Solarpunk and the Vestiges of the Ascetic

About a month ago I had an idea for a book on a subject in which my knowledge is too limited to fill an entire book. The premise is that Transcendence, or experiencing transcendent consciousness, is overrated. It is directly related to the ancient conceptualization of the Righteous Nation. A more detailed clarification of that statement is beyond the scope of this post.

I wanted to argue that a heightened state of awareness is the wrong experience to have move forward with contributing to improving societies and creating a better future. The vestiges of the ascetic should never be encouraged when instead we could be working on education reform.

The format for societal change is not to further attempts to refine archaic ideas of what a nation-state should do or be, as we continue to do today, but to change the conversation, in both the ontological and practical sense.

This is very much in the same, now-becoming, tradition of solarpunk science fiction. It still has a long way to go, but if the current waves of enthusiasm continue, it could very well get there. This summary comparison only makes sense of course if humans decide to prioritize the science of climate change. At this point, it seems unlikely.

Still, if one were to map a way forward, solarpunk has an incredible amount of potential. Some philosophers, such as Richard Rorty, believe fiction can do more to change society than any art found in philosophy or idealism in its most vacant sense. If this is true, and it makes sense on many levels, as early African American literature and testimonials so practiced, solarpunk can offer its own testimonial of potentiality. It is worth more than a subgenre. Publishers (sigh) should hold themselves responsible not just to preserving the past, but the future as well.

[Update: 12/21/2023: I have responded this post and expanded it here, “When the Sky is Beautiful Again, Always“]

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