photo of author dougald Hine, author of at work in the ruins

Have you noticed that the world as we know it is ending? And, no matter how much we think we can escape to some cozy little place away from all the chaos, the reality is there is no escaping this time of endings, death, and letting go. If this freaks you out, overwhelms you, or leaves you wondering, “well, what the hell do I do at the end of the world?”, then this episode offers a deep, empathetic, and enlightening look at how we can be At Work In the Ruins of what was.

Today’s guest, Dougald Hine, is a social thinker, writer, speaker, and the co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project and ‘a school called HOME’. His latest book is At Work in the Ruins: Finding Our Place in the Time of Science, Climate Change, Pandemics & All the Other Emergencies (2023) and he publishes new essays on his Substack, Writing Home.

Welcome to We Are Already Free, the podcast that empowers down-to-earth seekers to live their truth and be the change. I’m Nathan Maingard, breathwork facilitator, transformational guide, empowering wordsmith, and your host. Here you’ll find authentic conversations with everyday heroes who defy societal norms simply by living their rooted truth. Together, we are shaking off limiting beliefs and remembering the simple truth that we are already free!

In this episode, Dougald Hine shares:

  • Why the end of the world is not the end of everything, and why we need to give it a good ending in order to allow something new to emerge.
  • How disinvesting in the stories that power society allows us to see things clearly and find new ways of being.
  • Why we need to listen to some of what science brings us without elevating it to a religious and political authority.
  • How storytelling and culture have a deeper role in navigating the end of the world than just delivering a limiting message from the existing structures.
  • Near the end, Dougald shares beautiful stories of why we all need initiation, even self-initiation
  • This barely scratches the surface, there is so much more to this heartwarming, challenging, and empowering conversation…

You can find Dougald’s book, links, Substack, and everything else at (love keeping it simple)

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You’re amazing. See you next week




[00:00:00] When you hear we are already free, what comes up for you? Pure change. It's a shift in awareness. It's the ultimate truth, isn't it? Getting outta the matrix. We have a choice. Joy, nature I am more powerful than I realize I am. Human beings are so powerful. It's all there.

[00:00:17] Like the answers are in being a conscious being. Spiritual being is living a human body experience. it's simple, it's here and it's now, you don't have to go out and find it. Eat real food. Just shining your light so bright. We are already free. You're free. You are, you are a walking map. Have always been free.

[00:00:34] You are always free. Already free. We are already free.

[00:00:38] Nathan Maingard: Have you noticed that the world as we know it is ending and no matter how much we think we can escape to some cozy little place away from all the chaos, the reality is there is no escaping this time of endings, death and letting go? If this freaks you out, overwhelms you, or leaves you wondering, well, what the hell do I do at the end of the world?

[00:01:01] Nathan Maingard: Then this episode offers a deep, empathetic and enlightening look at how we can be at work in the ruins. Today's guest, Dougald Hine is a social thinker, writer, speaker, and the co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project and 'a school called Home'. His latest book is 'at Work in the ruins, finding our place in the time of science, climate change, pandemics, and all the other emergencies', and he publishes new essays on his Substack, writing home.

[00:01:33] Nathan Maingard: Welcome to We Are Already Free, the podcast that empowers down to earth seekers to live their truth and be the change. I'm Nathan Maingard, breathwork facilitator, transformational guide, empowering wordsmith, and your host. Here you will find authentic conversations with everyday heroes who defy society's norms simply by living their rooted truth. Together we are shaking off limiting beliefs and remembering the simple truth that we are already free.

[00:02:04] Nathan Maingard: In this episode, Dougald Hine shares why the end of the world is not the end of everything and why we need to give it a good ending in order to allow something new to emerge. How disinvesting in the stories that Power Society allows us to see things clearly and find new ways of being.

[00:02:24] Nathan Maingard: Why we need to listen to some of what science brings us without elevating it to a religious and political authority. How storytelling and culture have a deeper role in navigating the end of the world than just delivering a limiting message from the existing structures. Near the end, Dougald shares beautiful stories of why we all need initiation, even if it's self initiation. This barely scratches the surface. There is so much more to this heartwarming, challenging, and empowering conversation.

[00:02:55] Nathan Maingard: A huge thank you to my sponsor for this episode, Zencaster, the ultimate web-based podcasting solution. I've saved countless hours since I moved over to their platform. If you're thinking about starting a podcast or already have a podcast, but maybe struggle with the time and the technicalities of getting good recordings, I personally recommend Zencaster. Zencastr's Modern podcasting stack allows you to do everything you need for your podcast from record to publish in one place.

[00:03:25] Nathan Maingard: I particularly love how it allows me to record in the best quality, even though the internet connection in my off-grid solar powered studio is not the most stable. It records tracks locally and then it uploads them for maximum backup and safety. If you've ever lost a recording, you know how much it sucks when that happens.

[00:03:43] Nathan Maingard: So thank you Zencaster for solving that problem for me. Their automatic post-production save me hours of work and makes me and the guests sound amazing. Go to That's And use my code, WEAREALREADYFREE and you'll get 30% off your first three months of Zencaster Professional.

[00:04:07] Nathan Maingard: I want you to have the same easy experiences I do for all my podcasting and content needs. It's time to share your story.

[00:04:13] Nathan Maingard: And if you want exclusive access to a bonus podcast segment with Dougald Hine, where he shares a hilarious story of an unexpected lesson he learned, plus, heaps more supporter only perks. Be sure to join the tribe on Patreon. Links to Dougald. His book, the Patreon, and Heaps of Other Cool Things are at the show notes, so head to after listening.

[00:04:39] Nathan Maingard: And now please enjoy this community funded, uninterrupted chat with Dougald Hine.

[00:04:45] Nathan Maingard: So let's just get started with a little kind of intro to this book that you've written that's come out At Work In The Ruins and it's obviously exploring a lot of different ideas and themes. I'm curious to hear just, at the outset, a brief overview on what is the core message or concept or idea that you're hoping that a reader will take away from this book.

[00:05:05] Dougald Hines: I guess I'm hoping that it lands something that I've been talking to people about for a long time, which is this idea that the end of the world, as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. That, uh, we are living through the unraveling of a whole lot of stuff on different, different levels, and there's a lot of fear that's around because of that.

[00:05:37] Dougald Hines: And there are good reasons for, for some of that fear. But there is, there is a danger that if we think that this kind of unraveling, this end of the world as we know it is the end of everything, we end up trying to defend the world as we know it. We end up trying to save it at all costs and maybe the world isn't the kind of thing that needs saving.

[00:06:01] Dougald Hines: And maybe there are things about the world as we've known it around here lately, and the the ways of knowing the world that have been part of that, that need to end, that need to be given a, a good end so that something that we can't fully see the outlines of yet can be born among the ruins. So that's really the, the invitation and it starts from work that I've done over the years with climate change, but it's not just about that. It's about all of the aspects of the, the trouble that the world is in and the, the sort of time of endings and beginnings that we, we find ourselves in.

