The Holocene is a 10,000 year old old Social experiment.
Something happened at the end of the Younger Dryas the last Ice Age, something big.
Pre industrial humans, lived in a total different syntax, a connected world. Built on oral traditions and a body of knowledge, their mindset is so foreign to us, that we can no longer conceive the world like they did, or even imagine how they conceived the world themselves. Having travelled extensively, living and working in some of the most marginal areas of society, in raw landscapes, focusing on a unique brand of research into human mechanics, gave me some insights into what possibly happened at the starting days of the Holocene. The picture is so far from what traditional science paints, it could only be viewed as a sort of myth.
I ask myself, how can you tell a story if you do not start at the beginning, how can we understand where we are at right now, if we can not go back to the initial spark, the thing that ignited our civilisation?
We are standing at a strange point in time, our world is at peril, you can not isolate one subject in order to fix it, because everything is wrong, it is so wrong I can not even start talking about it coherently, not if we do not go right to the very start.
The world view of earlier people was very different to ours, in it everything was connected. A belonging to a place, to a people, to nature where all elements of the same thing.
Older mindsets existed in one body, a world with no separation. In that world nature was part of man, and he was part of nature. Earlier people used to have a world map for navigation in which they knew the smallest movement of earth, the changes on the bark of trees, the setting of the starts in the night sky and the rising of the sun.
Their histories were built as a never ending stretch of myths, in which a person would have known of all of his ancestors going back some 20,000 years. Polynesians navigators to give one example, even until recent times, were called wayfinders, navigating impossibly large stretches of empty ocean to the smallest of islands in the pacific, without any given instrument. To us this accomplishment seems an impossibility, that is until they explained how they do it; Following the setting of stars, reading the criss cross patterns of waves crushing on swells in the ocean, and doing so with the feeling of their body only. They did not even need to look at the ocean!
The most amazing thing is that they held a moving map inside their head and body, in which a far away island lying some 2500 miles, was not fixed in place. To arrive to it they needed to navigate a moving world, the rotating sky and the movement of sea, the birds told them where they were, that is if they got off their route by mistake. That is only because we have met this knowledge at its very last days. Imagine that a navigator like that could cross the open ocean without even having to look at the sea, or the sky. Having a moving Island as an image in his mind, one he can constantly relate to, knowing where he was, in those days they did not make mistakes.
This is why it is so hard to take one element in our current world, and to try and fix it, that is because everything is wrong. To the ancients the world was not made of separate phenomena, everything related to everything else.
There is a whole forgotten world of nature law, and weather magic, where humans used to create and “farm” their own weather, so much is lost, and everything is wrong, so wrong that whole cultures disappeared before they could even tell us one thing. We who “conquered” them, think we have always been better, otherwise why did they not say anything. They did not say anything because all of it is wrong, they were caught time and time again in our headlamps, not understanding how we can do the things we do, while they contemplated, we took over. They did not say a word, and that is because it was all so wrong, so wrong they could even start one sentence to explain how extorted it all is to us, so we thought they are simple minded. I think that in truth it is possible whole cultures disappeared like that, not understanding how to event start talking to us about the problem, incredulous of the way we carried ourselves, poof. We took them out.
Those were our own ancestors. Now after 10,000 years of working their inventions, we are talking about climate change as a separate phenomena, thinking that if we can cut carbon emissions, we can still save the world. You must be joking me.
The whole world has come to a stop now, with coronavirus. We who have enjoyed a 10,000 year long march through the ages, an almost totally stable world, with a 1 degree of change in average temperature, have no clue what our ancestors had to go through, this is why we can no longer grasp what they did for us, which makes talking about the initial steps of the Holocene hard.
Everything is wrong, because we forgot how to view the world in a non separate terms. Coronavirus is just a symptom of a world trying to regain balance, it is trying to bring us back into a relational world view. Genetics of epidemics, or genetics in general, are a constant body of adaptation, in which the mutant is very rare. Viruses are but a marker of when we fail to engineer change into a system, seeing that our DNA and our genetics are actually slow to change, viruses in this light can be seen as the outside writers, coming to give us a hand. So everything is wrong but we no longer know how to fix it.
