Wednesday, 7 December 2016

45. Post-patriarchal cities and the energy revolution


There are big questions on the subject of how we relate to earth and nature. I am not talking yet about climate change but rather the most fundamental question: where do we get our energy from, both in terms of food, and consumable energy. This search has been the one that defines entire historical eras and their economical systems. In fact, how we choose to respond this question is an important structuring factor of our social systems. It is more common to look at progress from the point of view of technological revolutions, but I'll stick on purpose to the subject of the basic needs and energy revolutions, as they are the most basic of all needs and the ones with the deepest roots.

This question is so important that is actually a permanent question because we -human beings- can create many things, but not energy: we can consume it, foster it, release it, store it or transform it but we cannot create it -or at least not yet-. Our capacity as creators has that limit, and because of that we keep a dependence with nature, "mother" nature (even though some Buddhist meditators are exploring some of these frontiers too). Secondly, because in every transformation of energy, a residue, some waste is generated and how we deal with this waste requires management, it creates a limit or at least -as much as the CO2 we have to breath out- a rhythm.



Nature's 'tyrannical arrongance'

Up to "modern times" dependency on nature (or more precisely, on the sun and the rain), meant no food security and famines, It meant being at the mercy of the weather, pests and somehow "Mother nature", who figuratively speaking appeared to be powerful, authoritarian, mad and in front of whom Faust would say "man asserts himself against nature's tyrannical arrogance" (a tyrannical arrogance that he ends up embodying). Not surprisingly, modernity drove humans away from nature, from the work on the land, and from the "feminine". In this sense, and figuratively speaking again, modernity and cities are patriarchal processes and mechanisms. Here, as in the entire blog, I speak about Patriarchy as a process that drives us away from dependency, from our mothers, and forbids the desire to go back to the uterus, and in order to do so it demonises the female altogether. Being born is metaphorically the first fall from paradise, the first patriarchal step. The separation that starts to happen around 7 years of age is the second, followed by periodical falls when our biology or life circumstances makes us evolve beyond the limits of what we were. But during the patriarchy we remain dependant. It is a stage where some vital processes are still "externalised":
  • Nourishment -we still somehow need an external placenta feeding us with food, energy and vital attention- (Under patriarchal thinking: the more chauvinist, the more externalised this function is and the more it will be needed to tie up its source of nourishment, the more patriarchal the mother, the more she feeds her hunger from her children).
  • Control -governing over the development of self mastery and self discipline- (Famously women have had throughout a big part of history control externalised (sexual, behavioural), were the ones being more harshly 'disciplined' ie punished, and were restricted in their access to education).
  • Contention (the ability to deal with negativity), and our need of this external entity to absorb all our negative "emissions". 
  • Consciousness architecture and narrative/history writing (which limits self awareness, self empowerment and freedom), etc. 
Even though we will probably never manage to internalise everything, we go through a process of increasing integration. As our embryonic life replicates the entire evolution of humans, our journey too replicates our social evolution.
At social level, every time we are collectively questioning the dependence/relationship with nature, "mother nature" and land we are going through one of these falls. For the Western civilisation, the most recent falls were the end of medieval times with its Renaissance, modernity, the period between the two world worlds and climate change is the current one which is undoubtedly global.

In this post I argue that:

-We are going through a renaissance, because of this we live in a very confusing moment where hope and seemingly limitless possibilities live together with a sense of the end of the world.
-In every renaissance the most important point is the change in energy source: the energy question.
-Following the logic I follow in this blog of the sequence matriarchy-patriarchy-post-patriarchy, this time the energy source change includes the fundamental change from consumer to prosumer (or at least more evolution in this direction), term in use both web users, for people who consume and produce content and in the energy sector for individuals with solar panels and the ability to capture energy to feed the network with the excess energy they might not be consuming (produce and consume, the step beyond patriarchy is to become creator).
-Structurally speaking, this change will not happen only at electricity design network level, a new business model in the energy sector and the minimisation of the use of fossil fuels (eg Germany has recently asked the World Bank to stop funding fossil fuels), but also at the level of cities. Cities are starting to change structurally or probably I should say, cities must change structurally for this change to take hold. Modern cities are structured to allow circulation of cars, the 'daughter' technology of petrol. Modern cities are 'alienated' from nature and need energy to come 'from outside'. New cities are starting to show a new orientation to new energy sources. This may be seen in terms of public transport, city design, energy production and distribution, and green spaces (I wonder if some level of food production will have to be integrated into cities too). While geopolitics might still be dragging on the usual question on how to secure basic resources from external agents, the changes happening at local level, through local politics will have a big impact.


