In this lecture ep of Against Everyone with Conner Habib, I talk about how environmentalism is flawed at its foundation: nature. Nature is a concept that we must destroy if we ever want to see and engage with our planet.
To express the point, I pull in my pals Patricia Highsmith, Sigmund Freud, Paracelsus, and more.
IN THIS EPISODE
- Why "nature" is a poorly defined but totally accepted concept.
- Why our main environmental narratives - going green/sustainability, neo-primitivism, deep ecology - depend on the flawed concept of nature.
- "Nature is the word we use for the feeling we have of separation with other aspects of the world."
- "The concept of nature is the external exhibition of the death drive."
- Who are we if we're imaging mass death to "save the planet?"
- Have you ever fought just to feel?
- Erasing the lines between the living and the dead.
- The world is consciousness states, not objects.
- Putting ourselves at the center of the world is the only way to encounter it, much less "save" it.
I have been in a relationship like a Patricia Highsmith novel. But instead of being interesting and exciting, like Strangers on a Train, it was something much different. It almost totally destroyed me, and I believe that this is the sort of relationship we're enacting when we put "nature" as the foundation of our world narratives.
Freud writes about the death drive explicitly in Beyond the Pleasure Principle but I believe it is expressed best and most fully in Todd McGowan's excellent book, Enjoying What We Don't Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis.
Everyone should read at least some Paracelsus. So you may as well start with Paracelsus: The Essential Readings and everyone should also read Adam Phillips. Once again, here's his book, Darwin's Worms: On Life Stories and Death Stories.
Oh Žižek, I continue to love your provocations and dislike your conclusions. The quote in this ep comes from Demanding the Impossible, which is a really easy read if you've never ventured into his work before!
Silly bowerbird, that's not what money is for!