“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

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bingo, Latour

Modernizers are extraordinarily good at freeing themselves from the shackles of the archaic, provincial, stuffy, local, territorial past. But when the time comes to designate the new localities, the new territories, the provinces...toward which they are migrating, they content themselves with utopia, with hype, and great movements of the chest...

No wonder they never paid any attention to where they were headed, obsessed as they were to escape from attachment to the old land. Good at detachment, they seem quite naive when the question is how to reattach themselves to a new boat, how to delineate a new nomos...

Funnily enough the more progress-oriented modernizers are, the more they are ready to deny that ecology could even be an issue. The more rabid is their contempt for they call “prophets of doom,” “apocalypse mongers.” If you push them a bit more they will even tell you that all the talk about the end of time, of the inuption of Gaia is nothing but so many schemes to exploit the poor developing countries even more. If they are from the left.

If they are from the right, then it's nothing but a plot to impose Communism on the rich developed nations. It is as if they are saying “Progress minded of all nations and all parties, let's unite in the denial of climatology as our new horizon. We need neither territory nor a soil. There is no limit. Forward! Only reactionaries insist on limits, they don't want to be emancipated, they want to drag us back to the land, to an era of restoration and misery from which we have finally and so successfully migrated.”

--Bruno Latour, Gifford Lecture 5

1 comment:

Henry Warwick said...

All that crap boils down to thermodynamics and ignorance thereof.