[00:06:40] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, this is resonates a lot with me. There's an idea that I've been thinking a lot about recently and I think it's top of mind cuz I've been creating a little design about it. Uh, and it's, it's basically a circle with an egg, a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly, and, you know, a circle with arrows.

[00:06:58] Nathan Maingard: And it's like, and the question I wanna ask, which I will put out to people, and even if someone's listening and they want to give me their answers, which of these is the most important one? and I think part of what I've witnessed, at least in my circles of transformation, where people are looking to transform and to become something to expand, there's a massive obsession with the butterfly as a representation of the sort of illuminated, enlightened moment.

[00:07:21] Nathan Maingard: And I hear it a lot in all the texts, in many things we talk about. It seems to always be this is like this end goal in mind. And the question I would then ask is, well then what, what hap what, what happens to the butterfly? You know, every butterfly I've ever met has died and has. And so, yeah, I dunno what you think about that, but that's what it makes me think of.

[00:07:41] Dougald Hines: Yeah, I'm thinking of the thing they, they say that if you cut open a cocoon, you don't find a creature that's half caterpillar, half butterfly. You find a mess. There is a kind of dissolving, falling apart that is unavoidable in, and, and I mean, one of the themes that's running through what I write about in the book is the, the way in which.

[00:08:10] Dougald Hines: Modernity for one of a better word, this, these ways of living that have been dominant in the world over recent generations, the way in which they avoid death and try and like put it out of view, not think about it. And, you know, some of that comes out of these real, extraordinary achievements in terms of, you know, I, I remember soon after my son was born holding him and looking at him and going, wow, you know, there has never been a time or place until very recently anywhere, where, as a, a father with a new child, you can, you can almost take for granted that you're gonna see that that little creature grow strong as you grow old and that you're both gonna be around. So when I talk about modernity, having had this trouble with death, like some of that was fed by, the extraordinary achievements of, of medicine and public health and so on that make it the case that in more and more parts of the world, uh, parents can look at their children and almost take it for granted that they're gonna see them grow strong as the parents grow old.

[00:09:24] Dougald Hines: But, but that's not the whole story either. And, uh, particularly as the costs, the sort of outsourced costs of the ways of living that have been like being, um, spread out across the world, starting from countries like the UK where I grew up, or Sweden, where I live now, as those costs come home to us, our ability to reckon with that, our ability to, to, to be with that is compromised by this aversion to, to facing that reality that, as you say, I, you know, every butterfly dies. Butterflies don't live very long. Humans don't live that long either by the standards of some of the, some of the living things that make up this extraordinary world where we are part of. Cultures, ways of living, ways of being in the world also have cycles of life and death, and so we have to be willing to go through that, whether it's like what goes on inside the, the chrysalis or whatever are kind of dissolving or falling apart in order for whatever comes next to begin to take shape.

[00:10:35] Nathan Maingard: Yeah. I feel like in many ways this is the most important conversation to be having right now, as I see so much of the conversation and I, in my myself, my own life. Like I'm living in a sort of eco village, more like an eco estate, but a beautiful place in a part of South Africa and a five kilometer drive down the road is, a settlement where people are living.

[00:10:58] Nathan Maingard: In abject poverty. And every time it rains, the effluence overflows from, you know, the, the sewage overflows out of the pipes. And I, uh, so, and that's upstream from where I am, you know, and so like, I see this, well, I'm trying to come in closer to live on the land, and yet upstream, downstream, sidestream in every direction is mayhem.

[00:11:22] Nathan Maingard: And so my little island of so-called paradise is very reliant on all those other pieces being aligned and they are not aligned. And so there's a great surrendering that I'm going through around, well, I don't get to control the whole picture. I don't even get to control very, like a fucking tiny amount of the picture, let alone the whole picture.

[00:11:43] Nathan Maingard: And, uh, and that's a great humbling. I, I feel.

[00:11:47] Dougald Hines: Yeah, you don't like, there's no getting away from it. There's no getting out, is there? It's like, there's no, there's no outside. Someone told me about a film they watched about the Pharaoh Islands, where, where whaling is a, a big part of the culture and the way of life. And, uh, there was this old guy, um, who was being interviewed and the thing that they have now is that the toxins that build up through the food chain mean that the whales are not safe to eat.

[00:12:20] Dougald Hines: and they're interviewing this old, old man and he said, it's not the whale that's poisoned, it's the world. you can't run off to somewhere pristine and get outside of this web of consequences. You are in it, you're part of it. And that's the wave that we have to ride. Starting from here. That's the times we were born into.

[00:12:43] Dougald Hines: And, uh, the processes that are unfolding, which exceed our ability to, to fully map and, and model it however much we might want to. I'm thinking of somebody who I quote from quite a bit in the book is my friend Vanessa Machado de Oliveira, who is um, Brazilian Educationalist. She's based in Canada these days, and she wrote this extraordinary book called Hospicing Modernity.

[00:13:15] Dougald Hines: So just that. Idea in itself is, is pretty potent that what's at stake is not, not to try and save modernity, not to stage some kind of revolutionary moment and bring it all down, burn it all down. Not to rush into what's coming next, but to try and give it a good ending, to limit, the damage that's done in its ending.

[00:13:37] Dougald Hines: And also to allow it to hand on the gifts that maybe only come fully in view once you cross that horizon and death is in view once the end of something is in view. And there's a bit in there where she talks about, like, when it comes home to us, like how deep and fundamental this trouble that the world is in, is, there's often a desire to, to divest as she puts it, like to get yourself off grid. To somehow arrange your life so that you are not implicated, so that you are not part of the cause of, of it all. She's like, it's not, it's not really possible. And to the extent that we can even get close to it, feeling like we've done that, that tends to be because we are of how much we've benefited from, you know, what's causing all of that shit to overflow upstream and downstream and sidestream of you.

[00:14:34] Dougald Hines: So she says, well, what else can you do? You can disinvest and to disinvest in Vanessa's terms is to stop believing in the stories that are powering all of that, while recognizing that that still leaves you in place. It still leaves you tangled up with it and you have to figure out what else is worth doing.

[00:14:57] Dougald Hines: But just that move of no longer believing in the promises, no longer believing in the stories allows you to see things that you couldn't look at clearly. Before, and then maybe you find the moves that you can make without pretending that we can get to someplace or need to get to some place of purity in order to have, uh, in order to have agency, in order to find work that's worth spending our lives on.

[00:15:23] Nathan Maingard: And if, I mean, this is something I'm curious about cuz what is then worth doing at the end of the world? And I say this for myself where I have shifted careers in the last few years where I was a, a professional songwriter musician, and I'm excited to get into that a little later on some of the, your journey as well in that area.

