"To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." - Raymond Williams

Welcome to Dark Optimism! – pinned post

by Shaun Chamberlin on January 16th, 2019

It’s been brought to my attention that after over ten years of Dark Optimism, some of the best stuff has got a little buried. So if you’re new here and could use a pointer or two, this one’s for you!

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Why I’m Rebelling against Extinction (wait, should that really need explaining..?)

by Shaun Chamberlin on November 18th, 2018

Shaun Chamberlin - Dark Optimism - Extinction Rebellion - Blackfriars bridge

I got arrested for the first time in my life this week. And I’m proud of it.

As long-time followers of this blog know, over the past 13 years I’ve tried everything I know to get our society to change its omnicidal course. I’ve written books, co-founded organisations, taught courses, worked in my community, lobbied governments, given talks, participated in grassroots discussion and action…

I’ve failed. We’ve all failed. As a global society we are accelerating towards oblivion, and taking everyone else with us.

And last week, someone said something that stuck with me. That if everyone around you is carrying on like everything’s fine, then no matter how much one reads or understands intellectually about a situation, it’s so difficult not to go along with that. Equally, if you’re somewhere and everyone else starts screaming and running for the exit, then you probably start running for the exit, even if you have no idea what’s going on.

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David Fleming’s books – where to buy, and forthcoming events

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 7th, 2016

Lean Logic and Surviving the Future - book tour

After all the hard work, my late mentor’s astonishing books are now available. There’s nothing I’m prouder to have been involved with. But several readers, understandably keen to avoid Amazon, mentioned that it wasn’t easy to find the books elsewhere online.

So now there’s an official page for the books with all you need.

The “Order the books” section there will point you to the best deals for the books (in print, as e-books or – since Spring 2018 – as an audiobook with my narration!), delivered to wherever you are in the world.

 


Forthcoming public events:

 

Sat 13th July 2019 – 5:30pm-7:30pm – Screening of The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?, with introduction and Q&A from Shaun.
Kingston Quaker Centre, Fairfield East, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2PT, UK.

Fri 19th – Sun 21st July 2019 – Shaun will be discussing ‘The Sequel to Economic Growth – A Future Worth Rebelling For’ at the Seed festival, Hawkwood, Stroud, UK.

 
 

Past events (2016-present):

 

Fri 2nd – Sun 4th Sept 2016Dark Mountain Basecamp festival, Embercombe, Devon:

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Interview on grief, Dark Optimism, aliveness and activism

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 21st, 2014

Kosmos Dark Optimism image

This is an excerpt from a longer video interview Rhonda Fabian conducted with Shaun Chamberlin at the opening of the New Story Summit in Findhorn, Scotland. Part of a Findhorn Foundation documentary initiative.

Transcript originally published in the Kosmos Journal.

Rhonda Fabian: Shaun, please tell me what Dark Optimism means to you.

Dark Optimism is a widely misunderstood term. I get a lot of people coming up to me saying, “Are you feeling dark today, or optimistic?” That’s not quite what I mean. Dark Optimism means being unashamedly positive about the kind of world we could create, but unashamedly realistic about how far we are from doing that right now.

So it’s not that sort of bright shiny optimism, which I can find quite frustrating. It’s more like, “Well everything isn’t fine actually”, you know? It’s an ability to look at the more difficult aspects of where we are and what we’re doing, whilst also retaining a sort of deep faith in human potential. And also drawing on the deeper questions of why we’re really here. And does the state of the world in any way challenge our purpose in being here, or make that impossible? I don’t think it does.
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Of grief

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 21st, 2012

'From fire, Redwood', by Maria Elvorith

Let me tell you a story.

It’s a story about our land – our home – and our ability to live peaceful, harmonious, respectful lives upon it and in partnership with it.

And it’s a story about the big bad political structures and corporate institutions that conspire to stop us doing so, using the unspeakable, impenetrable black magic of bureaucracy and backhanders to bind our best efforts with frustration and fatigue.

