Tuiscint na TalúnWisdom of the Land
What is Tuiscint na Talún?
Tuiscint na Talún can translate from Gaeilge as ‘wisdom/understanding of the land’. It is a philosophy that calls us to listen to the wisdom the land itself possesses as a being. How can we begin to do that when the logic of separability from the rest of life so profoundly underpins our ways of being and knowing in modern society? For this purpose, Tuiscint na Talún is an education and research project focused on opening critical conversations and providing frameworks to understand and hospice the modern/colonial way of being and whiteness as they manifest in Ireland. Through that process there may be possibilities to revitalise ancestral lifeways and cosmologies that were attuned to the land as the basis for different ways of being on the island.
The task is to find ways of navigating and letting go of harmful modern/colonial ways of being, thinking, and doing within and around us, and to revitalise ways of attuning our senses to the land with the guidance of ancestral wisdom. This means recognising the land as the most fundamental teacher in our lives. ‘Land’ here is meant in a holistic way, that cannot be encapsulated within the parameters of language, and which encompasses all of knowable and unknowable existence: the physical Earth, animals, plants, rocks, humans, bacteria, fungi, water, wind, gravity, sound, fire, dreams, and everything else that emerges from, within, without, and as it.
We recognise that the kinds of knowledges and ways of being that need to be re/imagined for the possibility of futures beyond modernity/coloniality can only be regenerated through communally and ‘metabolically'(1) engaged processes that reckon with the ‘shit’, rather than by individuals, academics, or organisations with good intentions focused on ‘solutions’. We provide learning spaces to explore ideas and frameworks around land and ancestral revitalisation. This requires, in part, picking apart some of the deeply buried obstacles that must be confronted and composted as part of that process such as whiteness and the assumptions and ways of relating to each other and the earth that stem from it.
In Western colonial (white) culture, ‘nature’ is seen to be out there beyond society, away from humans, as something to be managed and controlled for resources, development, or conservation. Confronting the basis within and around us that materialises separability: that we are somehow separate from ‘nature’, or the land, is a critical task at this historical juncture for us as a species as we face the growing material realities of our own extinction driven by the violence and unsustainability of our sociopolitical present. Climate breakdown and the global pandemic of COVID-19 have made the deep instability of modern life ever more apparent, with both of these processes emerging from modern society’s estrangement from and domination over the land. Our ancestors’ lifeways were inherently more ‘sustainable’ than ours, and attempting to reconnect with them may provide a compass and guide we need for re-existence in and as the land. This is not to seek a return to an imagined past, but to imagine the beyond. Thus, we wish to explore what and how we can learn from the land itself as a wise and ancient being that our ancestors were intimately attuned to, and that has lived through many cataclysms before.
What do I mean by ‘decolonize’ here?
Section coming soon.