Tuesday, August 12, 2008

geoengineering as primary philosophical venue

In case you've gotten dissociative about global warming (crisis fatigue), consider the prospect that common dissociativeness throughout consumerist society increasingly entails need for radical measures taken by powers romancing planetary-scale technologies that would allegedly Save our children from tragic suffering, but could devastate the Earth further.

"[If]the planet came to depend on chemicals in space or orbiting mirrors or regular oceanic infusions of iron, system failure could mean catastrophic — and immediate — climate change," writes Cornelia Dean in today's New York Times.

Senses of cosmopoly may be compelled by global warming to look increasingly like endeavors of environmental engineering at planetary scale.

But it's not that ethics is basically biopolitical, but that biopolitics is fundamentally geoethical (thus, too, ethical theory that is appropriate to the human condition)—as the locus of the Conversation of humanity should need to be starkly singular (but without hegemonic sway), and we are charged by nature to now engineer our own evolution out of the chaos of our hyperpluralist sphere of communications.

How do we, first of all, bring to the public a "grand debate over first principles" that ordinarily never gets out of the public policy institute, such that the resulting public discourse compellingly (democratically) guides "a political establishment with guaranteed indefinite stability," whatever that might be?

Might a geoethics be the new "First Philosophy"? That doesn't seem very thought-provoking, since a crisis-fatigued reader is likely quite aware that talk of "global ethics" and person-planet synergies, whatever, is already part of what's tiring. More conceptual conversation is not what we need.

But, you know, I have in mind something unobvious.