“The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?” – a major documentary on the legacy of the late David Fleming

David Fleming on Hampstead Heath, June 2010

As film-makers we’ve been set a fascinating challenge – can we bring to life a set of ideas that could prove crucial to the future of our society? How can we do justice to the legacy of the unique writer, economist and ecologist, David Fleming?

David Fleming’s life’s work, published posthumously as Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, is proving a source of fascination to the ever-growing numbers of people recognising that society needs to reinvent itself, so I asked Shaun Chamberlin – Fleming’s friend and close collaborator – for an introduction to the man and his work:

So we’d love your help in meeting this film-making challenge. The Fleming Policy Centre have given us this blog on their site, and as shooting and editing unrolls in the coming year, we’ll be sharing tasters of the different film sequences as they come together. Shorter versions will be shared on Facebook pages like Empathy Media and Sustainable Human as soon as they are ready.

So check back here for the slightly extended and latest versions where you can share your feedback… How are we doing? What have we missed? What other ideas, events and people could be included? We want to make this the sort of collaborative process of co-creation that Fleming’s work was all about.

Both our working title – “The Seed Beneath the Snow” – and the final title for the film were taken from one of David Fleming’s beautiful lines:
“the question about what the future holds does not really make any difference to what we decide now: there is just one way forward, and that is to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”

All thoughts, positivity, constructive criticism, new ideas etc can be submitted below this post, or use the comments threads under each video for more specific thoughts each one. We’ll be reading with great interest – thank you!

Edit – A new blog post is up on our sense of the overall structure of the film (at least as we currently imagine it), as requested to give some context for our little tasters.

24 Responses to ““The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?” – a major documentary on the legacy of the late David Fleming”

  1. Jason Says:

    When will the final film be available?

  2. Peter Armstrong Says:

    All being well, it will be ready to be launched in the middle of next year.

  3. Chris Moerman Says:

    Following the scientific news on abrupt (and probably irreversible) climate breakdown (term stolen from G. Monbiot) I have a ‘hardened soul’, which means I feel a lot of hopelessness and powerlessness. Although hardened, the short film about the 4,6km long walk has touched me deeply. I would like te get, or write, the script of that walk, and do the walk myself. Alone and with others as a therapeutic act. The question is: how to spend our days in the next millimeters…? Withdrawl from society or activism? Hedonistic or sober? Joyful or in mourning? Peaceful or with a fight? Individual or collective?

  4. Shaun Chamberlin Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I’m glad to report that Stephan Harding has created a Deep Time Walk app, precisely so that others can do the walk themselves, alone or with friends:
    http://www.deeptimewalk.org/

    And may I say that feeling hopeless and powerless in the face of what’s taking place on Earth might be considered a more open and honest take than many people’s. I wrote about my own grappling with this here:
    http://www.darkoptimism.org/2013/01/20/the-secret-truth-behind-environmentalists/

    Acting as producer for The Seed Beneath the Snow is part of my own response to the times we’re living through, so I’m touched and inspired to hear that this first glimpse of the film affected you. Thank you for passing that on.

    We actually recently ran a course at Schumacher College in the UK based around those very questions you are asking (and that I suspect many others soon will be). You don’t mention where in the world you are, but we plan to run similar courses in Kentucky and Vermont in summer 2018, in case of interest. In the meantime, this article by Joanna Macy was something I found helpful in my desire to avoid a hardened soul.

    And if you haven’t found it already, I wholeheartedly recommend my late mentor David Fleming’s book Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. It’s the book that inspired the making of this movie, and lays out a vision for a better future that we can work towards with our eyes fully open. For me that feels a good basis for approaching those big questions, and having put years of unpaid work into bringing the book to posthumous publication, there’s nothing I’m prouder to have been involved with.

    Sharing David’s legacy with the world feels meaningful work in these utterly exceptional times and, happily, is leading me to find people like you who have their eyes open in the same direction. That helps a lot.

