A little lonely, but I’ll kick off the discussion here…
Because naturally I’ve kept stewing on these themes over the past few days. This comment adds thoughts about decolonization and the role of critical thinkers.
Turns out in this post I might be talkin’ decolonization. As a broad pattern that could overturn (the cultural soil of) oppression and colonization.
About this resource
*IMO this source has issues with overgeneralization and bias. But it is an important perspective to read nevertheless.
Excerpt from the resource:
Decolonization is the ending of colonialism and the liberation of the colonized. This requires the dismantling of the colonial government and its entire social system upon which control & exploitation are based. Decolonization, then, is a revolutionary struggle aimed at transforming the entire social system and re-establishing the sovereignty of tribal peoples.
I could see how “decolonization” might be extended from the resistance of all colonized peoples to their colonization, to the global exiling of the colonizing pattern… that is, the “imperealistic” way of organizing people and resources would be rendered hopelessly “out of style.”
That I am suggesting that any human being can act as an agent of this transformation, by developing praxis to fight on behalf of Living/indigenous systems… and that one can find identification with Life/living patterns not only through exposure to adaptive relational cultural patterns, but also through intensive personal study, practice and reflection resulting in directly tapping into one’s own living “core” of truth, of Intuition… is hella radical.
Reading this zine, I am struck to see the ever-penetrating yet shape-shifting forms that imperialism takes upon peoples across the world. Reading the section on “Assimilation,” regarding the social/cultural coopting of a community’s leaders to serve the interests of the colonizer forces, I was struck by this thought:
Our greatest defense—globally-, fractally-speaking—right now might be to encourage the development of critical thinkers. (And in this commentary I am in the company too of bell hooks, whose books Teaching to Trangress I recently read.)
No matter where imperialism encroaches, if you have a people trained to identify and critically engage with the pattern, they become more capable of effectively defending against it. We are made , as humans, for pattern analysis. Our brains have developed for just such an advantage. In this way, communally teaching and studying the patterns that make social structures maladaptive would be like our ancestors learning which mushrooms are poisonous and which are healthy, or which snakes are dangerous and which are benign…
Critical thinking develops us… it opens our senses and allows for careful differentiation of phenomena in our environments. Critical thinking involves fine-grain parsing, “testing” for possible flaws in the claims, asserting our intelligence—or even just a subtle sense that something is not right—so as to become more fully human and unconquerable.
Critical thinking is not just deconstructing, however—it also calls for creative associations of unconnected ideas that may align or “stack” into higher order, surfacing more elegant explanations. In this way, critical thinking further fosters decolonization by effectively diversifying the field of ideas, as original critical analysis is a creative act, generating new inquiries, new angles, fresh insights.
I believe (and I know) that the development of the subtle skills for sensitive parsing and organizing of information—and the skills to generate broad creative associations that aid the production of new concepts and even, higher understanding of the patterns in our lives—are capacities the human mind can train for, and can progressively become extraordinarily successful and skillful at.
A community of active, discerning critical thinkers may be viewed as a proposed futurist survival tactic —akin to a human-social buffer against the proliferating weapon of oppression: disinformation. Quality of information and integrity of any activities involving the use of power would be vetted by the integrity of mutual-benefit relationships, carefully attended to and developed over time. Trust and distrust would be extremely useful in constructing filters relevant to small communities; however, practitioners would take responsibility for actively vetting their assumptions against subtle and gross interactions in their environment. Instead of being subject to our judgments like archaic humans, we’d be self-aware of their limitations, working with them and urging our minds to continue expanding, so we can keep innovating and thriving. From a bird’s eye view of the sociocultural shape, such a system might look like a strong distributed network of trust nodes, with information heartily circulating throughout.
If everyone was deliberately practicing and training in developing their skills for discernment and critical interrogation, we might be a more resourced and resilient humankind. Getting there will require great amounts of education and great amounts of praxis (applying theory into action and refining both theory and action reflexively). Let’s get to it, holy soldiers!
This zine is full of fervor and ideology. Ironically, I don’t think a generalizing universalizing ideology of any kind—no matter how strenuously “liberatory” it may claim to be in its ideological origins and nature—is going to unlock the potential to actualize decolonization en masse. The political education piece is important, but what will actually seal the deal is people willing to critique and interrogate claims put forth in any kind of political document, and not just supporting any text from a perspective that flatters their own. We need to cultivate people capable of generating their own curious questions, of reading between the lines to notice assumptions and of being able to pull them out of the text, whereas cruder readers might drift right by. We need to cultivate people independent enough of mind to call to attention to subtle gaps, errors and weak spots, yet who are also socially developed enough to commit to working through those differences in understanding to bring about eudemonic, integrative solutions.
PS - I’m helping organize a conversation among the campaigns that recently helped decriminalize entheogens in Oakland, CA and Denver, CO… Organizers of this talk (myself included) hope and expect that we will thoroughly grapple with the theme of decolonization of the plant, human beings and the culture regarding “what happens after decrminalization” in this conversation.
I had wanted to respond to your piece . . . hope to add more later . . . only wanted to let you know it is a core part of the second half of This Week in Cosmos 3. . . we are reading/listening/watching/responding out there somewhere!
This morning for some reason, I found myself bumping into some of these same organizational insights, reaching both " upward" and “downward” in their fractal resonances, downward being into the intra and upward being into the inter, on various scales. If this makes sense! Anyway, I am here to cheer you on in decolonoization of plants, not only mushrooms, but all the others, which will be de-colonoizing our minds and bodies, if we keep in right relationship with them, both up and down all the scales.
Wanted to add to the list of things needing constant decolonization: language…with all its built-in assumptions and impositions and reinforcements of dying splits between so-called opposites and so-called “fields of expertise” and thousands of other examples.
Your use here of “eudemonic, integrative” (instead of say, positive or productive) is a wonderful example of how language-practice can work on both the conscious and more-than-conscious levels.
Thanks for your de-demonization and pro “vibratory pollination” practices!