Somewhere I read in a magazine that the principles of Environmental discourses and its value system is at odds with how the church (the Swedish church to be precise) views human life and its value. My comment to this is of course: Which one of the value systems in environmental discourse? As well as there is more than one way of thinking regarding christianity (social values, ideas regarding life, afterlife, interpretation of the Bible etc), there are also several ways of positioning yourself regarding the view on the environment and humanity's position within it.
My position is simply this: The debate over the importance of environmental issues is a brilliant and pressing way to revisit some power structures that has been in place for a number of years now, which no one seems to be able to think outside.
This clearly is the position of Philip Goodchild in his Theology of Money, which clearly posits economy and ecology at odds with each other. The economy - and money in general - has been an attempt to free ourselves of the bondage of being interdependent, and moving towards being independent. Today, the main reason why ecology is allowed to climb up to the top of national and international agendas is due to the paradigm called Ecological Modernization. Without diving deeply into this concept, it takes on the opposite standpoint to that of Goodchild; that there is no conflict between economic and ecological interests, and that with the right incentives the market can play an important role in turning around this entire mess around.
Disregarding that consumerism and the industrial pollution-revolution caused the entire mess to start with, the same forces now say they are not only part of the sollution, but the most important part of the best sollution. If a warning bell hasn't gone off in your mind yet, maybe this is the apropriate place.
What Ecological Modernization essentially attempts is to claim that economic and material growth can continue endlessly, and that everyone will somehow benefit from this. What it does not do is to take an opportunity to seriously revise the spot we're in. Put differently: proponents of Ecological Modernization sees no problem in walking further down the beaten track of happiness-as-individual-consumption. There is plenty of litterature that address this problematic assumption from a vast array of angles: theological, sensus-based and whatnot.
So let's just get our stupid-bracelets out here for a second and ask: What Would Jesus Do? We don't know a lot about what Jesus would do in the 21st century, but I'm pretty sure that the concept of a rich man having a harder time getting into heaven than a camel getting through the eye of a needle provides a pointer that it is time to re-think our route presumed to lead to happiness.
More thoughts to come. Watch this space.
Sharachchandra M. Lélé "Sustainable Development: A Critical Review", and
Alan Durning "How Much Is Enough?" in:
Conka, Ken & Geoffrey D. Dabelko (ed:s). Green Planet Blues. Westview Press.
Yesternight I did one of my rare evening sessions (I tend to use exclusively during the day), together with extremely talented mr Erik L, putting down some vocals for the new Favorite Flava album. Favorite Flava, for those who don't know, consists of Erik L, Paul Mac Innes (aka Psaul) and Stray.
However, before this collab drops on record, you can checkout two brilliant remixes by ERIK L and STRAY included in my upcoming Rakkaus release: ERNESTO "LOVE SPIN WISE LIES", released next friday (19th of nov). (And you can already check out Pinku Vääty ft Paul Mac Innes' brilliant take on Ace of Base's "All That She Wants" on Rakkaus.)
For now, I've gathered some of my personal favorites from them - both collectively and individually. Enjoy!
Saying that you're 'a material girl in a material world' is a sign of resignation. Why? Because the world isn't necessarily materialist. There are other options as to how we lead our lives.
Equally money measures how succesful music is. The value in music is not what it does, what is shared through sublime melodies that carry some messages more powerful than any words ever could, but how many units it has sold. That is the 'objective' measurement that we equip ourselves with, in order to measure whether there is a point in even venturing into releasing your music into the general public.
Even worse is when music starts revolving around itself in this respect. When music is not about the message or the meaning or the experience that someone wants to share, but about this evaluation of its own success - in terms of sales and status - things have gone too far.
Soul music came from spirituals, and turned into gospel. It was all highly spiritual. When gospel diversified into also being soul music the spiritual quality of the gospel was applied to all sides of life; sharing different stories and different aspects of life but with the same emphasis and care that was put into the 'spiritual' music. In other words: Soul was not about God, but it was highly spiritual all the same.
So when The-Dream (an artist that I find catchy and moving beyond the point that I'm comfortable with) fills almost three entire albums with stories about how many millions he sold, and how instead of morals he now has money, I can conclude that soul music - in the sense that deserves to be called soulful - has died. I'm thinking of course about a man who sees no problem in cheating on his girl. His sollution is simply to buy a bag for 5000 dollars in order to redeem himself. And this apparently works every time. I give you the death of soul music. I give you The Makeup Bag:
This sentence could (slightly readjusted) mean totally different things: "Islam is perceived as The Threat, naturally", or "Islam is naturally perceived as The Threat" would mean entirely different things than what I want to address here. I've recently been presenting a paper at a conference on Muslims and Political Participations. Alongside with this, I'm studying Comparative European Politics. I'd like to share a few points that I see emerging from this.
