“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, January 4, 2011

Global Warming as Narrative (and Not)

Levi gets his Apocalypse on here. I'm happy he's taken up my recent post on anthropology and global warming. As usual he carves my crude lump of wood into an attractive bedside table complete with silently sliding drawers and a nice lamp.

The point is, and I think Levi makes this excellently: even if we accept global warming as sheer narrative, the worry that it's a narrative of apocalypse is misplaced. It's not the apocalypticism we should worry about, for another second—unless we want to play that game as well. It's the fact that this is deeply symptomatic of the actual occurrence of a trauma in social, ecological and psychic space caused by a real hyperobject (global warming).


daz hastings said...

just finished my first run through Ecology Without NAture and am looking forward to several more in the coming weeks (so I won't go hyperbolic on you here). .. but I can say "that's a good read". Yes. (I am enjoying it). I just would like a little clarification about the last page warning to deep ecology. Is politicizing the aesthetic the only sure fire way to 'not arrive' at the cult of death?

Anonymous said...

The basis of my work is accountants, carbon market makers and neoliberal policy makers. They reject the closure of an apocalyptic futurity and, in many cases, openly anticipate a future that is uncertain precisely because it is subordinated to material technologies, including those that have caused climate change and those that ostensibly will fix it. They constantly index that no one knows what is going to happen and in many cases actively create uncertainty (markets require speculation, etc).

All this notwithstanding, belief is a social fact, and apocalyptic and other beliefs about climate change must also be accounted for.