Friday 12 June 2015

Notes towards a conception of atmospheric diplomacy

More than a few interested parties have, in recent years and decades, detected a certain toxicity in the abstractions by which we think and live. The atmosphere bequeathed by modern thought is nowhere a pure one, nowhere obvious. Nowhere does it achieve a consistency or a simplicity that could condense into a solid ground for a definite 'we.' And yet everywhere are its deep-sunk insinuations felt. Plainly, no one has the authority to regulate or air-condition this pea-souper of concepts. And yet is it not for that precise reason that we might all be emboldened to try? We – that is, all dwellers of the dilapidated faux-palace; all the affected, all the concerned; all those who breathe the damp, questionable air.

For some, this diagnosis emboldens and prioritises the critic. 'We know from whence these toxins came and those satanic mills must be torn down, razed to the ground!' An understandable reaction. But what ground? Like so many castles in the heavy, choking air, there is no outside on which we could be sure to fall safely once the besooted brickwork comes a-tumbling. We are like birds but not 'free-like-a...'. We need an altogether different sensibility in order to work our way out of this kakosmic bind. A sensibility characterised by the prioritisation of obligation and attachment. An ethos of binds and bonds made flexible by their regular exercise.

To the critic's rage at established sentiments we must add the diplomat's patience with them. Not to preserve or celebrate the tawdry and regrettable skyline but to rebuild it – brick by leaden brick.