    Best,
    Shaun

    ps In case you’re interested in my personal journey in grappling with this stuff, these interviews rather got under my skin:

    http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/2016/1645/
    http://www.darkoptimism.org/2014/12/21/dark-optimism-power-of-grief/

  5. Chris Moerman Says:

    Thank you Shaun! I’ve also found some really good philosophical, spiritual and practic starters – to counter immobilism – in your 43 min interview at the Findhorn conference in 2014. Am from Belgium by the way. Time to pick up the pieces now. Kind regards. Chris

  6. Andrea Mathieson Says:

    I’m deeply moved by this film, and the larger initiative to expand this work at this pivotal time. My life-work is deeply woven into these same themes and desires to ‘speak’ with and for the living earth. I’m located in Canada, near Toronto, and would love to play some role in what is unfolding with this work. Perhaps the best way to introduce you to the particular ways I’ve been opened to this type of life-altering encounter is through an article I wrote for Dark Matter/Women Witnessing, an online magazine edited by Lise Weil. The article I wrote is called Listening to the Long Song. I’ll send a link to it in another note. Thank you for this beautifully articulated piece of work. It is bold, radical, and precisely what is needed to reassure and wake the soul into subtle activism.

  7. Andrea Mathieson Says:

    http://www.darkmatterwomenwitnessing.com/issues/Oct2016/articles/Listening-for-the-Long-Song_Andrea-Mathieson.html

    This is the link to the article I mentioned above: Listening for the Long Song.

    Please let me know what part I may play in your project. There are many synchronous threads of resonance with what you are developing.

    Again, thank you for this ground-breaking work!

  8. Cassaundra Jah Says:

    Beautiful film of the encounter with the Muntjac. It made me think of being with a woman in labor. To hold space for all that she is, to recognize her strength. To see the beauty in all that she does, the family and friends who support her. To witness the ways she and her baby dance and move and work together. Being with a woman while she thrives, and becomes something more than herself, this tiny and yet sometimes immeasurably long length of time is deeply spiritual. As I squat for long hours next to her bed or birth pool or rocking chair sometimes there will be a moment like the one described in this video. Sometimes it happens when I lock eyes with the client, sometimes it happens when she looks into the eyes of her lover, sometimes as that tiny baby slips into her hands. It is deeply spiritual. In that moment I know that the Source is infinite. That I am the Source. That we are all the Source. That we are all connected.

  9. Sher vdPoel Says:

    Thank you for asking for comments on the short takes of what has already been filmed and cut.
    I strongly agree with the comments on the first segment, that a drone view of the distance with graphics overlaid on distance and time, would be ideal for visual thinkers. The second piece addresses “community,” however I kept worrying about the lungs of those inhaling the particulate matter left from the bus exhaust – clearly visible as black tar on the walls of the surrounding buildings. This piece had less impact for me – and felt a bit contrived. I agree that the third segment was fascinating, and it provided for me, a philosophical and buddhist view of the world. I loved the concepts and mental imagery of sinking into earth’s being through the eyes of an animal (one could do that with one’s pet, or through a microscope watching embryos divide, with just the same sense of infusion). Wonderful feeling – could have had a googlemaps pull out to the full earth and galaxy…
    The film is definitely one I will watch when released – but my fear is that I am a converted soul who marched and sang folk songs for the earth (gaia) when in secondary school in the 70s. Nearly a half of a century later, it feels like the same conversation. These film segments do speak in a language I understand, and one that touches my mind and heart.
    However, I fear the language and tone are too extreme, if the interest is to reach a broader audience. The language is flowery, intense, gentle and frosted with sugar and love. I feel that the segments have a tone that strikes strongly in the heart of the converted… but, I fear that it will not touch those on the other end of the extreme, and perhaps, it will not even touch those who are in the middle or indifferent to the human impact on the planet? It may even alienate them, from my experience.
    I look forward to the seeing more segments, and some which will connect these three that have been provided thus far. I hope that overall the film can also capture the minds and hearts of those: 1) who are skeptical of “tree huggers” and “endangered species” lovers, 2) those who cannot believe that humans (just an infestation on the planet surface) are having an impact that affects the whole planet, 3) those who stopped their private efforts (recycling their waste for example) in the face of major polluters who dwarf their efforts, 4) those whose livelihoods/ employment make them part of the problem but they just have no choice?, 5) etc., etc….
    My suggestion would be: Purposely show this film to those you believe are the most skeptical of the messages you are trying to convey from his work – and see where in your dialogue, your storybook, you begin to lose your audience. When there is a big sigh or moan when the language or the sentiment is way over the top… My request would be to try to speak to this audience? (I only saw one brave person who was willing to write a comment that was truly contrary … you need more people like him/her … maybe have a comment section that will go privately to you? Perhaps there are others who may feel that this forum would be unreceptive to a contrary view? Just wondering?)

