The great irony

Since the moon landing four trajectories of human awareness have unfolded in parallel: First, our growing realization of the profusion, variety and flux of life (new life forms are identified every day, while others disappear). Second, our increasing grasp of the deep interconnectedness of it all (what we call “ecology”). Third an exponential increase in our extraction of natural resources and the resultant waste products. And fourth, the dawning knowledge that the world we are thus making is becoming increasingly hostile environment for most life forms (including us). We’re sawing off the branch that we’re sitting on. That’s the great irony: just as we discover it all and discover how beautiful and improbable it is we realize we’re wrecking it. Two days ago as I write this, Notre-Dame cathedral burnt down. The world reacted with shock and grief and promises of hugely generous rebuilding donations – an exemplary instance of human solidarity. Of course, it was humans like us who built Notre-Dame, so we mourn its loss strongly – much more strongly than we mourn the burning of an anonymous bit of Indonesian rainforest with 20 or 200 unique beetle species, or the melting of a 10,000 year old ice shelf, or the extinction of another mammal. When will we start to feel the same sense of attachment to, and responsibility towards, the rest of the planet – to the things we didn’t build, the cathedrals of life?

Brian Eno – Apollo (Atmosphere & Soundtracks) Liner Notes / 2019 Edition


In 1983 Brian Eno released an album intended to transform weightlessness into a kind of spiritual exaltation.

This music was originally recorded in 1983 for a feature-length documentary movie called Apollo, later retitled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert. The original version of the film had no narration, and simply featured 35mm footage of the Apollo Moon missions collected together roughly chronologically.

 In summer, there is an audible hush or silence, broken only by birds chirping.

If you’re in a forest, the quality of the echo is very strange because echoes back off so many surfaces of all those trees that you get this strange, itchy ricochet effect. (Brian Eno)

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