“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

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rant for Rolf

Rolf Nowotny has an art show for which he asked me to write a piece. It's in NYC tba. It is called "Ecology, Dark, Weird."

Here is the opener:

Like a noir detective, humans have discovered that they are the culprits who ended the world. The philosophy that thinks this thought to the fullest extent possible is dark ecology. The darkness is not to do with ignorance, but precisely with its opposite: knowledge. Humans now know enough to encounter a reality stuffed full of entities that outscale them in every sense. Moreover, some of these entities are created by humans, such as Plutonium 239, whose half life is 24.1 thousand years, and global warming, whose amortization rate is 100 000 years. At that time scale, ethical and political theories based on self interest, however broadly defined—to include, for instance, the entirety of human beings on the planet and all their nonhuman agents, enemies and friends—begin to malfunction in a drastic way. For instance, it is better in the long run to allow all these beings to live in a state of bare life, as close as possible to death, than it is to give even slightly less of them a few of them total bliss for as long as they want. The same dilemma applies on the spatial scale at which global warming exists—that is, the whole biosphere. Thinking on a biospheric scale results in drastic problems for state based, and of course for individual based, political and ethical theories.

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