In World 4, the thriving of the natural world is the first and foremost concern for humanity.
A nuclear incident caused a fundamental reset of society: they realised that they had to change everything, including ceasing production of all new items, if they wanted to survive. The species is no longer called homo sapiens, which is Latin for the man who knows, or the wise man; it is now called homo marginem, which is Latin for the species on the edge, or the species on the brink.
After the change, there were some dark times, with a major black market in manufactured objects. But time has passed and they are now living in what they call the golden era, in which they live from the land, give back to the land, and learn from the other beings that are around them. They have rejected the idea that man is superior because of his intellect; the intellect did not prevent man from messing everything up in quite the extreme way that he did.
The cities were left standing, but they have now been taken back by nature and everything is green and lush. It’s a happy society: a rural existence with a modern understanding of how to support the whole ecosystem.
The World 4 people have new definitions of alive and dead. An alive thing is anything with the quality of naturalness, including animals, plants and fungi, but also rocks and water and ground, and the wind and the clouds. Dead objects are those which have the property of artificialness: that is, most plastic and created objects, objects that you cannot look at and immediately see how they were sourced in nature.
They are so afraid of getting back to the brink of extinction that the anti-production stance has become stronger over time, to the point where there is no art, no craft, and people don’t write. Children are not taught how to write words or letters, because they only utilise what is already there, through quotes from existing texts.
The memoir shown here was produced illegally by an elderly ‘high fashion witch’ as one of the last to remember “before”. A high witch is someone whose knowledge of the ecosystem in which they live is so deep, that they can support so many species to thrive. They adorn themselves with specific flora, attract bees and butterflies, and achieve a high level of societal influence.
In the memoir, The Things I Don’t Know, the Illicit Memoir of Homo Marginem, the witch talks about some of the changes that have happened over time, by utilising old and new dictionary definitions.
They also document the conflicting feelings they have around being one of the last people to remember a completely different way of life. They feel guilt over having expected to live a life of luxury and wealth and utilising the planet’s resources. Despite the fact that they know that the way they live now is so much better for all species and societal wellbeing, they still remember being a teenager mapping out their life and what it was going to look like, and how vastly it has changed.
As there is no production of new paper and pens, the memoir is created from old papers, string and thread, and a typewriter kept illicitly for the purpose.
This Exploration was contributed by Benjamin Rose Ingall (located in the UK), developed from a World contributed by Amy Twigger Holroyd, using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the authors and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.
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