SCRIPT- “Condemned to Survive”
Sit down. Hold the cup in your hands, and close your eyes. Relax. Breath in and out.
Now, the first step is to realize that you are here, in this moment, and accept the truth that the world does not revolve around you. Shocked and upset? I was too. On the bright side, it doesn’t revolve around your neighbor either, or your best friends, or any of your friends, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your favorite celebrity, or the president for that matter. It doesn’t even revolve around human kind. The world has existed, and will continue existing without us. Now think of how ridiculous that statement is when we think about the lives we have lead so far, of the things that worry us, or the things we treasure, and even in relation to the things we disregard.
Come back to this moment and realize what you are holding between your hands. Feel it. Is it really as insignificant as you thought? Is it really disposable? What is that word even? Disposable…Is anything really disposable. Long after you are gone, this cup will still exist…without you. 100 years it will take for it to disintegrate.
In his novel, The Invention of Solitude, Paul Auster writes, “Things are inert: they have meaning only in function of the life that makes use of them. When that life ends, the things change, even though they remain the same…They are tangible ghosts, condemned to survive in a world they no longer belong to.”
There are two very interesting things about this statement. One of them, is the false sense of righteousness with which we all conduct ourselves in this world. To believe that things only function around OUR life, is absurd. But, sadly, we do, and it should make us ponder upon this question: “how is it possible that we do not realize that they way we live is not the only way to live?” Do we really need paper cups? Do we really need all of these things? Aren’t there better alternatives?
The second part is the fact that after we have made use of these objects, “they are condemned to survive in a world they no longer belong to”. Just like that “disposable” cup… After you have finished this short-lived audio tour, after you have finished your coffee or your tea, have you ever thought it was condemned to remain in the world? Have you ever thought that you cannot simply throw things “away”? As Timothy Morton very truthfully said, there is no “away”, the chemicals of its plastic lining will come back to you, in your food, because they will have contaminated the soil in which it is harvested. How many of these have you thrown away? How many of its chemicals are now in you, in all of us?
Come back to the weight of the cup in your hands. You may feel silly, but does it really matter? Play around with it. Take it up to your nose and smell it. What does it smell like? Now take it up to our ear. Press it a bit, move it. What do you hear? Might it be that this cup has value beyond what you imagined?
And just as it has an end, it had a beginning. It came from our natural resources, it took up energy to be made. It was made by an entire process that we ignore because we are too involved with ourselves to realize that things are so much more than what we make of them. They transcend us in so many ways we cannot even imagine, and like them we are part of a system, the system of the world. Why do we ignore it? Why have we convinced ourselves that we are isolated entities? When in truth, everything is connected.
Take a moment to appreciate. Open your eyes and look at the cup in your hands. Look at yourself, at your clothes, your phone, your bag, all the objects that are on you. Perhaps you have taken them for granted? Now look around you, and question. Re-invent the way you live. The way we live in relation to this world, and in relation to each other. Look at its complexity, understand it, embrace it. Put the cup down, but realize that down is not away.
“The last taboo is the myth of civilisation. It is built upon the stories we have constructed about our genius, our indestructibility, our manifest destiny as a chosen species. It is where our vision and our self-belief intertwine with our reckless refusal to face the reality of our position on this Earth. It has led the human race to achieve what it has achieved; and has led the planet into the age of ecocide. The two are intimately linked. We believe they must decoupled if anything is to remain.
“the depth of collective denial is so great, and because the challenge is so very daunting.”
“We believe that art must look over the edge, face the world that is coming with a steady eye, and rise to the challenge of ecocide with a challenge of its own: an artistic response to the CRUMBLING THE EMPIRES OF THE MIND crumbling of the empires of the mind.”
-Dark Mountain Manifesto (III Uncivilization)
“tangible ghosts, condemned to survive in a world they no longer belong to.”
“There is nothing more terrible, I learned, than having to face the objects of a dead man. Things are inert: THEY HAVE MEANING ONLY IN FUNCTION OF THE LIFE THAT MAKES USE OF THEM. When that life ends, the things change, even though they remain the same.”