The mushroom at the end of the world

The mushroom at the end of the world

The mushroom at the end of the world

By Rick Meyer, psychotherapist and cultural thinker
A reflection on “The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins” by Anna Tsing

Anna Tsing‘s book is a complex evocation of questions and testaments to the ‘story of separation’, on one hand, and the story of the pervasive phenomena of Gaian communion on another. While she tells those stories via the embodied metaphor of the matsutake mushroom, she is as much or more telling them as the story of trees and forests.  The matsutake, along with many other mushroom species, have an intimate relation and/or interdependency with forests. She is also speaking to the alienated and unalienated human individual/cultural residence within the biome relations of forest and mushrooms.  I’m rather in awe of her delicate weaving of story and commentary on those relations, and their jeopardy (Tsing calls it ‘precarity’), along with our related human jeopardy, within perhaps the largest story of separation we’ve created in our forging mindlessly ahead (without another vision) in our growth economies and capitalism.

Two Matsutake mushrroms site in basket with cedar
By bonchan via Getty Images Pro/Canva