The Value of Nature and Old Books




The rationality people get all over the Lux/Seedz thing. (The comments as much as the post.)

There is no such thing as “nature.”

1. People have attitudes about “nature.”

2. There may not be an absolute nature-thing, but there is probably not an absolute anything-thing; meanwhile I would guess that ‘nature’ can  remain useful to describe a space or force relatively unaffected by the rise of humans.

Fair enough on #1, though recursive. As for #2 … One of the more interesting things that I’ve read about nature lately is Bruno Latour’s critique of mononaturalism (see free book here), which argues that the genealogy of the concept of nature is really a genealogy of the concept of politics–i.e., what people generally mean by nature is that place where politics must stop–and that this usually serves to simply hide the grounding of said politics in a supposedly non-political domain.

Thus, I think that it would be more productive to begin speaking of natures than to adopt a sliding-scale of human effects. As Murray Bookchin says:

There is no part of the world that has not been profoundly affected by human activity–neither the remote fastnesses of Antarctica nor the canyons of the ocean’s depths. Even wilderness areas require protection from human intervention; much that is designated as wilderness today has already been profoundly affected by human activity. Indeed, wilderness can be said to exist primarily as a result of a human decision to preserve it. Nearly all the nonhuman life-forms that exist today are, like it or not, to some degree in human custody.

If there’s no anything-thing, does this mean we just go with more useful? Also, I like trees. Needed to be said.

The Value of Nature and Old Books

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