us to notice hope as the engine of modern progress and that sometimes there is a lot of abundance in the field of what we call hopelessness.
Within hopelessness there is a lot of inquiry, there is a lot of dying, a lot of beauty, emergence, intelligence, and interspecies symposia waiting to happen. So I welcome you to this sun spilling conversation on hope and hopelessness and ask you to consider what feels invited when darkness is all that there is?
abandon all hope.