Renaissances: matters of life and death rather than life or death

In geology, some experts are currently saying that 1950 should be considered the beginning of the Anthropocene, a new geological age, where the impact of human activity is so big that affects the planet.

'The Truman Show' the moment Truman reaches the wall of the dome
we was living in.
 

We could imagine these historical eras as embryonic stages where we grow thinking the place we inhabit is unlimited as so is the source of energy, until we reach the walls of the uterus which then becomes more uncomfortable, we feel the pressure until we are collectively born into a new 'paradigm' (ideological and energetic) to think again that the new place we inhabit is unlimited, universal and so is the source of energy. Somehow, we are not aware of the limits of the reigning ideology, our world view, our vital energy source until we grow enough to feel its limits.

Every birth, every alienating step, seems to co-exist with the death drive, and it is in the moment of birth that a small or big battle happens. We were conceived, we grew in a seemingly secure uterus, do we dare to be born out of it? When we are born, are we born complete or is there something in us that dies?  What's that thing we'll preserve? What lives on and what dies is the battle? For anyone saying "We overcame" nazism/apartheid/or any other historical tragedy... they question is "who's we?", who was sacrificed in this transition? who was victim of 'manifest destiny'? who decided?

This ambivalence of life -and more widely creativity in the form of technology and scientific discoveries- meant that progress was and still is both desired and feared, as it was used to power both the life and death drive. It is following this argument that I suggest looking at historical eras from moments where massive deaths occur and energy shifts happen, never as punctual dates but as transition moments.


If the middle ages in Europe died soon after the black plague has killed between 75 to 200 million people [travelling 300 miles a day], and was followed by a renaissance, where Europe is re-born as transcontinental empires, in the newly discovered world America, it was small pox (that came with the conquistadores) the main responsible for decimating its strength and forcing a "renaissance" as a colonised territory. Almost three centuries later, a similar turning point was seen during the whole period from the Independence revolutions in America, the French Revolution and Napoleonic and civil wars to the massive deaths brought by the world wars and famines (ca 120 million: 38 million in World War I, around 80 million in war world II) followed by the post war renaissaince with population explosion and all the technology developed by the military to flight the wars. The Great Chinese Famine in the late 50s that killed an estimated 15 million (official figures) and up to 43 million (unofficial figures) happened during the Great Leap forward, a series of land reforms imposed by the Communist Party.

Finally in cycles that seem to be accelerating we are now in front of new wars in Africa and the Middle East plus the acceleration of global mass extinction of animal species, followed by the gradual collapse of the old Empires and the new technological renaissance that we are in the middle of.

So for those who died in the European conquest of America's territories, during the plague, Somme, in concentration camps, under atomic bombs, a Russian Famine, the Great Chinese Famine etc, etc, they must've felt and lived through the reality of the/their world coming to an end and with this we can stop and reflect the sometimes apocalyptic feeling in many news we read nowadays. 

Cities

Even though cities, empires and colonies go far back in history, I'll start with medieval times as the age of discoveries was the moment the globe came together as one for the first time and I'll explore how the limits in terms of basic needs (food and energy) were felt and resolved.

The limits of the land


The end of medieval times was marked by an increasing migration of population to cities triggering tensions in our use of land to get crops for clothing, food, forests to warm the houses in Europe going through the little ice age, and even for hay or grass to feed the horses which were logistically very important when the rivers did not do; these needs were in competition with each other for land. Cities became a new structure that deepened the fragmentation of roles: transitioning from self-sustaining farms or communities to bigger cities which were not self-sustaining and needed "external" farms providing them with wood, food and clothing.