[00:15:42] Nathan Maingard: And at a deeper level, I've actually never really felt financially or economically empowered in my life, or very, very rarely, at least. And then in the last year or so, in the, especially the last few months as now I'm moving more into the space of facilitator of space holders, supporting people in their own transformational journeys, whatever step they're in at that point.

[00:16:02] Nathan Maingard: And I really honor all the pieces, whether someone needs to be cocooned or in an egg or as a caterpillar, then welcome all of those places. And I think that's such a, a wonderful thing to support people in. And I'm loving it and I'm also starting to make money from it. And it feels amazing. It feels like a totally different me that I'm starting to getting to meet.

[00:16:22] Nathan Maingard: And then there's also that question of like, what is the job to do at the end of the world? So what do you think?

[00:16:28] Dougald Hines: Yeah. what's coming to mind is a book that I came across quite late on in the writing of At Work In The Ruins by this Italian philosopher, Federico Campania.

[00:16:39] Dougald Hines: It's a book called Prophetic Cultures. And, and he says, you know, sometimes you are born into the end of a world. This is a thing that happens. It's happened before to other people in other times and places. How do you know, or how do you discern that that's the nature of the times you've been born into?

[00:17:04] Dougald Hines: He says, well, uh, maybe the main symptom is that the future doesn't work anymore. When people try and tell those kind of stories about their, the future, when politicians stand up and try and inspire you with a vision of the future. Well, the way that ordinarily works is that you sort of take a point in the recent past and you draw a line through the present and extend it on upwards and outwards, and that feels full of promise and possibility.

[00:17:33] Dougald Hines: But when you've been born into the end of a world, the story arc of that world is at an end. There's not much future left in that ordinary sense. Doesn't mean that there aren't worlds to come, doesn't mean that there aren't things worth working for, but they're not going to belong to the story of the world you were born into.

[00:17:57] Dougald Hines: And so he says, what's worth doing if that's your read on the times. He says, well, maybe, maybe you can stop worrying so much about making sense according to the logic of the world that is ending. And instead try and make good ruins because the world that is ending is gonna leave stuff behind and people are gonna build stuff out of what gets left behind.

[00:18:23] Dougald Hines: And obviously, you know, we know some of what's being left behind is gonna be toxic shit that's gonna be around for 20,000 years or whatever. Some of what's gonna be left behind is changes to the patterns of rain and heat and so on, which are gonna make parts of the world far less hospitable than they have been.

[00:18:42] Dougald Hines: And we're all gonna be reckoning with the consequences of that for a long time to come. But that doesn't, that's not. That doesn't exhaust the field of things that are gonna be left behind or things that could be left behind by the world that is ending. So that's one way of approaching this question of like what kind of work is worth doing, is stop worrying so much about making sense according to the logics, the ways we've been told the world is meant to work.

[00:19:08] Dougald Hines: And start looking for ways to create good ruins, ways to live with one foot in the world that is ending and one foot somewhere else. And I, when you go around and give talks about the kind of things that I've been speaking about and writing about for a long time, people say, oh, so what are you saying we should do?

[00:19:31] Dougald Hines: And often implicit in that is an idea that there's a single answer to that, a kind of top down once and for all. And so my invitation has always been to go, well, that answer is gonna look different depending on where you're standing. There are gonna be some common patterns, some common threats. You know, we have to relearn skills, we have to get involved with land and with food and with relationship and community.

[00:20:03] Dougald Hines: In the places where we find ourselves like that as a general description will cover a lot of ground. But there are many different places, many different tasks that can be part of that story. And at the end of the book I have this, this little kind of unfinished back of an envelope map of, you know, what might be the work for a time of endings.

[00:20:27] Dougald Hines: And I say, well, there are four kinds of tasks that I've noticed people taking up, and one is looking for the good stuff that's worth saving. From the worlds that are ending, from the ways of living that are coming to an end. You know, there are parts of what were built in modernity that we wouldn't gladly let go of.

[00:20:49] Dougald Hines: So, you know, rather than wrapping them up into some big grand story of progress, we can get granular. We can look at what are the specific kinds of knowledge and practice that mean that babies have a much better chance of living to be children living to be grownups than was the case a hundred years ago.

[00:21:06] Dougald Hines: Anywhere. And you know, you can take responsibility for trying to bring those knowledges and practices and specifics into whatever kind of future we, we find ourselves in. On the far side of all of this, this trouble, you can also do another kind of work. There is a task of mourning the good things that we won't get to take with us because there are achievements that.

[00:21:35] Dougald Hines: Oh, that have been good, but that were built on such precarious foundations, such elaborate structures that it's hard to see how they're gonna be with us in the kind of worlds we're gonna come into. But mourning, and this is true, we all know this, if we've been through, you know, grief in our own lives, that part of the work of mourning is to tell the story of what's gone.

[00:22:01] Dougald Hines: To tell the story of those who are no longer with us and carry the story with us. And in the same way, this work of mourning in relation to a time of endings can include telling stories which will get carried with us, that might turn out to be seeds in worlds that we can't imagine yet. So those are the first two, like salvage the good things that we have a chance of taking with us, mourn the good things that we don't get to take with us.

[00:22:29] Dougald Hines: The third kind of task is to notice. To pay attention to the things that have been marked as good, that were never as good as we told each other they were. Because even before its consequences start to come home to roost in the, the countries where it's originated, these ways of living, these ways of organizing societies, they produce a hell of a lot of loneliness, isolation, and, you know, um, mental health problems amongst young people and addiction and all of the rest of it.

[00:23:01] Dougald Hines: There's, there are things about the ways we've been living, which even if the, you know, the international panel on climate change were to turn around tomorrow and say, guys terribly embarrassing. Turns out there's no problem with all of that co2 I, that wouldn't put us back into some sort of Stephen Pinker narrative world where everything's better than it's ever been because there have been things that have been just toxic at a human level about the ways we've been organizing life around here lately.

[00:23:28] Dougald Hines: And so in a time of endings, you're given the chance to notice the gap between the story we've been telling about the way we were living and a lot of the realities of how it's been playing out on the ground in our communities and in our lives, and the chance to walk away. So then the last on my list, I'm sure people can add to the list, but the last one that I keep noticing is this task of picking up the dropped threads, like looking for the places earlier in the story, the things that have been marked as, oh, old-fashioned, obsolete, primitive, whatever.

[00:24:05] Dougald Hines: That, actually might make all the difference in navigating the unfolding of a time of endings and the chance to, you know, pick them up and weave them back in the story. We're not going back anywhere. There is no going back, but there are things that we've been told were already gone. Or were inefficient, didn't matter.

[00:24:27] Dougald Hines: Were gonna be gone soon, which actually might be carrying a lot of the capacity, a lot of the hidden resources that we're gonna need as we get together and make sense of, you know, what's worth doing next, when a lot of the promises and stories and trajectories that seemed to be on offer not that long ago, I no longer feel plausible to us.