Recently there was massive cull of all the mink in Denmark, because the caged animals, raised for their fur, have got infected by us with a strain of Coronavirus, it mutated and we got scared. So they were all gassed, their bodies were buried, but inside the earth they swelled, and they floated back to the surface, as a return of the zombie mink, coming to hunt us. I saw a dark sort of humour in that. There are so many problems right now, almost no one even noticed the fact Denmark culled over 15 million mink!. Are you joking me?
So everything is wrong, and we know it, but we do not know what to do about it, or maybe our genetics are too slow to adapt.
Let me tell you how it all started. Over 12,000 years ago, we stood on an icy world, a world that was devastated over and over again, we were nomads, or maybe it is better to say our ancestors were nomads. They were as far from us cognitively as night is of day, we forgot what they knew, we lost their power. Their world was going through constant devastation, it was a process of ten thousands of years, because we think like we do, we can not grasp that they thought differently.
In oral societies, nothing was lost, there was no break between generations, that is because you can not rely on a book to find knowledge again, once you lost something, it was gone forever, there was no fake news, because if anything was altered, everything was altered. Give someone a wrong piece of knowledge and a whole people will become lost, tell them the position of the Island is 5km to the west or where it actually is and all the tribe is gone, nothing could be discarded either, because you let go of the myth, you forget one story, and with it you lose all of your ancestors in one go, this is how we were before we wrote anything down. One collective body of knowledge, held in tribal libraries.
We find it hard to know for certain what happened 200 years ago. They, in contrast, held a total record of the earth stretching for tens of thousand years, but they like us have had enough. They too faced a constant climate change, and like us they viewed themselves as the problem.
What they did, is very different though, very different to what we do and it did not happen over night. No, it took them eons to try and figure it out, what we do know, is that when they figured it, everything changed. They turned a totally volatile earth, into an unprecedented harmonious world, the world of the Holocene, the world we lived in since, the world that is now falling apart because we forgot how to work it.
So it is all wrong, we can focus on any given aspect, like farming, or economics, or even go deeper into the mechanics of consciousness, but we will get nowhere, because you can not view any of it in separation, you can not fix the whole thing using one element. This is why I do not talk either, people tell me things, but how can I explain, not if I do not explain it all, I laugh inside myself, wondering if whole societies were culled like that, in silence. The Silence of the mink, this could be a good movie title.
I walk in the street these days, as I find myself spending a lot of time in the city, and it makes me laugh. ‘How did we get here?’ I ask. We have masks on our faces, we fear to come near anyone, our whole economies are falling apart, and no one has any design plan, any idea how to fix it. Maybe if we kill some mink, and carb some emissions it would all fall into place, are you joking me?
At the start of the Holocene something happened, and my story of how it did, is like no other version. I say that we made the Holocene, we created the balance, the stable weather patterns, all of it. I say that every time we stepped out of that initial business plan (so to speak) things went out of synch. My version of it is like no other, but that is because we do not listen to the older versions of the story, told by orally based societies, because they all say the same thing, that when man loses his connection to the whole, the weather changes, people start thinking bad thoughts and then the world is destroyed, they tell us of time after time when it happened, we call those versions myths, because we can not believe they held their oral traditions over such stretches of time, not when we hardly remember the stories of our grandparents.
After ten of thousands of years, watching our world being destroyed over and over again, living in constant winters, they had enough. They came together in a special council site, as a group of nomads. That place was called the heart of the world, It was the place nomads came to garden, when they changed in order to change everything around them. No one understands why nomads ever stopped moving, and with the way we go about it they never will, I will tell you this, no nomad will ever give up his lifestyle for a sedentary home, not if he had a choice. Houses are tombs is what they say.
