The UnFuturist Manifesto

[Another manifesto, re-posted from my blog. Vision. Can’t resist the urge I’m afraid. This one is based on Marinetti’s famous Futurist Manifesto of 1908-9 which glorified speed, violence, industrial technology, war and helped intellectually trail-blaze Mussolini’s fascism. The painting is, ironically, by futurist Giacomo Balla].


With face smeared in toxic gunk from the cars and factories, bruised, souls wrecked and decimated by wage labour, powerlessness and the total commodification of life, but undaunted, we declare our intentions to all living beings on Earth:

1. We intend to celebrate the love of relationship, the custom of interdependence, solidarity and mutual aid that still, despite capitalism, informs most people’s daily lives, AND the strength of daring, spontaneity and wisdom found in the wild

2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity, civil disobedience, non-violent revolt and patient attention to the filigree details of the present moment

3. Theory having until now often glorified insurrection, soldierly militancy and other macho antics, we wish to exalt the revolution of the slow, the wise, listening, the conflictual dialogue of give and take among peers with a wink and twinkle in their eyes

4. We declare that the splendour of the world cannot be enriched, that the human is also natural, that our technologies must be wise rather than smart, must be organically embedded in the great cycles, seasons and self-regulating limits of planetary wisdom

5. We will sing the praises of the countless invisible humans and non-humans that support and sustain the lives of all and we will sing them into visibility and participation

6. We say the poet and artist must today be a revolutionary of slowness, a seditious Trickster of dissonance and dissent to speed, self-marketing and busy fakeness, of ambiguity and paradox among the sirens of false harmony, distraction and bullshit sung by the old powers that be and the smart powers that want to be

7. We maintain there is no beauty and truth except in the radical non-action of struggle, a passionate, disinterested struggle for the transformation of transformation itself, for the courage to be, for autonomy and total democracy, i.e. self-management, in all social domains

8. We wish to throw this mind bomb into the busy cogs of the distraction machines: speed means to necessarily ignore, speed is ignorance, smart stupidity, a digital overwhelm and quantitative info tsunami that deadens feeling and suits the masters

9. We proclaim that to understand is to slow down, pay attention to qualities, relate, to connect the dots of information into meaning, and that this is analogue, an embodied qualitative process that cannot do without the free association of the six senses, triune brain and gut brain

10. Beyond bread and roses for all, we demand everyone’s right to the new subversive four S: slowness, solitude, silence, self-activity

11. We feel we are on the extreme cusp of the Eternal Now, as always, AND at an evolutionary bifurcation point or singularity: another flap of the invisible butterfly’s wings and we shall either enter a new Dark Age or else recover ourselves into wholeness, sanity, the common sense of the Commons and conscious interdependence, of freedom and self-organisation

12. We will glorify peace, the true utopian state of humanity, by making our means the same as our ends: non-violent dialogue, autonomy, self-management, mutual aid, solidarity, humour

13. We will end the commodification of life, wage labour, economic and political heteronomy and our own voluntary slavery; when we, not elites, finally call the shots, we will end hunger, war, all discrimination and ecocide, we will finally be free to listen to the silence of the stars

14. We will model the autonomy of our participatory society on nature: unity through the horizontal and decentralised self-organising of maximum diversity in free association

15. We will sing the great planetary web of interdependence, the soaring eagle and the slow snail, the invisible dark energy of bacteria that underpins forest, soil, ocean and makes up 90% of our own bodies, the billions of common men and women slaving away, caring, being helpful and decent to each other, wanting their children to be happy, sensing but not yet seeing the horizon of another possible world they themselves potentially are…

It is on this planet Earth that we proclaim this declaration informed by earth and fire, wind and water, and with which we today found UnFuturism, for we will free the planet of an un-future further ruled by commodification and botoxed bullshit, by the focus-grouped soundbite and obscene luxuries, by heteronomy and hunger, by total surveillance and war, by inequality, emptiness, despair and Fakebook.

Your objections? Enough! We know them.

Rather, think of this. You are a rational mystery. You are made of black holes and bacteria, supernovae and star stuff. All living beings on earth share a single-celled Last Common Ancestor and all humans derive from one woman living in Africa 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Only 10% of our cells are actually human, the rest are bacterial cells. We are super-organisms like the planet itself, and diversely One, in every sense, on every level.

Survival, the continuation of civilisation, now means seeing this. And acting on it, radically.

Be realistic, demand the impossible. One world or none.


ricknew's picture

Just saw this, I'll give it a read later today, thanks.

ricknew's picture

Wonderful, Peter, thank you.

Adding another riff from

The Charter of Transdisciplinarity

Basarab Nicolescu

Whereas, the present proliferation of academic and nonacademic disciplines is leading to an exponential increase of knowledge which makes a global view of the human being impossible;

Whereas, only a form of intelligence capable of grasping the cosmic dimension of the present conflicts is able to confront the complexity of our world and the present challenge of the spiritual and material self-destruction of the human species;

Whereas, life on earth is seriously threatened by the triumph of a techno-science that obeys only the terrible logic of efficacy of efficacy's sake;

Whereas, the present rupture between increasingly quantitative knowledge and increasingly impoverished inner identity is leading to the rise of a new brand of obscurantism with incalculable social and personal consequences;

Whereas, an historically unprecedented growth of knowledge is increasing the inequality between those who have and those who do not, thus engendering increasing inequality within and between the different nations of our planet;

Whereas, at the same time, hope is the counterpart of all the afore-mentioned challenges, a hope that this extraordinary development of knowledge could eventually lead to an evolution not unlike the development of primates into human beings;

Therefore, in consideration of all the above, the participants of the First World Congress of Transdisciplinarity (Convento da Arrábida, Portugal, November 2-7, 1994) have adopted the present Charter, which comprises the fundamental principles of the community of transdisciplinary researchers, and constitutes a personal moral commitment, without any legal or institutional constraint, on the part of everyone who signs this Charter .

