Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tales from the uncivilized world

The writings on offer are not those we have often grown up with but those which can make us feel grown-ups.

If you believe that we, as a civilization, are at a juncture from where the future looks certainly bleak, this title-less book is for you. If you are close to being convinced that tainted vision of the world is loaded with untrustworthy subjectivity, the writings in the book can surely stir your latent imagination. And, lastly, if you are not overtly averse to Ralph W Emerson’s words that ‘the end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization', the uncivilized writings – and poetry – in this volume will surely make you sit up, think and take note of. Dark Mountain (written as DaRk) stretches beyond what Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon called `bounded rationality' - the limited capacity of the human mind to comprehend objectivity. 

It is an enormously rewarding read but not an easy one. While some sections are easy to comprehend, others sections could be strenuous. Partly because you suddenly find yourself entering a world which you never thought it existed and partly because we are conditioned to reject what lies beyond our cognitive world. The way one looks at it, Dark Mountain could either be a book of despair or a testimony of hope. Undoubtedly, however, it could easily be the first step towards ‘unlearning’ – a rediscovery of ‘self’ which is not the ‘self’ that modern economics has taught us we have. 

Launched in 2009, this is the fourth book from the project that grew out of a feeling that contemporary literature and art were failing to respond honestly or adequately to the scale of our entwined ecological, economic and social crises. A growing group of writers, artists and thinkers contribute to each volume. The stories they offer are not those we have often grown up with but those which can make us feel grown-ups. 'If you are seeing the people by what they don’t have, then you are not seeing them'. The thrust of the argument is to see beyond, as there is a world waiting to be explored, perceived and understood. 

Dark Mountain questions our faith in progress and our unending belief in being control of literally everything. There is little sign of this myth crumbing any time soon, though. Yet, there is a need to acknowledge that we are living through uncertain times and that we alone have to deal with the consequences. Dark Mountain is a unique undertaking that nobody knows where it will lead to. Yet, it may be worth being part of this process of un-civilization.  

DaRk Mountain Book 4
by Dark Mountain Project, UK
Extent: 320, Price: £15.99

(Readers can help themselves learn more about the project by visiting

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