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We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.

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Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

The Limits of Knowing?

Peter Nicholson

Reconfiguring
Destruction. The video at the Mt. Saint Helens visitor center kept using this word in conjunction with the 1980 eruption. It didn’t seem right. Rather, it imposed a decidedly human perspective on a inherently geologic event. “Reordered" would be more accurate. Hiking around the area earlier this week, I found myself trying to comprehend the intensity of the explosion that caused the crater, and surrounding hills of ash now teeming with life. Its scale captivates, as if by staring at it long enough, I will eventually be able to know it on more than just an intellectual level. I watch the news reports from Texas with a similar sense of shock and wonder. These and other phenomena so exceed my human capacity for comprehension as to be fundamentally unknowable; I literally can’t imagine. Impacts like climate change thrive in this evolutionary black hole, rather than persistently rattle my consciousness. I inhabit a dynamic planet and am too slowly emerging from a state of genetic ignorance, my mind needing to evolve to more deeply fathom the force of the blast, storm, or fire next time. We willfully design against, instead of with, nature in so many ways, despite the ample evidence that it has yet to fail to prevail.