There is immense possibility in the present. Ultimately we are guided by a mixture of drives and inner voices, and what we are capable of is greatly expanded by the consciousness of limitless and wholeness. May oneself be guided by love of oneself and one another, and by the light and life that calls up.
Adapt in place, live in the here and now, and truly make the world a better place whether times are good or . . .
This post summarizes the defining features of ‘The Adapters Movement’. I hope this post fills a gap, offering a healthy framework to respond to the critical time we are living in. As it becomes clearer that many systems we rely on will not suffice or survive in the future, I hope this and similar movements will serve as popular and robust alternatives to inaction or to isolationist (and sometimes extremist) forms of preparedness and survivalism. Let us lessen, not worsen, inevitable harm.
This movement was first introduced to me in the form of a long, winding post by a widely appreciated blogger Ross Raven aka Category5 on Permies.com: C5 Defines The Adapters Movement – Acceptance and Triage. Permies is the world’s largest permaculture forum (or so I’ve heard from them), and this Permies post was being discussed in an online community of the Deep Adaptation movement (which I introduce below).
I read the long thread introducing The Adapters Movement over a few days, and I found a lot of gems in it, representing the best of the ‘prepper’ and ‘survivalist’ movements, while explicitly revising many of those movements’ most off-putting and self-destructive problems. To help make the Adapters movement more accessible, I am sharing this relatively-short write-up introducing it and outlining its key themes. A heads up about what’s ahead: This post prints as four pages, which is much shorter than the many essay-length posts in the original Permies.com thread that this intends to summarize.
A little more context. This ‘Adapters Movement’ fits the wisdom of Deep Adaptation well. Here is Deep Adaptation in a nut shell: Many systems we rely on (e.g. food, housing, medicine, water, wood, ‘waste’, wildlife, social systems) are in the process of collapsing and some will fail. Human extinction is possible but not probable, and so we need to adapt to minimize harm. The way to adapt, according to the Deep Adaptation movement, can be summarized with the “Four R’s framework for inquiry“:
Relinquish what we need to stop to avoid more harm
Resilience is a priority for what we have that we need to preserve
Restore what we need from the past to live in ways that remedy and reduce harm
Reconcile relationships to remedy and reduce harm
With that introduction, here is a summary of key points I took from that long Adapters movement post linked to above. I hope this helps inspire and clarify paths forward that are well adapted to grow bright, solarpunk futures out of collapse and change.
“Throughout the industrial age and now in the information age, the Amish have adhered to the long-standing tradition of making as a primary form of work.”
“Thus, in contrast to an economy in which purely rational logic drives buying decisions, in this case spiritual, political, and ideological motivations guide buying decisions and determine the economic success of a proprietor.”
Crafts have so many co-benefits. Creation: offer and receive the gifts of inspiration.
I like the last pair because they feel difficult to green wash. Take any feature that is necessary for the systems that support us, and see if it is being restored/enhanced, or if it is being degraded. Water quality. Soil fertility. Biodiversity. Alas, if there is a will there is a way, and all of these terms will be “greenwashed” to some extent, making environmentally degrading acts seem restorative.
And by what means is the greenwashing motivated and manifest? Who done it? Some words commonly attributed to the complex system in question, which degrades essential qualities while feigning friend of fundamentals:
The man The system Capitalism Neoliberalism Globalism ...
These terms too are not perfect. Each has assumptions and complexities, they lack precision and can be tricky. Then I read something which shared a term so precise, so empirical, it could not be misconstrued or exploited:
The cosmophagous world: that world which devours all other worlds to feed itself.
cosmo- From Ancient Greek κόσμος (kósmos, “universe”). -phagous From Latin -phagus, from Ancient Greek φάγος (phágos, “glutton”), from φαγεῖν (phageîn, “to eat”).
And what is the alternative to devouring other worlds? To multiply, to propagate, to support many worlds. Consider, as you go about the polarized and dissonant world, whether this dichotomy fits: some ways grow themselves by devouring other worlds, while other ways grow all by propagating many worlds.
