mercredi 23 janvier 2019

earth and the Earth / Augustin Berque


International Conference, PSL Université Paris École normale supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm
29 May-1st June 2018

earth and the Earth 

– a question of scale, a question of duty – 

by Augustin BERQUE 
Pieta Self-Death
(Yongbaek Lee, 2008)
Korean Art Museum Association

Abstract – Modernity’s main trend amounts to a deterrestration, cutting the link of the human with both the soil (la terre, earth) and the planet (la Terre, the Earth), which leads to the ruin of both the soil – in pedological as well as in anthropological terms, with “the end of the peasants” – and the planet (with the so-called Anthropocene, entailing the Sixth Extinction of life on Sol III), while letting modernity hold forth into the structural moment (dynamic coupling) of Transhumanism and Geoengineering. Instead, we should reclaim our terrestrial links and care for them, converting, on the one hand, intensive agriculture to permaculture and the like – e.g. Fukuoka’s shizen nôhô 自然農法 (natural farming), which is an exact topsy-turvy of modern agronomy, since it advocates the four principles of no till, no fertilizers, no pesticides, no weeding –, and, correlatively, caring for the environment, biodiversity and the biosphere in general, instead of laying them waste. This is not only a technical, but also a moral choice which implicates an overcoming of modernity’s very ontological and logical foundations : dualism and the law of excluded middle. Clinging to the modern cogito’s profession of faith (“I thence concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which, that it may exist, has need of no place, nor is dependent on any material thing”), i.e. abstracting our Being from both earth and the Earth, may well, sooner or later, entail the extinction of our species on Sol III.