Our long forgotten ancestors, lived under a connected sky, they knew the patterns of nature to perfection, they were magical hunters, who would go and catch the rain like a wild animal, they could command the winds, I know because I have experienced their world view, I do not have a command of it, but I have seen enough to know how they did it, I even teach people from time to time how to control the weather, most of these people turn into impossible new age shamans, instead of falling in love with our ancestors, with the forever changing world like I do.
At the start of the Holocene our ancestors made a bargain with nature, with the night sky, they held this motif, the heavenly mill, the mill that ground the ages. They knew there is a constant change and progression through the procession of the equinoxes, they mapped the constellations, they gave them powers, and they stood under them. The built an amazing machine, made out of standing stones, each representing a star constellation on the ecliptic. Why? you may ask. The answer is that they had enough.
They were like us, faced with a world at its end, they are like us, or how we would be after everything falls apart, they made a bargain with the elements, standing in a small group inside their magical machines; the heavenly mills brought down to earth, placed at a power spot they called the heart of the world. Inside that stone circle, they formed a group, made out of their medicine men and women, their shamans, each standing for a constellation. Why? you ask again. The answer is that they decided to make the biggest magic ever, they wanted to stop the sky from rotating, to stop their world from being devastated, to stop meteors falling on the earth, to stop the endless winter.
The strange thing is that they did, somehow at the start of the Holocene everything stopped, the weather became totally harmonious. It became warmer, after they seem to have changed their lifestyle all together.
Nomads would never stop roaming if they had a choice. I say our ancestors did it as a part of a magical bargain, they stopped in order to keep the sky from falling, they were millers, working the heavenly mill, coming to it every night to grind the new age. This is how it all started.
It took a consummate knowledge of nature, a control over their feelings and thoughts, it was the highest magic we humans ever performed on this earth. It was a pact we made to look after it, to grind the magical eon-flour out of stars. Inside their magical machine we were the stars, standing in a circle representing the sky, it was a symbolic method of sympathetic magic taken to its highest form, Shamans came together to form the group mind, inside the heavenly mill, their understanding was that the sky was out of balance, and they worked it as if they were it.
The so called first stone circle in Turkey, seems at times to be the most complex, before standing stones were just stones, they had hands carved on to them, they represented people. The ritual they performed was one in which a group of people needed to be selected to represent the constellations, in their middle a couple would stand, a man and a woman, representing the sun and the moon. This is how they made the garden of eden, Adam and eve.
This ritual was not just an new age meeting, this is how we an imagine it, for them it was the culmination of living in another type of consciousnesses, being connected, that is the element that is so hard for indigenous cultures to explain to us, how can a person affect the weather? Living in an oral based society for so many centuries, created this group mind phenomenon, through which, rain shamans, and oracles, have come together to start the Holocene. We find it easy to grasp symbolic meanings, where a symbol stands for a function, it is so ingrained in our awareness we do not even think about it, but each letter we use for writing, was an incantation once upon a time, but before all of this, every symbol was not a thing on its own, it was the power to affect the element it stood for.
Their ritual was to build the celestial sphere in stone, at a special place, in the same sense they also chose a group of people to represent the stars and control them. So much has mutated in our understanding even though we still use the same principals, writing, farming, symbols, language, art, they all started as a sympathetic magic through we controlled the elements. These days we are obsessed with the sense of power, and maybe they were too, but their coming together was an act to balance the weather, they chose to stop living nomadically, in order to be custodians of the weather, and of this earth. The truth is that it was not only the Natufian culture, in truth whole cities of south and north American Indians were later built under the same logic. Same with the Egyptians, they built the sky on earth, and each of their actions was meant as a means to “farm” the weather.
The Holocene was a magical pact of Man and nature, how come we do not know about it? You keep asking. Well…. we lost the logic.
