What’s most amazing about the whole situation is that the places where people ought to do their thinking, places like the universities, and the thinking classes in general, are absolutely AWOL, as they say in the military. Absent without leave. They are not on the scene. They are not raising their voices. They are not making sense. We are living in a moment of unprecedented incoherence.
Venice is a place that has evolved in such a way that absolutely stokes the curiosity. Every step fires it up. You look up, you look down, you look left, you look right, everywhere there is something that invites you to explore, to examine, to enter, to reflect. Perhaps it is the acoustics of the place, car-free, bicycle-free, motorbike-free, just footfall, human voices, pigeons and distant boats, that puts us into an altered state we’re not used to, one in which our attention can flourish.
Part of the pipeline is intended to pass through the French-speaking state of Quebec, an independent-minded place, and although it still only at the planning stage, already in Quebec it has encountered a very unusual form of resistance. Beer.
While in Santorso in Italy for the Transition Hubs Gathering, I pieced together, from various people, the remarkable story of Alessandro Rossi. Given that it is a story heard from different voices, at various times of day or night, through my poor Italian, and that there is nothing I can find online about him, so […]
In case you don’t know, the Transition Hubs are the organisations that represent and support Transition in different countries (Transition Mexico, Transition Germany etc…). They work closely together and collaborate on projects. This year’s meeting was held in Santorso in Italy, about an hour from Venice, in the foothills of the Alps, with the help of the Santorso in Transizione. Hubsters came from 24 different nations or regional Hubs, with 2 more participating remotely, bringing their amazing tales of Transition in those places.
“And what about ‘faux imagination’? ‘Faux creativity’?. If we’re in an age where every word almost has lost its meaning and value, what happens when someone claims that they are imaginative, or they even name their project, or their beer, imagination, but there’s no imagination that actually went into it? It’s almost like we need to create a new language”.
Last week I published a blog called “You only get so many Mays in your life”: why our imagination needs the dawn chorus. It included quotes from a discussion I had with Tony Whitehead of the RSPB at the Dartington Soundcamp a couple of weeks ago. The interview in its entirety was so interesting that I […]
In the same way that land, left to its own devices, will revert to forest, provided it isn’t mowed, sprayed, or grazed, when the space is made, the cars kept out, the right level of hands-off supervision, the sense of being part of a larger community created, then imagination can flourish. It’s not far beneath the surface. We just have to take the pressure of it, give it space to breathe.
“I feel very emotional right now. I feel very overwhelmed by people really responding. The feelgood factor in the room is incredible, it’s just amazing. You could go to the bank and sit in front of a man in a grey suit, or be packed into a room full of love. Really”.
This is not the first outbreak of nostalgic thinking or widely prevalent nostalgic thinking. But certainly it’s more universal, or at least widespread, than probably it has been before. Societies have, at different moments, felt nostalgic. But at a worldwide scale for so many people in so many countries to be feeling politically nostalgic I think perhaps is unprecedented.