Middlemarch

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When we can’t either ‘see’ or feel, when we are “astralized right out of the muddle of thinking into the practice of business as usual no matter what” (Haraway, 2016, p.36) – we can’t cope with this our cognitive ‘impairment’ on our own.  We all have to ask to be allowed into a conversation based on the collective thinking.

This summer I have been introduced to the ongoing event of “the all-too-ordinary urgencies of onrushing multispecies exterminations” (Haraway, 2016, p.37), when I found out that along the forest edge in a peaceful summer suburban settlement a massive wastedump was stretching over a 3 km distance. The depth of this dump is unknown. I only know that people were throwing their rubbish there for over 30 years under a slogan “We have no idea where else to throw”.

This forest is home to multiple species of animals  and plants, it is a place where my family and other families gratefully pick up mushrooms and berries during the summer-autumn period. I learnt about this dumpsite by chance and partly because I curiously look around patiently trying to hear the heart beat of a squirrel.

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.

George Eliot, Middlemarch

You cannot easily notice this ordinarily-horrible place just because for 30 years the fungi has grown into the waste, it being mixed with soil and grass and moss covering the human shame. My grief and hope were born when I saw a Mudworm – Lumbricus terrestris skillfully navigating through the bits and pieces of broken glass. He learnt how to survive in “blasted landscapes”, in “the ruins that have become our collective home” (Haraway, 2016, p.37).

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And as Haraway, I invite all responsible for this thought-to-be-unthinkable happening to learn to stay with the trouble, spiced up with an ability to mourn and appreciate this ability towards remembering mistakes and renewing our relationships with both humans and nonhumans around us.

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References

  1. Eliot, G. (1873). Middlemarch: a study of provincial life. New York: Harper and Brothers.
  2. Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham.

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