A colleague of mine, David Banks, pointed out an article written by Naomi Klein called “Capitalism vs. The Climate”. “Naomi Klein keeps doing our job and I don’t appreciate it,” he complained. By “our,” he means those of us in the field of science and technology studies. And by “our job,” I’m presuming he means usefully articulating deep structural problems combined with a meaningful call to action. But, of course, we might be skeptical of terms like “economic Armageddon,” and we certainly wouldn’t end an article, writing “a very different worldview can be our salvation.” How silly and sophomoric! How moralistic!
I pointed to a similar article published by al-Jazeera. By similar, I mean that it points to deep structural problems that must be changed in order to significantly impact climate change. This article, “Nature is the 99%, too” wouldn’t make it past the cursory glance of the average STSer: don’t they know that ‘nature’ doesn’t exist! It’s a mere social construction!
I decided to do a quick search on Google to see if I could identify a ripe area for career-building as a smug academic who prefers semantic games rather than civic engagement. I stumbled upon an opportunity!
In The Techno-Human Condition, Allenby and Sarewitz confront the growth of transhumanism as a movement and the history of humans engaging with technics that have shaped the species’ evolution. They additionally issue a particular critique of the Enlightenment. The limits of reason in complex, global technosystems is deeply explored and effectively trounced upon. In reading this text, one might be inspired to recall Horkheimer and Adorno’s The Dialectic of Enlightenment. However, in such a comparison, we might realize a primary weakness at the heart of Allenby and Sarewitz’s project. Horkheimer and Adorno found in the Enlightenment not simply the limits or reason, but a commitment to domination of nature, which extends to the complete domination of humankind. The pinnacle of the Enlightenment is not found in transhumanism (as in Allenby and Sarewitz), but in the concentration camp. If we might update this scenario, we could say the pinnacle of the Enlightenment is perpetual war for oil fought by drone planes and cyborg soldiers in which millions of civilians are murdered (only on the enemy side, of course). Continue reading →
Jeph Jerman could be described as an electro-acoustic artist, an experimental musician, or an avant-garde performer. But what Jeph is, in actuality, is a guide. He guides us to listen to the animated voice of nature, and his works provide us with pathways to experience daily life in new ways. Once the listener truly grasps the intention behind Jeph’s creations, her life can never be the same again. Continue reading →