It might have been a while since you heard from us. But we’re Will and Jules!
We created The Phoenix Project where we are exploring the radical transformation of human life on earth required to avert climate, ecological and social collapse, and to build a free and beautiful society in the process.
From now we’ll be sending out a monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on what we’re up to, as well as sharing links, resources, books and ideas.
But first: what are we up to?
We both got back to London in August after running our Reclaiming Utopia workshop with groups around Europe. We’re jumping back into working for Extinction Rebellion in the run up to the October Rebellion. If you’re not signed up to participate and live in the UK: sign up here!
During the rebellion we will be running a co-created transformational space with daily experiences aimed at breaking people out of society’s dominant narratives and into inspiring new ones… watch this space!
What have we been exploring this month?
Where to even begin on our explorations of the past few months - let’s just dive in!
We spent a good while discussing the Social Ecology of Murray Bookchin as a framing for the transformation we need. His big idea is that you can’t separate the social structures of society (i.e. hierarchies / oppression) from how human society interacts with nature. If we oppress each other, most likely we will also oppress the natural world. Here’s a great video on the topic. And here’s a link to our social ecology notes.
Jules spent a while exploring community and co-operation as core features of a new narrative to replace neoliberalism. George Monbiot’s book Out of the Wreckage was a great introduction to this. Here are my notes.
We both have also been exploring how best to emotionally and intellectually respond to the possibility of the collapse of our civilization. This was something we explored in our workshop but has continued to pre-occupy us. Jules read Active Hope by Joanna Macy which suggests that we should respond with optimism based on action. If all we do is sit at home it’s so easy to get depressed by the state of the world. The answer: get active! Here are Jules’ notes on the book.
In running Reclaiming Utopia workshops, we have found that utopian narratives to be an incredible tool for visioning and attempting to build a better world. Will has also been exploring how our responses to collapse are closely related to our relationship with our own mortality. He has a blog post on that coming soon - stay tuned!
We’re going to try and suggest one podcast every month that we think is a must listen. This month we’re going for Daniel Thorson’s interview with Dr Douglas Tataryn. This is a very practical episode on emotional processing. We believe that an important part of becoming agents of social change in the transformation that we call The Phoenix (more info here), is connecting to our present-moment emotions and embodied experience as guides for how we should act in the world. But most of us (particularly men) have spent large parts of their life repressing their emotions. Dr. Tataryn provides a nice model and practice for releasing them.
That’s all for now - See you next month,
Jules and Will
P.S. Check out some of the poetry created at our workshop here.