Sunday, May 22, 2016

a post I don't know how to write — il faut faire avec

It started with a simple plot on the news:

Last 7 months or so have been the hottest month in the earth in the last few millennia. The nice thing of the plot is that shows how we are leaving the stability zone at an alarming rate. We have this thing in physics called phase diagrams where you can see movement of dynamical systems "from above" and stable systems orbit around a point. This points are stable if a small perturbation bring you back on track. That's the weather. The problem is that if the perturbation is too large things just stop working as we knew them and a new equilibrium is found or another trajectory is followed. Think of moving a book over a table, you can have part of it over the edge, but once the centre of mass is outside the edge, the book will invariably fall. And now think of a glass book that will explode in million pieces once it crashes. That's our earth.

What's the problem then?

Our world, from the matches to the roads to the universities and governments are built assuming that the stable point of the weather will continue for ever. And it's a system that kinda works and we discover things and people get rich and others die poor and things more or less get better. Or worse, I don't know. But we solved some problems, malaria for example.

Or maybe we "think" we solved problems when in truth we just used an incredible amount of energy in a short period of time and that what happens when you do that. We didn't get particularly smarter or nicer, we just found some black gold under and sold the future for a present full of cars.

But that's not the point. The point is that trying to foretell the future is a waste of time. It doesn't really matter when we cross the 1.5 degrees, or the two. It will be sooner than most people think. The question is what are we going to do when NASA publish its monthly report about the weather and it will be confirmed that we are falling from the table. We will say, oh shit, what the fuck do we do now? But our institutions, as our cars and our notions of family, friendship, property and life will be outdated. They will simply not work anymore. They were built for literally another world.

Which reminds me of the other day I was in Julio's cafe in Santiago and a professor whose daughter I used to date was there. It was maybe 7 years or so since last time we talked and I did a short summary of my life during that time... some failed coffee making business, critical philosophy with Zizek in london, marrying a violin-maker's granddaughter and starting to learn the craft to end up sharpening japanese saws and using the nice wooden spokeshaves to carve handrails and start giving classes of woodworking here and there. He says "I see you a bit disperse".

I should have answered "well, your fucking retarded world of specialization, isolation and progress has the world at the edge of collapse. Maybe it's time to try something else?"

Sometimes I feel like living in 1800. The smell of pee on the streets and the drunkards screaming about something nobody knows well on the stairs. The fact that you cannot buy any decent machine in the country so you either make it or do without (or import it, of course). Essentially, that amazon doesn't reach here. But more than a drawback it looks like an opportunity.

What's happening today in the world is consequence of centuries of technological, political and social "development", understood development as the direction people with power wanted for the world. What those idiots were creating in manchester were not only steam machines, but a whole new way of relating to themselves and to each other. A way of maintaining exploitation and expand it around the globe.

Which reminds me of Miyazaki's last movie. I read it as the failure of a human to come to terms with a technology that has the possibilities of good but engenders death.  You remember that dream scene where the whole town (with characters of several of Miyazaki's movies) going in a plane with the guy and having fun? That's what he wanted airplanes for, to make more human the human. The movie doesn't resolve anything, and this post neither will do, for this is a game that's played on the real world and that we will have to play. We as in people in their 30s, the new adults who are going to inherit an endless warmed up dump.

So here I am, in the past (there is a reason they call it underdeveloped world) wanting to take the technological path again but do it correctly this time. What do I mean by that? For starters without the protestant fascism of anglo-saxon culture. (Another parentheses. The guys who made those machines were friends and classmates with those other guys who moved through africa raping and killing whatever crossed their roads, so I don't think they were very happy lot in fact, those colonialists.)

We need hand cranked grinders, and smithies and plane makers, and make that in a way that still works the day that we reach the 2degrees mark. Make things in a way that is inviting, communal, inclusive. And we need to teach that to ourselves, and to each other, and device those ways of teaching because what you tried didn't really work.

You see, I told you I didn't know how to write this post. This will have to do. Il faut faire avec.


  1. I couldn't agree more with you Seb. Il faut faire avec!But how will we care for the 56 nuclear reactors in my country for the next 200 000 years?

    1. you'll need to keep making engineers for quite some time I fear. Or take derrida's deconstruction to the real world. But seriously, I don't know, just move to south america and let's start again.

  2. You were working with Žižek? What a stud!

    1. more than working with, just listening to his sexual confessions in class. He was married to an Argentinean and since I quoted once Borges he treated me as a pinochet spy for the rest of the class. It does give you sexappeal points though.

  3. Your concerns are real! Don't think about one thing too long, though (shouldn't be a problem hopefully for you!). Lately I've enjoyed the variety of a Middle Eastern wife, a profligate American corporation job, a recent Kanna plane restoration, and a book on quantum loop gravity. I will occasionally mention a masterful book about order within entropy, which was "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda. Love your blog, Chris in Indianapolis

    1. cannot get friends with quantum theories... an iranian wife (or housemate) is something I can see the use for though. That chicken and granada apple juice, omg. Will check the book, thanks Chris.

  4. Not really trying to be on topic, but since it's all one, and since I've not commented recently, and since global warming has been on my mind more than usual since April, when Summer made an early appearance here, will report a discovery I made today regarding metate as it's done in the crosslegged on floor position.

    For several years I've been working with pain in the right hip joint. This year I've been learning some hatha yoga, and last week learned about 12 - 15 minute stretches. This week I incorporated that into metate, with some strength building leg extention-lifts each time I turn the vice around. I also lean more weight on my elbows an relax more while filing. Then I lean back with legs still crossed, till my elbows are on the ground behind me. Then unfold legs, stretch, lift, bend knee, and return to metate position.

    I might have been a candedate for hip replacement surgery, but luclily I don't have medical insurance. Bad habits in work and life are at the root of the pain I'm guessing, so at 60 I'm learning how to work with my body to heal it.

    In brief, as you learn to work with wood, with tools, with your mind, remember to work with, and not against your body.

    Save yourself some pain in the long run maybe.

    On another topic mentioned above, The Victorians were not happy, that age only lasted 1 - 2 generations, they were so miserable. At least, thats what I think having just read "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy. (if any readers disagree, just skip it, ICBW):)