It often appears that contemporary mainstream culture is rapidly homogenising into a one-size-fits-all consumerist landscape of inane celebrities, Reality TV and social media banality. But, there are no one ended sticks and there is always an equal and opposite reaction to the main drivers in our culture. There is increasing evidence of a backlash towards social media giants and towards digital technology generally – such as book and vinyl record sales moving up and an ever increasing awareness of the myriad downsides to a life too preoccupied with screens.
The Re-Generation will explore these trends within modern culture, asking how we can best engage with areas from activism, art and entertainment, to science and technology itself, to help build the sort of world we wish to live in. EF Schumacher, one of the founders of the environmental movement, inspiration for Schumacher College, the Soil Association and author of the seminal book Small is Beautiful, once made a crucial distinction between technology that was merely ‘clever’, from technology that was ‘wise’ or ‘intelligent’. When viewed through this lens, certain technologies – such as nuclear power, chemical pesticides and biotechnology – may appear to be very ‘clever’, but can they be seen as truly ‘wise’ or ‘intelligent’ in light of longer term impacts, such as radioactive waste, toxic soil, air and water, or unforeseen genetic mutations?
Similarly, it now seems that we have only been partially educated in Darwinian thinking, the concepts of ‘survival of the fittest’ and the ‘selfish gene’ being used to support an imperialist and expansionist economic agenda at the expense of the abundant examples of co-operation that Darwin and many biologists since have continued to highlight within natural systems. We have been indoctrinated to believe that humanity is essentially purely selfish, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.
The Re-Generation founder Rory Spowers talked with Stop Ecocide campaigner Jojo Mehta about the crucial role for Earth Jurisprudence at Port Eliot Festival launch of The Re-Generation, 25 to 28 July 2019.