Contemplative Ecologies 3

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been busy completing qualifying exams, so this week’s post will feature more excerpts and less links. Hope you enjoy it:

1. I recommend two recent Aeon articles. One on The African Anthropocene:

“[There is] a common critique of the Anthropocene concept: it attributes ecological collapse to an undifferentiated ‘humanity’, when in practice both responsibility and vulnerability are unevenly distributed. While the Anthropocene continually inscribes itself in all our bodies – we all have endocrine disruptors, microplastics and other toxic things chugging through our metabolisms – it manifests differently in different bodies. Those differences, along with the histories that generated them, matter a great deal.”

And another called The Copy is the Original, which is an edited extract from Byung-Chul Han’s latest book, Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese:

“…the technique of preservation resides in allowing the circle of life to begin anew over and over again, maintaining life not against death but through and beyond death… In the unending cycle of life, there is no longer anything unique, original, singular or final. Only repetitions and reproductions exist. In the Buddhist notion of the endless cycle of life, instead of creation there is decreation: not creation but iteration; not revolution but recurrence; not archetypes but modules determine the Chinese technology of production.”

2. The Los Angeles Review of Books just published a literary review of #solarpunk by Rhys Williams and I found it to be the best review of the genre I’ve read so far:

“…Over the last few years, a promising new speculative subgenre, Solarpunk, has emerged… Why is this genre promising? Because in Solarpunk, energy is explicitly political… Solar energy provides a fruitful and flexible ground in the imaginary for experiments in being human and being social while it also preserves the ecological boundary conditions of our own existence. And that is the root of Solarpunk: an energy culture that serves as a platform for experiments in being, rather than a closure of it… The dissolving of genre hierarchies between science fiction and fantasy… also demonstrates an emergent ecological mode of thought in the attempt to think these ontologies together.”

3. The online journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory published a comparative essay this week on Gary Snyder’s integration of deep ecology and social ecology:

“The debates between social ecology and deep ecology characterized the emergent Green movement in the 1980s and 90s… Social ecology is primarily concerned with the dialectic between forms of domination in the human world, and how this leads to the domination of nature… Deep ecology is more concerned with changing human consciousness, drawing from religious and philosophical perspectives… [Gary] Snyder acknowledges both [social and deep ecology], emphasizing the need to change consciousness, while advocating for social changes to reharmonize human’s relationship to non-human nature… Snyder… draws from Mahayana Buddhism, bioregionalism and social anarchism in developing his perspective and philosophical orientation… [making him] an appropriate bridge between these two polarized nature philosophies.”

4. I read two articles connecting the inner and outer dynamics of systems change. One about coupling subjectivity and social-ecological systems:

“In this paper I conceptualize social-ecological systems as doubly coupled. On the one hand, material expressions of socio-cultural processes affect and are affected by ecological dynamics. On the other hand, coupled social-ecological material dynamics are concurrently coupled with subjective dynamics via coding, decoding, personal experience, and human agency.”

And another linking ecology with cultural transformation:

“The Transpersonal-Collaborative [discourse]… embraces the construction of personal and cultural meanings for ecological integrity… The output… has to do with understanding how our values and worldviews affect our way of interacting with ecosystems and how this interaction, in turn, affects our own personal well being. It… [is concerned with] creating meaning about the relational matrix within which individuals, social systems, and ecosystems co-evolve (Duane 1997; Kalton 2000) [using] a trans-scientific framework…”

5. Finally, Peter Doran wrote an article describing the #ContemplativeCommons as a nascent movement emerging in response to cognitive capitalism.

“What we are now seeing opening up is a new arena for the commons – the ‘contemplative commons’. And this is occurring just as, once again, the combined forces of the market and capitalism set out to extend the horizons of enclosure and marketization to the intimate realms of our attention… The recovery of the contemplative commons is central to creating an alternative pathway to a more sustainable life – a life lived both individually and collectively with care and due attention to the mutual entanglements of self, others and nature.”

For more, check out Andreas Weber’s essay describing a process-relational view of the commons:

“…Nature as such is the paradigm of the commons. Nothing in it is subject to monopoly; everything is open source. The quintessence of the organic realm is not the selfish gene but the source code of genetic information lying open to all… To organize a community between humans and/or nonhuman agents according to the principles of the commons always means to increase individual freedom by enlarging the community’s freedom… Living reality rather depends on a precarious balance between autonomy and relatedness on all its levels. It is a creative process that produces rules for an increase of the whole through the self-realization of each of its members.”

Questions, comments, or recommendations for future content? Please email <walsh_zack@yahoo.com>. Like what you see? Check out my personal Facebook page or scholarly publications. See you next Friday!

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