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Between immediacy and reification : quotidian pedagogy, narrative, and recovery of language and meaning… Feng, Francis Hueitsu 2003

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Between Immediacy and Reification: Quotidian Pedagogy, Narrative, and Recovery of Language and Meaning in Nature by FRANCIS HUEITSU FENG B.S. E.E.T., University of Houston, United States of America M.A., University of British Columbia, Canada A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION We accept this dissertation as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 2003 © FRANCIS HUEITSU FENG, 2003 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T As an open pedagogical inv i tat ion, my dissertation is a contr ibut ion as c r i t i ca l interpretive ontology w i th the promise of hope based upon my fa ther ' s Dao Li, or pr inc ip led l iving as a quest for the good. An embod ied sense of narrat ive as unity of l i fe interweaves wi th in my exploratory work bringing together virtue, praxis and narrative. Arising out of an ex i s tent ia l angst in the passing of my father and in my attempts to grapple w i th the questions he posed, I wrote autopo iet ica l ly " f r om the m i d d l e " out of l i fe w i th in the space between l i fe , top ic, theory and method. I was mot ivated by my deep concern that, as educators, we are caught wi th in a cyc le of the re i f icat ion of l i fe making us compl i c i t in the eco log ica l crisis of modernity. S ituated with in the conceptua l genre of educat iona l research, my work interprets modern conceptions of nature as deeply f l awed, where in the loss of nature from the discourse of modernity is imp l i ca ted in the general loss of meaning and sense of loss of the sacred. With in this context, I in terpret re i f icat ion in an expanded Lukacsian sense, to be the supreme danger to l i fe , even over cap i ta l , when modern discourse looms large, threatening to prec lude a l l other ways of being. i i To recover a language and meaning in nature, I draw from the hermeneutical-phenomenological tradition, casting my work as onto-linguistic in immediacy within what I call quotidian pedagogy. My exegesis is located in the dialectical flux between reification and immediacy. Within this flux, I postulate three interventionist movements that I have labelled appropriately as deconstructive, topographic, and immediate, around a circuit of nature model. This heuristic traces the pathway from construction to waste and sedimentation, through three movements that collectively: 1) recover nature through tracing the loss of nature from the discourse; 2) remap modern discourse to include nature; 3) experience and deconstruct the present in immediacy over abstraction. Pedagogically, I feature interpretations of the everyday and lived curriculum over the planned curriculum. I cast my contribution to immediacy within these lessons of the immediate. Moreover, I argue that it is in these spaces of the immediate as they are occurring before us that we find the possibility for hope and escape from the circularity of reification. in T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S ABSTRACT // TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF FIGURES ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. x CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 S H A R I N G , S U S T E N A N C E A N D SIGNS 1 1.1a Background questions 3 1.1b On the other hand 5 1.2 F O R M U L A T I O N OF T H E P R O B L E M 6 1.2a Loss of meaning and crisis of modernity 7 1.2b Hermeneutics of Hope 8 1.2c Hermeneutics of Despair 9 1.2d Quotidian lessons 10 1.2e Loss of meaning, loss of Nature 11 1.3 H E R M E N E U T I C A L L Y F O C U S I N G T H E P R O B L E M 12 1.3 a Concerns with language 12 1.3b Rise of the technological dimension as third Nature 14 1.3c Initial theorizing of disclosure in the quotidian 16 1.3 d Broadening the critique of language 18 1.3e Application of pedagogical critique 19 1.3f The Problem of education and complicity 21 1.3g Autonarrative, dialectics of pedagogical possibility.: 22 1.3h Problematizing between theory and the lived 24 1.3i Need for reflexivity within narrative 25 1.3j Sampling the role of theorists and theory in general 26 1.4 P H E N O M E N O L O G Y OF M O U R N I N G IN E X I S T E N T I A L INQUIRY 29 1.4a Amorphous questions, ambiguities, and the problem of fit 29 1.4b Originary impulse as ecological consciousness 33 1.4c Existential pedagogical questions, emergent autopoietic inquiry 34 1.5 C O N C E P T U A L I Z I N G A N D M O D E L L I N G T H E P R O B L E M 35 1.5a Thesis and epistemological connections 35 1.5b Theorizing the abstract and immediate 36 1.6 S T R U C T U R E OF D I S S E R T A T I O N 42 1.7 D E L I M I T A T I O N S 46 CHAPTER TWO: THE DECONSTRUCTIVE MOVEMENT 49 2.1 N A R R A T I V E U N I T Y OF L I F E 50 2.1a Memories of a child 51 2.2 F R O M OUT OF A N G S T 54 2.3 A N T H R O P O L O G Y OF T H E M O D E R N W O R L D 59 2.4 R E C L A I M I N G N A T U R E F R O M M A C H I N E 61 2.5 I M A G E S OF N A T U R E 64 2.6 C O N T I N G E N C Y , L A T E N T T E N D E N C I E S , I M M A N E N T C R I T I Q U E 66 2.7 R E M O V I N G A N D R E I N S T A T I N G R E S T R A I N T S 68 2.7a Bacon and the domination of women and nature 74 2.7b Alternate pathways to Utopia 77 2.7c Mechanical philosophy of nature and structural homologies 79 2.7d Philosophy of Nature? 81 2.7e Hypothesis: Green sensitivity within Marxism? 85 2.7f Hermeneutic reading of green hypothesis 88 CHAPTER THREE: THE TOPOGRAPHIC MOVEMENT 91 3.1 DIMENSIONING T H E A M B I T 91 3.1a A picture of contradictions 92 3.1b Modernity, rights and change 95 3.1c Critique of change as progress 97 3.1d Role of schooling 101 3.1e The problem of education: What is education for? 102 3. I f Greening the third wave sociology of education 103 3.2 E X E G E S I S OF T H E LOSS OF N A T U R E 104 3.2a Hermeneutical cobwebs of meaning 105 3.2b The problem of labels 108 3.2c Forgotten and lost threads I l l 3.2d Discursive bifurcations 113 3.2e Hermeneutical phenomenology as corrective lens 114 3.3 H E R M E N E U T I C S OF N A T U R E IN L U K A C S 116 3.3a Questioning Nature : ' 116 3.3b The lost third thread in Lukacs 120 3.3c Where Rousseau and Weber meet in Lukacs 121 3.3d Toward topographic movement in the quotidian 123 v CHAPTER FOUR: TOWARD THE IMMEDIATE MOVEMENT. ne 4.1 W H E N S U N L I G H T GLISTENS A C R O S S T H E W A T E R O N T H E PIER 127 4.2 WINDOWS A N D OPENNESS T O P H E N O M E N O N 128 4.3 I M M E D I A C Y , H E R M E N E U T I C S , P H E N O M E N O L O G Y , A N D T R A N S F O R M A T I O N 129 4.4 QUESTIONING R E I F I C A T I O N 130 4.5 P R O B L E M OF DESIGN AS R E I F I C A T I O N 132 4.5a Questioning design 133 4.5b Modell ing between world and computer 134 4.6 U N D E R T H E S H A D O W OF T H E S U P R E M E D A N G E R OF R E I F I C A T I O N 139 4.6a Returning to the Heart, refuting anthropocentric individualism 142 4.6b The problem of history in immediacy 145 4.6c Education and change through interpreting the world 147 4.6d The shift from epistemology to ontology 152 4.6e Existence, lifeworld, intentionality, disclosure 155 4.7 ONTO-LINGUISTIC A N T E C E D E N T S W I T H I N T H E T R A D I T I O N 158 4.7a The Arendtian gift 158 4.7b The Heideggerian Turn 163 4.7c Tester as transformative pedagogy 164 4.8 H I D D E N M Y T H O S A N D T E L O S OF A N O B J E C T 167 4.8a Layered stories in quotidian immediacy 170 4.8b Classifying and fragmenting 171 4.8c Technology as a mode of being 173 4.8d Enter the actor and community 175 4.8e Disclosure in breakdown 176 4.8f The dialectic within immediacy 178 4.8g From discovery to disclosure 180 4.8h Connecting presence, form, praxis and truth 181 CHAPTER FIVE: IMMEDIACY, CARING AND ABSENCE 183 5.1 S I G N A T U R E S IN C A R I N G 183 5.2 E X I S T E N T I A L A N G S T , A W A K E N I N G , A N D A D V O C A C Y 187 5.3 G R I E F , E M E R G E N T M E A N I N G , F R A C T U R I N G OF W O R L D 188 5.4 AUTOPOIESIS AS E M E R G E N T R E S E A R C H 191 5.4a Questions for topic and method 191 5.4b Correspondence between life and theory 191 vi 5.4c Literature, theory, and lived experience... 