Studying, Spadework, Scavenging

Saving ourselves by learning, digging deeper, and collecting clues

Yeah, what’s going on?

Artwork by Sophie Steel Armour / limited edition prints available to order via

”What’s all that racket?!”

How are you coping with the non-stop avalanche of discordant news?
Maybe you’re muting the media noise by playing some music?

If you’ve seen 13th, your ears might be ringing with that Public Enemy soundtrack.
If you’ve been on social media platforms, you might be laughing at how Rage Against The Machine may have disappointed fans who weren’t properly tuned in to the lyrics.

Well today I listened to Marvin Gaye :

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, eh eh

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see

Tell me what's going on

Some of us are trying to reconcile our words, thoughts and feelings towards actions.
I remember that during emergencies or crises, assistance is often called ‘Relief Goods’. Since communications remain vital to mutual aid, writing letters may yet have its role in alleviation of distress regarding the ongoing situations.

I’d like to offer a technique for drafting ideas of how we might navigate through different problems. So should you encounter the IDGAF mood, you can start with this equation:

{D + V + F + R2} > R1
— To challenge the status quo, identify the DISSATISFACTION [D]
— For alternative conditions, prepare imaginative versions of better or VISIONS of victory [V]
— To form new futures, figure out FEASIBLE steps that can be done from now [F]
— To empower people for action, equip them with a RANGE of RESOURCES [R2]
— All of the above factors combined must be greater than the RESISTANCE to change [R1]

As a teacher of History & Context at university, my duties in facilitation of learning is less about presenting answers or readymade solutions, and more of providing strategic signposting. For example, though lots of articles have been published about ‘Blackout Tuesday’ on 2nd June, I was still compelled to address this indictment:

“The black square says nothing about what is still needed to push things forward, and in the future, the black square will tell historians nothing about what we did.” — The Bulldozing Effect of the Black Square

YES, BLACK LIVES MATTER and there’s Historiography to consider, which is the study of the writing of history and of written histories. So I wrote an essay: The Tragedy of the Common Black Square.

Life is not quite a box of chocolates that we can just consume expecting to ‘get it’. The prudent reading and comprehension of History, is not some quick process like searching Google or Wikipedia about stuff that happened.  The task is to discover, but we also need to uncover, retrieve, and experience it.

“True education is not about collecting knowledge; it’s an awakening of consciousness which requires successive steps; each step consists of discovering the key to the next door.” — Schwaller de Lubicz

Finding the meanings of Life, takes us on a quest because we seek with questions.
In the real world, more is more — so we’re going to have to upgrade our reading habits instead of clicking for instant hits like we do with puff corn snacks.

I strongly recommend looking at journals written by the American cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Some of his works include: What Is a State If It Is Not a Sovereign? and What is a Country if it is Not a Nation?

Digging Deeper BY Michiel Gerbranda

Can we bury the hatchet?

Now for the practical advice about pathways to more peaceful options. First we need a shovel, not to bury the past with the dearly departed, but to put our weapons away.

Then we pick up a spade, and get down to earth with the peace building, which is distinct from peace keeping.

Whether we choose to be an activist or agent of change, we have to accept that this commitment is the work of a lifetime. We talk so frequently about journeys, that we may have forgotten its basic premise; Jornee means day, a day's travel, a day's work. It’s time to ditch ageist labels such as boomer, millennial, or whatever, that we use to condemn each other to death with memes. Instead, let’s recall the notion of The Seventh Generation Principle, that asks us to consider “not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground.”

In a nutshell, we need to go deeper, and be in this for the long haul, one. day. at. a. time. Never mind your fancy chronometer, you’re on the Kairos clock now.

Here are x10 resource links I have collected and happy to share.
Feel free to rummage for inspection, in case it helps you for wherever you need to get to next:

  • BOOKWORMSoil & Soul: People Versus Corporate Power by Alastair McIntosh is about a Scottish fight for freedom

  • FOUL MOUTH The Private Sector are as dreadful as a moment of clarity. They are traumatic, but necessary. They call a spade a spade, with expletives.

  • FUTURES — Other worlds have ended before. This is a powerful manifesto, that will give you hope: “Dear Colonizer, Your Future Is Over. From an Ancestor”

  • HEAD CASE — To really understand what Spadework means for political organizing: “There was always a next step; I was finally beginning to realize there always would be.”

  • ISMS — Capitalism, Nationalism, Patriotism… how about Cyborg Shamanism?

  • LITERATURESaffron Jack is ‘an exploration of a man left hollow by fate, a dispatch from the frontline of identity politics, and a rumination on the legacy of migration and empires’

  • PODCAST — Tent Theology encourages we ditch the ‘Christian’, which has become meaningless. That Bible Stunt by Trump opened a can of worms. Oh Vanity of Vanities!

  • RESEARCH — Otto Sharmer is an MIT brain, and proposed Theory U. Check out the maps that look at the terrain, of The Social Field

  • SONGS — David Benjamin Blower is an apocalyptic folk musician. His album is a lament and odyssey through the collapsing present.

  • ZINEEmergence is about the timeless connections between ecology, culture, and spirituality. Specifically Zachary Stein’s piece Covid19: A War Broke Out in Heaven

    Subscribe now