Agriculture was born under the same principles, the idea was that if we mimicked what the earth did after it destroyed us, it would not need to do it itself. Growing wheat was a magical act. How come we, who were the most daring of nomads, living on this earth for hundred of thousands of years, travelling through oral traditions that saw us as one whole race, discovering magical continents, and killing whole races of fauna in traps we built out of the landscape, how come we gave up this life style, just so we can grow wheat? We did it as a part of a bargain, a trade deal. It took the earth 20,000 years to convince us to change. In the end, we gave way, not to grow wheat though, not to grind flour. We gave way because we ground the ages in the heavenly mill every night, the magic of working the weather, the trance of holding the sky, is what ignited civilisation, not the cultivation of cereals and domestication of animals.
We farmed wheat in a way that emulated destruction, we kept clearing fields as if it was the day after the flood, we gave them fertility they did not have, exactly as if the flood and the melting ice just passed through, we did so over 10,000 years. We do it today. We wake up and we have to get on our tractors and plow the earth, but why? Why destroy the earth like that, why did we have to eat grass in the first place?
It all does not make sense, all except the Holocene itself, I call it when nomads come to garden.
So now we come to now, our earth was given to us by our ancestors, they made a pact with it, they gave away their freedom in order to work it, night after night through magic, and day after day through farming.
Farming was day magic, they built agricultural machines, made of stone and ditches, water flow and terraces. They chose and domesticated plant after plant, things that grew in their fields, they even domesticated the animals, the difference is that they had a mission in mind, they needed to keep the balance, they needed to go back to the heavenly mill every night. The tower, the thing that stood in the middle of our earliest sedentary settlements, what function did it have? You may ask. Maybe we should go and talk to the Zombie Mink instead, because we really lost our origins, no one can even give us the answers.
At some point, we forgot. It was a protracted process, that took over 10,000 years, we forgot why we do what we do, why was it we go to our fields every day. We forgot because we lived in a word of so much peace, we did not need to operate the heavily mill anymore, not until our age has started to come to and end, when it started to fall apart because we stopped working the magic.
We need to come back into a non separate world view, it starts with our feelings and thoughts, extensions that were developed in us genetically in order to function as a tight group, moving telepathically through a changing landscape, a landscape we could navigate in as a larger body, that was the consciousness of hunter gatherers, they held a fixed point in a seemingly moving world, one unit, the knowledge of the ancestors, built into a group mind, shared by all, a super intelligence where the group affected the environment through magic.
I teach people how to control the weather, and they are amazed, but what amazes me is that our “feeling bodies” have become so small, that we can only feel the self through them. Where once we felt everything around us, the secret of controlling the weather is very simple, all you need is to grow your “feeling body” into its original size, when it is bigger, you have to feel the feeling of everything which is in it, and by becoming a larger zone you can also command the weather patterns in it, because there is no separation, modern Man does not control the weather because it is painful to feel everyone around him. Yet the ability to do so is included into us, like everything else on this earth, the problem, is that there are so many “painful” people around, but when the ability evolved, there simply was not so many people, there was only a small group and the rest of the living world.
My favourite book of lost knowledge would be that one, the book of hunting the weather, like the San bushman tell it, as if they go after the sky cow, and bring it back with a noose, when they hunt the rain. We forgot everything.
The world view of separation is a byproduct of living in small sedentary communities, in houses, in boxes, in tombs. I park our car some days in some small Italian street, and I shrink inside, how did we turn like this, where we have to always push our feelings down, and why is there no parking, who makes us pay, and why do we always have to squeeze ourselves. Why does Italian streets have to be so small, and my 4×4 so big?
I do not know how you manage, does it not bother you? I find having to shrink myself all the time very painful. Maybe I was exposed to too much freedom, I find it hard. Everything is wrong, or maybe I needed to buy a small Italian car instead.
So is that it? You may ask. No, I do not think that is it, just that in order to talk about it I needed to explain how we got here. How did we get to a point we have to park our cars in impossible spots, and we kill mink without thinking, because we infected them, how we got to a place where our whole planet is on the verge of collapse, the planet we inherited….. A whole planet can you imagine?
There is a design plan, and it starts at the top, because I have become tired of doing it from the bottom. It is a business plan, of the cutting edge in experiential tourism and farming, it is a new world view. A system of turning the countryside into harmonic machines again, where we need less tractors, where we have towers and standing stones again, gatherings into the night where we make flour out of the stars. It is a return to the relational.
