Nothing changes everything

There might be a scene where two people are casually talking; then, from some detail in the conversation, the characters suddenly comprehend each other’s true feelings. In that instant, action stops, actors freeze, and from stage left wooden clappers go battari! 

The two characters resume speaking as though nothing has happened; however, in the instant of that battari!, everything has changed. 

(Kabuki’s stop-start moments, described by Alex Kerr in Lost Japan.)

Continue reading “Nothing changes everything”

Coronavirus Journal: Under the Sign of the Crocodile

Doubt entered our way of knowing, alongside danger: another feature of the Anthropocene.    – Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing and Niels Bubandt, “Swimming with Crocodiles”, Orion, Spring 2020, 70.

Like many, I have become somewhat obsessed with the novel coronavirus.  Most days I spend a good chunk of time tracking the tragedies and transformations it has already wrought, as well as trying to understand the shape of what is to come.  

How I think about the virus and its impacts changes at least a little every day, and has changed quite a lot over these weeks.  I wrote earlier that I thought of the coronavirus as a message, and I still think so.  Not that I think of it as an intentional message from God, Nature or Gaia, so much as a foreshadowing of what is coming, what is unfolding.   Many of us have had the luxury of living within a benign, stable environment for all our lives.  The coronavirus may be the first wave of the cataclysm we have called “climate change.”  This is what climate change will be like, to live it.  This uncertainty.  This pain.  This breakdown of systems designed to function under stable environmental and social conditions.  The difference is that this is just a little nudge, just one little ripple on a global scale, rather than the relentless cascade of breakdowns that climate change will bring.  And this little nudge is sending us into a tailspin.  Continue reading “Coronavirus Journal: Under the Sign of the Crocodile”