Twenty days after the government announced the end of confinement, we remain in uncertainty: if the epidemic loses speed, the virus still exists and we still have neither effective treatment nor vaccine. In any case, we know that a complete return to the way things were before is not possible and that pushes us to wonder about what constituted until then our “normality” our reality, to shake it up, to seek to redefine it, to think of it differently.
At a time of apocalyptic pessimism and contradictory and frightening forecasts, what if we consider that it is still the time to dream and reinvent everything? In a world that is becoming blurred, what about having a little parenthesis of well deserved dreams?
This is what offers the podcast project launched by the media Radio Nova at the start of the quarantine. A project that gives artists a voice every day to imagine the society of tomorrow. Reflections defined as “poetic utopias for desirable futures” which continued after confinement.
Considering May 11 (day of the end of confinement), as day 00, the project until then entitled “The World After” has thus changed its name to become “The Ark of Nova”.
Contrary to the prevailing pessimism, this project is defined as “a beautiful ship on a journey to the future” which embarks “a whole bestiary of artists for a deluge of good ideas in a post-confinement world”. Each day, in three minutes, one of the members of this particular crew responds with a voice note to the question: “What do you think could be changed for a desirable future?”
Sometimes the answers are light, sometimes they are more serious, but they all trigger thinking and develop our healthy imagination. As a remedy for anxiety and panic that paralyzes and prevents any action. Because how can we hope to build what we cannot imagine, what we cannot visualize?
We then embark on this on Ark with enthusiasm. A journey that feels good and that we, here at Carlin, wanted to share with you. Among forty audio and recorded messages since the end of March, we have selected three ideas for you. Three concepts to explore, taste and dream about.
1. “Slow life” apology : slowing down to counter liberal productivism
Jennifer Murzeau: “Tomorrow, we will give back to laziness its letters of nobility”
This Parisian journalist invites us to rediscover fulfillment outside of the act of working that our society has erected as a supreme moral value. The idea here would be to not work more than enough (“three hours a day, for the community”) and then to do nothing “but with passion”! Not working constantly would therefore not be a defect, but a more rational use of our time. An idea that echoes the “Right to laziness”, this manifesto of 1880 written by the economist and writer, Karl Marx’s son-in-law, Paul Lafargue.
Source : La Découverte
In this brief book he reminds us that the freedom to use one’s time is a fundamental freedom, that everyone should have the right to freely use time rather than be its slave. Paul Lafargue explains that workers intoxicated by endless days no longer have time to regenerate, physically and intellectually. Time has become money and philosophy and democracy become secondary to the economy.
Words that resonate strongly nowadays when the terms “bullshit jobs” and “burn-out” have become everyday vocabulary. The current crisis has allowed many people to rethink their connection to their work, the value and the meaning of it in their lives and in society. Our work rhythms are linked to the (infernal) rhythm of the consumer society. And in view of the global crisis that we are going through, we can at least hope for one thing: that these rhythms slow down to reach a healthier speed, that is more respectful of the people and the planet.
2. Re-connection with nature and thereby with ourselves
Élodie Milo: “Tomorrow, at each new moon, we will retire to a cave”
The musician Élodie Milo advocates here voluntary isolation a few days a month in symbiosis with nature. An introspective retreat inspired by prehistoric rites, to reconnect with nature, the invisible and its messages and our “witchy” nature, the wise part of ourselves. The meaning of the term “witch” is indeed linked to that of the word “wit” (Encyclopædia Britannica – 1957). According to Elodie Milo, we will then see premonitory dreams, clarity in relation to our personal decisions and new ideas for the community. This re-connection to nature can only go through a digital disconnection, “by turning off everything that sounds, everything that flashes and everything that vibrates” and by choosing to spend these moments alone.
No need to believe in magic: the most important thing here is the apology for chosen aloneness, as a powerful means of re-connection to the world around us and to ourselves. In our modern societies, loneliness is a scary notion, and all the social networks on which we are tirelessly connected show it. A kind of permanent flight so as not to have to be, to exist, simply with oneself. A concept whose meaning should then be rethought “Aloneness is not, as some believe, an absence of energy or action but rather a wild cornucopia offered by the soul. In ancient times, intentional aloneness was used to cure exhaustion and prevent weariness: a way to listen to your inner being” wrote Clarissa Pinkola Estés in her book “Women who run with wolves”(2001).
While the forced solitude between four walls of quarantine ends, what if we chose a few times a month to re-connect to this nature that we often took for granted (no need to go look for a cave, a green spot where we can sit for a few hours can be enough) and above all, to dare to be simply with ourselves (and realize then, that it is ultimately more beneficial than scary?) While spiritual retreats are multiplying, this quest for regeneration and inner wisdom through digital disconnection is not new. Elodie Milo simply offers us here a simple (and free) way to achieve the same result.
3. The necessary convergence of struggles for new revolutions
Sylvain Pattieu: “Tomorrow, we will knock down the walls of this fucking labyrinth together”
Writer and historian, Sylvain Pattieu compares our society to a labyrinth with “very high walls” stained with “blood” from which we never manage to get out. Faithful to the Greek mythology, our labyrinth-society would not be complete if we were not chased by a monster. A Minotaur whom the writer describes here as patriarchal, racist and ultraliberal, both “monstrous and ridiculous”.
But then how do you get out of it? Where, as in mythology, is our saving Ariadne’s thread? In his vision, the people justly get lost, finding diverse threads and not knowing which one to follow and to disentangle: ecological commitment, feminism, fight against racism, spirituality…
The only solution for the writer: the convergence of struggles, this idea of an aggregation of the struggles that cross society. For him, we will succeed in breaking down the walls of the labyrinth by acting collectively, by uniting beyond our different struggles, by recognizing a common enemy. We will then be “beautiful in our new clothes of red flag, green and rainbow shreds, mixed with bits of yellow vests”.
While since 2019, we have seen many fights, known the mobilization of the “yellow vests”, the movement against pension reform, major feminist demonstrations (with the association #NousToutes in France) and significant ecological mobilizations, (with activist Greta Thunberg, the manifestations of high school students, or even the actions of the “Extinction Rebellion” movement) this idea of a necessary convergence of struggles to change society seems more relevant than ever.
The convergence of struggles is a quest: that of going beyond one’s “self” to build a better future for all. The coronavirus crisis shows it: the world as it was must be rethought, reinvented. It is no longer the time to ignore everything that goes beyond our own personal concerns, it is time for collective action. To break down together the walls that separate us and oppress us. And build as allies, our desired futures.
In this post-quarantine world, beset by a constant stream of contradictory information which can paralyze us, the “poetic utopias” of the “Ark of Nova” project offer us parentheses of life-saving imagination, and remind us of the importance of continuing to dream, to be able to reinvent our society. Like some highly recommended small dream bubbles. To remember, when everything seems to be out of our control, that tomorrow’s world still belongs to us. So we ask you in turn: “What do you think could be changed for a desirable future?”