Oh, you already know that one?

~~~~~~~~~

Ok, then maybe you’re ready for the next chapter, about what comes after?

Fine. Sit down, make yourselves comfortable.
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What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto

by Shaun Chamberlin on September 20th, 2012


What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto
Greek anger

 

Out today from Pluto Press is What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto – a book to which I was delighted to contribute.

My chapter, “The Struggle for Meaning”, wraps up the section on ‘New Economics’ and addresses our collective fight for meaningful lives, and the importance of the beliefs and stories that shape and power our struggle. It considers the Transition movement and TEQs through this lens, viewing them as part of the vast, diverse upwelling of people around the world resisting the current death march and fighting, so simply, for a future.

I feel most honoured to see my work published alongside inspirational writer/activists like John Holloway, David Graeber and Ann Pettifor.

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Transition Money

by Shaun Chamberlin on May 17th, 2012

The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything - Transition Money

Last month I was one of forty or so attendees of the Transition ‘Peak Money’ day. It was a fascinating collection of people, from theorists to activists, and a potent opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing us all as the glaring errors at the heart of mainstream economics take their toll. This post is far more personal reflection than report, as Rob Hopkins has already done a great job on that front.

The key theme that seemed to run throughout the day, then, was ‘collapse’. Sadly, I was an hour late to the event, but the first sessions I witnessed were reports from Transitioners in Portugal, Ireland and Greece on the ‘front line’ impacts of the economic crunch. The talk was of collapse having already happened for many families and communities there, with statistics quoted including an 89% increase in Greek unemployment in three years, and Irish suicides having doubled since 2007.

They pulled no punches. Most of us were left grey and shaken as the harsh realities of the crisis were relayed. For me, a defining memory of the day was watching the alternative economists listening to this – people who have spent decades warning of these outcomes and trying to head them off – their heads shaking sadly with lips pursed, hands involuntarily coming to their faces in dismay as their Cassandra curse unfolds. Of course, the statistics were not new to them, but hearing these stories in person somehow always brings a heavier human impact. Watching that impact reflected in their expressions felt almost inappropriate, yet doubly powerful.

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Dark Optimism – the album!

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 31st, 2011

Because why not? 🙂

A collection of songs from various genres, all in some way pertinent to the state of the world as we enter the new year. Here’s hoping that the ‘2012 apocalypse’ meme doesn’t encourage enough panic to fulfil itself!

(this ‘album’ is shaped by the songs contributed by Dark Optimism readers last year, and others since. Thanks all!)

Edit – February 2017: The original Dark Optimism album posted here was sadly lost due to the demise of the player I uploaded it in. However, it has been updated and reborn in the 2017 edition!

Edit – January 2012: Ani DiFranco (song #9 above) turned up at OccupyLSX outside St. Paul’s the other day. See below 🙂

Revolution – RapNews #7

by Shaun Chamberlin on March 30th, 2011

Robert Foster’s brilliant Rap News makes it onto Dark Optimism for the second time, with a comment on recent events featuring the likes of Hugo Chavez, Glenn Beck, Bono (“Tell China to end first world debt”) and John Pilger, as well as footage from the ongoing American revolution.

Well worth a watch, as is this interview, where Noam Chomsky dismantles Jeremy Paxman’s worldview to his face.

Edit – 28/04/11 – And here’s a sincere call for American revolution, from Adbusters.

Dark Optimism on Facebook

by Shaun Chamberlin on November 4th, 2010

Hell gets a little nippy

Despite my serious misgivings about Facebook and the way it is run, I have decided to bow to popular pressure and trial a Dark Optimism Facebook page.

While my Twitter feed has proved a useful tool, whether or not I retain the Facebook page will depend on its popularity and any feedback received, so let me know what you think.

Also, for newcomers to Dark Optimism, there is now a “best posts” category here on the site, for those who want to catch up with my favourite posts to date.