Skip to main content

Gaia, human-earthbound war and animism as deconstructors of the political theology of the moderns

The Gaia hypothesis has the merit of taking us out of the simple dichotomy between shallow and deep ecology - although Lovelock flirts with Hardin's ideas that the human species is pollution and opens room for Ward's ideas that humans can constitute a cybernetic system capable to be coupled with Gaia to regulate it for our benefit. To be sure, to see the planet as a cybernetic system gives agency to everything - yet agency is thought within a regulatory system and as therefore roughly as a function, like that of an organ within a body. The non-human doesn´t appeal as such - as another - but as part of a regulatory mechanism. Humans are understood as part of the regulatory system and therefore as playing a role together with the non-human, both parts of a cybernetic system. Nature and humanity, the beacons of the political theology of the Moderns, are placed together as sources of agency, even though there is no non-human agency beyond its functionality.

Something similar can be said about Latour´s proposal of a war declaration of the earthbounds on the humans. Such a war is meant to collapse the categories of humanity and nature as the source of agency and the locus of the lawlike and the inanimate respectively. Both parts are composed by humans and non-humans and the cause is not something centrally human, it is around the idea of Gaia and being part of it - the earthbounds are the people of Gaia. Still, the appeal of the non-human is nothing but the appeal of the brothers-in-arms (or enemies): the non-human doesn´t connect to us but as military parts where no one can be indifferent. The war makes everything military - in that case, humans and non-humans are not considered but as part of a cause - and part of a war effort.

Animism itself can be taken in similar vein. It does ascribe to non-humans an interiority and therefore an agency by means of which we can engage in all sorts of diplomatic relations with them. The other is partner in the great banquet of life and materials on earth. They are not nature separated from agency, but a pack of intentionality associated with physical equipments. However, there is a sense in which the non-human appears as an alter-ego, as a projection of me - it is all too human, as Meillassoux would diagnose of any variety of subjectalism. I don´t feel the appeal of the other in the non-human, what appeals me is what is something like me yet other. As such, animism is also a deconstructive tool to be applied to the political theology of the Moderns. It is not per se an alternative political theology - at least if it is not reconstructed or revamped so that the emphasis is clearly on the other who appeals and less on my alter ego.

All this takes me back to a question we formulated today in the Anarchai Group meeting: is there a Lévinasian political ecology? And this takes me back to my conversation with Adriana Menassé, about to be out in Stoa.


Popular posts from this blog

My responses to (some) talks in the Book Symposium

Indexicalism is out: l   The book symposium took place two weeks ago with talks by Sofya Gevorkyan/Carlos Segovia, Paul Livingston, Gerson Brea, Steven Shaviro, Chris RayAlexander, Janina Moninska, Germán Prosperi, Gabriela Lafetá, Andrea Vidal, Elzahrã Osman, Graham Harman, Charles Johns, Jon Cogburn, Otavio Maciel, Aha Else, JP Caron, Michel Weber and John Bova. My very preliminary response to some of their talks about the book follows. (Texts will appear in a special issue of Cosmos & History soon). RESPONSES : ON SAYING PARADOXICAL THINGS Hilan Bensusan First of all, I want to thank everyone for their contributions. You all created a network of discussions that made the book worth publishing. Thanks. Response to Shaviro: To engage in a general account of how things are is to risk paradox. Totality, with its different figures including the impersonal one that enables a symmetrical view from nowhere

Hunky, Gunky and Junky - all Funky Metaphysics

Been reading Bohn's recent papers on the possibility of junky worlds (and therefore of hunky worlds as hunky worlds are those that are gunky and junky - quite funky, as I said in the other post). He cites Whitehead (process philosophy tends to go hunky) but also Leibniz in his company - he wouldn't take up gunk as he believed in monads but would accept junky worlds (where everything that exists is a part of something). Bohn quotes Leibniz in On Nature Itself «For, although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk, that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points. In just the same way, there is nothing greatest in bulk nor infinite in extension, even if there is always something bigger than anything else, though there is a being greatest in the intensity of its perfection, that is, a being infinite in power.» And New Essays: ... for there is ne

Necropolitics and Neocameralism

It is perhaps just wishful thinking that the alt-right seemingly innovative and intrepid ideas will disappear from the scene as Trump's reign comes to an end. They have their own dynamics, but certainly the experiences of the last years, including those in the pandemics, do help to wear off their bright and attractiveness. Neocameralism, what Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land with him ushered in as a model of post-democracy that relinquish important ingredients of the human security system, is one of these projects that is proving to be too grounded in the past to have any capacity to foretell anything bright beyond the democratic rusting institutions. It is little more than necropolitics - which is itself a current post-democratic alternative. Achile Mbembe finds necropolitics in the regimes were warlords take over the state-like institutions (or mimick them)  to rule on the grounds of local security having no troubles killing or letting die whoever is in their path. Neocameralism pos