[00:24:51] Nathan Maingard: Oh man, you are talking my language. I, this was reminding me of being a, a young person at school, and experiencing my natural tendency towards curiosity and connection and openness, and then bringing that into the school environment and being just absolutely. Battered for that by, by the peers and the the teachers and just being like, oh, I guess I got it wrong.

[00:25:19] Nathan Maingard: I guess that my feelings around how I feel life could be that I want my life to be, are wrong. And actually, if I'm gonna do well in this world that I'm born into, I need to be like that way, you know, I need to box myself, I need to be smaller, I need to be more harsh, less connected. And then through this obviously process of dark nights of the soul and self-exploration as an adult realizing, hang on a second, I was right all along that actually the society I was born into did not know how to care for me or my people or my planet, or really any of the things that actually matter to me.

[00:25:58] Nathan Maingard: And so I, I kind of want to bring that into now, and we don't have to spend much time on this. I feel like for me personally, this has been kind of like, Properly explored. But I do think it's interesting to cover, cause I know this is a part of your work, and I think you cover it in your book At Work In The Ruins, the way we talk about science, and especially during, if you wanna call it the covid era of how the science has become this, I I would say religious term, for a particular dogma, or at least that's my perspective.

[00:26:26] Nathan Maingard: And I'm interested in hearing your, your thoughts on like what are the shortcomings on relying solely on the science, especially the way that it's practiced or the way that it's presented in our, in the zeitgeist right now. And, and as relates to addressing what we're going through as a society, climate change, health, wellbeing, disease, et cetera.

[00:26:45] Nathan Maingard: Yeah. I'd just love to hear from you around that.

[00:26:48] Dougald Hines: Yeah, there's a whole, there's a whole section of the book that I call asking too much of science, and it's really trying to recognize this pattern that has been repeated through the, the history of modern societies of, you know, on the one hand, science bringing us knowledge and practices that we're, uh, we're understandably grateful for.

[00:27:15] Dougald Hines: And on the other hand, a kind of leap that gets made to attempt to ask science to do all of the work. Of knowing the world and telling us how to be in the world and asking science to fill in the gap where the exercise of judgment needs to be. And part of what, part of what brought me to this was having worked a lot with climate scientists and having a lot of respect for them.

[00:27:44] Dougald Hines: And you know, their honesty about the limits of the part of the story of climate change and the part of the work that is called for in relation to climate change that they can help with. And then seeing the kind of, the way, particularly during the pandemic, this new intensity of this elevation of this thing called the science to an object of belief and a source of overriding political authority.

[00:28:14] Dougald Hines: And just knowing from time spent around scientists and the respect that I have for them, that that's not how it works. That they're much more cautious and tentative than that. And that the things that we need to hear, things we need to listen to from the news that they can bring us from the work that they do, is not helped by pretending that, uh, that gives, that, that gets us all the way, and that that tells us what to do.

[00:28:44] Dougald Hines: You know, when someone's telling you what to do in the name of science, there's something that's being hidden from view. That thing that's being hidden from view is the judgments that are being made. And I think part of what it means to be living through the end of the world, as we've known it through the end of, you know, this world that I, I talk about as, as modernity is.

[00:29:12] Dougald Hines: The, the ways of knowing that belonged to that world are called into question. So I think we're actually at a moment where we have, on the one hand, this intensification of asking science to do it all, to be this kind of, um, religious and political authority. And at the same time, it's a bit like when you are running a machine harder and harder and faster and faster and bits are starting to fly off at the same time.

[00:29:38] Dougald Hines: We're also witnessing the breakdown of its ability to do what it has done at its best in terms of informing our judgments and decisions as societies. It's really messy. And, um, this is kinda a question that I frame at the beginning of the book, which is how, and in what shape and how far, will the work of science, the practices of science survive the ending of the big story with which science has been bound up throughout, you know, throughout modern history.

[00:30:17] Dougald Hines: And by the end of the book, I'm, you know, bringing together different voices, scientists and non-scientists to try and imagine the sorts of conversations that are needed, the sorts of sharing of stories that are needed so that you can apply those kind of four tasks. The salvaging the good, the mourning, the good that we don't get to take with us, the noticing the things that were never as good as we got to, uh, as we told each other they were. And the picking up the, the dropped threads earlier in the story or from elsewhere, like applying that. The work of science so that there's an invitation to those scientists who are not comfortable with the way in which things have ended up being framed, the way in which science is being asked to do all of the work of knowing the world and telling us what to do to something that comes afterwards or turns aside from that big singular path, because I think that's getting more urgent.

[00:31:16] Nathan Maingard: You've mentioned this a few times, and I really wanna pick this thread up around story. Telling new stories, old stories we told that weren't true, things like that.

[00:31:25] Nathan Maingard: And so I'm gonna ask for just a few stories of you actually from your own life. And, and these are things that you had mentioned when we were exchanging emails and you had, uh, filled in the intake form. So there's some things, and I don't almost know which one to choose because I'm so excited about all of them, and I'd like to hear them all, but, but I think the one I'll, I'll start with is that you mentioned having an Oh fuck moment.

[00:31:47] Nathan Maingard: Could you share that with us and, and how that's influenced, uh, this book and your thinking and just generally how, how you are today.

[00:31:54] Dougald Hines: One of the things that I started to notice around this whole work with, with climate change is that it, it's often the place where those of us who are most sheltered from the, the shadow side, the consequences of, um, modernity. It's the place where, We have this kind of almost initiatory rupture, this being torn out from the comfortable story, the promises, the trajectory, and so on.

[00:32:26] Dougald Hines: And I, for me, it would've been around 2005, I was working as a radio journalist for the bbc and I remember just having this point where, uh, climate change went from being like one on that list of things that you kind of know about and you see out of the corner of your eye to this. Yeah, this kind of, oh fuck this,

[00:32:51] Dougald Hines: like, this really calls it all into question. And I think that people have that sort of, oh fuck moment. That moment of having like the foundations pulled out from under you for all kinds of reasons. Like you can hit that at a moment of deep personal loss of grief. You can hit that because you go outside of the, kind of the, the cultural zone of the way of life that you've grown up with, and you meet people whose lives are very different or who see the world very differently to you.

[00:33:26] Dougald Hines: Like there are different ways you can arrive at that, probably because science has had this particular authority for a variety of reasons within modernity. I, a thing like climate change, where the knowledge about it is brought to us by science, with the authority of science can be a particularly powerful moment of that, uh, being pulled across a threshold, being called into question for those of us who've grown up kind of deeply enmeshed within the logics of, of modernity.

[00:34:01] Dougald Hines: But when that happens, it is like your, your stories no longer make sense. It takes you to a, a kind of liminal place, you know, anthropologists. Have been talking for a century or so about liminality, and then the idea sort of spread from there to the theater world and into various other, other languages.