However, land and logistics represented a limit to how big a city could be. Historian Geoffrey Blainey summarised it in the following way:
"A city could not grow too large simply because it could not secure in its neighbourhood the food and firewood it needed. A town of say, 30 000 people needed firewood on such a scale that 600 or 1000 horsedrawn carts would arrive each week with loads of firewood. The town needed another 200 cartloads of grain in an average week. As horses or oxen pulled the carts, a large area of land had to be set aside to provide grass or hay for them. A freakishly large city like ancient Rome or modern London could be sustained only by bringing food and fuel long distances by sea and river.
...
In contrast tropical peoples, in their standard of living, easily kept pace with Europe until the 18th century partly because they needed little clothing and warming fuel. They needed fewer calories, for they did not have to ward off winter cold".

This limit that the land imposed was worked out in various ways: more fragmentation and specialisation, looking for more land and -very importantly- new sources of energy.

More fragmentation/ specialisation. Skilled farmers became more efficient in breeding livestock and in managing crops without exhausting the land and increasing its productivity. This reinforced the sustainability of cities.
The alienation from the work on the land that life in the city implied gave more space, an excess for the development of science, technology and later on the industrial revolution. Urbanisation was a key alienating mechanism. Education was another modernising instrument. In the past farmers used to refuse sending their children to school because they needed them to work the land, and in a no so distant past aboriginal children were separated from their families to be 'civilised'. In many places, parents started to be punished and sent to prison if they did not send their children to school. So children had to be "extracted" from their parents influence who subjected them to keep working on the land or were simply preserving their own way of living and culture.

The limit of the other

Cities and empires created the modern man, and the modern man created the modern cities and the modern empires. These cities, first, and then the empire centre became an "entity" in the mind of many politicians and in many political speeches. These cities asked, through its leaders and citizens, the question "where do I feed from?". The imperial solution to the question was: from "outside" (to a sort of  placenta that connects with mother nature,  that place that is not-yet-modern and people are inferior: colonies).

The age of discoveries, basically meant trying to work out the limits of the land by looking for more land, which eventually brought other solutions like corn, the "magic" crop, the potato, cotton, etc together with externalising cheap/slave labour.

However, cities and empires were extractive devices that needed dehumanised countries that history called deserts to portray them as empty of people in order to enable the use of violence without affecting the sense of morality. Or even worse, it enabled the use of violence as means to kill whatever humanity resided there. The Middle East, native America, Africa,.. were all described in desertic terms.

Cities in the colonies of the new world, with grid diagrams (found in different moments of history and used by Spain to regain territory from the moors in "la reconquista"), were military by design and were imposed over the colonies by law. Symbolically, they imposed order to the territory, with direct routes to the ports and later railways taking resources, raw materials and food out of the colonies. The grid plan regained popularity in Europe too during the renaissance.

But even if the outside seemed infinite at some point, this response was to find its limits on the border of  neighbouring empires and in the Independence wars, finally exploding with the world wars. The first big clash was due to the tensions between France and Great Britain for North American lands. This triggered the Seven years wars, a mini World War fought in five continents, which redraw the world map significantly and propelled Great Britain to world's supremacy. But this war left Britain in debt which they tried to finance with higher taxes, tighter extractive economic policy to secure raw materials and markets for its nascent industries and more protection of British monopolies in North America... which led to the revolutionary wars domino: first in North America, which inspired The French Revolution (which was also trying to increase taxes on its own population to finance the debt of the same war in a period of bad harvests apparently triggered by a volcanic eruption in Iceland), which subsequently triggered the revolution of Spanish colonies in South America and had influence even over the Russian revolution more than a century later. (Post it note: let's bear in mind the sequence I've just pointed out to follow what is going on now after the 2008 financial crisis, where governments bailed out the banks and absorbed a huge debt, which they tried to finance with austerity, privatisation and cuts and the earthquakes that followed with Brexit, which inspired Donald Trump in the US... and whatever may happen in France, and its repercussions in South America and Russia after that).

