(Part 2 of ‘After Attenborough: A Science and Myth for People Born of Nowhere.)
My childhood spanned what was once the Roman Empire. It involved a rollercoaster of messianic madness led by three parents on the road, exploring and attempting to escape the current order that has borrowed so much from the Roman Empire. The Empire that long ago colonised my family’s different ancestors, colonised the assemblage of animals and plants they lived with, and colonised the culture areas of this region that offered me hospitality throughout the journey of my childhood. For sure some of my ancestors also did the colonising.
The children of those colonised long ago, me, are now adrift. We are bereft of context. We seek to belong, but consciously or unconsciously seek our belonging through the apparatus of the coloniser. We hold onto some idea that we are not fractured peoples, isolated and lonely in the nuclear, the individual. We are mentally ill, traumatised, broken, but holding on in denial to whatever ruined fort we can scrape together. I am not here to talk to the political positioning of indigenous peoples. I am here to talk to my fellow fellahs living in smoke and mirrors, alienation, the spectacle, in a poverty of the imagination. Surviving in the smog, thriving in the cracks, we are not living in the world.
I embrace my precarity, because only when I have mourned it can I wipe my eyes and see otherwise, rather than fight to continually outsource misery. To not recognise it is to be enthralled by imperial labels and identities, to remain a ‘happy’ function. Yes, I have not left the empire of exploitation, as I sell myself here and there for a few bucks to subsist. But I do not delude myself. I have no context. I have no community in a meaningful sense. It is from this place that I speak to fellow people unwilling to remain lost nor willing to distract ourselves by simply jumping back in.
The goods news right now is that the palimpsest of history suggests the current social order is changing. The bad news is that an older social order is shining through, only now its proponents are equipped with more powerful weapons against all the facets of the human and the planet. The holy alliance of exploiters reborn. That is not an option I can stomach. The longer I sit idle the longer I become more use to it. As the roman calendar’s 2023 year is marked, I write this to remind myself to continue finding ways to find and practice other options. These are the diaries of adventures that led me here, to where many of us are adrift, the peoples born of nowhere. Here where the dawn of everything is possible. In this case, a science and myth beyond the Triple D; David Attenborough, Durrell, and Darwin – because Nature is a core spectacle in Empire.