I am a sucker for murmurations, that greatest and most beautiful metaphor on life. They are so representative of the new (and old) way of seeing the world, of the fundamental metaphysics underlying life.
Watch this amazing two minute excerpt from Jan van Ijken’s short documentary The Art of Flying.
Yes, you can *simulate* a murmuration by assuming a set of individuals acting under mechanical patterns of close response. But you cannot *predict* an actual murmuration of sentient and deeply social creatures, actual life, actual human society, actual ecology, actual human economies.
I wish the model-bound economists and other technocrats would realise this. I wish they would seek to understand the capacities we need to build into our people, communities and environments in order to maintain life-fulfilling functions upon which a resilient – and joyous – future depend.
And so you change the metaphysics to complex systems, to uncertainty being the ruling paradigm, to music & dance not all ‘ducks-in-a-row’ marching in step, to self organisation not regimented order, to conversation that can go anywhere not to command and control, to the trickster keeping you humble not the arrogance of the tyrannical Ozymandiuses, to beauty not machine, to building capacities to adapt not fragility to the merest unforeseen change, to experience of life and love not a wage slave existence subservient to some megalomaniac power.
This is both the indigenous world views (yes, including the Germanic & the Celt) of old (be respectful, be wise) and our future. We are stuck in a Modern abyss where we think those male virtues of order, rationality, quanta and control are the underlying structures of life – God’s formulaic System of the World.
That unfeeling heartlessness trumps the experience of what it means to fly.
Chris Perley is an affiliated researcher at Otago University’s Centre for Sustainabilitywith a governance, research, management and policy background in provincial economies, rural sociology and land use strategy. He was the 2017 Green Party candidate for Tukituki.
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