Thursday, August 14, 2014

Transformation without Apocalypse - Ursula K. Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson

"And shaken, we know the immanence of Mystery, and Change."

A few weeks ago I ran across a Tor paperback with two novels at a yard sale, and took home a book with a story by Ursula Leguin ("The New Atlantis" and Kim Stanley Robinson ("The Blind Geometer").  There was a kind of synchronicity in this purchase, because on the cover it said:  "Plus the bonus novelette THE RETURN FROM RAINBOW BRIDGE".  Having worked for 20 years on The Rainbow Bridge Oracle, it seemed worth investing 50 cents in.  

The Leguin story was so disturbing for me I couldn't finish it, because it reflected, in a strange way, the despair I sometimes feel at the falling away of our world, the sense that we, too, are living "before the deluge".  And Robinson's story even more so - I couldn't plow through it.  Which is unusual for me, as I usually devour SciFi insatiably.  But something prompted me to Google Robinson, who I had never heard of before, figuring he was some obscure writer no one remembers........and I found him, and Leguin, reading at an extraordinary conference in Oregon called Transformation without Apocalypse: How to Live Well on an Altered Planet,which occurred on February 14-15, and featured Joanna Macy, Ursula K. LeGuin, Tim DeChristopher, Kim Stanley Robinson, Rob Nixon and other speakers.  Wow..........wish I had known!  If they're having another conference next year, by golly, I'm going!  

Hearing Mr. Robinson speak I see that he is a visionary writer, very concerned in his work for the environment and the future...........and what a treat to hear him with Ursula Leguin, who has been my mentor, and has created worlds I've visited many many times, for 35 years.  

 Synchronicity, following the threads of Spider Woman..............leading me always to answers, in the same gestalt way that dreams can lead us to what we need to know or to affirm.   The "Rainbow Bridge", in Nordic mythology, was the bridge between the realm of the Gods and the Earth.  The Rainbow Bridge, to me, is also the vision that bridges together our human diversity, what Black Elk called "the Hoop of the Nations", into a common humanity.  It seems to me that building that Bridge, spiritual and practical,  in this time is, among others, the work of artists of all kinds, which Leguin and Robinson so eloquently elucidate.   What caught my attention enough to buy a little book led me to where I needed to go.   
 "Humans will be living differently in the very near future, perhaps occasioned by catastrophes brought on by overpowering forces of greed and climatic disintegration. But it’s also conceivable that we will choose, by acts of imagination and collective will, to create new narratives of how to inhabit the planet. This will require a radical re-imagining of who we are in relation to the world and how we ought to live. We have to be doing everything possible to end dependence on fossil fuels, stop the privatization of water, seeds, and the very atmosphere, and arrest climate chaos. But that work will fare better if we have tangible visions of new / old ways to live that promise thriving without exhausting the Earth. This symposium will engage the essential experiment, testing a different sets of ideas about how to live on Earth."


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I would love to see them in person. What a powerful message. I just lit a candle for your brother. May it all go smoothly, Lauren.

Rain-in-the-Face said...

On the theme of rainbows, bridges and Heimdall, there is a lovely Aboriginal dreaming story which tells how birds came into being when a rainbow shattered and its colourful shards fell to earth.

Some soul-candy and rainbow bee-eaters from down under.

lauren raine said...

Thanks to both of you. Strangely, there was the biggest monsoon rainbow I've ever seen over Tucson yesterday - Rainbow BRidge indeed, and I hope a rainbow for my brother to walk home on.