Wandering Through a House of Mirrors in ‘Emergency Time’:  Reflections on Fisher’s Reflections on Klein’s Reflections


 “I was in a Printing house in Hell & saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.

            In the first chamber was Dragon-Man, clearing away rubbish from a cave’s mouth; within, a number of Dragons were hollowing the cave. (Blake 1911, p. 63)

Fisher’s reflection [see FM ning Photo entry on this FM page] begins with Klein’s reflections on the importance of bringing grief and rage into our public oratory and educational praxes. Though she frames the issue in very relevant gendered terms—in terms of the ‘calm’ women are too often expected to embody when speaking truth to power—my recent experiences in the Geographical academy illustrate that this is a much deeper problem. I am a white man, but I have been facing the same calls for ‘calm’ and ‘civil’ discourse (in a number of cases by self described ‘geographical feminists’) as I have worked to authentically weave my emotions (which surely include grief and rage) into my writing. Here is just such a review, which I received from a purportedly critical Geographical journal called ACME:

“It is impossible to take this paper seriously. The angry, emphatic tone and mischaracterizations mitigate against taking this paper seriously.” (Anonymous Reviewer)

Klein (2019, Oct. 14) very aptly encapsulates my feelings about these pseudo-critical colonial geographers: “I truly don't give a shit whether I'm taken seriously by people I don't respect.” (p. 1) What the reviewer viewed as ‘mischaracterizations’ were my critiques of the colonial ‘ontological violence’ (Blaser 2014) implicit in the reduction of reality to passing time and physical space that typifies contemporary Marxist/Historical Materialists and Post(most)Modern Feminist Geography. This is of course a very apt characterization that is shared by many decolonial scholars and activists, but the genocidal nature of dogmatically materialistic cosmologies/ontologies is starkly impossible to think (Foucault 1994) for scholars who are subjugated to C.M. Worldview(s)[1]… (Barnesmoore 2018) Anyway, the important part of the review in this context is the argument that an ‘angry, emphatic’ tone somehow negates the seriousness of academic writing. Following from the colonial ontology established by canonical cosmological/ontological texts like Genesis and Plato’s Republic, and clearly reflecting the religious ontology of heaven and hell problematized by Blake’s (1911) Marriage of Heaven and Hell, ‘serious knowledge’ is assumed to be dependent upon dominion of the heart by the mind (upon dominion of desire by reason, upon dominion of the moon by the sun, upon dominion of the masculine by the feminine. upon the dominion of dark by light, etc.). These pseudo-critical scholars may purport to have left behind the sickly religious past of dominant western society for ‘scientific secularism’, but their vision of ‘proper academic writing’, of proper educational praxis, of proper language, of proper ways of engaging in public discourse, etc. still very clearly embody the sickly ontology of dualism that has plagued the earth since we ate of the fruit of the tree of good and evil and came to conflate natural dualities like light and dark (wherein both polarities are good) with the progenitor of sickly, hierarchical dualities, ‘good vs. evil’. So Klein is right—this vision of proper public discourse/ academic writing/ educational praxis is surely rooted in the patriarchal cosmologies/ontologies of the dominant stream of western civilization that conquered and colonized the planet for the fallen trickster who masquerades as Creator in the Old Testament and Rome’s perverse, patriarchal, domineering rendition of the good news brought to Earth by Jesus,[2] but this vision it is not just being weaponized against women. It is being weaponized against anyone who fails to fulfill the ontology of attainment (of virtue, of ‘serious knowledge’, etc.) through subjugation of desire/emotion to Reason, through subjugation of the lunar twin to the solar twin, (Four Arrows 2010; Four Arrows 2014) against anyone who fails to fulfill the teleology of the ascent to ‘Rational Man’ that has typified dominant streams of western narrations of human teleology. (Foucault 1972)

            Why is it so important to bring rage, grief and other such authentic emotions into our educational/ research praxes? Because emotion/desire/instinct, at least when expressed through a healthy, non-colonized heart, (Meng Zi 2016, 2A6) is essential for understanding the moral/ethical quality of our experiences. Reason is useful for interpreting the logical order of facts/ relationships between facts, but we need ‘arational’ (Bickel 2005) ways of knowing to interpret the moral/ethical quality of facts/ relationships between facts.

