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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Gaia and the grey zone

Déborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro wonder, in the best part of a chapter of their Há mundo por vir (Rio: Cultura e Barbárie, 2014), who would compose the two poles of the Humans and Earth-bound in the war to be declared according to Latour (in the Gifford Lectures). One difficulty is the grey zone between victims and perpetrators; like in Primo Levi´s grey zone (in The drawn and the saved) those who don´t collaborate with the perpetrators - the nazi or the destruction of the Earth (and of one´s future) - are unlikely to survive. There are increasingly less complete victims - or rather, there is incresingly less testimonies of the complete victims. To be sure, there are clear-cut culprits and drawned, but there is a big violence in pushing people into the grey zone (which is the grey zone of the society of geocontrol where we are forced into a specific fuelpolitics that makes us part of the depletion of the planet no matter how much we feel attached to it. In the sense that Agamben, inspired by Levi, diagnosed that there are no witness of the Lager, there are no Earthbound, no surviving Earthbound. The grey zone is the zone of survival.

Elizabeth Povinelli makes a brilliant diagnosis: our focus on the split between the inanimate and the living (and our image of life as bound by natality and mortality) is shaped by a carbon-based imaginary. The intrusion of Gaia - a living organism made of ecologically crucial ingredients, as any living organism, such as elements in the soil and in the water - challenges this imaginary. She proposes the idea of an ecological condition, like a hyperobject that can be depleted or enhanced. Gaia would be such an ecological condition. The grey zone where the Humans (all of us) are forced to live is just not enough meta-stable to be an ecological condition. Is this a war? Maybe if it is, it would be a guerrilla where no ground is inadequate.

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