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e65 drifting into season 3 is a monologue that I recorded on September 13th 2021, in one take, while drifting in a kayak on the Preston River, Duhamel Québec, that explains what season 3 (on the theme of ‘radical listening’) is about, including quotes from e21 (Dr Todd Dufresne), e23 (Anjali Appadurai) and a zen teaching.
This is Claude Schryer, conscient podcast, the first episode of season 3. I took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do in season 3, because there are so many things that podcasts can do : interviews, or you can do, monologues, but after season 2, which was pretty darn intense – BTW I’m on a kayak right now, so you can hear that – pretty darn intense : 41 interviews in French, in English, almost 30 hours of content, so I thought I’d take a break from that and just think out loud, but also do it in the moment, like I’m doing now. I think there’s a lot of fleshing out of the issues that I discovered in season 2 that can be set out over time, with a bit of time with each issue, so I’ll do that and maybe quote a little bit some of the people in season 2. I might also interview people once in a while if I’m feeling out of my depth, but there’s something about using this forum for those who were interested, as a way to not only continue my re-education, which is, will never end in a way, but to actually share the learnings and the process – there’s a duck… you hear…. di-di-di… the wings are so beautiful … – and share the process of a failure and attempts to change that didn’t work, in a very straightforward kind of way, because that’s life: where we make mistakes and stumble and learn and get excited and then look back and we observe that. So that’s what season three will begin like as like actually can’t predict what it will end, like, because, well, I’m just starting but this is the episode, what is it? I don’t even know anymore because, I will have published ‘a case study’ piece. I can’t remember what episode that is, but it doesn’t matter, somewhere in the sixties, like me and my age… So, I’m going to continue down the river here. I wanted to thank the listeners who have hung in there with me who have listened to the conscient podcast and the first two seasons. I appreciate the time and I hope that it’s useful but what I’m going to do now is, in a way, go back to what I started way back in the simplesoundscapes project, the very first season in 2016, which is not erased (I have a copy), but it’s no longer publicly available. I did a series of soundscape, um, observations. I would start, each episode with a comment on the soundscape, describing it or, or talking about it, and then we’d listened to it and they’d be a 10 minute episodes and I kind of want to come back to that spontaneity and like no second takes, no preparation in the sense of scripting, just, when it feels right to speak in not too long, but long enough to say something useful and authentic and possibly provocative because I’d be provoking myself trying to push myself ever so gently into new areas of thoughts and more or less what I consider to be the truth, although, you know, in season 2, I explored reality, right, and that was, that was quite a journey and its ongoing, like, what is reality? … One thing I do know though, but about all of this is that I know what my motivation is and, some might be surprised that it keeps coming back to me very clearly that what I’m looking for, ultimately, is an anchoring point, where are we at and what can we do to ensure the continuation of life? That sounds very broad, but what I mean is I want to know what – there’s a book called, All We Can Save – I want to know not only what we can save, but where we can put energy, that’s going to make a difference and contribute with as much impact as possible, to life continuing, all forms of life, including human life, but not only. So, for example, the idea of short-term objectives, of trying to do projects to raise awareness…. I think we’re past the point of trying to get people to wake up to the climate emergency and their ecological crisis. It’s still really important work, but, in fact, we are going to crash It will be gradual and it will be worse in some places than others. In fact, I’ll play an excerpt of Dr. Todd Dufresne (e21). It’s one of my favorite quotes from season two, who talks about that:
Dr. Todd Dufresne (e21):
There are a couple things around capitalism that are very important. People often will talk about how part of the cause of the crisis that we’re facing is the way we live our lives and a major feature of the way we live our lives is for example, consumer capitalism, or they’ll call it neo-liberalism. I think sometimes it’s just important to call it what it is, is its various forms of capitalism. And to get comfortable with the idea that maybe capitalism has caused this problem, as it combines, with the history of ideas, which also support the role of capitalism place and the think that we need to find a way forward that isn’t based on perpetual growth and the production, the endless production of stuff, we don’t need, to maintain civilization. How do we maintain civilization moving forward without producing lots of tchotchkes and crap, how do we live meaningful, well, it’s really easy: we don’t need any of that stuff? Meaningful lives as we move forward, have nothing to do with tchotchkes, but there’s certain things we do need, we need food, we need water, we need certain things and then we can leave, you know, meaningful, creative, decent lives that are civilized still in a different way, but maybe even more civilized in a certain way. So, the thing that I’m really interested in is: sometimes people aren’t discussing how we’re moving towards more and more AI and full automation. If you have full automation of the workforce, what are people going to do with their time? Well, I’ll tell you one thing they’re going to have to learn how to do with their time, they’re going to have to be educated to become creatives in their own way, artists in their own way. