[-empyre-] Beginning Week 1: Radical Aesthetics, EcoAesthetic Systems and Entanglements

Randall Szott placekraft at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 8 01:18:43 AEDT 2017

I want to thank William and Norie for their thoughts and my fellow conversants for theirs as well. William - I read the article you suggested and it does resonate for me in many ways. One thing I will point out though, is that "sustainability" is not enough. The model of "sustainable" has been increasingly displaced in agricultural circles by "regenerative." Given the amount of damage being done in various domains (including the linguistic - thank you!), we need to do more than sustain, we must regenerate (heal, repair, improve).


A last thought for the last part of the week's title. I find entanglement a powerful descriptive metaphor in describing systemic relationships, much more so than network/connection/node metaphors. However, I want to throw another term into the mix, one of a slightly larger descriptive frame - ENLIVENMENT. This concept comes from a feeling percolating for years that I couldn't quite name, it hovered near readings on pantheism, ecopsychology, and Kathleen Dean Moore's "Holdfast" or  David Abram's "Spell of the Sensuous" among others. Finally, I stumbled across  Andreas Weber's "Enlivenment" and the feeling had finally manifest in words, words which then coalesced into a framework that has shifted my thinking/feeling substantially. The essay is full of magic incantations - worldmaking, householding, poetic objectivity, empirical subjectivity, and the call to shift from the values of the Enlightenment (which Weber describes as an ideology of death) to Enlivenment. Briefly, he characterizes it this way:

"...a new stage of cultural evolution that can safeguard our scientific (and democratic) ideals of common access to knowledge and the powers connected with it – while at the same time validating personal experience that is felt and subjective: the defining essence of embodied experience. The Enlivenment that I envision includes other animate beings, which, after all, share the same capacities for embodied experiences and «worldmaking.»

Enlivenment therefore is not just another naturalist account to describe ourselves and our world that can then automatically dictate specific policies or economic solutions...[it is] a naturalism that is based on the idea of nature as an unfolding process of ever-growing freedom and creativity paradoxically linked to material and embodied processes. The biosphere is alive in the sense that it does not only obey the rules of deterministic or stochastic interactions of particles, molecules, atoms, fields and waves. The biosphere is also very much about producing agency, expression, and meaning."

Onward, then in enlivened entanglements with each other and our nonhuman poetic collaborators!


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