The confrontation with Gaia is imminent… (Bruno Latour)

Alex-Grey-Psychedelic-Painting-Art-Gallery-Gaia-1024x640

GAIA IN THE ANTHROPOCENE By Bruno Latour

“Geologists are beginning to use the term ANTHROPOCENE to designate the era of Earth’s history that extends from the scientific and industrial revolutions to the present day. These geologists see humanity as a force of the same amplitude as volcanoes or even plate tectonics. It is now before GAIA that we are summoned to appear: Gaia, the odd, doubly composite figure made up of science and mythology, used by certain specialists to designate the Earth that surrounds us and that we surround, the truly global Globe that threatens us even as we threaten it.

If I wanted to dramatize – perhaps overdramatize – the ambiance of my investigative project, I would say that it seeks to register the aftershocks of the MODERNIZATION FRONT just as the confrontation with Gaia appears imminent.

At all events, we shall not cure the Moderns of their attachment to their cherished theme, the modernization front, if we do not offer them an alternate narrative… After all, the Moderns have cities who are often quite beautiful; they are city-dwellers, citizens, they call themselves (and are sometimes called) “civilized”.

Why would we not have the right to propose to them a form of habitation that is more comfortable and convenient and that takes into account both their past and their future – a more sustainable habitat, in a way? Why would they not be at ease there? Why would they wander in the permanent utopia that has for so long made them beings without hearth or home – and has driven them for that very reason to inflict fire and bloodshed on the planet?

After all these years of wandering in the desert, do they have hope of reaching not the Promised Land but Earth itself, quite simply, the only one they have, at once underfoot and all around them, the aptly named Gaia?”

BRUNO LATOUR.
“An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns”
Harvard University Press, 2013. Translated by Catherine Porter.
Download e-book at Library Genesis.
Join: http://www.modesofexistence.org

 

Adam and Eve (Art by Alex Grey)

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You might also enjoy:

The Affects of Capitalism (full lecture)
(If you wanna skip the intro, Latour actually starts speaking at 12 min and 45 seconds.)

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Heinrich Heine’s poems “Adam The First” and “Miserere” (excerpts) together with the painting “Adam & Eve” by Lucas Cranach

Lucas Cranach, "Adam & Eve" (1472-1553)

 ADAM THE FIRST
by Heinrich Heine

You sent me, with flaming sword,
your guard from the heavenly city,
and chased me out of Paradise
neither with right nor pity.

I’ll take my wife and we’ll move on,
to other lands be ranging;
but that I ate from the wisdom tree
is now beyond your changing.

You cannot change my knowing of
your pettiness and blunders,
no matter how you try to bluff
us men by death and thunders.

O God! How pitiful is this
decision of ejection!
How worthy of heaven’s governor!
How brilliant his perfection!

Your Garden of Eden, your Paradise,
I’ll never miss a minute;
that was no real paradise,
with a tree forbidden in it.

I ask full freedom as my right,
for freedom’s banner has risen!
The slightest limitation would turn
your Eden to hell and to prison.

* * * * *

MISERERE

Oh, forget those holy fables,
sanctimonious allegories –
try to answer those damned questions
without telling silly stories.

Why must just men bear the crosses,
stumbling wretchedly and bleeding,
while the bad man, high on horseback,
is victoriously succeeding?

Why so? Could the reason be that
God Almighty has restrictions?
Or that He Himself does mischief?
Ah, what sordid contradictions!

These are our eternal questions
till they stuff, when we lie pallid,
earth clods down our mouths by handfuls –
do you think such answer valid?

* * * * *

I am not lured by Eden’s fields,
the promised land in Paradise.
No fairer women there than those
on whom on earth I laid my eyes.

No angel with the finest wings
could substitute there for my wife.
Sitting on clouds and singing psalms
is not my dream of afterlife…”

HEINEHEINRICH HEINE
(13 December 1797 – 17 February 1856)