Sep 252015
 
DMP

via Dark Mountain Project

Feeling dyspeptic and spiritually ulcerated this morning at the downturn in Donald Trump’s polling. Very much in tune with the despairing tone of the Dark Mountain Project (post-ecological disaster thought) Manifesto. The DMP is an estimable community (except for when they dress up in fantasy old-timey clothes). The manifesto is sometimes quite lorn and beautiful, one loves being reminded of Robinson Jeffers’s poems, also Joseph Conrad’s general take on the decline of Western civ.

But then, you know, there is a lot of what I call decline-porn these days.

E.g. This teaser para taken from the manifesto sounds terrifying and truthful up to the point when it begins to sound like a Hollywood movie treatment.

But still…

dg

It is, it seems, our civilization’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight — Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.

Read the rest of the Dark Mountain Project Manifesto here.

  4 Responses to “Hospice for Western Civ, Or Decline-Porn”

  1. Hi Doug, Glad to see you referencing the Dark Mountain Project, which I’ve been following and contributing to in a small way for some time. Several Canadian writers and myself recently held a retreat in the spirit of Dark Mountain on a farm on Vancouver Island. The event was called Sharing the Fire, the first “Uncivilization” event in North America. Two days of discussing the myths of this civilization that we no longer believe in, and sharing the myths and stories that might help us re-vision and restore, of considering what it means to do this in Canada, where cultural roots are completely different than Britain. It’s difficult to have these discussions without touching on language that can sound aggrandizing, and the DMP has been accused of being apocalyptic or fatalistic, both of which in my opinion miss the point. The DM anthologies, which are generally very good, perhaps give a better sense of the mission and sensibility of this loose network, not hysterical but earthy, savoury, chthonic…

    • Sharon, I saw that you were on the DMP masthead or community list. I think that actually piqued my interest. And I certainly agree with the idea that we have gone over some edge, that the inertia of decline is unstoppable. And as you know, I think of the human race as something like rats, except that gives rats a bad name. So I am mostly sympathetic and admiring. Sometimes, though, I get tickled by the posing (not just here, in all movements, even my own posing).

  2. Over the edge indeed, Doug, into a long and rocky landslide … So all the more important to remain tickled and high spirited in the face of the deep dark welling up at bottom. Your stories have always so impressed me by how they manage to engage the Nightmare and remain playful, see the beauty in the ruin. You sure you weren’t a Shambala warrior in a previous life?

    • Thank you, Sharon. That’s flattering. But surely not a Shambala warrior, more like a Shambala Sancho Panza. Is there such a thing?

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