THE STRUGGLE OF EUROPE
Europe is struggeling. And not in a new way. It struggles, in the way it always has, with its identity. What is the European Identity? The EU largely emerges from a post-WWII context, where the primary objective was to stop a third world war from tearing Europe (and the rest of the world) to shreds. As such, the policies introduced were largely soaked in fears of any one "power"-factor overcoming all else. Some (i.e. Hallstein) have argued that Europe is not a (new) invention, but a rediscovery. According to Nugent however, this overstates the way Europe has ever collaborated, and exaggerates the peacefulness of European history (Nugent 2006:12). So the struggle of Europe should not be mistaken for a struggle for Europe, i.e. fighting back an enemy at the gates - but rather one of identity, constantly asking; how much of a European unity (and hence indentity) is there/can there really be?
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE
So what does it mean that Islam is naturally percieved in a certain way. This is to do where Europe is right now. Arguably, Europe in itself is a highly heterogenous territory, where various regions are in conflict with each other, with the nation-state they're located within, or with the EU as a project. These conflicts have curious effects, such as Catalonia in Spain having a direct micro-diplomacy connection to Brussels, and are not only represented through the national voice of Spain (see Karlsson 2006). So within Europe there are plenty of examples of "cultures" that will never be recognized - and refuses to recognize themselves - as being just an aspect of the overall European Identity, but recognized as cultures in their own right. As these cultures are so clearly connected to a territory that has always been percieved to be inside of the European map, no concern is expressed about the worries of Catalan's or Basqian citizens, not being fully "European".
With Islam another thing is currently going on. The EU is expanding, as we all know. There is a question of what should be thought of as Europe. Never mind, that there is a long-standing presens of muslims within the European countries already (just think of Greece or Cuprys), or former Jugoslavia, but what really gets people to raise their eyebrows is what is on the edge of the EU's current territory. Here Turkey is a perfect example. And curious and multifaceted. Turkey has for a long time advocated a secular state, even though it counts in some historical sense as a "muslim country".
Today Turkey is having talks with the EU about membership. And there is a clear case of moving-the-goalposts here. Every time Turkey is just about to comply with the demands made by the EU, they add new criteria. The mechanism at work here is a case of being sensitive to anything that seems to be out of the norm.
The EU could/ought to be equally nervous about Catalonia, but since it is placed within Spain there's no need to get the EU's panties in a bundle over what is potentially disturbing the desired European unity. My argument here is simply that being overly sensitive to any nation's defining features just because they are currently the neighbor to the EU-project is ... seems little short of plain ridiculous.
To clarify this argument and put it differently: It is no coincidence that Islam is perceived as The Threat, (a) when we are unable to deal with any threats because they are considered domestic, and (b) when the imaginary map of Europe today is drawn right at the intersection between something that feels familiar (the EU) and something that is not as familiar.
It will always be natural for the EU (or any other territorially bound project) to have an outer perimeter. We should, however, not take the fact that the EU has not yet expanded to include all of the world as an inclination for the current border to be "natural" in any sense. As soon as we stop seing the border as natural, and shift to a perspective where we see the outer European border as something evolving and liquid, we need not find a threat-based logic that explains why the borders have not expanded further. YET.
Karlsson, Ingmar. (2006). Regionernas Europa. Stockholm: SNS.
Nugent, Neill. (2006). The Government and Politics of the European Union. 6th ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Today it's sunday. So what better than to share a bloggalicious sermon, in a postmodern information-highway-type spirit. Today's sermon is about postmodernity, knowledge and experience. Many people ask what postmodernity actually is. Though I'm a fully fledged postmodernist, I'd like to highlight it at its worst here. The worst thing it can be is trivial. When the old tired "all is relative" in fact means "nothing is new". What postmodernity need is to take the conflict of interpretations seriously. It must allow us new grips on things. It must allow to speak with a new language, that allows new and different experiences to be taken seriously. And allow us to hold these experiences to be a genuine form of knowledge.
We often have a romantic image of Samer (Swedish) or indigenous peoples in general. We attribute "contact with the earth" and a "deeper understanding" of things, to them. We acknowledge their right to be themselves, and understand them to be something (or someones) that is qualitatively (at least to some degree) incompatible with our way of seeing, understanding and leading consumerist, career-centered lives.
This is a curious position. It's interesting because it's not that many steps away from admiting to ourselves that there may be something genuinely human that is incompatible with our way of life. It is also interesting because we acknowledge that their type of knowledge has merits, and is of another type than the knowledge produced (for the most part) in artificial, controlled environments in laboratories in the western world.
I've experienced one too many times (and I do this on occasion myself as well): People appologise for their own experiences, as were they not knowledge enough. In fact, most of us have started to doubt our own experiences as knowledge, when it does not match up perfectly to the standard measures of natural science, and how we are expected to word our understanding of the world with the guidance of this perspective. We make excuses for ourselves and say things like "sorry, I know this is a little out there..." and "we'll you can of course say what you will about this but...". This occurs as soon as our experience proves richer than laboratory wisdom.
My question is simply this: Should we really applogise because we add another dimension to experience and knowledge? Shouldn't we just be happy, astound and amazed by that?