“…My senses discover’d the infinite in everything, and as I was then perswaded, & remain confirm’d, that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for the consequences but wrote.” (Blake 1911, p. 60)

We also need to bring rage and grief into our educational praxes because those emotions are a reality in the marginalized communities we should be using our privilege to work for. Many marginalized people don't have the privilege to have the emotionless, ‘civil’ discussions that are assumed as proper within C.M. Worldview(s), as many marginalized communities don't have the privilege of living a ‘nonviolent’ life… The emotionally sterilized environment and subsequent fear of emotion in the dominant spaces of the academic world are essential factors in the failure of academic scholarship to honesty and authentically reflect the world we are trying to understand. Even in more critical wings of the academy where many call themselves post-positivist we still too often uphold the positivist ethic in our visions of proper academic writing, proper pedagogy, proper discourse, etc.

Why do I write? Who do you write for?

I’ve been this way since I was small.

When people were whispering but wouldn't say it aloud, id scream to the heavens what was already well known to the crowd.

That’s just the way I am, no other way have I’ve been—the trick begets transformation by disturbing the stifling tranquility of the pattern that’s in place.

The trick can take many forms, but in the context of the many-vectored crisis we are now facing—in the context of our problems being so rooted in the unnatural sleep that takes hold when our minds conquer and colonize our hearts—in the context of so little time before we have gone too far—in the context of the ongoing genocide of the earth, from the stones to the rivers to the oceans to the mountains to the plants to the animals and to all that which is beyond our comprehension—in the context of ‘both sides’ of the MegaMachine’s left-right duality adhering to the same sickly ontological assumptions concerning evils of human nature and the subsequent need for hierarchical domination (e.g. punishment and fear of punishment, conquest and colonization of ‘the other’, ‘man’s dominion over earth’, etc.) to beget virtue that got us into this problem—in the context of no one actually challenging the western legal system and its underlying, Roman Christian ontology of virtue/justice through punishment and fear of punishment—in the context of the absurd choice between hierarchical spirituality and hierarchical materialism, which simply reflects the disconnection from spirit begotten by our history of hierarchical spiritual traditions—in these contexts, the trick has to evoke emotion.

It has to awaken,

and that’s a different process than going to sleep.


So why do I write?

Because there’s war in the air.

It has been there for millennia as the MegaMachine’s spread its hierarchical web across the Earth.

There has long been a war surrounding earth consciousness of which we are but a single manifestation.

It is much bigger than us,

But for us it has been a war over worldview(s), over the basic assumptions about the nature of reality at structure our potentials for answering all other questions. The question of cosmology—of the origin of the first relationship and the pattern set forth therein. The question that structures our potential for answering all other questions.

It has been a war for the story that will narrate our existence, for it is our stories that carry our worldview(s). It's the basic structure of the relationships that are embodied by the characters in the story—by the ‘chosen people’ or ‘chosen kings’ or ‘God’ or whatever that plays the role of the ‘good guy’ who conquers the ‘evil other’ in the sickly stories.


In truth we are both one and many and evil has no basis in the eternal—there is no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides of the duality—only two good sides, the light and the dark, which in truth are one before they can be seen as two.

A student said that, in his 5th year of university, he had never been asked to answer the question ‘what is real?’

We as educators have failed that student.

 How can such a fundamental question, a question that surely structures our potential for relationships (we treat plants quite differently when we know they are spirited), have never been posed to this student?

So many statements about ‘myth vs. reality’ being made—so many jokes at the notion of people ‘believing’ in ‘ghosts’—so many discursive wounds carved silently into the minds of our students—but never have they been asked to look at the part of themselves that has been wounded by these discursive thrusts. The archons are too busy ‘inoculating the students with facts’…


There’s war in the air, a species has likely gone extinct while I’ve been writing, a new language may have died, a new oil well might have begun the process of cultural genocide—yet again, so often again that it can not be seen as ‘again’—its always in process.

