Who “We” Are

We welcome you to this body of work and hope you find value in it—however, who exactly is this “we”?

As you will discover through the course of reading, scattered all across this manual is the pronoun “we,” used interchangeably to allude to more than one kind of collective—and we (the team behind this manual) would like to acknowledge the ambiguity as well as the dangers of such a loose usage. This is at once a recognition of who made this manual and a reflection on how we slip between we the team, we the humans, we the western world, we the human civilization, and we the planet. Our hope is that in foregrounding this here, you may be able to contextualize the scale of the collective being referred to by the specific “we” you encounter.

This “we” pronoun is just as much a call for interconnectedness as it is a tool of exclusion. The violence of “we” lies in its capacity to mask the diversity of perspectives and experiences that exist within any collective. When used carelessly, “we” can erase individual identities and homogenize complex groups, reducing them to a monolithic entity. The existence of “we” perpetuates the myth of “them.” The history of humankind is a repetitive tale of such othering, seeking identity through separation and inventing villains through polarity. These vestiges of colonial othering—enslavement and oppression, hierarchy, and extraction—linger on today, evolving into their neoliberal correlatives and informing the alienation so widespread within contemporary society.

But the “we” alluded to throughout this manual is not a monolithic entity. It seeks to foreground a potential for shared values and responsibilities, favouring aspirations for an expanded sense of self. It is an invitation to commune and co-imagine, to seek identity in the collective, and to demand accountability and mutual flourishing. As members of the global south and the historically marginalized continue to face the brunt of the polycrisis, we (the team) place this “we” in our manual as a call to intra-act.1 It reminds us of the differentiated responsibilities within humankind to our species, to the wider co-inhabitants of the planet, to our future, and to ourselves.

  1. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press.