[00:34:22] Dougald Hines: But it comes from this idea that you see a pattern in rituals in many cultures where there's a kind of three step move where the first step is a leaving behind, a dissolving of the existing order, logic. And then the middle step is you're pulled into this kind of structureless space of liminality, this place in which those, taken for granted structures and stories no longer hold.

[00:34:50] Dougald Hines: And then the third step, which is kind of the hardest one, if you're trying to structure this experience and give people spaces in which this experience can happen, is moving into a new structure, a new space of order, a new story. You know, as any veterans of the sixties counterculture can tell us, getting far out is the easy part.

[00:35:09] Dougald Hines: It's finding your way home again and being able to make sense to yourself or to anyone else on the far side of that kind of liminal experience. But I think we're, we are being collectively taken through that kind of process of an old order no longer holding. Of being in something that's a bit like, you know, what you find inside the chrysalis.

[00:35:34] Dougald Hines: No longer a caterpillar, not yet a butterfly and not some halfway house between them, but a kind of a de structured gloop out of which this new structure is gonna emerge. And I think that that happens to us individually, but we need spaces and vessels that are capable of holding it. Um, when I started talking about this and writing about it with Paul Kings North, who I started the Dark Mountain project with, and we put our manifesto out into the world saying, we think that the trouble that the world is in is not just about a piece of bad luck with the atmospheric chemistry.

[00:36:13] Dougald Hines: We think it's about a way of approaching the world that would've brought us into this kind of trouble, even if the atmospheric chemistry turned out to be different. And if that's the case, if we're here because of the stories, because of a way of approaching the world, a way of seeing and describing everything, and a way of treating everything that follows on from that, then may be the role of culture within navigating this goes a lot deeper than the, the kind of relatively superficial way the artists and story makers and so on get, get invited into work with a thing like climate change. Cuz generally you get invited in, and the assumption that's shaping the space is that, uh, what we need is someone who can help deliver the message.

[00:37:00] Dougald Hines: Someone who can help, you know, waken awareness to these facts that we've got here that people aren't listening to. And I always had the sense that, that that wasn't, that didn't get to the core of it, that we needed to kind of gently decline the invitation to use story, to use culture as a kind of, you know, a cheap alternative to an advertising agency or a communications tool or whatever.

[00:37:28] Dougald Hines: And I know there's, there are other things that we know how to do and among those things is to make spaces that are safe enough. You know, there are no safe spaces, but you can create safe enough spaces where it's not foolish to show up vulnerably. It's not foolish to bring the, to bring the mess, to let yourself fall apart a bit, to let your existing structures dissolve with a good chance, there's never, never a promise, because if there's a promise, then you think you're holding onto something solid. All you can do is offer, you know, a good enough chance that it's worth taking the risk of surrendering those old structures, surrendering those old stories, letting yourself be changed, so that you might come to a place from which you can see things that you couldn't see before.

[00:38:24] Dougald Hines: You can find threads that are worth picking up. You can find stories that are worth telling and, and, and living out. So I guess that's what I've been been trying to do as somebody who's been invited into a lot of different spaces and a lot of different conversations in different, different worlds and different scenes over the years, is to be carrying stories from place to place, including the story that there are, there are processes, there are vessels that are capable of holding us.

[00:38:53] Dougald Hines: When we hit the 'Oh Fuck' moment, when we hit the point where the story we thought we were in has stopped making sense and you know, people started to show up in response to the invitation that Paul and I made with the Dark Mountain Manifesto. And among them there were storytellers and mythographers people who really knew about how deep story, old story, the kinds of story that cultures have lived by, how it includes information about how to pass through the liminal, how to pass through these kinds of times.

[00:39:33] Nathan Maingard: I'm getting this, this sense to take this into, into a little more story actually, and I, I generally tend on, on this podcast, I, I limit how much I speak because I'm really interested in, in you and in the guests and in what you guys have to say. And so I'm gonna need to share a bit of a story here.

[00:39:48] Nathan Maingard: And it's, it's quite a, it's, it's a long-ish story, but it's coming up again and again based on what we've been talking about. And it's actually a dream that I had some months ago and I've done quite a bit of work with this dream because of how powerful it was. And so I'll tell you the story of this dream and then I'd be very interested to hear your reflections on that.

[00:40:06] Nathan Maingard: So in this dream, I was on a train station. There was a girl, I was like a young boy and there was a young girl and she was calling me into this game. And the game was to jump onto the train as it was moving through the station. So there was a sense of danger that we were about to do something dangerous, but it was gonna be fun.

[00:40:26] Nathan Maingard: And so we jumped through the door onto the train and we made it onto the train. And, and then, then the girl kind of disappeared and there was now a young boy with me. And we arrived in this city scape. And the city was quite city-like. It was quite concrete and blocky. And desolate in a way, desolate in the way of connection and of nature.

[00:40:46] Nathan Maingard: And it was, we were struggling, we were hungry, and we needed to make money and we needed to get by. And we didn't know how to get the sustenance that we. And in on that journey, we found an apple tree. And we ate an apple from the tree. And that gave us a bit of nourishment that we needed to continue. And then the boy was leading me to now try and find some sort of gainful employment of how could we survive in this, in this culture, in this city. He somehow had connections to the underworld to like the criminal element. And he took me into this warehouse where there was a, a, a crime boss seated at a table. And in this warehouse was lots of industry. Boxes being moved, things coming in, things going out. And this crime boss sat at the table and he said to us, he, and to this boy, he said, I have a job for you that will help you to get what you need.

[00:41:32] Nathan Maingard: Um, and you need to bring me, you need to go on this journey and bring me this thing. And we didn't know what the thing was, but like, you need to bring us, bring me a thing. So we went off on this journey and, and then the scene changed and we are now on a shoreline with the ocean and rocks and on the shoreline. On the, the land is a huge ship, like a big transporter, kind of cargo ship that has been grounded and is decaying on the shore. And we walked along this ship towards the end, which was moving towards the, where the ocean would've been. And we came to the end and realized we had to climb off the end and go down off the, the, the front of the ship into some somewhere. And the girl appeared again, and we saw a rope extended from the front of the ship going down somewhere, and the girl said, I can't climb. I'm not strong enough to climb down this rope. You need to help me. So we pulled the rope up and we tied a loop into the end of it, which she then put her foot into and held onto the rope, and we lowered her down and then we climbed down after her.

[00:42:33] Nathan Maingard: And where we ended up was this kind of underworld scene of a desolate city of destruction. So almost like a, a war zone where bombs had hit and there was torn concrete with bits of the metal sticking out and bent and rusting. And it was very like not a pleasant place to be in at all. And we were now, there was a small crew of us, this girl included, but a few other people.

[00:42:58] Nathan Maingard: And we were trying to now navigate this underworld desolate space. And there were these monsters that were roaming around and that we didn't wanna get caught by. And so the character I was then of this boy was sent off to go and try and find food while the others stayed in a church, in an old broken church.