192 5.4d Reconceptualizing research as autopoietic 193 5.5 A P L A C E T O C A L L H O M E 195 5.5a Recovery, Caring and Uncaring 196 5.6 K N O W I N G T H E P L A C E F O R T H E FIRST T I M E 197 5.6a Between affluence and effluence 198 5.6b Connecting lived experience to theory 200 5.6c Symptoms of cultural decadence 203 5.6d Between caring and uncaring 204 CHAPTER SIX: IMMEDIACY IN NATURE AND TEMPORALITY: VOICES IN THE LIFEWORLD. 206 6.1 C L E A R W A T E R S P E A K S 208 6.1a The magic unfolds 209 6.1b Sublime witness 210 6.1c Weaves of a single loom, strands of joys and sorrows 212 6.2 E N C H A N T M E N T AS C O U N T E R - T H E S I S 214 6.3 H U R T A N D F O L L O W I N G A U T H E N T I C V O I C E S W I T H I N A N D W I T H O U T 216 6.3a Lessons in the undergrowth 219 6.3b Does Nature speak? 222 6.4 B E T W E E N T H E FINITE A N D T H E INFINITE 225 6.4a The phenomenal shift into immediacy 226 6.4b Snowflakes dancing, green sun, yellow cabs 227 6.4c Through the portal of Care, visiting Father 228 6.4d Lessons of the heart and remembering 230 6.4e The dance of the flowers 230 6.4f Visi t ing the faces of Love 231 6.4g Ecopedagogy as performative immediacy 233 6.4h Father, reification and intervention 234 CODA 236 Difficulty of lived interpretation 236 Existential storying, pedagogy, as meaningful language 238 Refuting reification and sedimentation 240 Obstacles to exegesis 242 Traces where nature have been marginalized 243 Hermeneutical phenomenology to the rescue 245 Traces of the originary text 249 251 NOTES 263 v i i i L I S T O F F I G U R E S FIGURE 1. TO SHARE FROM A SINGLE BOWL 1 FIGURE 2. BREAKDOWN AND DISCLOSURE 3 FIGURE 3. RISE OF TECHNOLOGICAL DIMENSION 15 FIGURE 4. NATURE AS CULTURE AS TECHNOLOGY 16 FIGURE 5. CIRCUIT OF NATURE MODEL 38 FIGURE 6. ECOGRAPHICAL CRITIQUE IN THREE MOVEMENTS 40 FIGURE 7. TURNING CONSTRAINTS INTO SANCTIONS 73 FIGURE 8. THE PROBLEM OF (MIS)REPRESENTATION OF THE WORLD 136 FIGURE 9. DECONSTRUCTING THE PRESENT AS IT UNFOLDS 168 FIGURE 10. SANCTUARY AND TRANSFORMATION IN GREEN 218 i x A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S In a project at once an invitation to an extended inner/outer journey, conversation, story of angst and recovery: the work owes much to family, community, and individuals who nourished its development, who gave it utterance, inspiration, and wings. While it is a challenge to remember all who contributed towards one's endeavour; the key figures integral to the fruition and recognition of one's work, and the intellectual soil and home that roots one's struggle always stays dear and close to one's heart. It is therefore fitting that I begin with acknowledgement of those with whom I worked most closely, and of those who bestowed official recognition upon my doctoral dissertation. With this thought in my heart-mind, I express my deepest gratitude and my respect to/for the collective body that conferred my doctorate: members of my esteemed Examining Committee, Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Graduate Studies, and the University of British Columbia. Having expressed my overall gratitude, I want to thank the seven scholars who gathered in person and in spirit at my Final Oral Examination to examine my doctoral dissertation. I need to thank Dr. Joe Belanger, my Chair; Dr. Heesoon Bai of the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University; my External Examiner; Dr. Linda Peterat and Dr. Daniel Vokey, my University Examiners; and Dr. Stephen Petrina, Dr. Karen Meyer, and Dr. Carl Leggo, my Supervisory Committee. To one and all , I thank you for agreeing to serve on short notice, for some, your dedication in taking time from your sabbatical to be present. I insert my gratitude for the care and efficiency of Teresa Jones, the Coordinator of the Doctoral Unit, Student Academic Services, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies in her/their co-ordination of the scheduling of my Final Oral Examination. I thank Teresa for her labour and humanity: from expedited delivery of my dissertation to the External Examiner and the Chair, to the scheduling of my Final Oral Examination to changing demands of my Examining Committee, to setting up space for practicing, to honouring the presence of Father at my Final Oral Examination. Words cannot fully express the deep gratitude that I feel for my dear committee members. Ordered by the sequence of their emergence in my dissertation committee, I begin by thanking my supervisor, Dr. Stephen Petrina who has been working closely with me over the last six years. What might possess one to locate one's doctoral dissertation on the site of being exploring the dialectical flux between Immediacy and reification in an attempt to escape from the reification of life? The answer lies in part, in the challenging intellectual debates and exchanges with my supervisor that primed me and gave me the confidence to pursue exploratory, conceptual work for my doctoral dissertation. I need to acknowledge my gratitude to the Department of Curriculum Studies for the opportunity to teach the student teachers in the Technology Education programme and to participate in curriculum and web design under the tutelage and direction of Dr. Petrina. I also need to express my deep appreciation of Dr. Carl Leggo, the poetic being on my dissertation committee. What would pedagogy of the heart be like without poetics? Perhaps the best way to express my gratitude with the presence of a poet in our midst is to think of the daunting prospect of attempting my deep critique without poetic flourishes characterizing my work. M y writing is impoverished without the poetics. Even more, it would be difficult to articulate heartful pedagogical claims around language, meaning, and ethicality without the heart at the core of Dr. Leggo's poetics and narrative. Poetic narrativity was the portal that extended Husserlian intersubjectivity in my hermeneutical-phenomenological discourse around caring, suffering, and empathy. The words of ethos, pathos and logos ring in my heart as much as the day I heard them first uttered. I am very grateful to Dr. Leggo for his scholarship legitimizing narrative in education research as a mode of being, without which my lived-felt ontological angst might not have been able to find a voice. Yet, all might have been for naught, were it not for the presence of another auto/poetic being in Dr. Karen Meyer. Again, words alone cannot expressed my deep gratitude. What does it take to sustain a journey of the heart, lost within the anguish of existential angst, and the self-doubts of unproven labour? The answers lies within the selfless, dedicated, caring of a deep pedagogical soul that in reminding one of the deep intent of pedagogy and research, at once fires the trust and imagination of a community to dare to dream of re/imagining academe. In Dr. Meyer's conviction that I had a reminder for the world, her presence infused my text to lend meaning and depth to my writing in a manner inextricable from her lived-praxis, inextricable in turn, from the community she inspired, within which my work is grounded. Perhaps the best tribute would be to utter in the same context, the caring collegial community of cultural workers Dr. Meyer has brought together to foster a tradition and a dream. Here my deep gratitude goes towards the Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction that has been my intellectual home, and to my dear colleagues who helped to transform walled-in space into living community. When we speak of the Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, not only does the name of Dr. Carl Leggo as the poetic spirit that guides our praxis, re-merge, so too does all the labour of other caring pedagogical beings who also gave shape to my efforts. M y gratitude extends to Dr. Lynn Fels, who was with me in the initial stages of my work, extending validity to both the language/style of my argument and presentation. It was