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The Story Isn’t Over

The Story Isn’t Over

(p.214) 22 The Story Isn’t Over
Julianne Lutz Warren
University of Chicago Press

A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke helps frame how a culture of enlarging Empire has entrapped every being, including its own members, in a world-in-time that some have named the “Anthropocene.” Evidence of unintended, unjustly distributed consequences of this trial of human planetary domination likely will be written in rocks for generations to come, recording disorganizations of Earth’s community-of-communities in, for example, diminished soils, accelerated extinction rates, and climate warming. Human perceptions of global disorganization and losses can confuse and shift previously recognized boundaries and meanings of words used to name them, including wilderness and emancipation. As the familiar world rapidly changes, there is much to reconceive and lament and many uncertainties to fear. At the same time, current sufferings show how the destinies of human and other beings weave together. They also reveal that Earth has not been subdued, but altogether remains wild—beyond human control—and our shared hope. Recent fierce uprisings and protests indicate that wildness in humankind likewise demands release. The chapter closes by reflecting on the quiet regeneration, encouraged by modern scientists, of long-buried arctic seeds—whose ancient legacy intertwines with indigenous people’s—revealing how mutual belonging can be reciprocally worthwhile and might flower into a still unfolding story.

Keywords:   wild, Anthropocene, empire, Rainer Maria Rilke, zoo, climate, Yukaghir, Silene

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