Visioning Extinction Rebellion

Visioning Extinction Rebellion
Louise Bourgeois , Fears, 1992. Wood and iron.

Extinction Rebellion was set with two purposes or visions – to speak the truth and to act as it is real. This sounds straightforward but it is in fact, at the present time, the most difficult thing in the world. That is why we are heading for extinction. Because we put our individual lives before the collective life of our species – before Life itself. And we wallow in self pity rather than stepping up.

The original vision of XR was not of a campaign or plan – but new way of being in action. A taking up of courage – a realising there is something more important than our fears. We all fail at this every day when we pretend we cannot do more. We hide from the world. We hide together and share stories that blind us to our cowardice. We are lost, but worse we resist being found. Because we do not understand that redemption only comes through suffering and the only honourable life is to move into that suffering in an act of faith that there will be another side to come out of, into a state of grace.

XR created a vision and set off to fail at it, and it has failed. And this is the first and necessary step towards success. The question now is whether it is willing to learn – to take the risk of destroying itself in order to reconstitute itself to produce a second iteration – a second chance of success – another second possibility of humiliation.

Only when we understand the notions of faith and grace will we find ourselves in our lostness. Only when we admit the utter destitution of our souls at this time of utter annihilation will we begin a journey we can be proud of, regardless of the outcome.

Two years after XR started I found myself last week in a zoom call with just four people from a call out for a third of the country, for people willing to undertake the minuscule commitment of going into a British prison as a result of their resistance to the most absolute evil any generation is ever likely to face. In the utter sense of failure in being unable to persuade this movement to commit to even a small fraction of the commitment our forebears expended to produce all our comforts and securities, I find a sense of grace.

My whole life has been an utter failure. An utter inability to stop the cruelties and injustices that people engage in. But long ago I learnt that beauty lies in trying, not succeeding.

The original vision of XR then was not so much to tell the truth and act as if it is real – but to fail at such a vision, and allow ourselves to enter in a state of grace about this failure.

And then, and only then, will we lay the foundations for the miracle to happen, that will save us – as it is written in the great stories of our ancestors.

A Future Vision

My future vision of XR is to let go of ourselves. And let go of each other. And through this we give up on our desire for agency. After all it is the will to power that got us here in this terrible situation in the first place.

We will only save ourselves when we put ourselves to one side.

We will not save ourselves though “caring” for ourselves but by abandoning ourselves, because when we cling onto ourselves we open ourselves up for needless suffering – particularly because we stand to be annihilated in the coming decades. And more deeply and perennially, because we are only here in this world for a short time.

My vision is that, only when we give up, will there rise up within us the sense of service and the power of fearlessness that will bring down the dark empire we face – the pervasive deathliness of everything this system of collective being has set up for us.

Only then will we gladly be able to give up all we need to give up in order to effectively rebel.

Specifically: To stay on the streets till we are banged up in prison for weeks and months. And then come out and gladly do it again. Because we literally have nothing to lose. What we have to lose is of no importance any more.

Maybe my vision here is that some people get a sense of what I’m talking about, and they will become the leaders of this movement – the prophets if you like – who will show the way.

Show people the true Spirit of Rebellion.

Rebellion is not a brand or a campaign or a frame or fashion – it is a way of being in action. It is a fusion of calmness with absolute transgression. A calmness in absolute rage. A stillness that comes from freely entering into the wildness of Life’s desire for itself.

There’s lots to organise of course. In the day I’m a thorough going materialist – but at night my soul sings to the cosmos and the cosmos sings back, and I wake with madness in my veins.

The Sublime Madness Chris Hedges speaks of. The madness that will bring down this Empire of Death.

That’s my vision of the future. It's basically an invitation to enter the eternal adventure of the human spirit. To what it means to truly live a life. To welcome everyone home.

People are stepping into their responsibility to do civil disobedience in 2021 contact:

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