Michael Dowd and Post-doom

Tara C. Trapani

Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

A few weeks ago, friend of the Forum, Michael Dowd passed away. We wanted to take a moment here to honor his legacy, and present some of his Post-doom ideas that align well with our exploratory theme for the year: Hope.

His concept of Post-doom resonates deeply with the idea of Hope as having its own intrinsic value and not just a magic wand to manifest our desires, as expressed here in the blog, back in August. To me, it’s the ultimate both/and approach: radical eyes-open acceptance of the planetary situation and finding  richness, equanimity, meaning, and joy, not only in spite of the reality, but because of it. This is the experience of life Post-doom.

The definition of Post-doom, according to the website:
1.  What opens up when we remember who we are and how we got here, accept the inevitable, honor our grief, and prioritize what is  pro-future and soul-nourishing.
2.  A fierce and fearless reverence for life and expansive gratitude — even in the midst of abrupt climate mayhem and the runaway collapse of societal harmony, the health of the biosphere, and business as usual.
3.  Living meaningfully,  compassionately, and courageously no matter what.

No matter what. That part is the key, from my perspective. No matter what does or does not happen, we continue to live in gratitude, reverence, meaning. To me that is loving from a place of true and authentic Hope that isn’t dashed as soon as our wishes are not granted.

As part of the exploration of this way of being, Michael hosted dozens of Conversations with many notable individuals on these topics. Names that are likely familiar to Forum followers include: Larry Rasmussen, Joanna Macy, Margaret Wheatley, Richard Rohr, Gail Worcelo, and Britt Wray (recently featured in the RITA Summit), among many others. Also of note is his lecture from earlier this year: The Big Picture: Beyond Hope and Fear.

The Forum honors the legacy Michael has left behind for the world and extends our deepest sympathies to his wife Connie and their family.