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Timothy Morton
Recorded at Rice University, Texas

William Kentridge

Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips—the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
'Ha! ha!' quoth he, 'full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to row.'

We trusted our pilots through land and ocean. Being linear, we believed them (on the whole). We counted in margins and yields: the spoils. Restless settlers, eager to occupy and to own.

All this business of a labour to accomplish, Beckett says in Endgame, moving, between a beginning and an end, gaining, losing ground, getting lost, but somehow in the long run making headway. All lies.

In the old maps, so hard to credit now, we see where reason meets despair. And yet we are not lost. Tracing our own steps, the route less traveled leads to the circular economy: ancient carbon intact; power raw and clean; crops non-toxic, leaving our seas unsoiled; and plastic harvested from just five perpetually recyclable polymers.

All this and more, is what we might have known before! Vanity fooled us. Tribes revolt. The mutiny we need now is not like other insurrections. Exhort! Shame! Rational man must start again.

Mark Ashurst