Contemplative Ecologies 7

This week’s top 5 posts from my daily feed include frameworks for systems thinking, a buddho-philo-fiction called Xenobuddhism, several papers on the psycho-social dimensions of sustainability, a critical review of the circular economy, and an interview exploring the politics of pixelisation and collage. Hope you enjoy!

1. I posted several rubrics for understanding system dynamics, including: Donella Meadows’ twelve leverage points to intervene in systems (of which, shifting goals, mindsets and paradigms are most effective); Rob Hopkins’ three key design principles to enhance community resilience (incl. increased diversity, modularity, and tightness of feedback); and a transdisciplinary framework for addressing health issues (pictured below).

2. I posted an interesting new buddho-philo-fiction, called Xenobuddhism. Here are some excerpts:

“In applied fields the Xeno explicitly reveals itself as trans. Xenotransplantation is the transplanting of cells from a member of one species into the body of another… The Xenomorph selects from its environment and builds itself a body whilst always remaining unseen in its ‘true form’ because [its] form is formlessness. The Xenomorph is outside the question of system and environment. It’s outsideness is the emptiness of form identical to the species accelerative mutational capacities. The Xeno denotes more than outsideness as foreignness or strangeness. It denotes an immanent transcendental alienness. The Xeno is the mutuative acceleration… The Xeno is the productive void… No instance of a Xenomorph is the essence of the Xenomorph. Its exteriority is constituted by its obliteration of distinction… The Xeno is the unknown outside within… It’s an absolute outside.

What Buddhist literature calls the Unconditioned, or emptiness (shunyata). Buddhist praxis is oriented to the non-orientation that realises the unconditioned in the conditioned… Each and every attempt to secure the self against the alien, the inside against the Outside, the conditioned against Emptiness, results in the further intrusion of Emptiness, and that, from the perspective of the threatened interior, always appears as horror, as madness, as the nihilating Void. For the human the xeno-function is always the Xenomorph, the monster waiting to tear it to shreds… Buddhism is fundamentally about horror… Horror is a potent wake up… Xenobuddhism is a dharma of the Xeno-function… It seeks to use technological acceleration as a mutagen for Buddhist (anti-)praxis… Xenobuddhism is neither Buddhism nor accelerationism nor transhumanism. It is born from their convergence.”

For other more-than-human media, check out the Alienocene, the electronic journal that “seeks to promote – through poems, literary and philosophical writings, musical and video compositions – an existential wandering… [that] tries to dismantle any economic alienation.”

3. I posted several papers on the psycho-social dimensions of #GreenEconomics and the #ContemplativeCommons, including: (1) a paper that develops a relational politics of commoning using material from Elinor Ostrom and Judith Butler; (2) a phenomenological study of subjectification processes in environmental regulatory regimes and the environmentalities that resist them; (3) an exploration of affinities between the cultures and values of neo-monasticism and de-growth; (4) a spiritual and more-than-human look at the participation society from the book, Integral Ecology and Sustainable Business; and lastly, (5) a geography paper that imagines an enchanted Anthropocene, elaborating how practices like “rewilding, biophilic cities, planetary gardening, smart landscapes… [and] a reawakened sense of wonder, an ethic of care, and aesthetic and cultural production around these” can help “weave together a vision compelling enough to provoke cultural and political change.”

4. I posted a critical review of the circular economy which argues: “Technological breakthroughs that enhance the efficiency and reduce the impact of production, distribution and consumption are welcome developments in the face of ecological crisis. But we should take into careful consideration the economic theories that guide their implementation.”

5. I posted an interesting interview with Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn exploring the affective and political dimensions of pixelization and collage. He says: “‘I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think’… Pixelisation, the artist explains, is used to blur images – a technique used by authorities or the media in order to control what is appropriate to see. Although often done to spare the viewer of atrocities, the censorship of pixelisation ‘takes away my own sensitivity,’ says Hirschhorn. ‘What is gruesome today is that all this violence happens every second, every day, every month, every year. Not that we have to look at it.’

The collage technique is fundamental to Hirschhorn’s work, even when working in three dimensions. ‘I like the stupidity, the velocity, the ease of making collages,’ explains the artist. ‘I see life as a possible collage, with the gaps, the breaks and sometimes with the glue you need to put things together.’ It is a medium that is always imperfect because ‘something inside the collage is already broken.’ By using different materials Hirschhorn attempts to ‘create a new world with the existing world.’”

Questions, comments, or recommendations for future content? Please email <walsh_zack@yahoo.com>. Like what you see? Check out my personal Facebook page or scholarly publications. See you next Friday!

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