News from the dead centre

Language patterns, the media and cultural re-storying

newspaper-664513_1280It’s fashionable these days to summon the concept of narrative for effecting change, whether it’s to evoke brand loyalty, to create demand for some product or, on a rather more substantive scale, to persuade humans to live more peaceably on the planet. I’d personally prefer to see its mysterious power deployed in pursuit of a lot more of the latter and a lot less of the former two — if this power actually exists. (more…)

WANTED. Planet in crisis seeks leaders up to the job

V leadership-transition

When the essence of leadership tends in the direction of doing injury and inflicting harm, it is a collapse of leadership, for which we do not have a name. – Stephen C Rose, in the introduction to his book: The Coming Collapse of Leadership.

Why is it that slow food, slow money and slow travel are so appealing, but that there’s nothing quite as dull as a slow catastrophe?

Perhaps it’s because when you slow down food, money and travel, it allows you to more fully savour the genuine rich pleasures to be had in the senses and in the moment.

Whereas if you slow down a catastrophe, that doesn’t work at all, because catastrophes are meant to be enjoyed at pace. (more…)

On belonging

As this placeless world spreads, and as progress is increasingly defined as the ability to look out of a hotel window in any city and see the same neon-lit corporate logos, the most radical thing to do is to belong. To belong to a place, a piece of land, a community – to know it and to be prepared to defend it.
Paul Kingsnorth, 2004

I’ve been wondering about belonging. What is it? Is it important? Where can we get some? How do we hold on to it?Home

A decade ago I returned with my young family to live in the area where I had enjoyed my happiest childhood days.

I refamiliarised myself with the landscape, the trees and plants and birds and rivers, in all their colour and variety. I took the plunge into community activism. I made and renewed good friends in the area. It is a welcoming and beautiful place to live; I feel lucky to be here and generally content.

Yet I’ve rarely enjoyed a deep feeling of belonging. In my gloomier moments I can feel adrift, struggling to find any point of reference. (more…)

Telling it like it is: more news from the dead centre

Modern civilisation may have no central command … but it acts as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which tells us straight what’s being decided at its hypothetical, brain-free centre. This month we’d have:

The PSOG (Public Sedation Optimisation Group), a division of the the IPCE (Institute of Public Confusion Enhancement), which is indirectly funded by the government’s DJFIP (Department of the Justification for Foreign Invasion and Pillage) is celebrating its latest bench-marking results, which reveal that we are fast approaching our stage 1 goal of widespread, medium-level, public sedation. This was revealed by a recent exercise undertaken with the help of a most accommodating partner in the White House. (more…)

By The Skin Of Our Teeth

Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando (Degas, 1879)Pretty soon now, we’ll be holding on by the skin of our teeth,

like Miss Lala at the Cirque Fernando: suspended above

a terrifying drop, as we reach for the impossible

(which has to be possible) under the warm sunset ceiling

of our current predicament. We could always shimmy down

that inviting lifeline to where we started from, but what good

would that do us? And it’s too late anyhow. (more…)

Telling it like it is: news from the dead centre (3)

What's your price?The IPCE (Institute of Public Confusion Enhancement) is delighted to see its policies and recommendations feeding into the activities of research and funding agencies in the UK.

Now that growing numbers of people appear to be spotting that a finite planet cannot support ever-growing consumer demands, Government needs mechanisms to show that it is addressing this inconvenience while at the same time not challenging any of the growth assumptions crucial to the ongoing support of its financiers. (more…)

Telling it like it is: news from the dead centre (2)

towerModern civilization may have no central command (discuss) but it acts as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which declares in straight-talking, plain-speaking English what is actually being decided at its hypothetical, brain-free centre. This month we’d have:

The ICSANLSMHTL (Institute of Conviction that Science has all the Answers and Natural Life Systems must be Managed by Humans Thinking Linearly) is pleased to announce good progress with its programme of research designed to tell people things they already know, intuitively. This has the ingenious effect of planting in their minds a sense that their ability to know things is entirely dependent on the current state of scientific research. (more…)

Telling it like it is: news from the dead centre

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Flemish painter © expiredThe industrial growth civilization may have no central command — but it behaves as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which declares in straight-talking, plain-speaking English what is being decided at its hypothetical, brain-dead centre. This month we’d have:

From the DKCTRL (Department for Keeping Children Thinking along the Right Lines): all pupils in UK state schools will be told how to conform more readily to society’s standards and avoid inappropriate use of drugs, alcohol or sex – especially where such use might result in costs to the national economy, e.g. from treating drug addiction, supporting young mothers, and in terms of the opportunity costs of not having these mothers and drug addicts working and contributing to GDP. Chief Minister of the DKCTRL said: “Of course, the DKCTRL would also like to help young people in our society live happier, healthier lives but there is a limit to how much we’d like that. (more…)