“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

OOO in my first Ecology Book

Apropos of Jackson's argument about taking a hammer to Antarctica, or Levi's about being shot into space, I offer this proof of my nascent triple-O-ness.

This is an argument against holist deep ecologist Arne Naess from Ecology without Nature. First I quote Naess:

Organisms and milieux are not two things — if a mouse were lifted into absolute vacuum, it would no longer be a mouse. Organisms presuppose milieux...

Classic relationism, no?

To which I reply:

It sounds like secular science, with its talk of organisms and fields. But Naess' idea is a version of Hinduism. Through systemic organization, and in contemplating the system, the “self” (atman) realizes itself as the “Self” (Brahman). But the argument is puzzling. The mouse would remain a mouse. It would just be a dead mouse. There is a slip between the sentences. If they are to survive, organisms require milieux. To argue in this way, to reformulate the self as a “relational junction,” is to push the issue of identity back a stage further, but not to get rid of it. And it is unclear how a “relational junction” gets rid of the dualism that Naess sees as the problem. The logic is still that something must relate to something else. The “total field” continues the idea of environment as different from these relational junctions, the background to their foreground, however much the ideas of field and totality strive to submerge difference.
I'm so happy I found this.

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