Volume I _ A Prologue

Volume I _ A Prologue

by ALBERTO EMBRIZ DE SALVATIERRA

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias.
— Oscar Wilde

Disequilibrium, disharmony and discord—apt descriptions, one could argue, for the current state of affairs of our civilization. Never before has the human race been more connected, more capable and more informed than at the current moment. Yet, paradoxically, several millennia of aggregated understanding of these dynamics has not been effectively translated into reality. Current environmental pressures, social upheavals and contemporary warfare have highlighted the stark and urgent necessity for a more enlightened mode of thinking. While current ideologies fall short, an examination of untapped paradigms suggest the beginning of a better future. It is widely acknowledged that many of the organizational constructs that engendered modern society and formulated the ethos of our time, are now, unfortunately, visibly weakened and absent. This has accelerated the conversation to achieve—or at least work toward—utopia, not a lofty aim, but a prime necessity if humankind desires self-actualization and progress that is not only limited to the top of the social hierarchy. Religious bigotry, racial prejudice, sensationalist anti-intellectualism—these are behaviors we cannot and should not allow to continue. It is befuddling the degree to which we have been able to remain fairly cogent as nation, or on a grander scale, as a civilization, when the status quo is exploitation, ignorance and indifference aided by pursuits of wealth or power. Even more so the concept of scarcity, for example, is a completely fabricated notion that allows the cogs of current frameworks to continue: in reality, the earth can supply more than sufficient food, water and energy for our growing population. This is of course not to say we shouldn’t seek to curve our material growth. By some metrics, our current operating standards have already exceeded the carrying capacity of the Earth, and it won’t be too much longer until our transgressions catch up to us. So, what is there to do now? Surely current systems are unlikely to change and the best course of action is to enjoy life while still possible?

NO.

As a people, we believe it is our duty and directive to sustain not only our iteration of humanity, but ensure its survival for subsequent generations. The time to hide from a detached world we have brought about through excessive vice and behavior is over. Youth and maturity alike must begin to accept the roles that have been trusted upon us. We must adopt the mantle of game-changers if we wish to retain our comforts and our pursuit of happiness unobstructed. What exists is bathed in mediocrity. Let’s move forward to improve, redesign, and re-think the current paradigms and operating procedures of contemporary civilization.

So, we speak to you all: Adjuvants; Synergists; Catalysts.

Please join us as we take you on a journey of discovery, exploration and learning. Here, at Aesir Lab, we are assembling multi-disciplinary writings from a diverse set of individuals that we hope will contribute to the growing discourse we see as necessary for our modern era to reach its future.

Our writings will begin by featuring: 1) a read on the issues of modernity and statecraft as manifested in the ecovillage movement in Senegal; 2) a call for localism and social justice in the context of Astoria and other urban environments; 3) an examination of solipsism in America. Moreover, we seek to elucidate on the most thought-provoking mechanisms of western thought vis-à-vis systems for order and prosperity. Continuing we will have: 4) a look at the benefits inherent in delayed gratification; 5) an introduction on how to envision and promote landscapes that empower; and 6)a glimpse into an opportunity for Kathmandu, amidst its recent destruction, to rise a more inclusive city—we aim to go from west to east and back in pursuit of various topics. And finalizing with: 7) an exploration of  the legalization of cannabis in the American Mid-West; 8) a journey through organic viticulture farms in France; 9) a look at the state of robotics and artificial intelligence today; and 10) a discussion the role landscape architecture can play in our design of cities. Overall, we ask, “What knowledge systems or simple modes of cultural thinking are most beneficial to promote our longevity as a species?”

Aesir Lab’s first volume of writings will be released every Wednesday for the next 10 weeks. Read, peruse, or engage us in conversation. Examine what we have to say and share with us your own thoughts. If enthused, please join us at the vanguard to catalyze a much-needed syncretism for harmony and peace.

 

Alberto Embriz de Salvatierra can be reached at desalvatierra@aesirlab.com.

Dreaming the Dark Mountain: Time, Economy and Development in Senegal's Ecovillages

Dreaming the Dark Mountain: Time, Economy and Development in Senegal's Ecovillages