Note — Oct 18, 2020

Kim Stanley Robinson on Inventing Plausible Utopias

Short but intriguing interview of KSR by Eliot Peper where they talk about Robinson’s new book in which he proposes a kind of utopian vision of how we might negotiate climate collapse. They also touch on “structures of feeling,” how capitalism devalues the future, the relation between science and science fiction, giving up on purity, and being mongrels. It’s followed by a tantalizing excerpt of The Ministry for the Future.

The giving up on purity (and mongrels) answer was perhaps the most useful for my own thinking. I’m usually attracted to mentions and examples of hybrids, as well as often disliking the too perfect, the too polished. I’d never thought of it from the purity angle but perhaps it’s a dislike for things that are too pure? Slice of my own life I guess but mentioned here in case it mirrors some of your own preferences.

[E]ven in the face of tremendous complexity and overwhelming odds, agency matters. […]

So the moment we’re living through now is a kind of interregnum, the space between two moments with their respective structures of feeling. The in-between can be acutely uncomfortable but also a space of freedom as old habits have ended but new ones not yet been settled. […]

I think the pressure to adapt to reality will include international institutions, because it’s a global existential crisis. And new organizations and even types of organizations are being invented all the time. […]

Stop believing in purity, and abjure the righteousness of that feeling, which so quickly becomes righteous indignation. These feelings are addictive brain drugs, but harmful to clear thought and action. We are mongrels on a mongrel planet, it’s all a mix always swirling together, so go with that and embrace difference and mixtures.