  10. S. Piper Says:

    This is a lovely description of a process, until you know a little more about the muntjac deer. It is not native to Great Britain and is apparently a nasty pest. It devours native plants. In a short time it has reproduced at an alarming rate. If this is about ecology, the muntjac deer is a good example of threats to local ecology.

  11. Julian Freeman Says:

    Hi,

    I am a social filmmaker based in North Yorkshire. If there is anything I can do to help you gather footage for the film then please get in touch. My specialities are personal interviews and short interlude films to allow the viewer to reconnect with themselves. Here is a short one for you to enjoy

    https://youtu.be/HBllHW-gq3o

    Please get in touch and let me know what I can do to help

    Thx

    JF

  12. Emily Scott Bolton Says:

    Hello,

    I saw a video promoting the film you are making and found it very exciting. I just wanted to let you know that I am in contact with someone who is teaching about the connection we can develop with the beings of plants or animals and how we all have the ability to connect with them by learning to see in a particular way. He is living in Italy and I’m sure would be available if you wanted to interview him. Please contact me if you would like more details or are interested.

    All the best,

    Emily

  13. Tinna Pedersen Says:

    Hi,
    Two people that have inspired me greatly come to mind when I watch the videos you have released so far and those are: the first one being Dr. Richard Oppenlander for his heartfelt and continuing work to inform people about environment, connections and redefining sustainabilityDr. Oppenlander is a sustainability consultant, researcher, and author whose book, “Comfortably Unaware”, has been endorsed as a “must read” by Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Dr. Neal Barnard, among many others. Dr. Oppenlander’s most recent book titled, “Food Choice and Sustainability”, has won numerous awards including the 2014 International Book Award for Social Change and the 2014 Green Book Festival Award and is being used by think tanks and strategists for developing initiatives to advance change.
    Then there is David Whyte; he is a poet, author, speaker and organizational thinker.
    I believe that these people will be able to give a valuable input.

  14. La semilla bajo la nieve – Encuentro con otro ser | One Thousand Red Stars Says:

    […] La semilla bajo la nieve – Encuentro con otro ser […]

  15. Fiona Cristian Says:

    This Facebook thread fully copied and posted in Scribd, link provided below, is another example of the many insights we have been sharing and posting since March 2005, that show the clearly defined distinction between SENSE (reality) and NON-SENSE (fantasy, illusion, delusion). This documentary you are putting together seems to reveal only a very small part of the bigger picture that we have been passionately pushing out there through the Love For Life website and elsewhere across the internet.

    Euphoric Blessings
    The Defacto Gods
    Usurping MAN’S Godliness
    Arthur Cristian
    Love For Life
    10th October 2017

    https://www.scribd.com/document/361146389/Euphoric-Blessings-The-Defacto-Gods-Usurping-MAN-s-Godliness-by-Arthur-Cristian-10th-October-2017

  16. Teagan Fea Says:

    Hi,

    I am also looking for collaborators to film a course I produced about communicating with nature. The course is currently out there in the market place and over 900 students are enrolled. I put it together with my elementary video and audio editing skills and now am looking for a team to take it to the next level. It shares the same principles as Davids work.

    I would love to know if I can help with Davids project in some way.

    I also suggest watching a documentary called Future Dreaming- A Conversation With David Martin.

    Kindest Regards,

    Teagan Fea
    http://www.teaganfea.com
    info@teaganfea.com

  17. Deby Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! FINALLY. Someone saying these things, producing something that changed my day because I often think I’m the only one feeling these things. THANK YOU. This is superb.

