graeber’s possible worlds

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[image from article david wengrow tweeted on publication day: Here in the US, it’s publication day #TheDawnOfEverything 
David Graeber’s Possible Worlds via @intelligencer Original Tweet:]

article published on nov 9 2021 .. day of us release for ..

dawn of everything by david graeber and david wengrow

notes/quotes from article by @mollyhfischer:

To David Graeber, it was a matter of plain fact that things did not have to be the way they were. . A better world was not assured, but it was possible — and anyway, as Graeber put it in Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, “since one cannot know a radically better world is not possible, are we not betraying everyone by insisting on continuing to justify and reproduce the mess we have today?”

fragments of an anarchist anthropology

Graeber also left behind the staggeringly large project he finished three weeks before he died: The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Written in collaboration with the archaeologist David Wengrow, the book draws on new research to challenge received wisdom on civilization’s course. 

jensen civilization law et al

What if we treat people, from the beginning, as imaginative, intelligent, playful creatures who deserve to be understood as such?” – graeber & wengrow

ie: imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

Lauren Leve, an anthropologist at UNC-Chapel Hill who was Graeber’s girlfriend for many years and, later, his friend, remembers his crackling enthusiasm for his work on The Dawn of Everything. “We would be on the phone, and I could just hear him sort of wringing his hands and grinning with excitement and a sense of mischief — ‘This is going to mess things up!’”

A basic optimism about humanity united Graeber’s politics and his anthropology: The problem, in his view, was the tendency not to give people enough credit.

unconditional ness.. devijver assume good law.. et al

Then, in 2005, Graeber joined Moon, his advisee, in a contentious meeting. Moon was one of the students involved in the organizing effort among grad students, which had become a source of friction, and she was pursuing a dissertation that seemed to perplex some senior faculty. She wanted to study emergent forms of labor in the U.S. garment industry. “Her work was brilliant, but it didn’t fit the old-school configuration of anthropological work,” Clarke, who also taught Moon, told me. Moon felt there had already been “passive-aggressive” efforts to nudge her out of the program, but in this meeting the conflict came to a head. One of the senior faculty, she remembers, told her she didn’t belong at Yale. Graeber spoke up, outraged on her behalf. “He pulled out his notebook, and he said, ‘Keep on talking. Now I’m going to start writing down every single thing you’re saying to my student.’” Moon was crying — she was terrified her academic career was over. Graeber started making jokes, stage-whispering asides, “giggling in anger” as he read back what was being said. “He just sucked all the power out of the room,” Moon said. Don’t be afraid of them, she felt he was telling her. They are ridiculous.

oh my.. so graeber.. adding to david on tenure not tenure page and deciding to add this page .. just on article.. she did a great job including so many of the flavors/insights of david

“I don’t know how it was humanly possible to have so many intimate relationships,” Çubukçu said. “At any point, he was dealing with multiple personal crises that his wide network of friends were going through.”

“He would see something that you would say, and say, ‘That’s so interesting,’ and just ever-so-slightly recast it to make it a good deal smarter than maybe it necessarily originally was.” It was a tendency that seemed to spring from genuine curiosity about other people.. 

Though he was perhaps slow to embrace it, London was where Graeber “really became the person he wanted to be,” Moon told me

fittingness and brown belonging law.. et al

Dubrovsky and Graeber were friends and correspondents for years before they got together. The emails he sent were so extensive that she was sure at first she was “his major pen pal.” Soon she came to see that in fact he managed to send a great many people such long and thoughtful emails. (She later realized that he slept roughly five hours a night.)

nika dubrovsky

One of Graeber’s other correspondents was Wengrow, an archaeologist at University College London. They met in professional circles and struck up a rapport after Graeber impressed him with his knowledge of Mesopotamian cylinder seals. Wengrow gave Graeber a copy of his book; Graeber read it and wrote him “this extraordinary email,” pages of ideas and feedback, Wengrow remembers, “and I thought, Wow, this is really fun!” He replied, the emails grew longer, and they had “probably written half a book” before they officially decided to collaborate on what would become The Dawn of Everything. Their plan was to pursue it strictly “in a spirit of fun,” as a respite from their other work. It was how Graeber liked to approach writing generally, said Dubrovsky. He’d write propped up in the bathtub or lying on the floor; that way, it didn’t feel like work.

A scan had discovered internal bleeding, and doctors were preparing Graeber for surgery when he went into cardiac arrest. “He was joking with me,” Dubrovsky remembered — saying that things weren’t really so bad, that he’d be fine — “and then suddenly the doctors said he died.” The autopsy found that his cause of death was internal bleeding caused by pancreatitis necrosis. Later, the ER doctor who’d treated him told Dubrovsky that the condition could be triggered by a virus — perhaps COVID, but there was no way to know.

on david dying

Graeber had been working on a short essay about COVID that was published after his death. The pandemic was “a confrontation with the actual reality of human life,” he wrote. “Which is that we are a collection of fragile beings taking care of one another, and that those who do the lion’s share of this care work that keeps us alive are overtaxed, underpaid, and daily humiliated.” Surely it was the moment to stop taking such a state of affairs for granted, he wrote. “Why don’t we stop treating it as entirely normal that the more obviously one’s work benefits others, the less one is likely to be paid for it; or insisting that financial markets are the best way to direct long-term investment even as they are propelling us to destroy most life on Earth?”

to (virus) leap

This was not so different from things Graeber had been writing for years, but now it seemed more people were saying the same thing. Value and vulnerability and how each was assessed: the familiar understanding no longer served. Circumstance demanded the supposedly impossible.

Circumstance demanded the supposedly impossible..t

yeah that.. let’s org around legit needs

ie: a nother way