I am not here to pander to hierarchical spiritualists, and I am not here to pander to people who have come to embody the separation from reality beyond passing time and physical space that arises from hierarchical dominion. I am by no means here to pander to anyone who accepts the legitimacy of western legal systems and their order of virtue/justice through punishment and fear of punishment. I am here in the hope that I can inspire but a drop of hope in the hearts of those who have not yet succumbed, those who live on in this world through what Four Arrows describes as the courage of hopelessness—who can be hopeful about the future even while being hopeless about the system as it presently exists and the world by its relationship with the hierarchical ontology of the system. Think of me as the Lorax, for I too speak for the trees. One of the most special aunties I have ever known runs a ‘voice for the voiceless camp’ up in the mountains here on the west side of Turtle Island. She too speaks for the trees. Our medicine is different, but I do my best to emulate what I have learned from the aunties and grandmothers who still remember what it means to be human—they are fierce, and they will eat you, for you are endangering their cubs. I do my best to emulate what I sensed from the grandmother bear who lives in the land of the tallest mountains where the first rain falls and flows down through the rivers to the sea. I’m not where you’re from, not many times over. I’m not from anywhere, and I have wandered many paths—many that are not talked about, many that are hidden from view, many that have been forgotten. The dragons are here, and the queens of owls are rising—the medicine’s almost ready, it can already be found if you know where to look, its been stored away for many an age by many a monk on a mountain, its passed all but unscathed through the fallen age and we’re ready for its revival, we still can be free if we try, but first we must die from the worldview(s) that riseth from the will-to-dominion in of the Land. Of the body. Of the soil. We must overcome the fear to die, to let go of the attachment to our present conception of self—of a sick ego—which quivers when its existence is challenged. But in nature we see, from flower to seed, that death is only the precursor to rebirth. When our sense of self dies a new sense can be born. Still I fear those moments of death sometimes—they recall moments when the fear arose from the potential for death of my body rather than my sense of self, moments where it would not have been well to embrace the form of death that confronted me—think not that I am foolish enough to believe that the above does not pertain to me. We are our relationships. I exist in relationship to the MegaMachine and the many sicknesses it has begotten in our world and beyond. I cannot but be but sickened by that relationship, as we all are. If I throw stones at a glass house then it is surely my own—the folly I was once foolish enough to accept as truth. I know that all humans are by their nature good. I know that most people retain much of that connection no matter how deeply their life has been influenced by the MegaMachine. My anger is not at individuals—my anger is at the webs of sickly ontology in which they are enmeshed. When individuals embody those webs in a domineering way towards me they draw my ire, but even then I would sacrifice my life in a heartbeat if it were to prevent these individuals from facing the horrendous cruelty of the MegaMachine’s torture chambers. We are one. I am angry at the sickness that has engulfed this planet. I am angry at whatever beings may have played a conscious, intentional role in fomenting that sickness for the sake of domination. I am angry at people who wield the hierarchical power of the MegaMachine at me, but it is precisely the part of them that is not them—that is the machine—which makes me mad. Manifestations a tricky place for communication, and it can be hard to convey two points at once when the points evoke opposing sensations, so let me state it clearly, on its own, at the end as it should have been in the beginning—however much I may detest the machine and people who come to embody its sickly ontology, I love you.

The Writing Embodies the Sickness

The writing embodies the sickness. The anger. The sharpness. The writing should embody the state of consciousness, and the state of earth consciousness is sick. We should not try to hide our imperfections behind a veil of roman civility… behind the crypt constructed by dominion of the heart by the mind… behind the veneer of scientific ‘objectivity’, or whatever that has mutated into… behind the veneer of the MegaMachine’s detached rationalist mentality… We should speak with our heart in the public square of the global digital commons so that the storm can fulfill its role in the natural order. The storm blows through, a bit of destruction ensues, and a place is made for the growth of something new. And then we get on with our life. A wise aunty once told me that courage comes in speaking your story as truthfully as possible. I think another facet of courage in this world comes in not telling stories that disrupt the pattern in places where the pattern shouldn’t be disturbed, but few such sacred places remain in this world. Anyway, we should be courageous and tell our story to the best of our abilities. We should listen when others do the same. We should reflect on what others have said. And then we should go on telling our story, which always changes through reflection, as truthfully as we can.

