"I wanted it all to go down."
November 17, 2023 7:14 AM   Subscribe

The Machine Breaker. Christopher Ketcham profiles Stephen McRae, who briefly conducted a one-person campaign against industrial civilization. (via)

"Psychologists have come up with a term—solastalgia—for the feeling that occurs with the disappearance of what’s perceived as the normal, stable, healthy, natural world. The Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, who coined the term, identifies it as a suffering at the loss of solace, “a deep emotional response to the desolation of a loved home environment.” The condition of solastalgia, then, is primarily one of grief, environmental grief, mourning for the death of home, which is the place of solace. (“Stephen McRae seems to be a man who refused to ignore such emotion,” Albrecht told me.)"
posted by doctornemo (6 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
McRae is a name that for some reason has stuck in my head across the years. Interesting article about him. I share a lot of his sentiments and his urges but don't do that antisocial thing and follow through on them.

That ending, about being in the Gila Wilderness and find it a sacred and spiritual place... That's my old stomping ground from camping with the Boy Scouts. And I agree with him. Amazing place.
posted by hippybear at 11:15 AM on November 17 [4 favorites]

Previously on solastalgia (and mentions Albrecht), a good companion piece to this one.
posted by chavenet at 11:17 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]

I’m not sayin’ it’s right..

But I understand.
posted by chronkite at 12:11 PM on November 17 [4 favorites]

Shit, depending on how brief we’re talking about, I have conducted a one person campaign against civilization lots of times.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:21 PM on November 17 [2 favorites]

It may be that hypersensitivity to the ecological unraveling of the only home on earth we know, will ever know, is the necessary condition of an attuned few who can awaken the rest of us to the existential nature of the ecological crisis we face. If Steve McRae sounds to some like a madman, I’d suggest he’s ahead of the curve in feeling deeply the pain of solastalgia. Perhaps those of us who deny the seriousness of the crisis have had our senses dulled, our hearts hardened, and are not feeling enough.
posted by jerome powell buys his sweatbands in bulk only at 2:37 PM on November 17 [2 favorites]

He should have been more careful about who he talked to.
posted by Reverend John at 4:28 PM on November 17 [2 favorites]

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