What Do You Do When There Is No Hope? With Bayo Akomolafe & Toni Spencer
Is endless hope part of the problem? Bayo and Toni employ poetry, story, myth and discussion to suggest why we’ve been here before, and that it is in the loss and grief that new glimpses of power are known.
What do we do when hope is spread thin?
*One particular telling of the story of climate chaos is that we are collectively beyond hope: we’ve gone over the tipping point, we’ve burst through the membranes, we’ve passed under the sign that hangs over Dante Alighieri’s hell (“abandon all hope all ye who enter here”). It’s red alert from here on out.
The facilitated response to this bit of information has been to double down on efforts to sequester carbon, to beat governments and giant institutions into slowing down emissions, and to turn our attention to speculative carbon capture technologies that promise to fix the problem for us. These complicated ecologies of response come together to try to generate hope to counter the frightening deficit of hope. As a result, many of us are caught up in urgent practices that obscure the power that lies at the end of hope.
Bayo uses stories of transatlantic crossings and the myth of libations to suggest why we’ve been here before, at sites of hopelessness, and that it is in the loss and grief and troubles that attend this place that new glimpses of power are known. With this he builds an account of what he calls ‘post-activism’ and ‘making sanctuary’ to offer a very different kind of invitation.
A strange invitation: the times are urgent, let us slow down.