            If we are to tell our story as truthfully as we can in this world, then we must tell our story in a manner that reflects our state of being. Don't wait until your emotions have ‘calmed down’ to write. Bring emotion into contact with mind through the creative act and write down what you are thinking. Publish that. Let the text then evolve over time, through reflection. That’s an authentic writing practice—it embodies the actual process of transformation occurring in the subject, the raw and unadulterated emotions and thoughts of the experience. The actual story. Some will leave. Others will be drawn to such an expression of truth, even if they don't agree. But in any case a new sense of liberty will be actualized within. Unencumbered by the fear of punishment that the MegaMachine has sought to instill within us since the day we were born, we can return to something of the childlike voice that use to ring from our mouth when we were not yet so tainted by this world. When emotion and mind were not severed and we said whatever was on our minds. There will of course remain contexts where things can’t be written about, but we can always find an abstracted way to express the underlying emotions and insights.

As for me, everyday I walk through a landscape that glorifies the MegaMachine’s genocidal relationship with the earth’s one and many being(s), too often under the veneer of ‘environmental sustainability’, which is too often to say sustainable dominion of the earth—in a landscape where the banality of evil has such a tight grip that people have become unaware of what the landscape’s many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual features connote—and as I walk through this landscape at times I cannot help but become angry. Indeed, it’s precisely in the times when that dogged fury becomes woven into the streams of my mind and sings forth through my voice that the artistic magic starts flowing. That’s not the only emotion that can be woven with mind to beget the sacred form of speech that emerges from wedding the heart with the mind, but in the contexts of life in relationship to the MegaMachine its an all to prevalent emotion. How can I do justice to the voice of a landscape that is filled with anger if the voice that I use to speak through my writing is not itself angry? I think this is a big part of why the social sciences have, when taken as a whole, so drastically failed to deliver socially just outcomes for humanity. From the days of its positivist origins social ‘science’ has been hampered by its inability to account for the emotional and spiritual dimensions of human existence—the parts that cant be measured or be used to measure, the ‘bad’ side of the sickly hierarchical duality… Though positivism is said to have been vanquished by the ‘critical turn’, the positivist ethos is still alive and well in academic culture and the way that we communicate in academic writing. We remain in a disenchanted world. (Herman 2008) Emotion is still not allowed to breach the sacred temple of reason, be it in writing or in our classes. Emotion has become so foreign that students complain about the few teachers who retain the capacity to feel and cry about the sad topics they are lecturing about. We can’t say that we haven’t been warned. Blake warned us in the 1790s—he told us about the dangers of becoming trapped in the straight lines of modernist improvement and forgetting the sacredness of the crooked paths of natural genius. (Blake 1911) People from across the spectrum of human existence have been telling us for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years. We can’t say that we haven’t been warned of what happens when the straight lines of the mind are not balanced by the crooked paths of the heart’s natural genius. The consequences are right in front of us. We can’t say that we haven’t been warned.