her encouragement to struggle at the critical time of hardship that shifted me into the quickening that ensued. I also thank Lynn for the opportunity to be on the editorial team with Educational Insights, I am also thankful for the wisdom of Dr. Munir Vellani , who with Dr. Meyer, taught me the gift of the hermeneutic circle, without which I am convinced I could not have culminated the journey of the heart I began so long ago. The depth of his insight in the affirmation of my existential angst, sudden immediacy, and disclosure as portals, were pivotal in giving me confidence to share what I held as unexceptional but personal, existential experiences in immediacy. I also appreciate blessings of eldership, leadership, and spiritual wisdom in Dr. Fleurette Sweeney, who keeps us all going, championing our work, with her gifts of natality, hope, music, and celebration. A s for the rest of my dear colleagues too many to name here, I reserve a place closer to the heart, with my family. When we teach, and when we write, we sometimes leave "gems" that impress our students and readers in unique ways. Often though, we are unaware of the impact that we leave on our students. Caught up with the life that is my work, I have been negligent of expressing my gratitude. Speaking to this gap now, aside from the above professors, after years of struggling with angst, I need to pause to thank the key individuals whose insights have influenced my work, often profoundly. To correct my failing, in alphabetical order, I thank the following professors for their insights, words, and praxis that have helped me to formulate the foundations of my dissertation. I wish to express my collective gratitude: to Dr. A o k i for bringing back the existential, convincing me that grief is a pedagogical opening; to Dr. C A . Bowers for his encouragement to write my dissertation as a book; to Dr. Mary Bryson for sensitizing me to issues of gender and technology; to Dr. Graham Chalmers for recommending me to C S C I ; to Dr. Jerrold Coombs for reminding me of redeeming aspects of the Western Enlightenment; to Dr. Brent Davis (and Dr. Karen Meyer) for autopoiesis and enactive education; to Dr. Donald Fisher for warning me about falling through the cracks between the micro/macro views; to Dr. Sharon Fuller for education from the outside through sociology and W . E . B . DuBois; to Dr. James Gaskell for reminding me of the need of making room for compromise; to Dr. Hi l l e l Goelman for my initial acceptance into C S C I ; to Dr. R ick i Goldman-Segall for linking computers and anthropology; to Dr. Rita Irwin for my nascent grounding in curriculum; to Dr. Theodore Lewis for connecting liberal education and tecnology; to Dr. Peter McLaren for affirming the value of pursuing the green strand in Lukacs; to Dr. Laurie Ricou for ecocriticism; to Dr. Leslie Roman for sensitizing me to the pedagogy of difference and anti-racism; to Dr. Walt Werner for initial stirrings in phenomenology and the concept of the ontologically prior; to Dr. E l v i Whittaker for unfolding the anthropological turn within Merchant; and to Dr. John Wil l insky for his encouragement to go wide before narrowing. With respect to publishing and publishers, I need to thank the Centre for Research in Women Studies and Gender Relations and Dr. Veronica Strong-Boag, and Educational Insights under the editor, Dr. Lynn Fels for publishing my work.. I thank Dr. B i l l Do l l for the opportunity and honour of co-authoring a chapter with him. In the same breath I thank Dr. Stephen Petrina for the invitation to write with Dr. Do l l . I also thank Dr. John Wever, Dr. Maria Morris, and Dr. Peter Appelbaum who edited the book in which our chapter appears, and our publisher Peter Lang, Along the same vein, I express my gratitude to Brent Hocking, Dr. Johnna Gaskell and Dr. Warren Linds for the opportunity to publish a chapter in their book. Again, I am honoured to be in the company of noted scholars like David Abram and David Jardine. I am grateful to our publisher, Dr. Ron Mil le r , and the Foundation for Educational Renewal. Chapters in my dissertations often had their first incarnations as conference papers. Over the years, I need to thank the A E R A , B C T E A , I T E A , IIGSP, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, Concordia University, University of Victoria, the Learning Love Conference, and the Bodymind Conference, for accepting these papers for presentation. I thank my dear friend, Dr. Warren Linds, who was not only the editor for my above book chapter, but one of the people who traced my work. Warren's friendship and advice was key to the fruition of my work. The circuit of nature I base my work on first received affirmation from Warren enroute Greyhound, from Toronto back to Vancouver. I thank Rachel and Warren for their support. I have had two other influences in hermeneutics. In hindsight I appreciate hearing Larsen Rogers speak about a hermeneutics of science, while I spoke about my project of recovering Nature in Dr. E l v i Whittaker's anthropological class, never realizing the two would converge years later. M y second influence is Dr. Majorie Mayers, whom I met at OISE. A s one of my chapter theorists, she has also profoundly influenced my work. It was at her encouragement that I began exploring hermeneutics as possibility to frame my dissertation. Elements of our conversations, whether with the notion of hermeneutics as invitation, transcendence of feeling beyond words, the plight of the homeless, permeates my work to enrich the language I am attempting to grasp of/in immediacy. x i i I thank Dr. Chan Choon Hian and his wife for their continued encouragement over the years. I am grateful to Dr. Chan for reserving equipment at Kwantlen University College to practice my oral defense with me, and for the assistance of his son Wei . I also acknowledge Dr. Chan's pivotal role in introducing me to publishing many years ago when we first collaborated on a paper, and for his continued support and invitations to conferences. I thank my colleague Steve Dalley for his support of my work and our fruitful discussions on ecology, technology and culture, his historical insights of technology, our discussions of Rousseau, and the experience of team teaching. I thank the members of the Aokian group of six brought together by Dr. Pat Palulis. I confess, as we get closer to the heart, I am uncertain what to do about titles. While signs of recognition, they can also be divisive, especially when first names are endearing. Except for those above teaching at CSCI , I have decided to drop the titles. A t risk of forgetting names, here is a collective thank you to all my friends in the C S C I community, a special thank you to all of you who came out in person or in spirit to support my oral defense, and to the presence of the next generation and natality within our midst. I thank Sonia for mindfulness; Anne for organizing my oral defense; Kadi for her kind reassuring words; Chris for helping me practice for my oral defense, Hartej for her gift and support, Jacqui for suggesting I write about the spoon. Have I forgotten anyone? I hope not; know that you are all in my heart. Included are those whose labour make things possible; I thank Oliva dela Cruz Cordero, Debbie.Gajdosik Jennifer Keres, and Robin Whettler for their dedication. Availability of audiovisual equipment was critical for my oral defense. I thank the C M S team of Paul A . Darquin, Edna Johnson, Anna Maslennikova, Jenny Peterson, Wayne Knights for understanding. I have had my share of technical difficulties. I am grateful for the technical help from: Teddy Leung and his wife of Copies Direct who printed the first runs of my proposals and dissertation; the Staples team of Brian Bhaumani, Viv ian Pan, and Shaunda; Paul, and Michael Miao from Addax Computer who breathed new life into my computer; the London Drugs team who replaced a printer worn from printing dissertations, regenerated my computer, introduced me to the Jumpdrive and developed my PowerPoint files into slides. I thank Jennifer and Kieran at the Special Order Desk and our