Changing the concepts of the debate

Note: the content below is all in first draft format. It will change considerably during the time it takes for the study to be completed. I post now ‘for interest’s sake’.

It is not uncommon to encounter the philosophical problem I stated at the start of the previous sub-section: stated differently, the problem of the inherent impossibility of ACID to achieve a sustainable relationship between human beings and the natural world, while at the same time it is widely expected that sustainability will be ‘arrived at’ from the workings of ACID. I have already offered the comment that this is not a new problem, because people have drawn attention to it before, people like Joel Kovel, who wrote The Enemy of Nature: the end of capitalism or the end of the world – the problem I have described is indeed implied in the title of the book. What is interesting to me, in light of the notion of philosophy as (partly) the creation of problems, is that once a problem has been created (or, at least, reiterated), it is often incorporated into ‘alternative’ frameworks upon which ‘concepts of the debate’ are changed, frameworks that are particularly Orphic. This can be illustrated via re-consideration of some of the Orphic ideas I offered in Chapter 5. The Occupy Movement, the Zeitgeist Movement, the ‘unnamed movement’ of Hawken’s Blessed Unrest, and Eisenstein in his Sacred Economics all are in agreement about the the philosophical problem I have focused on in this and the previous sub-section: the contemporary Promethean dispensation (i.e. ACID) is inherently incapable of achieving ecological sustainability. In ACID, the ‘debate’ (as I explained in the previous sub-section) is usually surrounding how to make ‘business-as-usual’ sustainable, which is an example of a false problem. Eisenstein offers concepts that change the debate; I focused on only two examples of such concepts, and I will refer only by name to them here: internalisation of costs, versus externalisation of costs (see Chapter 5 for details). Prior to these concepts, business people might only have thought in terms of ‘costs’; Eisenstein changed the concepts of the debate by presenting two versions of costs for consideration – internalised costs and externalised costs. Business people may have no tolerance for such a move, i.e. the move of changing the terms of the debate, but it is not important that they even respond for philosophy to occur in the manner described by Badiou and Žižek; all the philosopher need do is change the terms of the debate. All of the sub-sections of Chapter 5 indeed “change the concepts of the debate” (2009: 51) in a similar manner, so one can again say that what has occurred in this study at different stages constitutes something of a philosophical process as defined by Badiou and Žižek.