Anyway—the writing should embody the present state of being, and in the present state of the world—with that orange pedophile piece of shit dancing around in a shit filled diaper through the rose garden screaming ‘I am the King of Israel, shoot the Muslims with bullets covered in pigs blood’—emotions like anger are never too far off, and so the writing comes to embody them. I encourage everyone to consider writing like this. Feathers may be ruffled, but new feathers grow each year and molting season inevitably comes. Leaves will blow on an autumn day, but new ones always grow back in the spring. If we didn't hide our emotion so much it wouldn’t ruffle so many feathers when someone dares to show them. I heard someone say that most people just feel embarrassed when they react in an overly emotional way—as though that is an acceptable outcome—as though people being lead to be embarrassed because emotion lead them to honestly express themselves without fear of punishment is a good thing… Emotion begetting the courage to tell one’s story truthfully is a good thing. If we cant tell our stories to each other truthfully then we cannot get angry about and resolve the aspects of our stories that are in tension. If we cannot do that, then we cannot coexist. Censorship does not facilitate harmonious coexistence, for if people cannot honestly express themselves in the public square then the storm can never come, and if the storm never comes no space is made for new growth and stagnation sets in. When we are enthralled to sickly worldview(s) stagnation implies death. If we don't change this earth will become, if not uninhabitable, all but bereft of the incomprehensibly diverse web of beauty that once graced this earth. We will, if we don't go extinct, become wholly assimilated to the MegaMachine—we will truly loose our ability to feel, to love, to be virtuous. I can assure you that death is preferable to life in a cage, that people who argue the death penalty is some horrendously heinous offence and instead promote life in an American prison cell are, at best, delusional. I keep rambling along side trails—that's the way of nomadic wandering. The things that I find as I write down these side paths often end up seeming more important than the path I had originally intended to take. But, to return to where we started, lets return to more enchanted writing and throw of the shackles of positivist social science—not just theoretically—but in a grounded sense through way that we write and teach. We need to stop hiding our emotions, to strive towards the courage of telling our story as honestly as possible. Only then can we do justice to the topics we are writing about. Only then can we embody the natural order. Only then can we remember how to be virtuous.

Returning to my reflections on Fisher’s reflections on Klein’s reflections, Fisher argues “Klein has led often the populist ‘feelings’ (perception) of an absolute ‘emergency time’ (seemingly a neurotic relationship to linear time) frame to overall existence.” The all too colonial, reductively linear vision of time that has been pushed upon the world through subjugation to the MegaMachine (Mumford 1967; Mumford 1970) and its C.M. Worldview(s) is thus posited as the cause of this vision of the present moment in history as ‘emergency time’. No doubt the illusions of linear time, of death from the world of linear time as an end to existence and the fear of ceasing to be that rises therein play a role in leading from a vision of the present as ‘emergency time’ into pathology, but I happen to share Klein’s vision of the contemporary moment as ‘emergency time’ and think we can recognize the emergency and necessity of acting in a decisive manner that sheds the emotionally sterile visions of proper discourse, writing, educational praxis, etc. without falling into pathology.

In marginalized communities around the world it is and has long been emergency time. Children are starving to death, are being trafficked by western billionaires to sate their perverse, domineering, pedophilic desires, are being shot on a daily basis, are shooting people on a daily basis. Our species may be on the edge of extinction, but for the untold number of species that have already gone extinct we have long been living in emergency time. My point is simply that there is a great danger in denying the reality of the present moment as ‘emergency time’. I often hear arguments about how the sickly perversities of the MegaMachine’s colonization of the Earth are part of a natural step in earth’s evolutionary journey, and I worry that viewing the present as anything but an emergency is only possible when we view the history of the MegaMachine as evolutionary. Take, as a counter vision, the words of Marcus Waters:

“As a First Nation Aboriginal Australian I consider agriculture not the beginning of civilization but instead the beginning of the end of civilization...” (Waters 2017)

If we view the history of western colonialism and its antecedents like Roman Christianity’s conquest and colonization of Europe as a natural part of history, then it becomes possible to see the present moment as something less than emergency time, but if we view this history as the progression of a devolutionary sickness (hierarchical consciousness) and we view this moment as the last chance (in this iteration of the emergence of self-aware Earth consciousness [Reclus 1905; Cajete 2000]) I think it becomes hard to view the present moments as anything other than emergency time. It is only when we deny that we are in emergency time that stale old liberal-democratic arguments about gradual generational change through ‘civil’ discourse (i.e. discourse in which the heart has been subjugated to Reason) can persist.

Real is not the Absence of Change[3] 

“…Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order. At least spare us their morality when we write.” (Foucault 1972, p. 17)  

We can always die and be reborn.
Don't let anyone convince you that you’re not free.

The way that we look is one thing,

but the paths that we’ve walked are what make us sing.
Its not that there are things we can’t teach about,
but that we must teach about things from the perspective of our relationships therein.
We relate to these lands.
We can always teach about that relationship.
We have a responsibility to do so.

