“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, February 12, 2013

Against Lovelock 1

I was recently informed that someone was “terrified” by Lovelock and his vision of Gaia and Gaia's revenge, and so on.

Precisely. This is the problem. Lovelock, like many deep ecologists in a certain rhetorical mode, imagines a future without humans, or disastrous to humans. The reader is put in an impossible–cynical position outside her phenomenological envelopment.

Whatever one thinks of the science of Gaia, the thought–virus that comes with the idea is catching and it doesn't help at all. It's almost the precise opposite of ecological awareness.

Contra some of my young Hegelian acquaintances, it's perfectly all right to run around weeping and screaming when you are think about the end of the world. If that makes me a hysteric, fantastic. Or a narcissist, fantastic.

The attempt to delete this affect only results in sadistic rubbernecking of the other's hysteria. So suddenly a woman who ruins her wedding is admirable against a desperate mother. Ecological awareness is not a mode of mockery.

Like some speculative realism, this doom hippie approach is just modernity by another means. You turn into the David Morse character from 12 Monkeys. Looking on with fascinated horror as you let the security guard release the (phenomenological) virus you have made into the airport.

Now let's talk about the content: next post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is important to take the global perspective though yes? At that level the self-organization of the biosphere for the continuance life (or Gaia) is at risk of falling apart. The terror of losing this great thing we've got going on Earth seems like a necessary first step if we are going to keep it going.
Remaining in awe and crumbling into cynicism is surely a risk though. A trap many of us have fallen into.