For me it starts with working with estates, and large farms, and off course abandoned areas, anywhere that has large tracts of land that could be freed for a purpose, places that aren’t totally involved in keeping up supply chains.
Taking them through an integration between farming and social innovation, the solution is a design plan, it is a programme for the countryside, where we build it again like our ancestors, into farming machines, with which we hold the balance, it is a performance made from the land, like it always was before, why estates? You ask again. Because they are the largest land owners.
After spending 6 years in marginal rural areas in Central Italy we have found our dream, we have found that all of our dreams come into one plan, a regeneration design plan. It is a progressive programme, a sort of script writing for rural design, imbued with the most daring business plans. Building landscapes into machines that work in unison, where man is only a part, where there is no zones of interference, viruses no longer have to develop in the leftover marginal lands, because there is no more room for nature. We design marginal belts again, that is better than vaccines every other year, or tracing bats for the next virus, give them space, and help nature with bio diversity, there is less need for mutation in existing species because they live in a void.
In any given field of work, one is asked to take oneself into perfection, into the ultimate mastery of a subject. Our field is creating sustainable tourism, like nomads infiltrating the sedentary.
There comes a time when you have to give your mark to an art, I would have liked my art or work to have been different, but after 15 years I have come to terms with it, I feel it is time to take it to its outmost expression, the consummate art of sustainable tourism and farming, of rural development, which is pure magic.
Growing heritage wheat as a symbol for the moment when nomads came to garden, knowing that as long as we grew landrace wheat (and not modern wheat) the Holocene can not completely end, it is a design plan for the countryside, where we turn it again into a living situation. My love for it was born on a small Italian bulldozer, and you may laugh, but I got the design plan for the whole of our countrysides on it, on one wintery day, under the majestic mountain. I understood why nomads came to garden, and how the only way to do it again, is by creating the most daring business plan, script writing of innovation, growing heritage wheats to save the Holocene, magical experiential events where people come to work the magic, to understand sustainability, conscious cooking and where our feelings end and others start, a world of no separation, all done in large tents under the celestial sphere itself, the Zodiac tent. We have been writing this script for years, it is only that now it all came together.
This is my design plan, its either that or we can all wait for the return of the Zombie mink.
And as a side note, just that we can see how wrong is everything, the mink were all culled because we have discovered a new strain of Coronavirus after they got infected, yesterday a new mutant strain was announced in the south of England. When it was the mink, it was a possible threat that may contribute to another wave of pandemic, but when another strain was discovered at the south of England and in humans it was deemed of no threat what so ever. So maybe in truth the Zombie Mink have a reason to come back and work their revenge on us. (Since writing this it obviously came out that the new mutation was actually very harmful).
So this long post is about how we come back to the original plan, the Holocene is our only book, we lost the oral “writings” of earlier times, indigenous societies sometimes held knowledge of up to 40,000 years, but the idea is the same, tourism can not longer be the sale of a territory when people can not live in it anymore, the trade off of making surplus for people in the city, running back to take some fresh air before they have to dive in for another crazy year in the polluted water.
Tourism as I see it is the reworking of an ancient magic, it is script writing, it teaches people how to be custodians of the earth, but not as organic gardeners, even though that is nice, I mean we teach people the art of magic again, how to become wether magicians, we no longer sell them empty holidays in yurts, because it is nice for them to live in a tribal structure, but much deeper if they actually find out what the tribal coming together felt like. Tourism at is best is a participatory theatre, where one discovers other ways of being, different feelings. I know we all need peace and nature, because we have none of it in modern life, but I would like to script write it as a whole different experience, of discovering the lost magic of being humans on a magical earth, coming together around the fire, and working the stars into trance. Food, experience, magic, land, and wild animals, nomadic tours, and clean water. Tourism is the only place where people can step out of society for a moment, and so it should be the first step in creating a new world. It is just that tourism like everything else has had no design plan or message.