The Ecological Thought

Timothy Morton
Harvard University Press, 2010

Timothy Morton has a unique take on ecology that challenges much of the alternative consciousness that floats around on the periphery of environmental circles. He offers a profound take on human possibilities. To Morton, human society and Nature are not two distinct things but rather two different angles on the same thing. We have been “terraforming Earth all along — now we have the chance to face up to this fact and to our coexistence with all beings,” he writes. The destruction of Nature is neither inevitable nor impossible — we have a choice. But we must recognize that the language of sustainability becomes a weapon in the hands of global corporations that would like nothing better than to reproduce themselves in perpetuity. Ecological thought, he writes, must conceive of post-capitalist pleasures: not bourgeois pleasure for the masses, but forms of new, broader, more rational pleasure; not boring, over-stimulating, bourgeois reality, and not fridges and cars and anorexia for all, but rather a world of being (as opposed to having). How to care for the neighbor, the stranger, and the hyper-object are the long-term problems posed by ecological thought. Ecological thought forces us to invent ways of being together that don’t depend on self-interest.

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