“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, April 18, 2014

Wellek Lectures: The Description

Ecognosis: For a Logic of Future Coexistence

The ecological era we find ourselves in—whether we like it or not, and whether we recognize it or not—makes necessary a searching revaluation of philosophy, politics and art.

The very idea of being “in” an era is up for question. We are “in” the Anthropocene, but that era is also “in” a moment of far longer duration.

What is the present? How can it be thought? What, going further, is presence?

These lectures will explore the fact that ecological awareness forces us to think and feel at multiple scales, scales that disorient normative concepts such as “present,” “life,” “human,” “nature,” “thing,” “thought,” “logic,” and so on.

I shall argue there are layers of attunement to ecological reality that are more accurate than what is habitual in the media, in the academy, and in society at large.

This attunement is necessarily weird, a precise term that we shall explore in depth. It involves the sorts of hermeneutical knowingness belonging to the practices that the Humanities maintain.

The attunement, which I call ecognosis, implies a practical yet highly non-standard vision of what ecological politics could be.

In part, ecognosis involves realizing that nonhumans are installed at profound levels of the human—not just biologically and socially, but in the very structure of thought and logic. Coexisting with these nonhumans is ecological thought, art, ethics and politics.

[Longtime readers: as you will note, this project is no longer called Dark Ecology. That's not because I've dropped that reference frame. I've just come to realize that the frame is a region within a much bigger possibility space I'm calling ecognosis. There will be all the dark-ecological concepts here, and more of them.]


Anonymous said...

ecognosis -- so great

cgerrish said...

This is getting very good. With I could be there to hear it. Don't suppose it'll be televised on pay-per-view?

Ted Geier said...

No fair, Tim. I wrote a bit of a book chapter draft on eco-scale and coexistence today and then you go write a bunch of what I was trying to say better. p.s., how many times did we say "weird" in reading sessions over the years?

gildedlillypuce said...

"the beauty of modern man is not in the persons
but in the disastrous rhythm
the heavy and mobil masses
the dance of the dream led masses
down the dark mountain"
Robinson Jeffers