[00:43:16] Nathan Maingard: And so I'm off now and I remember hiding underneath a little piece of concrete cuz a monster was going past. And I'm scared. Don't wanna get caught. And I started finding, the only thing I could find that was edible was mushrooms, was magic mushrooms. And so I'm gathering these magic mushrooms and there weren't that many and I was gathering them in a little vessel, a little container, and I brought those back to the people in the church.

[00:43:39] Nathan Maingard: And we were looking at these going well, We're gonna eat these mushrooms and we are gonna have a psychedelic experience, but this is the only food that we have. Like this is all we've got and there's not much. So I started handing it out to the people and as I was handing it out, the more I gave of this, this sustenance, the more there was.

[00:43:57] Nathan Maingard: And so there was just like, the more that I gave what I had, the more was available for everyone. So we all got to eat what we needed and we didn't have a psychedelic experience. We were just nourished in that moment. That's what what happened. And then out of the distance came the queen of the monsters, this very sort of gargoyle looking queen with all her entourage of monsters around her.

[00:44:18] Nathan Maingard: And we are like, oh, we definitely don't wanna get caught by them. This is gonna, you know, we need to avoid this. And the next thing, the girl was caught. And in the distance I watched her being caught by this queen, and she kneels down in front of the queen, kneels before the queen, and the queen reaches out and breaks her neck.

[00:44:38] Nathan Maingard: And just kills this girl. And then I'm in the dream. I'm like, this has got so bad. We've brought this young girl into this terrible situation. Now she's been killed. You know what? What? We failed. And then I got caught by this same queen and I'm taken off and I think, well, this is it. I'm gonna die now. And then we turn a corner.

[00:44:57] Nathan Maingard: And suddenly I'm on the banks of a river and there's a forest and it's beautiful, and all the monsters are sitting around having a picnic and the girl is there and she's alive, and it's, and everyone's having this beautiful, connected experience. And the queen comes to me and hands me a, a sheathed sword.

[00:45:15] Nathan Maingard: And I realize that this is what I've been looking for the whole time. And in that moment I realise that the sword, I know how to use the sword. It's an incredibly powerful weapon. And that part of the power of the sword is that I don't need to draw it unless absolutely necessary, that it's not in drawing the sword and fighting that is the power, but in knowing that I have that power and that I can keep it with me, and that I am powerful in that way.

[00:45:38] Nathan Maingard: And then I woke up. So I'd love to hear what that says to you.

[00:45:44] Dougald Hines: Wow, what a dream. Well, Nathan, what, what image within that dream, what moment within that dream is strongest with you? What's the bit that you keep coming back to?

[00:45:57] Nathan Maingard: So the, the bit is the, the, when the, the girl's neck was broken. And, and, and then the, and then what happened afterwards. And I, in my work with that dream, I, I did a, a powerful practice as part of the coaching training that I have. A part of it is dream reading. And so I did a full process and the girl represented for me in my personal symbolism and my personal archetypal kind of imagery.

[00:46:20] Nathan Maingard: She represented innocence, innocence, calling me into a life through the train, the journey of it, going on a journey, and then calling me into this experience of life that was lacking in some way. And then the t, the transformation that I was looking for, that I needed happened with the death of innocence.

[00:46:37] Nathan Maingard: When innocence bowed to the dark queen on her knees to the dark queen, and innocence died, innocence was destroyed. And through that, I came into the full rebirth and the full power. So that moment of thinking, it was all over. We'd fucked it up. This is so bad. And that in that very moment was the rebirth and the reclamation and the reincarnation into something beautiful.

[00:47:01] Dougald Hines: Yeah, I can see that. I can see that. There's so much imagery in that dream. along the way, I was struck by the container ship, the beached container ship, and the, that part of the mission was to kind of, to get on board and over and off that, and then when you got to the, the kind of ruined city. For me, it was as though the city was just the same as the city that you'd already seen, but you were seeing it with new eyes because you were that further on within the, within the process.

[00:47:42] Dougald Hines: So the ruins become visible and this kind of, this strange sacrament in the ruined church I'm very curious about so before you get to the moment where the, of the kind of the breaking of innocence that is the, the final kind of rupture through which something quite other and quite unexpected becomes possible.

[00:48:05] Dougald Hines: You've already had this, this sort of eruption of abundance, having had scarcity as a kind of theme that's been running through from, from very early on in the dream. And then it's funny, but the very first image that you started off with reminded me of something that I experienced in my education, which was, arriving at, at Oxford University.

[00:48:32] Dougald Hines: Having, you know, come from a small town in the northeast of England. Uh, schools I went to were not particularly high flying academically. I was not equipped for this in the way that some of the, the kids who were arriving there were, and just having this sense that I was being asked to board a train that was coming through the platform at 70 miles an hour and wasn't gonna slow down for me.

[00:48:57] Dougald Hines: And I just had to watch the trains go through often enough that I figured out how you did it. And no one was gonna, no one was gonna go slow in order to help me. And that was, that was not a comfortable. thing, but I was just, it, it, it, it tickled me that, that that image of the, sort of the dangerous game of boarding the train that won't slow down was there in the beginning of that whole epic dream of yours.

[00:49:26] Dougald Hines: Wow. I'm gonna be going away thinking about those images.

[00:49:30] Nathan Maingard: Yeah. Thank you, brother. It's, I, to me it's, it, it has been, it's like brought together my whole life journey in a way around a and actually in the desolation of my own dark Night of the soul when I had fully awoken to the fact that the city of life that I was born into was actually desolate. And, and then finding these modalities like breathwork and plant medicines and different ways of relating to myself and the world, that that was the nourishment or that is the nourishment that allows me to then see with new eyes and have the nourishment that I need to move forward.

[00:50:05] Nathan Maingard: It's, it's, there's something in there as well that throughout, even in the original city, there was the apple tree, and then there's then at the ship that I wouldn't have been able to climb off was the rope, and then in this ruins was the mushroom. And like every step of the way there is the little divine nourishment to like, if you just say yes to that nourishment, then the next step becomes apparent.

[00:50:28] Nathan Maingard: Intrinsically.

[00:50:30] Dougald Hines: So that thing of saying yes reminds me of, uh, one of the, one of the members of the community around our school, Victor, Victor Lielle, small Landing, who said to me one day, surrender can be saying yes. And I had never made the connection between these two things that actually, you know, cuz surrender is something I've thought about and talked about and worked with a lot.

[00:50:57] Dougald Hines: because I think it's, it's a necessary part of. You know, so much of what we've been talking about here, it's part of what's called for, you know, I, I got invited to Brussels this time to talk to people at the European Commission and I said to them, look, sustainability is over. It's not about making the way of living of the western middle classes sustainable.