Looking through the glass of basic needs, it is interesting to point out the role of the March of women to Versailles in the French revolution, when women in the market were practically rioting for the price and shortages of bread. The revolution in Britain is thought to have been avoided by reducing taxes on wheat.

As grid plans imposed order to the territory, the market too started to be the ordering principle over the state. It is remarkable that during the Irish Famine of 1840-1852, where it lost almost 1/4 of its population to starvation and emigration, Ireland kept exporting food to England thanks to the political pressure of their own merchants that were against an export ban, and an English establishment in favour of laissez-faire economics.

On the other side of the spectrum, the uber-control of the state with the Prodrazvyorstka, the Bolshevik policy that confiscated all grain and agricultural produce from peasants for a fix price, ended up pushing farmers to reduce crops and opening up their trade to a black market and is thought to have been an important factor leading up to the the Russian famine 1922 that killed 5 million.

Famously, Nazy Germany spoke about the expansion in its Lebensraum (habitat) that needed more arable land, resources and slaves and defining the state as a living form. And even though all imperial ideology was based on racism and violence, most genocides (of native africans, asians, australians and americans) had happened far away from Europe. In the World War II, this ideology was brought brutally to its doorstep.

The limit of the other was experienced in three ways:


  • finding the neighbouring Empire, 
  • colonised territories starting to show self-awareness and start to be "occupied" and claimed by their own population, 
  • and being confronted with the brutality and des-humanisation of the system itself.


But of course, this is not past History. We are witnessing some attempts of neo-colonialisation via financial power with lower levels of society "encouraged" to take on debt, with most of the south hemisphere being 'encouraged' to focus their economies to the primary sector and via military power in any land with petrol. 

The big energy shift and the limits of looking deep

Going back to the cities, through its leaders and citizens, asking the question "where do I feed from?", or "where do I get my energy from?", going underground was the other solution. To relieve the competition for land, lowering the demand of some of the needs is a logical approach, so coal became an alternative for wood. In this first energy shift, we changed one land-and-solar source of energy for underground sources of energy. Great Britain passed from an annual output of 3 million tons in the beginning of 1700 to 30 million by 1830. Trains were originally created to transport the coal extracted from the mines, and came to define the European mark of progress. Trains together with clocks (another European technology) generated the timetable which assured trains would get to stations exactly at the time they were expected, a tangible proof of control. This energy shift started an era of population explosion.
Representing a vital source of energy, it became the centre of many wars and political tensions (Coal wars in America, the Customs War between Germany and Poland -a coal producer- before WWII). The left in many parts of Europe can find its roots in miners workers organising themselves in trade unions.  In Britain, specifically became one of the most iconic political fights, that went from these first miners organisations to the privatisations of the mines in the north of England by Margaret Thatcher a century later that triggered a period of big social unrest.

I'll pause for a second, only to reflect how the changes at all levels of society (scientific, cultural and religious) changed the cities themselves. It is on the last phase of this modern period that found in the 1870s a renovated Paris (demolishing its medieval structure that was filthy, and did not allow circulation), a German bacteriologist Robert Koch who postulated that bacteria caused disease which meant that death stopped to be seen as an act of God who had been questioned for his failings in responding to prayer to prevent famines which triggered a long series of religious reforms and was subsequently declared dead by Nietzsche soon after in 1882... the same year that Edison illuminated New York street lamps with electricity.

The energy shift that happened between 1880 and 1950 was huge: the spread of electricity, the exploitation of petrol (it was in between the two world wars, 1938, that the largest oil reserves on earth was discovered in Saudi Arabia by American prospectors), natural gas and the emergence of nuclear power.
World Energy Consumption by Source, Based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects together with BP Statistical Data for 1965 and subsequent  Source: One Finite World 
.
If the European train was the technological son of coal (which later turned electric), American cars were the children of petrol and marked the American signature of progress. These two technologies were to compete and fight for resources and investment in the political sphere of many countries, forcing governments to make calls on where to put public money: behind railways or motorways as strategic infrastructure. Cars were more flexible, more individual and truck logistics was well suited for countries that did not have large populations were the order, coordination and big scale investment required by trains seemed to be less effective. 

