Where Are We in the Cycle of Liberation? with Ricardo Levins Morales
“My life’s work is really finding ways to remind people of, and validate, what they already know.” Ricardo Levins Morales thinks of his art as a medicinal practice, dedicated to treating both our cultural immediate diagnoses and the underlying inflammations, helping people to see their realities with more clarity. “The underlying inflammation in our society is hopelessness, despair, and disappointment,” but drawing on the cycles of the natural world, Ricardo reminds us of our places in the deep liberatory cycles of the world, and how awareness of these timelines is a necessary ingredient for hope.
If despair shuts down our ability to take in information, hope is the practice of awareness of our current condition and what’s happening beyond our field of vision, bringing us to a greater sense of agency, power, and mutual responsibility to each other and the earth. Using this as a frame, Ricardo and Dwight grapple with what it would mean to embrace the cycles and focus on changing the soil in order to plant the seeds of new worlds.
Ricardo Levins Morales is an artist and organizer based in Minneapolis. He considers his art political medicine to support individual and collective healing from the injuries and ongoing reality of oppression. He was born into the anti-colonial movement in Puerto Rico and was drawn into activism in Chicago when his family moved there in 1967. This began with the Black Panther Defense Committee and has included organizing for labor, racial justice, and environmental struggles.
Learn more about Ricardo’s work by visiting https://www.rlmartstudio.com/
View Ricardo’s June 2020 Pendle Hill First Monday lecture, “Planting in an Earthquake,” here: https://youtu.be/DWqBIcwxsTk
The Seed asks guests to share a quote or text that has been transformational to them. Ricardo shared the following quote from Amilcar Cabral’s essay “Tell No Lies, Claim No Easy Victories”:
“Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.”
Find the transcript of this episode here.