[00:51:17] Dougald Hines: It's about negotiating the surrender of that way of living. And there are so many different ways we can go with surrender, but that surrender can actually be that moment of, of saying yes, of, you know, the thing that you are surrendering is like holding on to or are not trusting something. And you actually have to sort of throw yourself forward and follow those, those small, those small clues, those small hints that maybe it's all more complex than there was room for within the story.

[00:51:49] Dougald Hines: Yeah. There, there were, there's, there's more to, more to what's going on here than that becomes particularly important when the story is ending. it's one thing that whilst modernity was at its height and in its pomp and pride and delivering the goods in lots of ways for a whole bunch of people, then that there's, there are things that are missing from that story.

[00:52:13] Dougald Hines: But if that story is then coming to an end, it becomes even more important to be looking for the clues. You know, the apple tree, the mushroom, whatever they are, that are the hints, the breadcrumbs that say there's something more that's not on the map that you've been given for this journey. And there's gonna come a moment where you, you have to trust that you have to surrender to it.

[00:52:39] Dougald Hines: Or you're just like, you don't have any choice. You know, the girl who's been your, kind of the person leading you into the whole journey. I is grabbed by the monster and you don't get to do a heroic saving her from the Monster thing. It's all over. And even when it's all over, there are other stories that are tangled up with it, and you find that you didn't know.

[00:53:03] Dougald Hines: You didn't know what that meant in the way you thought you did.

[00:53:06] Nathan Maingard: Thank you brother. Oh man. There's so many, so many things I still want to talk with you about. And I, I know we don't have massive amounts of time left. So one of the things I, I do want to get to, just to touch on is because, you know, as a troubador, and actually I come from a lineage of troubador where my, we have a, a lineage, someone has been tracking, you know, for hundreds of years, and I've got.

[00:53:26] Nathan Maingard: On in from the 13 hundreds I think, or the 13th century or somewhere around there. But, uh, one of my ancestors was one of the great, one of the last great troubadors. And that means a lot to me personally as someone who I've been in love with lyrics and words for my whole life. It's been the one of the great threads f from since I was very young and learning words to songs and just loving the rich imagery and the ways it can transport me.

[00:53:50] Nathan Maingard: And so I've spent a lot of my life as a, as a troubador, as a songwriter, and a storyteller and a bringer of stories to people. And what I realized with that is that the more honest I can be about my story, the more universal it actually becomes, which is such a beautiful sort of paradox in a way that if I can be truly personal, It becomes universal.

[00:54:08] Nathan Maingard: And I know that you spent a year traveling Europe as a street musician, busking, which is something I've also done, uh, not a massive amount of, but a fair amount of at times making income from busking, which is a very, uh, humbling and empowering experience. And I, I would just love to know how that experience of being a, a Troubador, being a street musician, being a traveling musician, how that has influenced your perspectives on life and, and the themes that you've even been exploring in your book.

[00:54:34] Dougald Hines: Ah, yeah. Well, I was thinking before when you spoke about your memories of, uh, being at school and that sense, that kind of what you felt was wrong and the world was like telling you how it really is through school and through your peers and teachers and the rest of it. I'm like, yeah, I, I can, I can resonate with a lot of that.

[00:54:53] Dougald Hines: And I'm also, I'm always curious about like, what are the little boxes, the little pouches or pockets in which we put our true selves when we have to go through passages of life like that? You know, the little corners in which we get to be the versions of ourselves, that it's not safe to show up as to our peers when we are 15 or whatever.

[00:55:18] Dougald Hines: And I guess that for me, singing and music was, particularly when I was young, it was the vessel. It was the vessel in which I could be more alive than it was safe to be in most other environments. You know, I hadn't worked out then how to weave together ideas and stories and thinking and feeling in the way that I have learned to do in the middle years of life as a writer and a speaker.

[00:55:47] Dougald Hines: And so what I had was when I was singing words and playing the guitar and bringing something through me like that, then something big could come through. I must have been 16 the first time I went out playing music on the streets with a guitar case in front of me and people dropping coins into the case.

[00:56:11] Dougald Hines: And it's still to this day, the, you know, the model for how the relationship that I want to have between work and money because I was able to give away the music to anyone and everyone and where it connected with people, they could respond. And as you say, I spent a year, when I was 18, I set off and traveled all over Europe, 23 countries from Norway to Turkey and back again,

[00:56:42] Dougald Hines: this was in the late nineties, making a living through being a street musician. And apart from anything else, it gives me a different relationship to, to work and money to the one that most people who were born into our societies have. Because, you know, my first experience of earning money was not that you get three pounds, 50 for an hour of collecting glasses in the pub or whatever it is.

[00:57:13] Dougald Hines: My first experience was you stand there and you bring something through your body and through your heart in a public place where you're exposed to anyone and everyone going by and a certain magic happens. I can remember during those, you know, the months when I was traveling around making a living this way, if I was having a rough day, if I was, uh, feeling anxious about whether I was gonna have enough money for a place to stay that night, there wasn't much money landing in my hat, when that was where, where I was. But if I could go from that to just letting go and singing through and losing myself in what I was singing, then more money would start to arrive in the hat because there was more truth in, more presence in, what I was doing. having started out that way all through my life, whenever I've actually been in a situation where I'm simply getting paid, um, which has not not often been how I make a living, but getting paid an hourly wage or a monthly salary, it's almost been like one of my senses has been taken away.

[00:58:25] Dougald Hines: Like I don't have the kind of the feedback that tells me when what I'm doing is actually touching people and landing with people that is there when you are performing, and making a living that way on the street. So I still, you know, writing on Substack kind of gives me, uh, something close to the relationship to.

[00:58:45] Dougald Hines: Um, to work on money that I first had as a teenager, doing that. And I suppose the other part of it was at that age, the kind of the surrender, the, the lack of control, the lack of being able to have a kind of predictable bargain that was involved in making a living as a street musician. And also, you know, I was traveling around a lot by hitchhiking in those years, and there are, there are plenty of stories I can tell about that.

[00:59:12] Dougald Hines: And you know, the only time I ever had a bad experience, a really scary experience hitchhiking, was when I started writing an article about all the things I'd learned from hitchhiking and, uh, like I was partway three writing it. And I got this lift on the M one from Sheffield heading down to London with these three guys in a van.

[00:59:30] Dougald Hines: And it all got a bit dark and I, uh, I got out unscathed. I was like, okay, I don't have to have an explanation that makes sense to anyone else or even to me for where that message came from. But I was just given a message that maybe I should think twice about enthusing, about all the things I've learned from hitchhiking in a way that's going to, uh, encourage some of the young people reading it to go out and, uh, and do it, and like maybe people have to make those decisions for themselves.

[01:00:01] Dougald Hines: But what I can say is, again, arriving at university at Oxford at the age of 19, being surrounded by all these very confident young people who'd come from, you know, many of them from very privileged backgrounds. I had an experience that few of them had, which is that I had had to rely on the kindness of strangers, and therefore I had discovered some things about what human beings are like.

