Sixteen years ago whilst working a New Years Eve late shift at APTN I decided that the time had come to re-engage with some things that had engaged me 25years previously, and which then had been put aside by the arrival of children and a career.
Over the past few years I generally have one 'solid' non-fiction book on the go. This usually days a few months to read, sometimes more than a year, sometimes much less - but having just finished the latest I find myself reflecting how they have woven a strong thread that has changed me in response to the ideas they have expressed.
It took me several months but in October I finally finished reading Ervin Laszlo's 1972 book "An Introduction to Systems Philosophy" in which he builds the case for a new philosophy based on a systems approach to understanding the traditional problems in philosophy.
It is a somewhat technical work, but very rewarding if you take the time to understand what he is getting at, and the case he builds is pretty compelling. This seems a useful way of thinking about life, the universe, and everything.
Other recent writers have been marking out a similar path; currently I'm reading Jeremy Lent's latest work, "the Web of Meaning", which is a very accessible exploration of similar territory, although he doesn't explicitly reference Laszlo.
The current debates around what next for climate activism post COP26 (see Action In the Pipeline) could perhaps benefit from taking a systems approach to understanding the relationships between human society and the natural world in which it exists as well as the relationships between components of society and individual human psychology.
I've just finished reading Andreas Malm's latest book - "How to Blow Up a Pipeline" - it is quick and easy to read and makes several very interesting points. I'd recommend it as required reading for anyone who considers themself any kind of climate activist, whatever your attitude to non-violence and pacifism. This is not a book to change your mind, but it is a book to help you understand more aspects of the context within which climate activism must take place.
The first thing to say, in case you are in any doubt, is that the title is misleading - it is not a manual on monkey-wrenching, nor is it a call for the climate movement to change tactics - or at least not for everyone.
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