This energy shift was the one that restructured everything. From geopolitics to city dynamics. Keeping petrol, natural gas and atomic energy under tight control was a new form of imperialism and commands most of current geopolitics. An attempt to nationalise petrol reserves in Iran and to limit extraction triggered a 1953 coup in Iran. Having the middle east and OPEC under certain control became a matter of "national security" to the US, as its energy dependence was its vulnerability.

The big shift and the Middle East

Modernity was also transforming the middle east. New borders were drawn after the second world war and different visions of how the middle east should develop arise in a region profoundly religious.The 2015 documentary Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis, tries to explain what's going on now in the Middle East as the roots for many of the current crisis remain unclear and sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. He puts it in the context of Afghanistan having been a territory in dispute during the Cold War, and how these external and opposing modernising forces (Capitalism v Communism) were unleashed in Afghanistan but resisted and were battled from Saudi Arabia.

Modernity in US was dependent of Saudi Oil. Saudi Arabia ensured petrol supply to the US, which in turn will ensure the defence of the House of Saud structure of power. Later, this relationship evolved until oil became the backer of the US dollar, defining that all oil contracts must be signed in this denomination, ensuring a continuous demand of US currency once it broke its peg against gold. But internal tensions in the Middle East paired with US dependency on foreign oil led to a very ambiguous and unstable situation which broke into many crisis and wars. Oil was at the centre of the oil crisis in the 70's that forced many developing countries to take on debt just to ensure oil supply. Gas, in the hands of Russia, is also a big player in current geopolitics particularly in relation to Europe and NATO. Atomic technology was to be allowed or not allowed by the world powers.

Oil is also a finite resource. Oil reserves can only deplete. So while petrol companies started to invest ever increasing amount of money in exploration and high risk extraction (there are people who suggest that this was a huge capital mis-allocation and that this money would've been much better invested in research of renewables instead), biofuel was proposed as an alternative. Famously, Fidel Castro was one of the critics pointing out that it would mean a new competitor for land (first point: the limit of the land) and that food production would be affected. He argued that rich industrialised countries would take priority over the use of land for energy and poor nations would be starved of food.

The limit of the planet

While everyone was very busy supporting or adverting wars and crisis, something else started to become apparent. Climate change.





Mother earth must be in that time of the month...

Alienation from the land, from mother earth, or nature, is both feared and desired, as much as our dependence with the land is feared and desired. An uncut relationship with the land, with the feminine, carries a connotation of both idyllic security (alla Heidi) and madness, the "weather is crazy" and a tension emerges to avoid taking responsibility of it. For the ones that would describe humankind as a white man, climate change has nothing to do with "us", this madness is natural, it is part of nature's cycles, sort of saying "Earth must be in that time of the month..." In this sense, Donald Trump's position (or rather many of his supporters) regarding climate change is very coherent.

In front of climate change there are several positions:
  • The one that thinks alienation itself is the problem and we need to go back to be "one with the land", a sort of matriarchal response, blaming modernity for all evils,
  • the one that pushes for more control of the natural resources -see video below on how Peter Brabeck from Nestle spoke (and then had to deny) privatisation of water. More control of commodities producing nations, and even looking up to space instead... the typical ultra patriarchal position... 




