Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity’s Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism

October 24, 2021

PWIAS Interim Director, Dr. Vanessa Andreotti’s, new book is about facing the multiple crises of modernity–and hospicing modernity–with maturity, humility, and integrity.

This book is not easy: it contains no quick-fix plan for a better, brighter tomorrow, and gives no ready-made answers. Instead, it presents us with a challenge: to grow up, step up, and show up for ourselves, our communities, and the living Earth, and to interrupt the modern behavior patterns that are killing the planet we’re part of.

Driven by expansion, colonialism, and resource extraction and propelled by neoliberalism and rabid consumption, our world is profoundly out of balance. We take more than we give; we inoculate ourselves in positive self-regard while continuing to make harmful choices; we wreak irreparable havoc on the ecosystems, habitats, and beings with whom we share our planet. But instead of drowning in hopelessness, how can we learn to face our reality with humility and accountability?

Hospicing Modernity breaks down archetypes of cognitive dissonance–the do-gooder who does “good enough,” then retreats to business as usual; the incognito capitalist who, at first glance, may seem like a radical change-maker–and asks us to dig deeper and exist differently. Dr. Andreotti explains how our habits, behaviors, and belief systems hold us back…and why it’s time now to gradually disinvest. Including exercises used with teachers, NGO practitioners, and global changemakers, she offers us thought experiments that ask us to:

  • Reimagine how we learn, unlearn, and respond to crisis
  • Better assess our surroundings and interact with difference, uncertainty, complexity, and failure
  • Expand our capacity to hold personal and collective space for difficult and painful things
  • Understand the “5 modern-colonial e’s”: Entitlements, Exceptionalism, Exaltation, Emancipation, and Enmeshment in low-intensity struggle activism
  • Interrupt our satisfaction with modern-colonial desires that cause harm
  • Create space for change driven neither by desperate hope nor a fear of desolate hopelessness
Hospicing Modernity is published by North Atlantic Books