Article 1:
Any attempt to reduce the human being by formally defining what a human being is and subjecting the human being to reductive analyses within a framework of formal structures, no matter what they are, is incompatible with the transdisciplinary vision.

Article 2:
The recognition of the existence of different levels of reality governed by different types of logic is inherent in the transdisciplinary attitude. Any attempt to reduce reality to a single level governed by a single form of logic does not lie within the scope of Transdisciplinarity.

Article 3:
Transdisciplinarity complements disciplinary approaches. It occasions the emergence of new data and new interactions from out of the encounter between disciplines. It offers us a new vision of nature and reality. Transdisciplinarity does not strive for mastery of several disciplines but aims to open all disciplines to that which they share and to that which lies beyond them.

Article 4:
The keystone of Transdisciplinarity is the semantic and practical unification of the meanings that traverse and lie beyond different disciplines. It presupposes an open-minded rationality by re-examining the concepts of "definition" and "objectivity." An excess of formalism, rigidity of definitions and a claim to total objectivity, entailing the exclusion of the subject, can only have a life-negating effect.

Article 5:
The transdisciplinary vision is resolutely open insofar as it goes beyond the field of the exact sciences and demands their dialogue and their reconciliation with the humanities and the social sciences as well as with art, literature, poetry and spiritual experience.

Article 6:
In comparison with interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity is multireferential and multidimensional. While taking account of the various approaches to time and history, transdisciplinarity does not exclude a transhistorical horizon.

Article 7:
Transdisciplinarity constitutes neither a new religion, nor a new philosophy, nor a new metaphysics, nor a science of sciences.

Article 8:
The dignity of the human being is of both planetary and cosmic dimensions. The appearance of human beings on Earth is one of the stages in the history of the Universe. The recognition of the Earth as our home is one of the imperatives of transdisciplinarity. Every human being is entitled to a nationality, but as an inhabitant of the Earth is also a transnational being. The acknowledgement by international law of this twofold belonging, to a nation and to the Earth, is one of the goals of transdisciplinary research.

Article 9:
Transdisciplinarity leads to an open attitude towards myths and religions, and also towards those who respect them in a transdisciplinary spirit.

Article 10:
No single culture is privileged over any other culture. The transdisciplinary approach is inherently transcultural.

Article 11:
Authentic education cannot value abstraction over other forms of knowledge. It must teach contextual, concrete and global approaches. Transdisciplinary education revalues the role of intuition, imagination, sensibility and the body in the transmission of knowledge.

Article 12:
The development of a transdisciplinary economy is based on the postulate that the economy must serve the human being and not the reverse.

Article 13:
The transdisciplinary ethic rejects any attitude that refuses dialogue and discussion, regardless of whether the origin of this attitude is ideological, scientistic, religious, economic, political or philosophical. Shared knowledge should lead to a shared understanding based on an absolute respect for the collective and individual Otherness united by our common life on one and the same Earth.

Article 14:
Rigor, opening and tolerance are the fundamental characteristics of the transdisciplinary attitude and vision. Rigor in argument, taking into account of all existing data, is the best defense against possible distortions. Opening involved an acceptance of the unknown, the unexpected and the unpredictable. Tolerance implies acknowledging the right to ideas and truths opposed to our own.

Final Article:
The present Charter of Transdisciplinarity was adopted by the participants of the first World Congress of Transdisciplinarity, with no claim to any authority other than that of their own work and activity.

In accordance with procedures to be agreed upon by transdisciplinary-minded persons of all countries, this Charter is open to the signature of anyone who is interested in promoting progressive national, international and transnational measures to ensure the application of these Articles in everyday life.

Convento de Arrábida, November 6, 1994

Editorial Committee: Lima de Freitas, Edgar Morin, Basarab Nicolescu

Peter's picture

Thanks, Rick. Yes, have come across Transdisciplinarity before, a very interesting perspective. Some of it reminds me of Ken Wilber's All Quadrants/All Lines (AQAL) approach. Part of the evolutionary movement upwards into a higher/deeper ('post-mental-rational') mindset perhaps...Have just read Wilber's Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, and found it very rewarding indeed...

ricknew's picture

Thanks again, Peter.

>> Be realistic, demand the impossible. One world or none.

We were watching "The Messenger" a doc on Netflix about song birds. At one point in the film it showed how local tracking of birds is now obsolete, birds don't recognize our borders, they are already one world, and trying to listen to them forces us to think the same way. I wonder how many other machines (like the bird tracking machine) could be designed to force us to think in such a way these borders become transparent. For instance, can we use the existing surveillance machines in such a way?

Peter's picture

We get Japanese snipes flying in in Spring to our farm dams, leaving autumn, connecting us with Siberia, Japan. But less now, their wetlands being increasingly destroyed...Koels, a large cuckoo, also fly in in summer from New Guinea/Indonesia.

ricknew's picture

Not sure why I missed your last post. Thanks for that :-)