  • the one that suggest we need 'more alienation' from the land. A sort of eco-liberal position. It suggest the solution is forwards not backwards, and that thinking ourselves as "alien" is when we truly can take responsibility of what we are doing, without assuming  there will be an invisible Father (the invisible hand of the market, or God) or Mother Earth (absorbing all negativity to infinity) that will compensate for any of our excesses and restore balance. (But it could, under neoliberalism, be easily mixed with the previous position.)
  • Probably, because behind a 3 there is always a 4th, an excess, the negative one, the devil to the trinity, the one that follows a destructive logic: the anti-answer to the question how are we going to survive, it denies the risks and even dare to exacerbate them, safe in their position they imply that maybe we shouldn't survive, or at least not all of us.
Some people would argue that there is only one correct answer. But all positions have something to contribute. All have their lights and their shadows.


  • It's the communities more attached to their land the ones that are more protective of it. They are the ones that don't see themselves moving and therefore are more interested in the long term: the ones that are going to demand more precautions about contamination, leakage, damage, etc. as we see in when mine companies contaminate rivers or in disputes like the Dakota access pipeline. 
  • The patriarchal is the one that will look for a solution in technology and controlling behaviour 'externally' (through markets or laws and even earth 'interventions'). 
  • The ones looking at individuality, and push not to be dependent of the state or mono/oligopolies will push for a certain degree of self-sufficiency, the prosumer move. But for this move to be smart, it needs a high degree of coordination with the state, with electrical companies. It cannot be a purely individual move, "better for me", but better for all. In their shadow side, they are less interested in collective efforts. 
  • The 4th option in all its shadows, is the one we all resort to when in trying to create something new, something old has to be demolished. The part that let something dies during the renaissance. Hopefully, we can use it to let old structures die instead of starting to consider some people disposable.




Cities as patriarchal structures

It is at this point, when we are wondering if the climate is going mad caused by our emissions and our dependence of fossil fuels, US is working on its own energy independence, Africa and the Middle East are facing multiple civil wars, Saudi Arabia is facing debt and the geopolitical map is facing multiple shakes,  that the world is looking at more democratic sources of energy (renewable) in wind and solar technologies, Germany is already getting most of is energy from renewables, and cities are becoming to think if there is something they should do.

In this blog, I discussed a few times the matriarchal/patriarchal/post-patriarchal cycle. With a feminist stance, I rescue what the patriarchal stage is and brings: a process where we learn to self-structure, to use resources, to eventually emancipate and become independent and creators.
Summary:
  • Matriarchal, as the stage where we are fused to our mothers and we feed from her, it is also Eden/as the mother earth, a stage of blind love and we are dependent; 
  • Patriarchal as the stage of separation from the maternal (the fall), a moment to develop tools and technology, learn about discipline, master emotions, develop our own thinking, it is a stage of high polarisation when the maternal/feminine is demonised because 'going back' is forbidden, the age of the sword to "cut" this dependency and hate (as a form of love working out its independence), but we remain dependent of the external law (the father) and castrated. In its extreme the denial of the "feminine principle" is so strong that the masculine principle tries to replace it. Even though I argue that this is an archetypical stage, it does not mean this stage has to be brutal, violent or traumatic, on the contrary, I argue that if we go through each stage more conscious of what's about we'll save unnecessary suffering. 
  • The final stage is when we are born out of this paternal external uterus, and become creators and writers -the sword is swapped with the pen- (including becoming parents), we participate in the creation of structure and content integrating both feminine and masculine principles in one, the stage of true love, until we grow to discover the edges of the ideology in which we are immersed and start again.

If the patriarchal is a stage of separation from the maternal, a stage of order and discipline, cities are mechanism to separate us from nature, figuratively from "Mother earth". Cities polarise "civilisation" inside against "barbarism", wilderness outside. This polarisation also marks the difference between the educated urban elite, and the one labelled 'uneducated' living in more rural areas.

But in this antagonistic separation, the fundamental question of our dependency from nature in obtaining energy (food and consumable energy) and liberating the waste of its transformation is never cut. However, in cities this question is more easily forgotten, particularly in modern cities with infrastructure: water comes out of a tap, heat comes out of radiators and excrement disappear almost magically.


