I watched a talk by an Indian woman where she describes the production of food and its consumption as the central process of life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzPyN_lAX6c#action=share
She argued that agribusiness, with its land and seed colonisation, fossil fuel-based fertilisers and pesticides, global distribution chains and waste, moving into ‘digital food’ controlled by Amazon, Google etc., creates death rather than life. Until we return to growing our own food there is no hope for life. It was a talk backed by research and remarkable in its clarity.
It’s easy enough to transpose the model into other fields, including writing and the production of literature, where there is the increasingly restrictive genre model and the production of books as commodities by global supply lines. They will often look attractive, be well made, involving even a gentle, feel-good catharsis; and then they are spat out, washed out, removed – leaving, like fast food, no memory. It squeezes out the ‘peasant’ production for the local market, this latter production telling the local story (seed) which defies genre classification, and which will often be about contradiction as experienced locally/domestically/tribally… the local product will require some chewing, leaves fibre between the teeth and requires some greater digestion.
Instrumentalism is a word used to describe production derived from the splitting of process into segments – the factory production line is the primary example. As the product moves along the line it is assembled by people or machines each doing one small task. It is more efficient than one person making something by themselves. But it also means technology is in control. This division of task, and thought and learning processes into segments is now very widespread and described as a culture of efficiency.
The only times I worked on a production line it proved soul destroying because I couldn’t think about anything. I couldn’t imagine.
And the loss of imagination becomes, I think, a widespread phenomenon.
Life versus death.
Increasingly that seems to be the issue.
Can we regain control of the central processes of life?