Originally posted on my Instagram
as part of my research for a commission from the province of Zeeland about the future of land-ownership and algae farming.

You have all the time in the world

The sun. This yellow dwarf star, hot ball of glowing gasses, continues to elude us. Sun heroes, kings, and gods have been living in our networked psyche for a long time. We see the Sun as the father, blessing mama Gaia with his warmth and providing life with light.⁠

Now, as the first signs of Spring emerge and the frozen morning dew in the forest where I live basks in sunlight, it reminds me to receive the light and undo the hardened shells that winter let me take on. I am not alone in this renewed appreciation. White fluffy cows are shedding their capes for a cute summer cut. A fragile crocus, a snowdrop, are marching in against all odds. The amaryllis in my windowsill pops out at full speed. They are, like me, heterotrophs, we turn our faces towards those first sun rays. We all can be struck by a frozen night, but we go for it regardless. We have longed for the light of day all Winter.⁠

There is a strange cocktail of emotions that I am currently experiencing. It’s manic, as many of you may be. My tail is between my legs: there’s a dawning war close by. My stomach contracts thinking of those who now must flee or are unsafe. At the same time, I am gloriously happy in my new home. And I am tired to a degree that apparently cannot be solved by lots of sleep. Starting a new business amidst a pandemic, building a new network, a new story, a whole new methodology of designing, adding a year-long renovation monster project, no holidays and travels to new places…, it’s taken its toll. A couple weeks ago, right after we had moved, I could cry if I dropped a grape. Now, taking it slow, I’m better, but I’m fragile like the snowdrop still.

Sometimes, it’s hard to stand still. You want to grow, turn to the sun, be rejuvenated, and energised and alchemized into new forms, new flowers, new faces. As a heterotroph I cannot produce my own food, I cannot photosynthesise. Instead, I take nutrition from other sources of organic carbon. I would photosynthesise like the algae. Make sweet nectar, juicy elixir, from just a mix of light and Co2. But I’m not capable, today. I depend on them to turn sunlight into oxygen and the organic compounds that feed me.

Is this the trigger of my survival instinct? Is this the cause of my glorification of the sun? Have we started to glorify the masculine over the feminine because we think our survival depends on it? Don’t I love the dark night of Winter enough to look at the sun through the eyes of equanimity? Maybe. I have grown roots in a culture that exalts the external, the Sun, the masculine, growth, and that looks down on the internal, Nature, the feminine, the intense smell of a composting process. And this is, I believe, why we find ourselves on a planet that mirrors this imbalance back at us. Instead of graciously growing the new by composting the old, we force new inventions, new technologies, into the light of day. We want to go to space, become astronauts, explore the vastness of this universe and remember the names of stars, galaxies and space travel companies, while we’ve forgotten the name of the bird that wakes us every morning, the names of a dozen species that live in one square km around our homes, the ancient languages that have spoken us into being, and our watery legacy. As I’m learning from Continuum Movement’s founder Emily Conrad, our watery womb genesis hints back at our entanglement with aquatic ecosystems. She says: “The fluid presence in our bodies is our fundamental environment. We are the moving water brought to land. We are thousands of wave motions that converge to form what is now being called a 'body.' Water is the medium of our deliverance. Form travels through us, leaving its bio-morphic imprint. The intelligence of unfolding form is encoded in our system.” Water unifies our evolutionary track with our oceanic ancestors.

Our blood has been crocodile tears, dolphin snot, and later, snowdrops and crocuses, morning dew. While I was waiting in my mother’s womb, 9 months long, swimming in the permeable meadows of her thoughts, ideas, and emotions, I was waiting to meet my father. Our father is our connection with the external world. But we mammals have become so focussed on the external, the fatherly, the sun, that we forget to love the internal journey that we’ve made, and the internal journey that we make each year, through winters and storms, through the inner waters. And really, that we are our own mother, and our own father. That we can nourish ourselves from within.

If I let this preference for the external be evaporated now, how could our future be changed? We have put so much pressure on the sun, technology, the father, to sustain us, while the answers may be more liquid, fluid, primordial of nature. Scientists say that in approximately 1 billion years the sun will bring our oceans to boil. The sun, which has been converting the hydrogen that is present in its core, into helium, slowly starts to die. It can no longer convert hydrogen into helium because it is running out of hydrogen, and so gravitational forces take over that will turn a dwarf star into a burning hot red giant. This is earth’s fiery demise. Even stars die, and its dying process will evaporate all water on Earth as soon as the burning hot giant’s luminosity has increased by only 10%. Earth will turn too hot to maintain water, and Earth will bleed to death as H2O evaporates into hydrogen and oxygen, which will make our planet uninhabitable. Our sun will end. If we keep focussing on the external, we will end. The answers lie, really, within. Maybe, instead of reaching out, to Mars, to spaceships, to other galaxies, we could start turning back in, to our inner waters. In these 1 billion years that we have left on this planet (if we’re lucky) how could we revalue the watery, the feminine, the stinky, smelly, gassy yet lush and fruitful composting processes of Mama Nature? Let’s look at our more-than-human family for answers.

The universe, as is the sun, as is the water in our bodies and the rivers, and the oceans. What it does all day is just move. Just play. Just enjoy. The universe is meaningless. It is contracting and expanding simultaneously with no end and no purpose. It is a breathing living being, and we exist within its amniotic sac. We are floating in the belly of our cosmos, entangled with it, one with it, as it. And so all of us are no-body, going no-where. This experience is just God’s idea of fun. Dolphins play. Pompous whales play. A vulva erupting into pleasure: play. Scientists look the other way, thinking there is some evolutionary explanation for this behaviour, but no: pleasure is a benchmark of adaptation and evolution in itself! So, whilst I’m integrating this dance between water and sun, between my idea of self and my continuous death and rebirthing episodes, I am redirecting my goal function from a focus on achievement and saving the world, to a focus on pleasure.

Lush, entangled, loving pleasure. To be enmeshed in wonder on a morning walk about the beauty that this temporal experience on Earth brings me. To have my mind blown by this deep experience of no-time-no-space that makes my ending story, our ending human episode, bearable in a more-than-human sense and adds a mystical dimension to my being here that eats all worry alive.
I love the Sun and Sky gods. But I equally love the gods of Soil, Smell and Sting. The itchy reality of a Renaissance on planet Earth that is manic, and unbelievably harsh at times, and yet, if we ask life that we want to learn from pleasure, not pain, we can be reminded that we’re whole, that we are the ones who decide what we experience.

The truth is, if we keep chasing the next thing, and try to get to the next goal, we will never be happy, we will never stop to smell the roses, there will always be some hole in us, waiting to be filled. And so, this will be reflected to us by the world. It will remain damaged, it will remain weak, in conflict and needing to be saved, because we feel weak, in conflict and incomplete. It's about time we feel whole. So, I let the sun melt me into a sunbathing soil goddess, and I make this my mantra: I want to learn my lessons through pleasure, not pain. And… you really have all the time in the world. ⁠1 billion years to be exact. And beyond time, eternally. Will you join me?

X Li

📸  @annesarahdijkhorst

About the author

Lisanne Buik is a speculative artist and futures designer operating at the intersection of ecology, technology, spirituality and somatics. In her speculative installations, films, lectures and publications she combines emerging science with ancient wisdom to explore the shift from the age of the machine to a new age of symbiosis between living systems, the human bodymind, and technology.

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April 2022

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