librarians: Lenora Crema, Rowan Laughlin, and Jo-Anne Naslund upon whose labour my research is founded. I thank Donna Kirk ing of Endnote for her insight that my work in finding Nature has been a search for the Infinite. I feel privileged that my work was written on the land of the Musqueam Nation, to whom I also thank. It is on this land that I wrote, pursuing deep questions that plagued my wounded heart. I write for the Earth, for which the land sighs and symbolizes. I thank the nameless people I met, saw, or spoke to, the lived-empiricism behind my work.. If I have not named you, know that you are included; it is due to lack of space, forgetfulness, and deadlines, rather than lack of heart. I thank my parents: my father, Feng Yuan Sheng, for the inspiration behind my work, my mother, Catherine Feng, to whom my dissertation is dedicated, for her faith in my eventual emergence and unconditional love she shows me through food. I thank my brother, Dr. Simon Feng, his wife, Wendy Feng, and my two nephews George and Wi l l i am for poetry and a sense of home in my hour of truth. I also thank my children, Jasmine Feng-Pallot and Alexander Feng-Pallot for the sense of Natality and Hope with which they infuse and inspire my work, completing Life. CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1.1 SHARING, SUSTENANCE AND SIGNS Sharing and Sustenance. As I cut the vegetables and Mother stirs the pot, we prepare for our dinner. We need only share in the simplest of foods. As we share food, we gather in celebration of Life. We share in the miracle that confers meaning to our lives. We share with those whose company we find love and comfort, and to whom we in turn love and make mutually comfortable with our presence. With pure love we are fortunate to share our limited time in space with those who grace our tables with presence. These days we might indeed need to be reminded that to share of a single bowl is no ordinary feat (Figure 1). Figure 1. To share from a single bowl l To share requires presence of heart . To partake in commonal i ty is symbolic of our pr ior i t ies and at t i tudes toward one another and the Ear th . When we do not partake of the same bowl we might forget the ce lebra t ion of being wi th Other and communi ty . As we gather to sup, we need to be t roubled that those who were part of us no longer partake of the same bowl . We learn presence from their absence in our midst . We ask: How is i t possible that those persons wi th whom we shared the most poignant of t imes, leave us by choice or necessity? Thei r absence is not only a missing presence, it is a sign. We are known by the marks ive leave behind. Whether we tread the Earth lightly or hard, in faith or in doubt, in pain or pleasure, with dread or ecstasy, in despair or hope, these marks are the legacy of mere mortals. Or, whether arrogant or humble, in our inscriptions, from the print at the bottom of our soles, ink from our pens, or in how we live life, no one is spared. We are all identified by marks we leave... These were the thoughts inside my heart when the spoon broke (Figure 2). Was this a sign to represent my inquiry? It occurred to me that the broken spoon was perfect . I cou ld not only discard i t as i t reminded me of family , 2 sharing, sustenance and Mother, and a dear sibling far away, it reminded me all at once that although broken — all is nonetheless whole. Figure 2. Breakdown and disclosure As an open pedagogical invitation, I begin with this enigma and weave a narrative that sheds meaning onto the integration of absence and presence, broken and whole, past and present. In the telling, I invite you to walk and learn with me along many paths before we begin to grasp the significance of the spoon and its narrative. The journey unfolds with background questions that frame and situate my pedagogical inquiry within an existential discourse emphasizing living interpretation of the lifeworld. 1.1a Background questions These, then, are the three malaises about modernity ... [t]he first fear is about what we might call a loss of meaning, the fading of moral horizons. The second concerns the eclipse of ends, in face of rampant instrumental reason. And the third is about a loss of freedom. (Taylor, 1 9 9 1 , p . 1 0 ) 1 3 One cannot approach questions like these... from a neutral standpoint. Every questioning grows out of a tradition — a pre-understanding that opens the space of possible answers. We use the word 'tradition' in the broadest sense... [as] a more pervasive, fundamental phenomenon that might be called a 'way of being.' In trying to understand tradition, the first thing we must become aware of is how it is concealed by its obviousness. It is not a set of rules or sayings, or something we find catalogued in an encyclopaedia. It is a way of understanding, a background, within which we interpret and act.... because it emphasizes the historicity of our way of thinking— the fact that we always exist within a pre-understanding determined by the history of our interactions with others who share the tradition. (Winograd & Flores, 1 9 8 6 , p.7) Is i t possible we no longer see beauty, even though it might be right before us? Is it possible we are truly disenchanted (Weber, Ge r th , & Mi l l s , 1958), 2 no longer capable of exper iencing awe? Is i t possible that our hearts close l i t t l e by l i t t l e when we are faced wi th the sheer magnitude and depth of suffering? Is i t possible when we speak of value that a l l value can u l t imate ly be reduced to the economic? Is the law of nature that of the survival of the f i t test on which grounds socio-biology is jus t i f ied — w h e r e might is right and uneven dis t r ibut ion of mater ia l is warranted? Broadly speaking, is i t possible that we have fragmented our wor ld and discourse into nature, cul ture and technology (Feng, 2001b; Latour , 1993)? 3 Is it possible we are alone on this mute ear th , which speaks not (Arato & Breines, 1979; C o l l e t t i , 1973; Feenberg, 1981; Lukacs, 1971a; Schmidt , 1971; Voge l , 1996)? 4 Is i t only we who are capable of speech? Is it possible we are caught l ike rats in a ce les t i a l maze, on a de terminis t ic planet , which cares not for us, which we have no agency over (Latour, 1993; Nietzsche, 1974)? Is it possible 4 our gods have abandoned us (Poggeler, 1966)? 5 Do we bel ieve our gods to be mere figments — the untenable thesis of our co l l ec t ive secular imagination? Are we , as in Dante, condemned past a l l hope (Dante & Musa, 1996)? Is i t possible that , even if hope exists, we might be prec luded from disclosure (Heidegger, 1977)? 6 Are we l iving our lives at too fast a pace to not ice — bl inded by representations of our own making (Tester, 1995)? Is i t possible that death is the f ini te end to our morta l story? 1.1b On the other hand Or, is i t possible that we can s t i l l ce lebra te the colours that abound a l l around us (Berry, 1988; Di l l a rd , 1999)? Might it be that we were never disenchanted (Latour, 1993), that we s t i l l stand in awe of the majesty around us? Might i t be possible that , precisely because of the scale of suffering, our hearts resurge where once they had been numbed? Can i t s t i l l be true that there are some things that cannot be evaluated under the sign of money? Is perhaps the law of nature not that of the survival of the f i t test , but the survival of a l l (Bateson, 1972)? Can f lawed arguments that uphold power and uneven dis t r ibut ion of mater ia l be summari ly refuted (Shiva, 1994)? Broadly speaking, is i t possible that we have not fragmented our wor ld and discourse; and nature, cu l ture , and technology are s t i l l as one (Feng, 2001b)? Is i t possible our Earth is not mute but very much a l ive and a l l speech does not pass through anthropomorphic form (Abram, 1996)? Is i t possible we 5 d w e l l wi th in l imina l spaces of possibil i ty in our Earth-home, of which we are an intr insic part and where in our fate is inext r icably connec ted to the fate of a l l things (Bateson, 1972; Maturana & Vare l a , 1980; Merchant , 1994)? Is it possible, despite