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Dadirri and the fateful trajectory of 2020-2029
A vision for the next decade
A vision for the next decade
It came to be that the power of revolutionary possibility, once articulated by human ideology, was actualised through the planet reassembling its equilibrium; that is, the possibility of revolution transmogrified from human intent to a non-human becoming. The year 2020 saw a rapid acceleration of shifting weather patterns and declining human populations — the trajectory to 2029 becoming a path of pain.
But, 2029 also marked a point of transition; when human collectives that realised a social transformation was necessary for survival began to emerge.
This trajectory is now perceived as an inevitable journey: a rebirth, requiring pain. Colonial structures tumbled due to a massive die back in human population numbers, caused by the ongoing dangers of COVID-19 mutations and the erosion of arable land. The once ubiquitous international supply chains were broken and those institutions that kept the capitalist machine running simply dissolved. Surviving populations realised they needed to take care of themselves. In the end these new communities did not emerge through utopian desire, but desperate need. The need to survive.
The failed structures of capitalism are now attributed to a very simple driver: exploitation. Capitalism – despite its excessively complex systemics and vernaculars – thrived on this one thing. The Earth’s resources were extracted, without care. All colonial structures were built on exploitation – of the land, its animals, and human labour. New societies – collectives – have found a new way. No more rushing to work. No more competing to be number one. The rush to supremacy, recreated at every level of the social hierarchy, has gone.
The seeding of this new way is attributed to the great slowing down. It began with the lockdowns of 2020 when bodies were forced to re-entrain with the subtle motions of nature. Aunty Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, from Nauiyu country, shared with us a word from Ngan’gikurunggurr language to describe this — now part of the common tongue — dadirri: a deep listening to land and people.
It began slowly. Watching the way birds search the ground for twigs and food; the subtle variation in the gaits of people walking past windows, people we never knew; the joys of pressing a seed into the ground and feeling the Earth’s electricity trickle up our arms; hearing our children play at home and the neighbours we always ignored. The spiritual skill of dadirri – inner quietness leading to new awareness – slowly took its place as the most important human attribute.
Through dadirri, new understandings of care emerged, naturally – not as ideology. A caring for the land, for one another and for the self. The distractions of capitalism’s promises became absent: the rush of consumerism, now remembered as a dangerous drug, was suddenly unattainable. Instead, the new society of care provided opportunities to dive deep beneath the surface.
A resurgence of interest in Aboriginal Australia followed: what does it mean to be Indigenous, the colonialist’s descendants asked? How do we go deeper into the land, and find connection? These questions led to journeys, both physical and spiritual, into the beating heart of Aboriginal Australia. Finally, white Australia reflects that without the colonial structures to support their economic and social privilege — their biases — they were able to hear the wisdoms of First Nations people. They finally started to listen.
Now, here in our future, the new rituals have emerged. Rituals that challenge those mental structures compelling people to exploit and hurt others. Through ritual, bodies have become entrained to the more-than-human energies of the vital Earth: providing a sustenance that capitalism could never provide.
In the absence of colonial exploitation, which empowered people to see themselves as superior to others, human spirituality is thriving. Once more, we hear the land’s wisdom. The violent blip of colonialism has finally passed and the ongoing cultures of Australia’s First Nations have been propelled into new abundances — unimaginable to the perplexed inhabitants of 2020.
This piece was originally published as a ‘Dispatch from the Future’, as part of Assembly for the Future for BLEED Festival in 2020, presented by Arts House, City of Melbourne and Campbelltown Arts Centre. Assembly for the Future is a project of The Things We Did Next, co-created by Alex Kelly & David Pledger and produced by Not Yet It’s Difficult & Something Somewhere Inc. Delve into the other 45 Dispatches from the Future here.