Life Is Not Useful

Ailton Krenak / Translated by Alex Brostoff, Jamille Pinheiro Dias
May 2023

Indigenous leader and activist Ailton Krenak reminds us that we must awaken from the comatose senselessness we have been immersed in since the beginning of the modern colonial project, where order, progress, development, consumerism, and capitalism have taken over our entire existence, leaving us only very partially alive, and, in fact, almost dead. To awaken from the coma of modernity is, for Krenak, to awaken to the possibility of becoming attuned to “the cosmic sense of life.” He points out that the COVID-19 pandemic affects all so-called “human” lives and that the time is ripe for us all to reflect on and undo the exclusivity and distinction that have characterized the concept of humanity throughout Western modernity.

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About the Author

Ailton Krenak was born in the Doce River valley region (a territory of the Krenak people) in Brazil, and is an educational and environmental activist. He is a prominent leader in the movement for Indigenous rights.