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t want to do that, then do something else, but you’re going to have to find something to do that doesn’t involve toiling away for capitalism, because capitalism has been killing us. So, it’s a really big, big thought. How do we get from where we are here to something in the future? I’m happy to take steps with Bernie Sanders and democratic sort of socialism, but I think we need to defang the word socialism. So, people aren’t so scared of it, not as big of a deal in Canada, but because of what’s happening in the world is still kind of a boogeyman for everybody. We need to think about what communism means and what it has meant in the past and maybe come up with a new word. As I say to my students, let’s not talk about communism. Let’s talk about communalism. We know communism has been a failure. Can we talk about some other version that maybe if we all got behind it, that would work some sort of communalism, forget, all the things that have gone wrong with communism? We need to have something like it moving forward to save us and this means we have to step away from capitalism, even as capitalism is failing and dying, in my opinion, right now, if it’s not already a form of zombie capitalism, as I argue that it is. I think capitalism is over, but the problem is we have nothing to replace it with and here’s where we need our artists and others to tell us what kind of vision, they have for a future that is different than that. Well, a future of play and work, meaningful work would be one future that I think is not just utopic, but very possible. So, there’s a possible future moving forward that could be much better than it is right now, but we’re not going to get there without democracy of suffering as we’re experiencing it now. And we’ll at least over the next 20, 30, 40 years until we figure this out, but we need to figure it out quickly.
That’s the idea. How do we rebuild? How do we maintain positive energy? That’s what interests me and everything else seems to be less important than focusing on…. I mean, it’s easy to get distracted by… we’ll be okay if we just keep everything as it is, but reduce, keep it under 1.5 degrees Celsius. The problem, the real problem, what Anjali Appadurai calls… What does she call it now in episode 23? Anyway, the real problems, the othering, that’s how she called it and I’ll play that quote right now:
Anjali Appadurai (e23):
It’s not exactly the role that many people think, which is that people will create some environmental art about the beauty of – and this is all important, by the way. I’m not knocking it – but it’s not just art that highlights the beauty of what we want to preserve, which is the majority of the climate art that I see,, like we want to preserve this, you know, protect our coast, protect these trees, protect the bear and the whale and all of that is absolutely necessary but also we want art that can help us imagine different way of being, because ultimately what we want… Yes, we want to build back better and better doesn’t mean keeping everything the way it is but with renewable energy reduced emissions, zero emissions, but the same power dynamics, that’s actually not… The climate crisis and the broader ecological crisis is to me, a symptom of the deeper disease and the deeper disease, which is that rift from nature, that seed of domination and of accumulation and of greed and of the urge to dominate others through colonialism, through slavery, though, othering, the root is actually othering. That is something that artists can touch and that’s what has to be healed. And when we heal that what could come of it, what does the, what does the world on the other side of that look like? And it in simpler terms, it’s what does the world on the other side of adjust transition look like and I’d really like to believe it doesn’t look like exactly this, but with solar. The first language that colonization sought to suppress, which was that of indigenous peoples is where a lot of the answers are held.
So, the idea of othering is interesting because that’s the source of the problem. Othering with different people, othering with nature so when you identify what is essentially the real reason we are in a massive ecological crisis, then it changes your approach to it so there isn’t the sense of patchwork. There’s a sense that we’ve gone too far, and we have to rethink and rebuild not only a sustainable society, but a just society. Those things are talked about a lot, but I can kind of feel that in my bones, it’s actually hard to explain, but – and I know I’m a privileged person, and I know that I have lots of issues – but I am trying to get to what seems real and useful. What was that quote from my Zen teacher? I’ll find it in and read it out because that’s what guides my way:
Zen practice shows us how to take care and take responsibility with, and as each moment, by opening attention to reality and responding to what actually needs to be done.
So. So. So… Do you hear the echo here, it’s a beautiful sound on this river? I’m on the Nation, no, I’m on the Preston leading to the Nation River. What’s the day today, September 13th, 2021. One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to let this floating device go downstream and just experience that sensation of flowing down a river. A type of abandonment, so that, metaphorically, instead of swimming or paddling upriver, which we do a lot in life challenges, once in a while, you just let yourself go and let yourself go with the flow – I’m about to hit a rock here – and that flow is very, very beautiful and we just have to trust that it’ll take you to the right place. So, on that note, I will leave you with this very short episode. Not the first of the third season, because that will have been ‘a case study’, but the first of this type of this little monologue. So, a la prochaine.
(recording: sound of paddle in kayak hitting the bottom of the river)