Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ecologocentrism

I'm writing an essay for the theory journal, SubStance.

It's a study of Solaris, the incredible science fiction story of a psychologist's encounter with a radically other mind. (See links below.)

It claims that just as Derrida argues that logocentrism underlies Western philosophy's attempt to ground meaning in an essential form, so ecologocentrism underpins most environmentalist philosophy, preventing access to the full scope of interconnectedness.

Thinking, even environmentalist thinking, has set up “Nature” as a reified thing in the distance, “over there,” under the sidewalk, on the other side where the grass is always greener, preferably in the mountains, in the wild. This “Nature” accords with Walter Benjamin's proposition about the aura: it is a function of distance. Benjamin uses an image from “Nature”—or from the picturesque? But that is my and his point—to describe the aura: “We define the aura . . . as the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close [the object] may be. If, while resting on a summer afternoon, you follow with your eyes a mountain range on the horizon or a branch which casts its shadow over you, you experience the aura of those mountains, of that branch.”

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