Interestingly enough, something is happening in these cities. In this article from The Guardian "Can cities be feminists?" it describes how the big political questions, including energy policy are being addressed by local politics at city level with women mayors in big cities in Europe (Barcelona, Rome, Paris). If modernity culminated with a renovated Paris which was restructured to accommodate more cars (and individuality), there is a new Paris that is restructured to accommodate less cars and through structure regulate it's energy hunger. Plans following the same logic are also emerging in
Barcelona (looking for a way of returning the super blocks of its grid to the citizens back from the cars), Oslo, etc. But cities are not evenly modern, particularly in developing countries. They may have inner shanty towns which reminisce medieval cities, with sanitary problems, clothes hanging, narrow streets not fit for cars and high levels of violence, these parts of the city are still fighting for modernisation. It might be worth asking: is there a alternative path, a different, more conscious city concept these pockets would actually open up?

Even if these fundamental questions are having a positive evolution, it does not mean that there are no conflicts. This is mainly seen at national politics level, where big (liberal) cities are maintaining and even increasing their "distance" with the 'other'.
On the one hand, and rather contradictory, people are keeping their "distance" with the 'neighbour'. Cities -that in themselves bring more people physically together- take modernity to the ultimate conclusion of the feeling of loneliness in a place full of people, through less face to face connection and common places to meet, more practice of individual consumerism in a world seen through our own tablets, ordering things online to be delivered without much human contact.
On the other side, more distance with rural areas, with more polarisation and more 'elitist' thinking and more 'ivory tower' view of the world and reality, with increasing disdain for the discontent in non-urban areas which in turn are resorting to chauvinism and xenophobia. (in this sense Stephen Hawking's article about his own ivory tower is an interesting read)

No more sacrifices to calm the gods and nature - Facing our inner predator

To end the patriarchal cycle, to be born out of it, it is important to integrate the polarised view of the mother (the 'crazy' side and the light side hidden by the patriarchy) but also see the shadow of the father and integrate it with its light.

At his point, the paternal figure showing madness, forcing more and more renunciation is the market. And with all our sacrifices, austerity does not pacify the market's hunger, and even if we are asked to pursue this idea that all the sacrifices to create an excess (more productivity, more competitiveness) are unquestionable, there is a point that we find ourselves sacrificing essential things. Ourselves, our children, our rights, or own humanity. We maybe tempted to use mindfulness to keep on working and keep our productivity up, instead of questioning if working conditions are right. We may be induced to think that trade unions are holding us back, and accept to purchase goods coming from countries with workers with no rights including the modern slaves: workers in prisons. We may accept that the only way to support the pension system is to charge more to future generations for their education, for their houses. We may start to read that there is too much democracy, some people should not be allowed to vote and some questions should not be asked. Don't think too much if you are being consumed in the process or who is being consumed by it, everything is fine we you buy one more thing.


So we are in this situation, where we sense "the alien" is inside the ship. That hungry predator is in the same planet, with misdirection some claim it has invaded our country, or that it belongs to a different generation, the predator is foreign, external.






At the same time, not surprisingly, in the very popular Netflix series Stranger things, the theme of the perfect predator appears: the one that is actually almost pure mouth and does not have eyes. This predator that used to live in some sort of unconscious realm is now crossing over to our world and thus we become aware of it. Different characters, with different degrees of predatory behaviour themselves need to confront it, but the one posed to be its ultimate adversary is a girl with powers.

But this symbolic fight does not happen at a mental realm only, It happens when we manage to materialise it not only with changes in personal behaviour and our personal relationships but also with structural changes of those common places and services we share, And this is the political realm. Energy policy and food supply at national and regional level, and cities' structural changes at local level are the foundation level of what's to come and the policies that should see more evolution, more innovation. The anti-globalisation trend we are witnessing today, it is a temporary and needed step to change and rethink it, as current geopolitics are structured  at a fundamental level for the fossil fuel economy, patriarchal/colonial thinking. Of course there is a danger in falling back to old ways that will try to secure colonised territory and will declare some people disposable. That's why engagement and more conversation are so important. Ultimately, being engaged with these external changes, with "reality". with politics becomes proof that we are taming the predator within,

Andrea



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