Hospicing Modernity: Parting with Harmful Ways of Living

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Hospicing Modernity: Parting with Harmful Ways of Living

Hospicing Modernity: Parting with Harmful Ways of Living

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Hotjar sets this cookie to know whether a user is included in the data sampling defined by the site's daily session limit. KYLE WHYTE, PhD, George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan “Asking the question ‘What if racism, colonialism, and all other forms of toxic and contagious divisions are preventable social diseases?

Hotjar sets this cookie to know whether a user is included in the data sampling defined by the site's pageview limit. It examines a range of urgent philosophical issues about modernity and its deep contradictions, and the ways in which its inevitable demise might be steered toward more morally and culturally productive futures. Others, especially those defending indigenous ways of life, find themselves in a constant, high-intensity struggle for survival. This book is not simply a text, it demands reflection and interaction, providing tools and stories that help each of us understand our relationship with modernity. Beyond a mere critique of modernity, this is a book written for us as people who struggle with the everyday manifestations of modern power.For Indigenous communities, the teachings that are necessary for engagement with sacred plants are very rigorous and require a lot of discipline. For fans of adrienne maree brown, Sherri Mitchell, and Arundhati Roy, Hospicing Modernity challenges our assumptions and dares to ask more of us, for the sake of us all.

It is a book that is not only thought provoking but also helpful in guiding genuinely worthwhile discussions. Instead, Vanessa Machado de Oliveira presents us with a challenge: to grow up, step up, and show up for ourselves, our communities, and the living Earth, and to interrupt the modern behavior patterns that are killing the planet we’re part of. If you are in Canada, you can purchase the book here (with proceedings going to our Indigenous partners in Brazil). Written in a tone that directly addresses the reader through stories, metaphors, and rich imagery, this book resonates with the vitality of life itself, taking us on a transformative educational journey that inspires us to take seriously our profound interconnection to all others—past, present, and future—with whom we share this world. She explains how our habits, behaviours, and belief systems hold us back…and why it’s time now to gradually disinvest.In a suite of stories, informed in part by Indigenous thinking, Machado de Oliveira ruptures certainty with the void that many Indigenous peoples have recognized for millennia, pushing the reader over the edge into mocking darkness. This book is not easy: it contains no quick-fix plan for a better, brighter tomorrow, and gives no ready-made answers. The claim at the heart of this book is that modernity is an all-embracing mindset that dominates the contemporary world.

We certainly need to escape its clutches and discover a kinder, more connected way of living in the world. Modernity, she claims, is not about being contemporary or cutting edge, nor is it about technology or science. This is not an ordinary book and it may not be for everyone: it is a thought experiment that skillfully and creatively creates conditions for us to shed our arrogance and to get our proverbial shit together.It’s a book for the future, yet written to meet us where we are at right now as individuals living with trauma and facing ethical dilemmas about what it means to take meaningful actions under conditions of complexity.

By allowing modernity to expire gracefully within us, without judgement for its manifest failings, we halt its programme of violence and separation and open the space to reclaim a deeper understanding of what it is to be human. Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). Machado de Oliveira has established that we need to do the former and, with the telling of fragility, she promotes a new strength through mystery. Driven by expansion, colonialism, and resource extraction and propelled by neoliberalism and rabid consumption, our world is profoundly out of balance.

It is thinking that polluting a river is okay because the human concept of profit is more important than the life of a waterway. Then she juxtaposes that practice with practices and wisdom from cultures that have lived more lightly upon the Earth. A destabilised climate, pollution, inequality and endless war are all testimony to the failings of modernity. It does not suggest that we become Buddhists or socialists or Scientologists or indeed any type of “ism” to solve our problems.

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