Artists must confront the climate crisis – we must write as if these are the last days | Ben Okri

“Faced with the state of the world and the depth of denial, faced with the data that keeps falling on us, faced with the sense that we are on a ship heading towards an abyss while the party on board gets louder and louder, I have found it necessary to develop an attitude and a mode of writing that I refer to as existential creativity. This is the creativity at the end of time.

“We need a new philosophy for these times, for this near-terminal moment in the history of the human.

“So a new existentialism is called for…. a brave and visionary existentialism, where as artists we dedicate our lives to nothing short of re-dreaming society. We have to be strong dreamers. We have to ask unthinkable questions. We have to go right to the roots of what makes us such a devouring species, overly competitive, conquest-driven, hierarchical.

“We ought to ask questions about money, power, hunger. The scientists tell us that fundamentally there is enough for everyone. This Earth can sustain us. We can’t just ask the shallow questions any more. Our whys ought to go to the core of what we are. Then we ought to set about changing us. We ought to remake ourselves. Somehow civilisation has taken a wrong turn and we collectively need to alter our destination, our journey. We can’t drive ourselves to the brink of extinction a second time. If we survive this brink, if we pull ourselves back from this apocalypse that’s awaiting, then we have to find a global direction that is one of sustenance and justice and beauty for the whole Earthand for all the peoples of the Earth.

“This is the best and most natural home we are ever going to have. And we need to become a new people to deserve it. We are going to have to be new artists to redream it. This is why I propose existential creativity, to serve the unavoidable truth of our times, and a visionary existentialism, to serve the future that we must bring about from the brink of our environmental catastrophe.”

Read the full story by Ben Okri in The Guardian….

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