The flesh need not die for us to be reborn.
We do it everyday.
We are our relationships.
We can assign readings that arise from this landscape.

We can talk about how our new relationships inflect the way that we read the things we have been reading for years.
We can talk about how our new relationships have transformed the way that we think about the things we have written. We can honestly relate to readings, new and old—authentically, the good the bad and the ugly.

Generational change isn’t linear. It’s not unidirectional. The younger generation may bring new insights, but these insights are for not if the older generation is too stagnant to reflect the change in relational ontology that arises from these new relationships. It is reflection of the insights of younger generations by the older generations that gives force to the generational change.

We need you.
Not dead and gone, but open to the death and rebirth that occurs every day through formation of new relationships.
We are our relationships.

We do not have a discrete intrinsic ontology, let alone one derived from our physical identity. We are our relationships. Every time we form a new one our subjectivity dies and is reborn. We need you. Not dead and gone. We need you here. Reflecting the new state of being that arises from your relationship to the generational change. Without you the generational change lacks force. The web derives its integrity from all the points of relationship between the different strands. Without you the web would collapse.

We need you.
We love you.
And we sure don't want you dead and gone.

We are one, nə́c̓aʔmat ct.

Returning to my wandering path through this house of mirrors, the reality of ‘emergency time’ in our present moments of linear time does not have to be rendered as pathological by reduction of reality to passing time and physical space. We can instead balance the ‘emergency time’ that rises from viewing the present situation through the lens of linear time with the ‘nonemergency time’ that rises from viewing the present (or indeed any) situation in terms of the Eternal and Cyclical time. When we understand time as a relationship between the Eternal, the Cyclical and the Linear we remember that this is not our last chance, and that even if we fail we will have nothing-infinite ‘other chances’ along the many timelines of the 5th dimension (where all the moments of 4th dimensional time exist as a single moment [Nicole 1998]). We can balance the realities of the emergency we face in linear time, the emergency of the potential for/ fear of ceasing to be, with the realities of cyclical time and eternity (wherein there is in some sense no potential for or thus fear of ceasing to be). We can transition from fear to fearlessness and thus transcend pathological visions of emergency time.


[1] Artificial-Domineering Worldview(s) (A.D. Worldview[s]) assume that the order of (human) nature is ‘evil’ and that virtue/justice are thus dependent upon punishment and fear of punishment. One of the central streams of ontological continuity that draw A.D. Worldview(s) into coherence is the hierarchical ontology of dualism that assumes attainment (of virtue, of ‘serious knowledge’, etc. depends upon domination of the heart (desire/emotion) by the mind (Reason). C.M. Worldview(s) synthesize the hierarchical, domineering dogmas of A.D. Worldview(s) with reduction of reality to passing time and physical space.

[2] Jesus argued that we could have virtue/justice through love rather than punishment and fear of punishment. Jesus handed on the tradition to a woman, Mary Magdalene, in an attempt to destroy the patriarchy through wedding the polarities of heaven and hell… Peter, a patriarchal butthole, was jealous that a woman had been the confidant with whom Jesus shared his deepest mysteries, and the Church of Peter very clearly followed in Peter’s patriarchal footsteps in reducing Mary to a prostitute and defining love in terms of punishment/ fear of punishment so as to negate the ministry of Christ.

[3] Chronixx.

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  • Not I, nor I think Luke here, are attempting to convert anyone to one particular rigid position in how to handle, manage, transform the future of eco-fear. But Luke, even if in his own philosophical way, is pointing to a wise direction I believe that may correct some of the pathologies I detect in environmental, emergency, crises discourses today, especially re: climate change. Luke says in this piece: "We can instead balance the ‘emergency time’ that rises from viewing the present situation through the lens of linear time with the ‘nonemergency time’ that rises from viewing the present (or indeed any) situation in terms of the Eternal and Cyclical time."

    What we'll need to see more of is this real "balance" ... (?)... fearlessness as path is one major way to do this... 

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