Tag Archives: dark ecology

Bruno Latour: Love Your Monsters | Breakthrough Journal – MONSTER THEORY

5 Aug

Like France’s parks, all of Nature needs our constant care, our undivided attention, our costly instruments, our hundreds of thousands of scientists, our huge institutions, our careful funding. But though we have Nature, and we have nurture, we don’t know what it would mean for Nature itself to be nurtured.7

The word “environmentalism” thus designates this turning point in history when the unwanted consequences are suddenly considered to be such a monstrosity that the only logical step appears to be to abstain and repent: “We should not have committed so many crimes; now we should be good and limit ourselves.” Or at least this is what people felt and thought before the breakthrough, at the time when there was still an “environment.”

But what is the breakthrough itself then? If I am right, the breakthrough involves no longer seeing a contradiction between the spirit of emancipation and its catastrophic outcomes, but accepting it as the normal duty of continuing to care for unwanted consequences, even if this means going further and further down into the imbroglios. Environmentalists say: “From now on we should limit ourselves.”

Postenvironmentalists exclaim: “From now on, we should stop flagellating ourselves and take up explicitly and seriously what we have been doing all along at an ever-increasing scale, namely, intervening, acting, wanting, caring.” For environmentalists, the return of unexpected consequences appears as a scandal (which it is for the modernist myth of mastery). For postenvironmentalists, the other, unintended consequences are part and parcel of any action.

[Boldface mine, BB.]

via Bruno Latour: Love Your Monsters | Breakthrough Journal – MONSTER THEORY.

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Politics is Life: Tim Morton explains the Mesh

13 Jul

Politicians give politics a bad name. That’s not how politics is, deeply, it’s just what it’s become in this money-driven death trap we saddled ourselves with in the last century or so. We need to rehabilitate our sense of politics so we can pursue it with joy.

Let Professor Morton begin the rehabilitation.

* * * * *

From Timothy Morton. The Ecological Thought. Harvard UP 2010, p. 29:

The ecological thought does, indeed, consist in the ramifications of the “truly wonderful fact” of the mesh. All life forms are the mesh, and so are all dead ones, as are their habitats, which are also made up of living and nonliving beings. We know even more about how life forms have shaped Earth (think of oil, of oxygen—the first climate change cataclysm). We drive around using crushed dinosaur parts. Iron is mostly a by-product of bacterial metabolism. So is oxygen. Mountains can be made of shells and fossilized bacteria. Death and the mesh go together in another sense, too, because natural election implies extinction.

If that isn’t politics, I don’t know what is. Not politics in the sense of Democrats and Republicans, Socialists and Tories, nor feminists, plutocrats, and anarchists. But politics as negotiation, coalition, and competition. We’re all trying to survive here, make our nut, live and die with grace.

There’s the math: game theory. The great John von Neuman—and he was great, believe me, the Einstein of the 20th Century—invented it as World War II—the great political maelstrom that also gave us the atomic bomb and the digital computer, both of which had von Neuman’s fingerprints all over them—came to a close. Game theory is a mathematics of rational agents in interaction, generally competitive, but not necessarily purely. And the rationality, that’s a peculiar abstract notion not quite the same as the ordinary language word of the same pronunciation and spelling.

Game theory quickly became a tool of economists and political scientists. Pentagon planners used it in war games and plotted strategy against the Russkies, who, I am sure, returned the favor. No mere abstract mathematical exercise that, not when it was that close to the finger poised above the Hot Button to nuclear disaster. And if game theory had urged the finger to depress that button?

BOOM! Massive environmental impact event. Some live, some die, life goes on. Continue reading

Tim Morton: Beyond Apocalypse

11 Jul

From Timothy Morton. The Ecological Thought. Harvard UP 2010, p. 19:

The ecological thought must transcend the language of apocalypse. It’s ironic that we can imagine the collapse of the Antarctic ice shelves more readily than we can the collapse of the banking system—and despite this, amazingly, as this book was written, the banking system did collapse. The ecological thought must imagine economic change; otherwise it’s just another piece on the game board of capitalist ideology. The boring, rapacious reality we have constructed, with its familiar, furious, yet ultimately state whirl, isn’t the final state of history. The ecological society to come will be much more pleasurable, far more sociable, and ever so much more reasonable than we imagine.

Yes. By all means, transcend apocalypse, transcend capitalism. The future CAN be better.

At the same time I want to imagine the worst. Climate change: Whooossshhhhh and crunch. Billions will suffer and die. Humans, but not only humans. Other flora and fauna as well. Trillions upon trillions.

We humans may well climate-change ourselves to extinction. But the earth will survive. Life will survive. And thrive. Not the same life that was here a billion years ago, a million years, ten-thousand, one-hundred, yesterday. But life will go on, and flourish, without us. Continue reading