The ecological thought—ecologocentric insert

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Hi again.

School starts soon (quarter system). I returned from the retreats. And I'm finishing an essay called “Ecologocentrism: Unworking Animals,” for SubStance.

All feeble excuses for my not yet posting my final thoughts on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

They're about the sheer “thereness” of existence, its density—what “world” subsumes and half erases. And its relation to intimacy.

I've been getting some excellent feedback on my first draft of The Ecological Thought.

The SubStance essay is a study of Solaris, the incredible science fiction story of a psychologist's encounter with a radically other mind.

It claims that just as Derrida argues that logocentrism underlies Western philosophy's attempt to ground meaning in an essential form, I hold that ecologocentrism underpins most environmentalist philosophy, preventing access to the full scope of interconnectedness.

Thinking, even environmentalist thinking, has set up “Nature” as a reified thing in the distance, “over there,” under the sidewalk, on the other side where the grass is always greener, preferably in the mountains, in the wild.  This “Nature” accords with Walter Benjamin's proposition about the aura: it is a function of distance.  Benjamin uses an image from “Nature”—or from the picturesque?  But that is my and his point—to describe the aura: “We define the aura . . . as the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close [the object] may be.  If, while resting on a summer afternoon, you follow with your eyes a mountain range on the horizon or a branch which casts its shadow over you, you experience the aura of those mountains, of that branch.”

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2 Comments

got me thinking a bit... i

got me thinking a bit...
i think that the issues of 'nature over there' instead of 'nature everywhere' have a lot to do with the way that how we - and i want to clarify the 'we' as the anglo-tradition, especially US, australia, canada - think of nature as wilderness. wilderness as a nature untouched, something somehow pure.
this in turn probably has a lot to do with ideas of the sublime, which were in great currency at the time when (again, the US, canada, australia) nation building was happening. and thus also ideas of difference. which were based to an extent on environment, and thus nature...
and it also probably has something to do with the bible.
it is going to be difficult, i think, to think about nature given these traditions but trying to come to terms with a more interconnected idea of nature. particularly in those contexts where nature is part of an idea of wilderness.
(afterthought: even ideas of pastoral nature tend to romanticize rural life and are often distanced from the work involved. a function, perhaps, of writing about something vs. doing something?)
interested in other people's ideas though, will keep an eye on this thread.

I wonder if taking up

I wonder if taking up Merleau-Ponty's notion of "flesh of the world" may help as the concept is engaged in a mode of interconnection between 'subject' and 'object.' It is one way of beginning to think this connectedness... and perhaps it is related to ambiance. In terms of Merleau-Ponty, even more interesting is his late claim in Visible and Invisible. Here he sees even phenomenology as too inscribed in the subject-object dichotomy and turns to thinking of the invisible of things, their opacity and worlds other than the human.

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