I think of this as I visit small farms and see the countless worlds that are hosted there: the worlds of the orchard and of the pasture, the worlds of the meadow flowers and of the insect colonies which enjoy them, the worlds of the varieties of people who are part of the community affected by the small farm, and the worlds of the countless communities which have other small farms of their own.
That world catalyzation is a stark contrast to the vast monocrops, moonscapes, and mines producing homogenized ways of life, wherein one world grows larger while the others are whittled away.
May this be a high-level guideline, leading us toward Earthbound mutualism rather than parasitism.
I end with an excerpt from the text that introduced me to this concept of cosmophagy, and with a wish that you will celebrate and support the many worlds we coexist in as One.
Power is inseparable from the capacity to be affected. We find potentialities in our shared sensitivity: that sense of urgency that pushes us to seek new ways of living — to want to change this world; that feeling of belonging that pushes us to act, and likewise to risk everything. How can we unleash these potentials? The paths suggested by the existing order — call it what you will, Empire, capitalism, colonial modernity, white supremacy, the cosmophagous world — aim to capture the affects that make life worth living.
Neither sinners, nor victims: we inhabit climate change. We see that this period of disillusionment with centuries of misdirection is also one of infinite potential. Each of us have within us the remote possibility of stemming the tide of the catastrophe. By organizing pessimism, the fundamental affect of the times, and giving it a creative consistency, we can hope to bring about other worlds. But first, it is essential to make a break with this one. We did not choose to be thrown into a world that seems doomed to its own destruction, but we can decide to continue it or break free from it.
“If I died in a month would I be satisfied with my life, and the answer was ‘no’.”
“I don’t have to be a reincarnation. It’s not the most important thing. If my existence has meaning, it’s because I’m doing good in this world—I’m helping people. I don’t have to be a tulku in order to do that.”
“We don’t need all those complications,” he says. “We’re all humans. We’re all struggling. We’re all learning from each other.”
“Yesterday, I was talking to one of my tulku friends who is in New York, happily driving for Uber.”
– We are all unreliable narrators of our own lives. – To tell a story is inescapably to take a moral stance. – Stories are the way we make sense of our lives. – The way we narrate our lives shapes what they become. – Change, even really positive change, involves a surprising amount of loss. – What would happen if you looked at your story and wrote it from another person’s point of view? – Life is about choosing which stories to listen to, and which ones need an edit. – There’s nothing more important to the quality of our lives than the stories we tell ourselves about them.
Sunday: It is all about our unique individuality and what we do with it.
“All that survives of these solar hymns are an altered version of Proclus’ Hymn to the Sun, and the 9th hymn in the Nomoi … the Sun is ruler of the other planets, and with them governs all terrestrial things. …The theory of prayer with which Pletho introduces his hymn is remarkably like the theory of magic behind Ficino’s astrological music; Pletho addresses the gods thus:
‘May we carry out these rites in your honor in the most fitting manner, knowing that you have no need of anything whatever from us. But we are molding and stamping our own imagination and that part of us which is more akin to the divine, allowing it both to enjoy the godly and the beautiful and making our imagination tractable and obedient to that which is divine in us.’
Pletho’s hymns and rites, like Ficino’s do not aim at any objective effect on the deity addressed, but only at a subjective transformation of the worshiper, particularly his imagination.” -(p.61)
Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella by D.P. Walker
via Mark Stavish of the Institute for Hermetic Studies
200 winters away
How many generations will have passed?
What will I&I enjoy in life? What of one's own ways will continue?
What lessons will I&I have learned?
What challenges will I&I face?
What will I&I have of the essential gifts to sustain oneself? Wood, water, air, soil, energy?
#TreesAreTheAnswer #WeAlreadyKnow #Hózhó
“Language is our gift and our responsibility. I’ve come to think of writing as an act of reciprocity with the living land. Words to remember old stories, words to tell new ones, stories that bring science and spirit back together to nurture our becoming people made of corn.”
via Robin Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, page 347.