  18. K8 E Says:

    I watched the short clip of this film, found it on facebook, and what a job well done!

    I had to send it on to my dad because he thinks scientists don’t know anything beyond the facts of earth, to be able to see facts of the soul. Also, he and I are both struggling to deal with the ugliness, selfishness, and death caused by the filthy rich who’ve managed to turn this heaven into hell.

    It’d be great if you could put me on a list of all those who wish to be notified when you’ve completed this work.

    Thank you. Loved it. Have a great day 🙂

  19. Roxana Villa Michel Says:

    THANK YOU, I loved it. Dr. Flemming´s way of revealing himself and gentle eloquence inspired me deeply.
    I will be looking forward for the film, congratulations you are all a great team!
    Roxana
    Cuernavaca, Mexico.

  20. Roxana Villa Michel Says:

    THANK YOU, I loved it.
    Dr. Flemming´s gentle eloquence and genuine way of revealing himself inspired me deeply.
    I look forward for the film.
    Roxana
    Cuernavaca, Mexico

  21. John Croy Says:

    I love this idea. I’ve never heard of this guy Flemming, but I’m dying to know more. #1 was the best. I almost lost it when he pulled out the tape measurer. # 2 and #3 also great. # 4 and 5 were my least favorite, but I still really like them and think they should be put I. The documentary. I want to buy or see the film when it is completed. Excellent work by you all. We need this today. Thank you for your service.

    John Croy

    North Augusta, SC, USA

  22. Lone Hjorth Says:

    Hi !

    I would like to join in with the perspective of creating a new relationship with all animals. If humans got more insight in what experiences animals can provide, they would start to treat animals different and lot of things would change dramatically on Earth. I write more about this work here:

    http://www.lonehjorth.com/information/animals/

    Here is a personal story about what the horse Aisha thought me:

    http://www.lonehjorth.com/a-mentor/

    and this is a movie about how the work I do with horses is done (English subtitles can be turn on) :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=iEAAcz-Ga2g

    With love from Lone Hjorth, Denmark

  23. Martin Says:

    Hello
    Interesting approach and a very relevant topic of film. I look forward to this Film when it’s completed.

    BUT: There are lots of indie producers across the globe making very similar films on the focus that the current industrial-financial system of Western life is increasingly at odd with our mid-term survivability.

    What would be really positive would be some approach to say; yes this is the problem… but also to say what can we do to resolve this problem? How can the current systems we have (government, NGOs, finance, military) be employed (nee forced) to improve the way we deal with the world and our environment.

    How can we make multibillion dollar industries take that on board and improve themselves.

    For example: Simply informing and changing public opinion can be useful but will be limited; tobacco has a big reduction in buyers in Western countries but the tobacco companies make more money than before because they now advertise and sell in the Asian and Near Eastern markets… aka the problem of humans being addicted to a poisonous and degenerative substance is not resolved; simply moved.

    Therefore to make global changes we need a wider concept of impact and resolution. How do we fix this problem of industry and mass society destroyed and polluting Nature?

  24. Shaun Chamberlin Says:

    Thanks Martin, I’ve been reflecting on your comment, and you’re right that there are lots of films (and books, and talks…) about the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, but which don’t really address how we might get there.

    As such, we have tried to take this into account in the now-finished film. To get a sense of the approach you might be interested in this interview with the late David Fleming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1m6Z-HEYpA

    His approach was not to try to improve the current systems we have (government, NGOs, finance, military) since he believed that they are hardwired to a particular methodology, and intensely unlikely to change in a transformative way in time to avoid the consequences of their path.

    As such, he saw our hope in preparing for the unfolding of those consequences. In the nourishing work of rebuilding communities, relearning mutual reliance and defending/regenerating our natural ecologies, since those are the things we will rely on again (as throughout almost all of human history) when the brief period of globalised reliance on the market economy reaches its inevitable end.

    We hope that our film conveys the hope in that path – in rediscovering many of the joys that we have lost today – and leads many more people to his deeply-inspiring books.

    Best,
    Shaun

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