the profane, that the sacred survives (Caputo & Scanlon, 1999; Latour, 1993; Taylor , 1991)? In our hearts, and a l l around us, is it the case that hope exists and possibil i ty remains for disclosure (Heidegger, 1977)? Might we fee l an impera t ive to deconstruct our representations (Tester, 1995)? Is i t possible that death is a quickening of new beginnings that remind us of human tempora l i ty , fragi l i ty and morta l i ty as part of the perpetuat ing c i r c l e of Life? 1.2 FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEM Most of us feel the need to describe how we came to be what we are. We want to make our stories known, and we want to believe those stories carry value. To discover we have no story is to acknowledge that our existence is meaningless which we may find unbearable... (Fulford, 1 9 9 9 , p .14) Not to have a framework is to fall into a life which is spiritually senseless... The form of danger here is utterly different from that which threatens the modern seeker, which is something close to the opposite: the world loses altogether its spiritual contour, nothing is worth doing, the fear is of a terrifying emptiness, a kind of vertigo, or even a fracturing of our world, and body-space.... [T]he existential predicament in which one fears condemnation is quite different from the one fears, above all, meaninglessness. The dominance of the latter perhaps defines our age. (Taylor, 1 9 8 9 , p. 1 8 ) 6 1.2a Loss of meaning and crisis of modernity The juxtaposition of Taylor's quote above against his quote that introduces the previous section sketches the problematic. The two quotes connect Taylor's felt worries of a fragmented and detached self in society around the loss of meaning, eclipse of ends, and loss of freedom. He emphasizes the need for frameworks related to morality, spirituality, and quest for meaning. I argue that Taylor's philosophical worries find significant meaning in other extant literature. The crisis of modernity that Taylor speaks of has been argued, theorized, and brought to practice in the following topics: Crisis of modernity (Laszlo, 1994; Rogers, 1994); Globalization (Beck, 2000; Mander & Goldsmith, 1996; Sassen, 1998); Risk (Beck, 1992, 1995, 1999; Cotgrove, 1982; Giddens, 1990, 1999; Meadows, Meadows, & Randers, 1992; Meadows & Rome, 1972); Poverty (Latouche, 1993); War (Bruce, Milne, & Rotblat, 1999; Rotblat, 1991, 1998; Schell, 1982, 1998); Environment (Carson, 1962/1994; Makofske & Karlin, 1995; Myers & Simon, 1994; Szasz, 1994; Wackernagel & Rees, 1996; Yearley, 1992); Health (Perrow, 1984); Population (Bolch & Lyons, 1993; Ehrlich & Ehrlich, 1990); and Education (Jardine, 1992, 1998; Smith, 1999). 7 1.2b Hermeneutics of Hope Before I move forward , the formulat ion of the problem requires me to back up and address the enigmat ic nature of the questions I pose above, and couch them wi th in the context of this inquiry . To be sure, the above groups of questions and counter-quest ions are merely heurist ic groupings, since the issues are far more complex , nuanced, over lapping, and cont ingent . I group those questions by design as an advance organizer to lead into this in i t i a l discussion. I want to contrast the two sets of questions and thei r impl i ed answers. That is, the first group takes the form of something l ike a hermeneut ics of despair and the second forms a hermeneut ics of hope. My first in tent is to reveal the impl i c i t dimension of hope wi th in the first group of seemingly disparate questions about despair . In so doing, I i l lus t ra te a pedagogical point; that is, pedagogy includes the understanding of these questions in a nuanced, over lapping and cont ingent manner. Nevertheless, we are guided by our sense of car ing (Noddings, 1992) in embrac ing the impl i ed opt imism of the second group to cu l t iva te the pedagogical imperat ives of hope, whi le re ject ing the pessimism of the first . However , as inherent in both sets of questions, despair and hope are dialectically related. Wi th in one we find the other . 8 1.2c Hermeneutics of Despair Having noted the pedagogical impulse towards the optimistic, I turn to draw out connections between my questions above and the felt loss of horizons of purpose and meaning found within a hermeneutics of despair. 7 By juxtaposing the first quote from Fulford (1999) with Taylor (1989) I was struck by the remarkable similarity across their works. For Fulford, a meaningless existence is one that is without a story, while for Taylor, meaninglessness has to do with the loss of horizons and framework. Juxtaposed, one senses what is not said in the in-between space. The effect of both Fulford and Taylor is the unbearable lived quality of life — the wake of banality, emptiness, and fracturing that ensues. Within hope's f l ipside, 8 found in an alternate vocabulary of despair, I interpret emotions that hint at a terrifying existence that issues from a loss of meaning. This phenomenon, that arguably has complex roots, is intimately related to possible uncertainty and anxiety around the kinds of questions I pose above. There appears to be no definitive answers or consensual framework (Taylor, 1991). It is significant that a child might face despair in search of causal explanations, definitive answers, or consensual frameworks with respect to the state of the world. 9 1.2d Quotidian lessons Perhaps an impera t ive exists in our dual role , as teachers and researchers, to emphasize hope and t ransformation, wh i l e at the same t ime , to pay a t tent ion to an at tendant hermeneut ics of despair . From an exis ten t ia l posi t ion, I bel ieve i t is impera t ive for us as teachers to give students hope, whi le at the same t ime , to relate to thei r legi t imate fears — l iving in a wor ld that they d id not make themselves, f inding nei ther def in i t ive answers, consensual framework, nor appeal to a f inal authori ty and ex terna l arbi ter to the human. But how might we do this? Perhaps precisely because the wor ld in which students f ind themselves is contingently made, herein lies the possibil i ty of c r i t ique through acts of praxis to help students move toward thei r own transformation. I am guided by two fundamental axioms here. By fundamenta l , I mean start ing from the ground of exis tence . The first revolves around my convic t ion (like Taylor ' s a lbei t w i th a pedagogical turn) that the acts of posing and a t tempt ing to answer questions l ike these are able to translate into real difference and carry profound pedagogical significance (Taylor, 1991). The second axiom is this: because that which is concea led through artefacts that make our wor ld remains right before us, lessons of the everyday - or what I ca l l quot idian lessons - are also always there before us. Thus the possibil i ty 10 exists for emancipa t ion i f we only open our hearts, minds and hands to the questions that spring from wi th the exis tent ia l in the everyday. This possibil i ty is the chal lenge to connect l ived exper ience wi th theory. 1.2e Loss of meaning, loss of Nature It might be helpful to a l lev ia te some of these fears and to c lear an opening for t ransformation by locat ing these disparate questions wi th in a common root source. The l i tera ture on the loss of nature in discourse is helpful here. Speci f ica l ly , I propose to do this by merging Taylor's (1991) first malaise, around "loss of meaning, the fading of moral horizons" (p. 10), w i th his second malaise on the "ecl ipse of ends in face of rampant ins t rumenta l reason" and focus on the loss of meaning and the closing of horizons around the loss of nature (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1944/1998; Leiss, 1972/1994; Marcuse, 1964/1991; Merchant , 1980). I argue that Taylor ' s two malaises of moderni ty are in te r twined wi th and re la ted to the loss of nature from the discourse. Whereas Taylor touches on the subjugation of nature wi th the loss of moral horizons as his main c r i t ique , my work focuses on the notion of loss of moral horizons as i t relates to the loss of nature. I locate our modern crisis wi th in f lawed concept ions of nature and root these losses in the problem of nature in technologica l cu l tu re . 