“Cool It,” or Fire it Up! As Long as you ENGAGE

The best thing we can do to improve the overall conditions of our Earth… is to engage with them.

The protagonist of “Cool It,” Bjorn Lomborg, is vilified perhaps because this is his premise.  Through actually engaging with our complicated state of things, which he feels might creatively combine high-tech and ancient, simple methods of counteracting climate change, and treating seemingly unconnected issues like poverty in order to have an effect on environmental sustainability… this kind of passionately engaged, horizontal, critical and independent thinking is what seems to agitate his opponents the most.  He seems to be saying: What we need to do is engage right now, not continue to play superficial political and economic games that have little relevance to the actual condition of our sustaining ecosystems.  On this, with Bjorn, I agree.

To live fully, to feel, to engage in discourse, intercourse, to reflect and respond, to analyse and alter–to engage.  These are the actions and reactions of life.  Yet why do these things feel so socially subversive… and yet, strangely, so internally accessible and invigorating?  If our world is defined by the irreducible sum of interactions and engagements…  Dive in.  

This is the kind of revolution that cannot be threatened.  It is not publicly announced.  It happens through individuals and communities redeeming their birthrights–the right to be alive, here, now, in the fullest way possible, which implies a richness of ecological diversity, a robustness of relationships, as the foundation for any other forms of human wealth/quality of life.  Governments cannot effectively suppress such action.  Economies cannot trade it.  Artists work to coax it.  This shift is increasingly happening (or more accurately, we are happening it.)

Watching “Cool It” has reminded me that as a filmmaker and film consumer, I’m not interested in illusions.  Entire fantasy film-only worlds based around computer generated imagery create–for me–a phony experience, not unlike artificial flavoring in candy.  I’m interested in reality.  But I’m especially interested in the illusion of reality.

Each of us filters reality, through our own particular complex of judgments and attitudes developed over time.  Propaganda films mimic this universal psychological process.  Propaganda is effective for the extent to which it successfully creates of the appearance of reality, constructed in such a way, however, as to manipulate an audience’s emotional responses to the false “reality” depicted.  Yet science in recent years has illustrated that even our own memories cannot be entrusted as fair perceivers of reality.  In the past ten years, numerous studies have illustrated that memory is surprisingly fallible–vividly recalled and sworn testimony can, in fact, be completely unreal, the mere product of suggestion, not occurrence.

Perhaps the only source of information that may not lie to us is direct experience from our bodies in the moment.  The more we engage with our bodies, the more we feel them, pay attention to them, embrace them, etc. the more power we have.  Through honoring our authentic selves, we divest power and influence from meaning-generating social authorities, and reinvest it in our best source of meaning, about what REALLY matters–life.

Life is in peril.  Millions of species are facing extinction. The greatest asset for the suvivability of any system is its adaptability.  The more diversity, the more interactions you have of different types/experiences, the more your adaptability is tested.  ENGAGE.  Get comfortable with complexity.  Face the false edges of what you think is holding you back, and watch how they tend to flex.  Recognize your talents and capacities.  Don’t be afraid to share them.  Here I am, world.  And I can help.

With this attitude, and this grounding in our bodies, we will thrive.