Systems justice sensitive to multiple contexts, what Chela Sandoval called “differential consciousness,” calls out to various politics of attachment. (Sandoval 2000, Anzaldúa 2002, ASCA forthcoming 2015) Belief and disbelief, really perhaps memberships and belongings, triggered and assembled, stagger between climate change, social change publics, amid money behind global restructurings, and even, say, together with feminist juggling acts and territories, amid objects, new materialisms, and communities of justice and practice. Register such intensities and traumas: when do they become ends in themselves? All too crowded with affiliations, loyalties, essential truths? Eschatology, the study of end-times, companions a paradoxically long history in human attention. And humans are often precariously enduring on the planet, and have threatened its existence before. (I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis myself, and we might well have ended then. This fear motivated much of Bateson’s work for example. See Childs 2012; Bateson 1979:98, 174) Yet Bateson was very vocal and concerned too about unanticipated movements the complexities of systems take on when urgencies become too predictive. Then our urgencies result in less sensitivity to the unanticipated, result in too narrow a focus, as all too human desires for control or for moral prescriptions are inadvertently escalated. Systems justice requires something much more complicated. It means, for example, we have to work with our extended being as well as find out new things about it.
To go with and beyond human intention and systems of control we need many ways to gather now to minimize damage and maximize flourishing. What do we need to gather? “Us” gathers sympoietically too all these boundary objects storing details and affects. (Haraway 2013) Our “we” and “us” register too with living patterns, from Bateson’s starfish’s invertebrate radial symmetry to redwood cloning timelines to recursive epigenesis, mechanism and structure in a segmenting egg to those human affiliations of power and state and love that we could wish for in the Senate of the United States. Sometimes people say if it’s about everything it is about nothing. Not today. Dive into the paradox: systems justice means sharpening focus without narrowing it.