11 1.3 HERMENEUTICALLY FOCUSING THE PROBLEM I n order to become aware of the effects that computers have o n society we must reveal the i m p l i c i t understanding of h u m a n language, thought, a n d w o r k that serves as b a c k g r o u n d for developments i n computer technology. I n this endeavour we are doubly concerned w i t h language. F irs t , we are s tudying a technology that operates i n the d o m a i n of language. The computer is a device for creating, m a n i p u l a t i n g , a n d t r a n s m i t t i n g symbol ic (hence l inguist ic) objects. Second, i n l o o k i n g at the impact of the computer , we f i n d ourselves t h r o w n back into questions of language - h o w practice shapes our language a n d language i n t u r n generates the space of possibi l i t ies for action. . . i n asking what computers can do, we are d r a w n into asking what people do w i t h t h e m , a n d i n the e n d into addressing the fundamenta l quest ion of what it means to be h u m a n . ( W i n o g r a d & Flores , 1 9 8 6 , p. 7 ) If our p r i m o r d i a l experience is inherent ly animal is t ic , i f our " immediate" awareness discloses a f ie ld of p h e n o m e n o n that are a l l potent ia l ly animate a n d expressive, h o w can we ever account for the loss o f such an animateness f r o m the w o r l d a r o u n d us? H o w can we account for our culture's experience of other animals as senseless automata, or of trees as purely passive fodder for l u m b e r m i l l s ? If perception, i n its depth, is w h o l l y part ic ipatory, h o w c o u l d we ever have b r o k e n out of our depths into the inert a n d determinate w o r l d we n o w c o m m o n l y perceive? W e m a y suspect at first, that the apparent loss of part ic ipat ion has something to do w i t h our language. F o r language, a l though it is rooted i n perception, nevertheless has a p r o f o u n d capacity to t u r n back u p o n , a n d influence, our sensorial experience. W h i l e the reciprocity of percept ion engenders the more explicit reciprocity of speech a n d language, percept ion remains vulnerable to the decisive influence of language... ( A b r a m , 1 9 9 6 : 9 0 - 9 1 ) 1.3a Concerns with language I bel ieve that , when we think about technology, we tend to think in terms of pract ices , artefacts, mater ia ls , as w e l l as c r i t ique associated w i th impl ica t ions that issue from the non-neutral i ty of technologica l change. When we think of cu l ture , we tend to switch our thinking to norms, representat ion, regulat ion, product ion , consumpt ion, representat ion, ident i ty , symbols, 12 language, beliefs , structures, and agency. When we think of nature, we tend to switch once again, this t ime to interconnectedness , in terdependence , organisms, habitat , environments , patterns, and reverence. Whi le the c i ta t ion from Winograd and Flores locates the work of in terpret ing technology under the rubric of language, 9 Abram locates the problem of modern estrangement from nature through changes in language. My dissertat ion finds va l id i ty in both of these c la ims . Between the words of Winograd and Flores, and Abram lies different ly a r t i cu la ted arguments around representations of technology and nature respect ively that share common concern wi th language. This commonal i ty in language becomes the focus of my inquiry on the problemat ic that I ca l l the problem of nature in technological culture. It finds its tendencies loca ted wi th in a d i a l ec t i ca l f lux at the interst ices of these apparent ly disparate arguments — tendencies to fracture and to coalesce discourse re la ted to nature, technology, and cu l tu re . I am also arguing that the bracket ing of nature from the discourse suggests that schisms tend to divide our wor ld discursively — posing questions, and making c la ims and heurist ic dis t inct ions along the nature-cul ture-technology d iv ide . Ye t , i t is also significant that (Winograd and Flores, and Abram notwithstanding), these c la ims in heurist ic dis t inct ions do not stop at the discursive, but are enac ted in prac t ice . For instance, typ ica l ly in technology research, i t is issues of equi ty , implementa t ion and assessment that are deal t w i t h . Cultural research arises out of socio-cul tura l issues and 13 deals wi th consumpt ion, language, ident i ty , representat ion, and symbols. Ecological research explores our relat ionships in the interconnectedness of the natural r ea lm, species, habitats, organisms and reproduct ion . Al though there is an impera t ive to remap the discourse (Jagtenberg & M c K i e , 1997; Soule & Lease, 1995; Whi te , 1998), i t is rare to find research that crosses epis temotogical divides that connect technology (e.g. machine ontology, networks, scient i f ic constructivism) wi th culture (e .g. beliefs , symbols, language, ident i ty , r e /p roduc t ion , representat ion, regulat ion), and environmental discourse (e.g. patterns, reverence, in terconnectedness) . The fracturing tendencies l i te ra l ly cut off theorists and demarca te them wi th in discursive borders. My work seeks to bridge these divides . 1.3b Rise of the technological dimension as third Nature From a his tor ical standpoint , we are exper ienc ing a phenomenon s imilar to my in terpre ta t ion of Rousseau's c r i t ique of c iv i l i za t ion as the separat ion of cul ture from nature (1984; 1992). Fur thermore, work by a range of theorists from Baudr i l la rd (1990); Heidegger (1977); Latour (1993); McLuhan (1965); and Postman (1992) suggests that we are exper iencing what might be t e rmed as a rise of a th i rd dimension of technology finding its ascendant in the dimensions of nature and cul ture (see Figure 3). In the figure, the hor izonta l axis represents bifurcat ion of cul ture from nature as represented in Rousseau, whi le 14 the vertical axis represents a second order fracture that was first understood by Heidegger (1977). Technology Nature Culture Figure 3. Rise of technological dimension I am reminded of Latour when he argues, "the ontology of mediators thus has a geometry... with a unique signature in the space deployed" (p. 86). 1 0 Latour's non-human objects as mediators, such as his example of the vacuum pump, now parallel their geometrical ontology in the discourse of technological culture. If the historical first-order shift of culture from nature, postulated as "second nature" has validity (Lukacs, 1971a, 1971b), 1 1 the concomitant rise of technology from culture suggests a second-order shift to "third nature". The validity of this postulate is borne out when inter-ballistic missiles, predator robots, servers and security sensors that have litt le in common as far as their purposes are concerned, share significant commonality as mute objects with machine ontology; they have been conferred agency and autonomous power to act upon our world through complex networks (Latour, 1993). 