[Chronique de Josée Blanchette] Homo comfort goes out of its zone

A climate refugee for a month and a half, my B sleeps on a thin inflatable mattress in his friend Sean’s living room. Last weekend, he came to live with me in the countryside in a real bed. The comfort of the duvet and the smell of apple pie helping, he asked me to come home for a month or two, while his apartment was being renovated following the floods of September 13 in Montreal. .

– OK ! But on one condition: you’re not going to spend your days on YouTube; you are going to work on the Christmas trees with Jean-Pierre. He’ll make a man of the woods out of you.

On the phone, Jean-Pierre did not ask for a CV; he only asked me if my B was made solid.

“Nineteen years old, 6 foot 4, he wears a size 13 and an XL. How are you? »

When he met my tall elf, the tree man gauged his stature with a grin of admiration: « You could say he didn’t push back, that’s it! » My gentle giant starts wrapping the trees on Monday, fret, not fret. His life as an urban mumoune is put on hold while he hums The big six footer chewing CBD and drinking Iranian black tea with cardamom to keep up with the times.

– Did I already tell you that throughout his adolescence, my grandfather Alban slept on beds made of fir branches when he went to log in the “camps” in the Gaspé?

– Yes, mum… We are no longer in the old days!

No, of course. The only memory we still cultivate is in the foam of the mattresses. And our reliance on 35 Celsius hot tubs when it’s -20 outside is verging on stupidity, another word for “inconsistency”. “We are not heating Canada! my father would have yelled.

Lowering the thermostat to the temperature of the Élysée (19°C) and carpooling in a tunnel has become a subject of conversation, what am I saying, of national obsession! The French yell — it’s the end of abundance, President Macron has decreed — Montrealers are panicking. Don’t touch my comfort! And a whole generation that ate its croissants first risks grimacing at the buckwheat pancake. It will have to toughen up its rind in the face of a future marked by climatic, economic and structural changes. There will be many of them, if we are to believe the upheavals caused by an increase of 1.2°C in the global thermostat. It’s summer in November in Quebec…

For my part, I believe that what we are experiencing is more of the order of a major shift or a major upheaval.

dog on wheels

Last week, I came across a dog in a canine stroller, well bundled up, a rather disturbing (and growing) symbol of our modern anthropomorphism. I leave that to shrinks, it’s heavy.

I also railed against a concert of leaf blowers, against this accursed brood which accosted the jackhammer in terms of sound pollution, and which I have since denounced in perpetuity at the risk of passing for a dangerous brake-progress and a grandmother-the -rake. Outremont has banned them (gas only). It will be long. I have time to go deaf.

That same week, I experienced a moment of sports-category anxiety watching a dumpster swallow and crush five-six plastic lounge chairs, still in good condition, dumped on some whim in front of a building, under the impassive eye of the garbage collectors. This is without counting the lights in the corridors of residential and commercial buildings and the heating (or the air conditioning in the summer) which work there 24 hours a day. All this to save us from excess lactic acid in the wrist, a dislocation imagination or a thrill. It will be understood, the effort is only required in a marathon on Instagram.

“The search for comfort foresees a process of hygienization and sterilization of spaces and places. […] It always unfolds in a predictable, controllable and stable way,” writes cultural and political anthropologist Stefano Boni in homo comfort. In this essay, he dissects our threshold of tolerance for effort and uncertainty, which has been lowered considerably due to technology.

« The term Homo comfort designates this form of humanity which has all sorts of sophisticated means to avoid suffering the constraints and inconveniences linked to the laborious management of the organic world, » he adds. Almost everyone appreciates comfort. […] Rather, it is a matter of examining in depth the problematic consequences of hypertechnology and the mystifications generated by its exaltation, which we have too often and for too long passed over in silence. »

The persistent passivity of the population is also due to the active participation of the latter in the increase in comfort, which results in an habituation making any alternative solution unthinkable.

The consequences of this silence in wealthy societies make Canada a champion of GHG emissions – more than 15 tonnes/person in 2019 – ahead of the United States, according to the World Bank. We should emit 2 tons to hope for a better world. Of them. India, Brazil and Costa Rica qualify. https://bit.ly/3ST897S

Multiple atrophies

Comfort, that darling and insatiable child of capitalism, is untouchable. In a document on life after growth, ecosociologist Alain Vézina wrote in 2017: “Some historians already anticipate that the humans of the future will conclude that capitalism, tirelessly opportunistic and accumulative, through the mode of existence that it has seductively proposed to us and that we have personally incorporated, “wanted” us to choose an immensely playful but badly distributed historical parenthesis of around 200 years of “glory”, directly linked to the exploitation of fossil fuels. »

Let’s not even talk about planned obsolescence and targeted advertising to make us always want more. “Dissatisfaction with a certain unattainable comfort is the main driving force that pushes us to increase our efforts at work,” emphasizes Stefano Boni.

The comfort to which we collectively subscribe, he adds, will have dispossessed us of ancestral know-how, of our five senses, of our autonomy, of our physical and mental form, while confining us to an unhealthy individualism that breaks the bonds community. Not to mention the consequences for the environment. And in the face of increasingly violent, sudden, devastating and deadly climatic events, we are children betrayed by a nature that we thought we could domesticate.

Like a dog in a stroller…until it bites the hand that distorts it.


Joblog | The last word to the children

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