Both me and Inma read Robin Wall Kimmerers book Braiding Sweetgrass in a reading retreat Zoom-session we attended together, and when we did, Inma said ‘This book is filled with what we’ve been talking about in our pod-conversations with Matthew’. I just started reading it, and even after only reading thirty pages, I totally get what she pointed to.
No surprise then that Robin Wall Kimmerer made her way into this, our third conversation, too, and when Matthew exclaimed “I’m all for not littering but ‘leave no trace’ is taking it a step to far” I am totally with him.
Humans are a part of the life inhabiting this earth, and as such, we are leaving a trace, as we should, along with everything else. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every trace we’re making is beneficial and appropriate, not at all, but… to go so far as to live here, thinking we are the scourge of the earth. Nah. That just doesn’t sit well with me.
In conversation in terms of ”What do we do now? What’s happening? How is it gonna end? Is it going to end?” it’s easy to be cynical, pessimistic, to lose hope. It looks really dire because it is.
Without discounting the gravity of what’s going on in the world, in the relationship between human humans and the earth, the consequences of all our actions… Like I said, without disregarding the gravity of that, there’s also space for optimism ~Matthew Word Bain
But that wasn’t where we started our conversation, recorded on January 4th. No, we started with God fortsättning, a Swedish term you’re to say when it’s no longer deemed appropriate to say Happy New Year. God fortsättning kind of translates into Happy continuation, wishing people a good time to come, after the new year has come and gone. From there, we dove into languages, accents and the attitude they carry, how we come to define and know ourselves, and how that’s related to memory, or rather, what we have forgotten about ourselves, spinning us into a long meander about how we are shaped by ourselves and our surroundings.
Like always ‘when we just step into the water together, we allow flow to emerge [so] that we can’t not talk about something interesting and of substance and to have it cohere’ which Matthew said towards the end. Inma immediately agreed ‘we are able to navigate the conversation in a way where things that I’m popping on right now in my mind are going to be there somehow, even without an agenda’. It’s a treat to be a part of such meandering conversations as these, and I have a feeling you will find a piece of tankespjärn or two.
Iain McGilchrist on The Coincidence of Opposites