Economy, artistry and poetry

Someone named Postnikov – I never heard about him before – has written some interesting thoughts on Economy. His post starts with a few quotes:
Let the beauty we love be what we do. – Rumi
The environmental crisis is the crisis of aesthetics. – James Hillman
The poet knows of no “waste”… Ecopoetics is the way of thinking economically. – Hwa Yol Jung

His opening line says: “It is the right time for poets and artists to engage in economics.” Mmmm, wondering what that would mean… What follows are snippets of his post:

“The idea is that the systemic collapse could be prevented, or, at least, alleviated, by invoking an inner artist in everyone…”
“Roughly speaking, in order to survive, we need to decentralize the economy as soon as possible by reducing it to an individual craftsmanship.”

I don’t agree fully with him here, I think the individual indeed needs to learn more craftsmanship, but the individual is too small a basis to live from. We will need the community in every sense… and a lot of different crafts! but what he says is still interesting.

by “poetics” I mean the extended notion of poetry, comprising arts, music, etc; notably, any artistic work. The etymology of the term “poetry” comes from the Greek poiesis which means “making, or creating”. Semantically, it is close to the term oikos (root of ecos, ecology) which means “household.” A household, or the ecosystem, involves creativity, and, like good poetry, the home should be beautiful and harmonious.


This brings me back to our recent ‘building’ of a chicken tractor. Now, building doesn’t seem to be the word that really fits here. We didn’t have a plan beforehand, only ideas and some materials to be re-used. And yes, we had tools. New ones! What a joy to work with tools with a high quality! It makes any ‘building’ or mending or creative effort into a real joy. It is just fun to be able to use the materials – the wood, the wire-netting – in a way that works for your ideas to materialise. You know what I enjoyed the most? Re-using little pieces of iron wire that I have kept since many years. Now they served in the best possible way!

The core premise of the economy of poetics is thus the assumption that the artist, more than anyone else, feels the aesthetic satisfaction from his/her work, and is able to create sustainable living. “Poetry,” says Heidegger, “is what causes dwelling to be dwelling. Poetry is what really lets us dwell. But through what do we attain to a dwelling place? Through building. Poetic creation, which lets us dwell, is a kind of building.” [4] And, as an elder of the Findhorn Eco-village, artist and permaculture teacher, Craig Gibsone says, “There is no sustainability if it’s not fun.”


It was fun! Both Chrisje and myself enjoyed and now are proud. We know quite well that it won’t last long, as the wood will rot soon and the wire-netting is old and will decay. But it will work for us women to give it a start. It is light, it won’t blow away, we can transport it easily and we used a lot of materials that otherwise would go to the dump…

In short, the basics of the economy of poetics is this: everyone has to invoke an inner artist to begin the dismantling and transformation of the wasteful globalized economy and its infrastructure into his, or her, personal work of art (engineers should change their heart and provide the assistance). I take it that we have already accumulated (more than) enough material and tools for to begin perestroika of the environment. And under “environment” I mean the immediate space of everyone’s personal environment, both inner and outer.

This entry was posted in Appropriate technology, Manifestation, Permaculture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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