Compost Capitalism & Our Societal Aversion to Death

This 5TF is thinking about: Cancer season, compost & capitalism, the spacetime continuum, 1984, and the oppressive repetition of being an adult.

Compost Capitalism & Our Societal Aversion to Death
Photo by Gabriel Jimenez / Unsplash
Welcome to this week’s edition of 5 Things Friday, a weekly roundup of random interesting things culled from the internet and my brain.

In the wake of the Supreme Court news today, I hope that this 5TF provides a bit of diversion and levity, wherever you are and however you may be feeling on this heavy day.

5/ This reflection on Cancer energy.

I’ve got a new podcast episode to usher you into Cancer season.

Talking about the zodiac sign associated with the womb and birth seems relevant as news about Roe breaks across our screens. This episode is short and sweet. In it, I share some channeled writing from my guides on the Cancerian archetype. Here’s a sneak peek:

A Cancer will remember a hurt for years later. And it is the job of a Cancer to learn to continually cycle through the stages of healing in order to process their emotional backlog of hurts, pains, memories that they nurse.

This cyclical processing is productive and fortifying for them.

Through this processing, they learn to become soft and strong all at once.

They retain their softness by not holding on to the anger and the pain to the point that it harms them within. They earn their strength through brave vulnerability. Bravely facing the hurts that they would rather mull over and over in private, rather than pulling them out to be examined.

A Cancer at their best will be a shining example of how to live a life that is not free from emotional hurt, yet not cynical because of it. A Cancer who is unafraid of their softness is able to live life live more fully, in a rich and nuanced way. And they can demonstrate for other people that it is okay to live this way too.

Listen to the episode here.

4/ This piece on Lomi, a pricey, sleek composter that reveals capitalism’s ability to subsume everything, as well as our societal aversion to death.

It seems that this $499 appliance is more about soothing one’s conscience than actually composting.

(I have never composted in my life, but I’m in love with someone who wants to purchase and maintain a bin of worms in our future house, so I consider myself compost-adjacent.)

image credit: Real Life Magazine

The full piece is excellent and I encourage you to read it. Here are my favorite highlights:

As a soil scientist points out on YouTube, the machine’s method of dehydrating and grinding food scraps and the company’s proprietary microorganism pill both accelerate the composting process, but that only gets you so far. “Decomposition has to take the time it takes,” she says. Even Lomi’s user guide tells customers to put only a limited amount of the “dirt” it produces on their plants as fertilizer. If you use Lomi to break down biodegradable plastics or rely on its more convenient three-to-five hour “Eco-Express” cycle, most of what comes out still belongs in the trash, a green bin, or a home compost pile.
All this should help us see what Lomi actually provides: Not composting so much as support for a particularly sterile vision of life untouched by decay yet somehow still blessed with renewal.
Not only does Lomi promise that more of the same — “convenient” consumer technology marketed to individual households — can fix Earth’s interlocking ecological crises. It also highlights a troubling fantasy among tech developers and investors: that we should assimilate decay, decomposition, and death into capitalist innovation under the auspices of “defeating” these inevitable endpoints of life.
It imagines its customers will share the contempt tech billionaires hold for the natural limits of human existence, as Tad Friend details in this New Yorker piece about the Valley’s quest to “make death optional.”…As L.M. Sacasas observes, Silicon Valley posthumanism sees death as a problem to be solved and “the ultimate limit to overcome.”
Perhaps it’s more that Silicon Valley understands death as a variable to be controlled and manipulated rather than as a constraint to be removed. The aim is not to solve death for everyone but to rework it as a tool to intensify existing hierarchies, even beyond present disparities in human life expectancy.
The power Lomi promises is a distracting illusion. It dilutes the radical potential of reorganizing society so that it works with natural systems rather than attempting to dominate or subvert them. The point of composting is not simply that it produces a useful end result; it also forces one to slow down and participate in a cycle of transformation that is not driven by the capitalistic drive for efficiency and economic growth presently consuming the planet. Its pace is set by the organic process of decay, not the demands of profit.

3/ This adorable animation about the spacetime continuum.

For us 3D beings, the fourth dimension (length + width + depth + time as another axis) is hard to picture, but if you observe a 2D being trying to make sense of a 3D world, the concept of different dimensions suddenly becomes delightful.

It makes me think of how I get frustrated when my spirit guides (beings who exist in light form, in a dimension that’s invisible to most of us 3D humans, which gives them access to a more complex understanding of time and space than we will ever be able to comprehend with our human brains) transmit information or advice or card pulls to me that don’t seem to make sense in the moment. In these cases, I am usually trying to square their infinite knowledge with a linear understanding of time, stubbornly ignoring the fact that they are viewing reality from a much deeper and broader perspective.

The explanation in this video is not new—it’s a 2012 animated YouTube clip of Carl Sagan’s 1980 book, Cosmos—but I think you’ll find it wonderful nevertheless.

2/ This 1984 callback.

I don’t remember how I came across this particular service, which is one of many that claims to be able to generate marketing copy for you, through the use of AI.

It’s not surprising that the sharp rise in AI lately has dovetailed with the increasing pressures of content creation—every business these days, big and small, is expected to churn out lots and lots of entertaining, media-rich, SEO-friendly content in order to survive, be seen, and make money.

These AI services remind me of one of the dystopian jobs in the book 1984:

Julia was twenty-six years old...and she worked, as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department. She enjoyed her work, which consisted chiefly in running and servicing a powerful but tricky electric motor...She could describe the whole process of composing a novel, from the general directive issued by the Planning Committee down to the final touching-up by the Rewrite Squad. But she was not interested in the final product. She "didn't much care for reading," she said. Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.

1/ This highly accurate depiction of “why I’ll never be an adult.”

I had used this meme before and didn’t know what the source was, until Charo randomly shared some Allie Brosh comics with me a couple weeks ago:

image credit: Allie Brosh

I relate to her so hard and maybe you will too.

Here’s the rest of this classic comic. I think Allie's work is a perfect note to end on, as we still find ways to laugh in the midst of a dystopian world.

Wishing you a restful weekend,

Tried to click the booking link in Wednesday's email and got a 404 instead? I botched the copy-paste job on that one. If you're looking to book a 1:1 sesssion with me for July, here's the real link for that.
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🦥 ← "pretty good deal, if I say so myself," says this sloth emoji.