[01:00:27] Dougald Hines: Even today, in the middle of highly industrialized atomized societies, which not that many people get to discover until they're thrown on hard times. You know, there were, there were things that I learned young because of, ignoring the advice of my elders and just going out there into the world, um, with my guitar and my ruck sack to see what I could see and see what I could find and be, that gave me early on some information that is well hidden from most of the more privileged and secure.

[01:01:06] Dougald Hines: And let's face it, I had no shortage of privilege or security, but most of the, the, the kind of ways that life is structured in modern societies don't expose us to situations in which we have to surrender control and be held by the kindness and generosity of people we don't know. And I got a lot of that pretty young.

[01:01:29] Dougald Hines: And that, I guess, shaped me and the ways that I then can think about what it means if these systems that have provided us with all of this security that many of us have been able to grow up taking for granted, if those systems are gonna fall apart. I think it's those things that I was learning about in this way that at the time had nothing to do with big questions or ideas or stories or information about the trouble the world was in.

[01:01:53] Dougald Hines: It was just me setting out to see the world. But there, there is information there that is missing from the big stories that we've been fed.

[01:02:03] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, that's reflecting a lot of my own experiences. I, I think my first time of really understanding safety in a different way was hitchhiking in Europe and just, I hitchhiked a lot when I was a kid in South Africa, which was, was one thing. It was, but it felt very local. It was like I was kind of used to it.

[01:02:19] Nathan Maingard: It felt normal. And then to do that in a way where I had very little money and I was with a friend of mine and we stopped off somewhere and I was just playing guitar, like we were just taking a break before hitching again. And, and this little Spanish family who were eating at a picnic table nearby just walked up and put some money and some sandwiches down in front of me,

[01:02:38] Nathan Maingard: and I, I feel emotional talking about it cuz it was such a, an innocent offering of human connection and it really shifted something inside of me where I was like, wow, that's not what I was taught when I went to school or any of those places. So yeah, I really appreciate that.

[01:02:55] Dougald Hines: Yeah. And it's, you know, we're in a, we're in a messy set of circumstances cuz most of us are not anywhere near the conditions where you would have elders who would be responsible for initiating you into, you know, crossing those thresholds from being a kid into being a grownup. And so we have to find ways of self-initiating.

[01:03:15] Dougald Hines: We have to, cobble together from books, first of all often, and then from little glimpses of, of people who can embody some sort of eldership. And so, you know, in a less fucked up culture, it might be that these lessons were taught to us in ways that were held for us. As it is, we have to kind of stumble along and go out there in the world and find them.

[01:03:38] Dougald Hines: But yeah, I felt it when you told that story about that encounter with that, that Spanish family. And it brought back those encounters from my memory as well. And I would wish that on all young people, one way or another, I would wish a few encounters that tell you that we are more than, and other than, we've been told we are by the stories of neoliberalism or the ways that evolutionary biology is kind of processed and fed to us, to tell us why, why it's inevitable that things are the way they are. No, we are more mysterious creatures than that. We are kinder and more generous creatures than that. And if we're, if we're gonna do a better job than it often looks like we're gonna do of coming through this messy chrysalis time and emerging as something, something new and different and beautiful in strange ways on the far side of it, it's gonna have to do with those, what vanessa machado de oliveira calls exiled capacities, the bits of ourselves that were just pushed out to the edges or below the radar, hidden from view, written out of the story. Because the story was all about a particular, you know, very white, very male way of, being in the world that got to dominate things and build structures and systems for a while.

[01:04:58] Dougald Hines: And you know, we're coming out the far end of that one way or another. And there's a lot of mess upstream and downstream and sidestream of us. But, there are more stories to be told. There are more encounters to be had that weren't on the maps that we were given by the, the kinds of upbringings that many of us had.

[01:05:17] Nathan Maingard: Well, thank you so much, Dougald. I, I'm respectful of time and so I wanna move into the, to the patron only little bonus section at the end. And before I do, just one more question and, you know, sit with us in whatever way works for you, but when you hear the words, we are already free. What comes up for you?

[01:05:36] Dougald Hines: There's a chapter in the book called How to Give Up, and it's because, when Paul and I wrote the Dark Mountain Manifesto, a lot of our friends in the environmental movement got quite angry with us and they said, you guys, you've given up and worse, you're encouraging other people to give up. And it was like that, that phrase give up, giving up was kind of given to me and I had to carry it around like a kind of a badge of shame that's hung around your neck.

[01:06:01] Dougald Hines: And as I did, I realized there's so much more within, uh, what giving up can mean. We're back to surrender again. And that like surrender can mean saying yes, that giving up can mean letting go of things you thought you needed to say, things you thought you needed to believe or do. And discovering that was just a story.

[01:06:26] Dougald Hines: And that behind that story, underneath it all along was just this thing that exists in the, in the present. That is still there after you've given up. That is part of where whatever comes afterwards, comes from. And so it's that, it's that thing that lies on the far side of giving up that was there all along if only you noticed it.

[01:07:00] Dougald Hines: That to me is, is what's called up by, by this language that you are using of this freedom. That's, that was always already there.

[01:07:09] Nathan Maingard: Well, thank you Dougald. It's been a, an honor to, to connect with you in this way. I'm just so grateful to this podcast that I have the opportunities to have conversations with, with someone like you. it's been a good, very good conversation for me in this moment. So I look forward to the, the bonus round.

[01:07:23] Nathan Maingard: But other than that, just thank you so much. Really appreciate you.

[01:07:26] Dougald Hines: Ah, thank you Nathan. It's good to be with you.

[01:07:29] Nathan Maingard: Thank you again to Dougald Hine for your presence on the We Are Already Free Podcast. You can find links to Dougald, his new book at Work in the Ruins, plus many of the things we talk about at Just the numbers three, two. Dear listener, if you are wondering what you can do at the end of the world and would like an empathetic space to explore that in, please reach out to me for a personal chat at .Whether the end of the world or the birth of something new, I love being me with you, especially when remembering that we are already free.

[01:08:09] Nathan Maingard: I'll see you next week.


  1. cate

    Hey Nate. Thanks for interviewing Dougald! It was a very interesting listen.
    I have to say, during a real mushroom journey last year, it came to me that life is much more like a video game than we think. And, as in video games, there are items available in life that enhance us…such as a rope, a sword, or mushrooms being like the 5 fishes & 5 loaves. There are aspects in the hunger games movies that hint at this. And then further to that “epiphany”, was the realisation that if life is like a video game, then we can rewrite the code of that game if we don’t like the game. Perhaps that is what we are all currently doing in our “cocoons”….rewriting the code of the game. 🤔😇

    • Nathan Maingard

      Hi, Cate! I love this so much, and actually it’s a very relevant to the conversation I just had with Helena, an upcoming guest on the podcast!

      Thanks for sharing here, looking forward to seeing what the new game will be like 🤩



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