15 1.3c Initial theor iz ing of disclosure in the quot id ian While my research is concerned wi th these " t r i furca t ions" around the ascendancy of technology (as th i rd nature), I am also in teres ted in the counter ing impulse that interprets nature, cul ture and technology as who le . For example , nature-as-found is the mud from the r iverbed baked in to pot tery, shaped into a spoon and transformed into the cu l tu ra l ar tefact as seen in Figure 4. By the same token, it is also symmetr ica l ly t rue that the same artefact , when fabr ica ted or made into a utensi l , emerges w i t h the funct ional i ty of a too l — technology-as-found — wi th the ab i l i ty to shape and a l ter our exper iences , understandings, l ives, and dest inies . The p rob lem, I submit , goes beyond an op t i ca l i l lus ion: when we no longer see the spoon as nature, and when we fail to recognize the spoon as technology. y /* «~ IS Figure 4. Nature as cul ture as technology 16 Fundamental ly , i t is c r i t i c a l to see the problem in terms of social construct ion of categories; the power of the construct ive turn in cogni t ion in exposing the arbitrariness of the divisive move separat ing nature into natura l , cu l tu ra l , and technolog ica l . When fabr icat ion becomes re i f ied , when "made" appears as " found" , what was once immedia te becomes reif ied wi th the appearance of the cu l tu ra l or the technologica l as natural and given. This is the same problemat ic reversed, when we fai l to see an ordinary ce ramic spoon as technology. Whi le the first moment masks the natura l , the second masks its second order, the t o o l . This is the kind of closure that makes problemat ic the ordinary in lessons of the quot id ian (see axiom 2 on page 10). The flux be tween these d ia l ec t i ca l disclosures around socia l constructions suggests that the process of t ransformation may inherent ly open a space of / for possibil i ty for bringing back the remote in nature, to the immedia te . But this hidden possibil i ty might or might not disclose i tself . The process of re i f ica t ion , i t must be noted, hides the Earth , even as the spoon as ar tefact obscures technology. Thus it is p ivota l to come to terms wi th this obscuring. Whi l e in this par t icular instance our social ly s i tuated too l al lows us to share food, the negative transformative potent ia l of r e /p roduc t ion becomes c lear when one substitutes the mode of technology wi th gunpowder. Wi th in contemporary cu l ture , such obscuring is c r i t i c a l . We may not understand the fu l l force when to ld of an an imal that has been c loned , or when we assent to eat ing food that 17 appears natural but has been genet ica l ly modi f ied . It is when we see through these ex terna l phenomena that we begin the di f f icul t task of unmasking the potent ia l of t rea t ing a l l change as progress. 1.3d Broadening the critique of language More broadly, the problem extends beyond the discursive chal lenges and the mater ia l const i tu t ion of objects and their t ransformation from nature to artefact to t o o l . I argue that in a fundamental sense the transformations a l ter our way of being in the wor ld and wi th in nature — in how we know and how we act . I need to pause here in order to draw out an impor tant d i s t inc t ion . My concern is wi th this broader c r i t ique . Thus, whi le this inquiry does not d i rec t ly address typ ica l topics around equi ty in technologica l imp lemen ta t ion , consumption patterns in consumer cul ture , or how the despol ia t ion of nature endangers a l l l i fe on Earth , i t is implicitly deeply concerned wi th a l l of these topics . My inquiry a t tempts to understand the discursive nature of language, l ived interact ions, his tor ical separation of the discourses, and the loss of nature from the discourse. A n d , wh i l e the inquiry seeks to forward an act ivis t pedagogical impera t ive for recovering green moments wi th in the discourse, our pract ices , and l ived interact ions — it also conceives of i tself as a p iece of work that is never fully natural , cu l tu ra l , and technolog ica l . It argues for a language that can permit us to step back from what might be ca l l ed surface concerns wi th 18 mater ia l manifestations, concentra t ing instead, on in terpre ta t ion of phenomena of the everyday. Wi th in this broader phenomenal invest igat ion lies my deeper concern of explo i ta t ive concept ions of our relat ionships and actions wi th nature. The problem of loss of meaning and the fading of moral horizons is rooted in the loss of nature from the discourse. 1.3e Application of pedagogical critique In the previous sect ion I ment ion that , in the d i a l ec t i ca l flux be tween disclosure and reconstruct ion, there appears to be an inherent hidden possibil i ty to act — to bring the immedia te into focus. In this sec t ion, I wish to i l lust ra te the potent ia l for such enact ing. Take for instance, the s i tuat ion when environmental is ts appear where loggers are about to cut down the t ree . Here we have opposi t ion as resistance at the si te, which Greenpeace cal ls , "d i rec t a c t i on" , or what I c a l l the immediate. While i t has proven to be an effect ive strategy to be d i rec t ly at the site of resistance and give the site representat ion in the w o r l d , a longer- term strategy might revolve around asking ourselves: why is i t that we find ourselves struggling around a t ree in the first place? Or phenomenological ly speaking, what is strange h e r e - that there are people protect ing trees? Or is i t strange that we have people who are employed to cut down trees indiscr iminately? 19 If we begin by recognizing that the s i tuat ion is more complex , that there are mul t ip le stakeholders, some not present, and that all part ies have legi t imacy to be there , we can then begin to ask: by what leg i t imacy do we stand around the tree? This last question puts nature i tse l f as a s takeholder . We can demonstrate the connect ion be tween changes in the his tor ical representat ion of nature and its connect ion to social real i ty through educat ion v ia his tor ical social decons t ruc t ion . The strange phenomena we behold today are a l l rooted in history. This is the deconstructive move I propose. As suggested above, I ask what a l ternat ive representations are possible that can extend such a complementary move? Here is where we enact the topographic move, when we remap the discourse account ing for the absence of nature. Returning to the immediate, it is also impor tant to be at the site for yet another reason. As Abram reminds us, we need to constant ly immerse ourselves in nature, or re i f icat ion might set in as social construct ion that imi ta tes the given and the rea l , even as i t defi les our language and mocks our connectedness. It might be instruct ive to ask ourselves if the decis ive turn was made in history (Eisler, 1987; Merchant , 1980) and if disclosure was possible back then . Disclosure or concea lment today might or might not result in the legacy of the strange tomorrow. 20 1.3f The Problem of education and complicity12 For educa t ion , the significance of the problem of loss is broad and deep. When we grapple wi th questions of this fundamental nature, we are effect ively grappling wi th the ends and purposes of educa t ion . If schooling, as i t is current ly prac t iced , contr ibutes to the problem of the loss of nature discussed above, we are obl iged to take up the question of compl i c i t y . It is here the problem fits what Orr (1994) cal ls the problem of e d u c a t i o n . 1 3 Confl ic ts that threaten the modern wor ld , rooted wi th in de tached and f lawed concept ions of nature (Leclerc , 1986; Merchant , 1980) are reinforced (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990) by the inst i tut ions of moderni ty (Giddens, 1990), of which our schools are one of the key sites of social reproduct ion (Carnoy, 1974). Without t r iv ia l iz ing the problem, it might be helpful to re-pose the problem of compl i c i ty as one of pedagogical possibi l i ty . Eco-educators argue that the problem of loss lies wi th in f lawed representat ion of nature and thei r reproduct ion in school cur r icu la (Bowers, 1997; Jard ine , 1993; Orr , 1994; O'Sull ivan, 1999). This suggests the problem might be amenable to co r rec t ion . In what fol lows, I turn towards the subject ive, expanding upon these pedagogical possibil i t ies insofar as they relate to the issue of narrat ing the self. 21 1.3g Autonarrative, dialectics of pedagogical possibility Whi le c lear ly the problem of the loss of nature is exceedingly complex , wi th compet ing and compl imenta ry explanat ions, I posit that wi th in the space of hope and despair we might f ind pedagogical possibil i t ies for t ransformat ion. In what fol lows, I focus on the interre la t ions between hope and despair in terms of my own narrat ive. I begin wi th some aphor i s t i c 1 4 s tatements. I am convinced we have to simultaneously address both of these moments wi th in the space where Hope lingers as possibil i ty wi th in despair . In this respect, my work seeks not only to speak to the di f f icul t problems the modern wor ld faces, but also to somehow find a way to re-infuse i t wi th meaning. This sense of meaning, al though admi t ted ly e lusive, is nevertheless a t ta inable . As i t turns out, I am convinced that speaking to these problems is also in t imate ly re la ted to recovering that meaning. After Taylor (1989), I propose a program of the recovery of nature that roots the problems wi th in one source, which Taylor refers to as the "natural is t confusion"(p. 24) under the "great ep is temologica l c loud"(p . 