Our planet, like our bodies, are defined by their multiple layers of maps, which are all fluid in their existence, even though we have a human illusion of uniform concepts. Non-human agents constructed and deconstructed those maps over billions of years, and human hands redrew others in an attempt to organise the natural disorder around us in 'the search for a junction between stillness and motion' as Isabelle Stengers and Ilya Prigogine described in Order Out of Chaos (1984), exploring our 'organic' relation to an anthropocentric nature, formed by synthetic systems.
This position within and outside the organic world has introduced an apparent paradox to the human species: a dependence on nature that runs parallel to the aim of being independent, to become trans-humanistic. What differentiates natural from synthetic awareness, is the human-made delusion that everything can be controlled, a false perception resulting from the fear of the truth, which ultimately is the manifesto of all political systems of oppression. This fear is fuelled by insecurity and leads to the exclusion of those who question the 'political delusions' constructed by a homogenous group which forms a 'disproportionate superiority to the rest of the population'. In Dialectic Of Enlightenment (1944), published during the Second World War, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer discovered 'why mankind, instead of entering into a truly human condition, [was] sinking into a new kind of barbarism'. The sociological concepts they discovered can be applied to events throughout history until now. Individuals given the choice to follow a stream of false concepts or resist lies often decide based on the fear of social deviation, a concept instrumentalised by those in power, who understand and manipulate our urge for belonging.
'Minds are working according to schemes and maps' states Bessel van der Kolk in The Body keeps the Score (2014) about his extensive research around the consequences of trauma, which he began to study through the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in war veterans. Man-made borders across fields, through rivers, creeping through forests and climbing over mountains, change positions with the moods of authorities. Vegetation has overgrown places where the bodies that fell fighting for those human territories are buried, yet the memories remain, silent, in the landscape, until they suddenly express themselves. My German grandfather sometimes discovered bomb fragments from WWII while cutting a tree from his forest, immediately triggering sensations of his conflicted childhood spent under a tyranny. Memory's uncanny quality is its silent existence. Just as that vegetation overgrows the traces of a traumatised landscape, neurological networks try to form new memories in the human body. These scarred memories, however, remain as active agents of a present body: 'humans are social animals and mental problems involve not being able to get along with other people, not fitting in, not belonging, and in general not being able to get on the same wavelength' (Bessel van der Kolk, 2014).
Individuals, landscapes, and entire nations can be traumatised, troubling their abilities to form relations to the Others. The European dream of uniting countries to reinforce a strengthened network fails in part because of the 'involuntary submission' of some countries, which 'do not belong because they do not agree to the contract' as Angela Mitropoulos writes in Contract And Contagion (2012). On examples of slavery and forced submission her book depicts the history of contracts and shows the correlated 'transformation of political subjectivity granted by the "oikopolitical", […] to actively calculate and take advantage of the circumstance of uncertainty'. Lithuania and Poland were branded by displacement and oppression: the healing processes of both World Wars were disrupted by the Soviet occupation for an attempt to establish communist Poland. The present government, powered by the anger of the past, is transmuting from being the oppressed to the oppressor and celebrating capitalism's delusive abundance in new shopping centres; they substitute disposable constructions for the ruins of difficult decades, and are meant to numb a collective chronic pain, symptom of long-lasting scarcity. They are built only to be rebuilt.
The tailoring practice of my Polish-Lithuanian grandfather Franciszek shows how Poland's shifting political systems affected the way the social body was dressed and sensated. He started in a traditional workshop during the short independence of postwar Poland, and valued the careful measuring of each person's individuality. When the Soviet Union occupied the country propagating the so-called utopian dream of equality, ready-made uniforms replaced his details. The market, with its concept of scarcity, ordered locally produced fabrics to be replaced with cheaper materials produced under precarious conditions in China, and a basic fitting module that saved the time taken over individual measurements.