New Year, New Focus | Red Apple, Green Apple

by , under Apple, Emerging Church, Environment, Philosophy, Politics, Technology, Theology

BurntWood

Last year was about writing the book, due out in June. There’ll be more of that here in good time. But I think it’s clearer now what this year’s focus could be.

From some of the embers of Vaux a few of us began Apple, a series of conversations around ideas of technology and theology. We met three times over the winter, but for me I think it’s only now that the real direction of that is emerging, and it seems to have crystallised in the comments over the last few posts: “what is to be done?”

What I’d like to see Apple become (and there are other voices and equal influences who may take it other ways) is an evolving praxis around the core interconnected questions at the centre of human survival: how do we move beyond the perma-hunger of Capitalism, and how do we connect to an sustainable environmental agenda. Red Apple, Green Apple.

These do seem to be where the conversation about technology (tool-making and resource use) and theology have to go. In particular, over the last few posts I think I’ve personally hit upon a tension-space I want to map out more clearly:

Christianity has failed because it failed to generate a radical economics. Marx failed because he failed to understand the human spirit.

I am not a Marxist. I am not chasing after an ideology. Rather, I think there may be some energy in the ashes of both ideologies, a burnt alchemy that may create hope from these twin failures.

Experiments, collaborations, conversations… we will attempt to traverse these failed spaces with failures of our own close by. Why? Because the only answer to ‘what is to be done?’ can be ‘not nothing.’

Watch this space for dates, or follow AppleTMP on Twitter. We’ll be meeting soon in London to plot the way ahead. Homework until then: read Cradle to Cradle.


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  1. Alistair Duncan

    Kester,

    This all looks really interesting – count me in and there may be others in the garden too. And on top of what you already suggest I would want to toss in that in the way that marx critiques capital we need radical tools (such as eco-phenomenology and my old favourite Herr Heidegger ) that critique our relation to nature and that go radically deeper than environmentalism and sustainability – living shoots rising from the burnt alchemy maybe!

  2. Clare

    I’ve only been able to read the product description of ‘Cradle to Cradle’ but I couldn’t agree more with the claim that we need to “…take nature itself as our model for making things…” Nature doesn’t waste – all she creates can be safely absorbed back into her life systems. I think humanity’s failure to recognise (and/or respond to) this has been a fundamental flaw in so many of our modern designs.

    Moreover (for what it’s worth), I wonder if there’s a need to challenge the notion of progress. I’ve often felt uncomfortable at the unveiling of new technologies and the hyped-up claims that usually accompany these new innovations. There’s a sense that progress is good, wholly desirable, and that if you point out a weakness you’ve a wish for us all to go back to living in caves and using flints or something. Yet I sense a devouring spirit in much of what is deemed to be ‘progress’. Creating products which “…can be designed from the outset so that, after their useful lives, they will provide nourishment for something new – continually circulating as pure and viable materials…” is a step in the right direction but there’s still the issue of energy usage too.