No certainty of ‘being at home’; internal foreignness; the breakdown of organic society

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’.

As highlighted in 2.1.4, Badiou affirmed that “philosophy… was from the very beginning not the discourse of those who feel the certainty of being at home”. All I wish to do in this sub-section is draw attention to the severity of the ecological crisis as depicted in Chapters 1 and 2, and ask a leading question: how can one feel ‘at home’ on a planet showing signs of catastrophic degradation as a consequence of the actions of human beings? An answer to this question may be that from a purely Promethean perspective, one might feel quite at home when the ancient natural heritage of a given locale is flattened by bulldozers in order to make way for the kind of development symptomatic of ACID. From a purely Promethean perspective, the destruction of a natural environment in order to build (for examples), another shopping mall, housing complex, airport, etc. is a sign of ‘progress’ in that such activities grow the nation’s GDP. If one puts two and two together, so to speak, and considers the quote that opens this sub-section, then such a (naïve) feeling of being at home is not the arena of philosophy – in other words, a comfortable response to ‘bog-standard’ Promethean phenomena is not a philosophical response. What is more of a philosophical response can be glimpsed in the following comment from Žižek: philosophical commitment is “marked by its internal foreignness”. In the context of the ecological crisis, proponents of Orphic attitudes are certainly aware of the ‘foreignness’ of the actions of globally-dominant Promethean ‘man’, actions underwriting the natural forces maintaining the balance necessary for all life – see Chapters 1, 2 and 3. In this regard, another phrase used by Badiou to ‘define’ philosophy immediately becomes relevant: philosophy “required a minimum of breakdown of the organic society” – the ecological crisis is indeed a breakdown of organic society in an extreme manner, thereby forcing the conclusion that the ecological crisis is a phenomenon, or rather the result of various Promethean phenomena, in response to which philosophy is well suited to occur.

The breakdown of organic society, and the contradictions and misgivings of ACID, are clearly acknowledged the sub-sections of Chapter 5: In Blessed Unrest Hawken traces the development of the unnamed movement consisting of millions of organisations responding to and attempting to curb the causes of and attitudes behind (amongst other things) the ecological crisis, while in the Occupy Movement, the Zeitgeist Movement and Sacred Economics there is a clear focus on the insidious consequences brought about by the impositions of ACID. These focal points do indeed create a sense of foreignness in that one is exposed to data, information, attitudes, socio-political and economic systems, etc. that make one see the world differently. i.e. in a foreign manner.