The invitation to do this blog made me discover several things. One—I love blogging! Two—how great to discuss things with others in slow motion, with careful reading and quiet writing, from the comfort of my introverted indoor space. Kurt and Ash, Ron and Steve, and our readers and commenters, thank you all so much.
Another thing I learnt, as I struggled with blogging form: We owe it to non-humanities people to express our ideas in a way with which they can engage.
Ecological criticism is one mode in which we can do this, easily.
That doesn't mean dumbing down our arguments. It simply means being able to say them in a language that isn't an insider discourse. I very nearly said "jargon"—yikes!
I'm averse to "the jargon of authenticity." Ecocriticism is full of it. I want to make it safe to think ecology and think theory together, simultaneously.
I know what Kurt means. Yet, even though the right might use a “there is no nature” argument to support “drill, baby, drill,” we still owe it to people to tell them what we think is true. I don't think there is a nature. I don't think there ever was a nature. Capitalism didn't destroy it. You can't destroy something that doesn't exist. But capitalism certainly seems to be waging an unrelening war against lifeforms and the biosphere.
I believe we can explain this to people in a way that is as profound and disturbing as the best deconstruction, but in a way that non-scholars will get.
I also think we should be in the business of setting the scientific experimental agenda. Here's one for starters, with profound ecological consequences:
Is consciousness intentional?
You can read more about that one in The Ecological Thought when it comes out in 2009.
Who would like to start a web page where humanities scholars suggest experiments that don't automatically assume ideological things about reality?