5) of modern scient i f ic ep i s t emology . 1 5 Approaches that va l ida te the personal are impor tant here, especia l ly in terms of ex is ten t ia l quest ioning. Here i t is significant that my work has a measure of empi r i ca l va l id i ty wi th in my own subject ive quest ioning, where in , I 22 can relate "f i rs t -hand" to many of these questions as they are a variant of the ex is ten t ia l questions I have myself posed as a ch i ld and adul t . Of s ignif icance, wi th respect to concea lment , disclosure, and hope, are c r i t i c a l moments in life when meaning can become magnif ied. It was against a s imilar backdrop of searching and quest ioning, aggravated by personal tragedy that I locate my own awakening (Feng, 2001a). It was the quickening in the twi l ight of my father 's unt imely passing that provided the impetus for my d i s se r t a t ion . 1 6 My awakening was one which arises when "we face our dearest ' s deaths or are threa tened by hopeless illness or meet wi th great misfortunes..." (Morawski, 1994, p. 181). I f ind a cer ta in resonance here wi th in Tester ' s (1995) words, when he sees events as "combinat ion of c r i t i c a l opportuni ty wi th what amounts to an exis ten t ia l curse" (p. 128). I have fel t that potent ia l t ranslate into real difference when my father 's passing s t imula ted the reca l l of some of my earl iest pedagogical exper iences . The ceaseless ex is ten t ia l query of a ch i l d has t ranslated into this undertaking wi th my disser ta t ion. Thus, wi th in the subject ive is the profoundly personal . Given that I grew up in an age where I found myself searching for answers 1 7 and ter r i f ied by the prospect of my worst fears, I am led to wonder i f questions which mat te red greatly to me, might s imi lar ly concern our ch i ldren today. It is probable that the worr ies of today 's ch i ldren have l ike ly compounded exponent ia l ly . Whi l e in 23 my struggles wi th despair I had been concerned wi th the "bomb" and socia l injust ice, I cannot imagine what our ch i ldren must fee l today in the sense of an overa l l loss of meaning. I bel ieve ch i ldren face the kind of loss of meaning that I in terpret Taylor to mean: wi th in escalat ing v io lence in the grim but incomprehensible real i ty of death in classrooms, random acts of bruta l i ty in the streets, and perhaps, the impending demise of the planet in thei r own l i fe t imes. Since we can draw connect ions among what we bel ieve, how we act , and u l t imate ly , how, what , why and who we are, i t is perhaps here we need to begin. 1.3h Problematizing between theory and the lived At the intersect ion be tween l ived exper ience and theor iz ing lies r ich opportuni ty to examine the moment be tween re i f icat ion and immediacy , the made and found (Tester, 1995). Herein lies an opportuni ty to c r i t ique re i f ica t ion , remap discourse, and exper ience immediacy in nature. Such a project is given poignancy and relevance when i t is undertaken through narrat ive. Speci f ica l ly , I draw dist inct ions be tween narrat ive as theory (Cobley, 2001) and as narratology (Onega Jaen & Garc ia Landa, 1996); the former draws from Ar is to te l ian concept ions of narrat ive as unity of plot , purpose, telos, quest, v i r tue , and moral account (Aris tot le , 1968; Macln tyre , 24 1981; Taylor , 1989), against the la t ter which strives for t echn ica l in terpre ta t ion of narrat ive as analysis (Riessman, 1993). 1.3i Need for reflexivity within narrative Reflexivi ty as a turn towards one 's consciousness is core to narrat ive (Ellis & Bochner , 1996; Ellis & Flaherty, 1992; Tierney & Linco ln , 1997) and expresses i tself through narrat ive as a sel f -cr i t ique of praxis. It does this by quest ioning our various plots and emplotments in re la t ion to the stories we inher i t or co-author. Self-cr i t ique also a t tempts to understand one 's narrat ive wi th in an his tor ical ly-s i tuated e th ica l purpose. An imp l i c i t aspect of this e th ic is how we are tempora l ly responsible and accoun t / ab l e to our pract ices in the w o r l d . Core to the ethos of the t imes, we need to c r i t ique our compl i c i t y in our consumptive ways of being. In this respect we not only need to be aware of our roles wi th in privi lege and oppression, but also of the a t tendant social responsibi l i ty. Fur thermore, se l f -cr i t ique needs to ex tend out of one 's pr ivate sphere and into publ ic intui t ions we work and teach i n . C r i t i c a l educators point out that the question of compl i c i t y does not stop wi th the self, but must also include formal inst i tut ions of moderni ty , of wh ich , the school is one. Such a stance requires educators to rethink educat ion in order to be less compl i c i t in cont r ibut ing to the worsening global problems, whether in terms of warfare , social injust ice , eco log ica l des t ruct ion, economic dispari t ies , or hegemonic 25 patriarchy, or racism. The ecopedagogical work of David Jardine also comes to mind here, when he urges an "ek-s ta t is "— going beyond one's senses— in the way curriculum is conceptualized. The self-critique he argues for is one of an "ecological and spiritual matter, involving images of our place and the place of our children on this precious Earth" (Jardine, 1998, p. 73). As a discursive process, the self-critique is also about responding to the problem of the loss of nature and connecting its consequential material effects (Jagtenberg & McKie, 1997) to the malaise of modernity. I do this by resisting reif ication (Tester, 1995), fet ishization (Haug, 1986), and scientists reading of nature (Taylor, 1989, 1991), through remapping the field (Jagtenberg & McKie, 1997) while emphasizing the importance of immediacy in nature (Abram, 1996). A significant piece of my critique of reification that involves tracing the bracketing of nature from the discourse is a response to Jagtenberg and McKie's cal l . My response comes as a remapping of the discourses of nature, culture and technology. 1.3j Sampling the role of theorists and theory in general In what follows, I run through an instance whereby important work from disparate fields converges within my dissertation. From this, I narrow down both the general problem I have been sketching thus far and key theorists on which I base my work. 26 To approach the question of the loss of meaning and a t tendant problems around re i f ica t ion , fe t i shizat ion, and scient is t ic reading of cu l ture , I amalgamate the work of disparate theorists wr i t ing in fields representing nature, cu l ture , and technology respectful ly. These are: envi ronmenta l studies (e.g. Bookchin , 1996), cu l tu ra l studies (e.g. Baudr i l la rd , 1994), and science and technology studies (Feenberg, 1995). For instance: my work merges David Abram's (1996) wr i t ing on the l ived rec iproci ty of nature wi th Jagtenberg and M c K i e ' s (1997) c a l l to a t tend to both mater ia l and ideologica l sides of the eco logica l crisis; Kather ine Hayles' (1995) synthesis of the problem of cons t ruc t ion / rea l i sm wi th Bruno Latour's (1993) thesis of moderni ty as social construct ion wr i t large; Kar l Polanyi ' s (2001) research on the great t ransformation wi th Carolyn Merchant 's (1980) seminal work on the death of Nature; Charles Taylor's (1991) notion of au thent ic i ty and loss of horizons of meaning wi th Kei th Tester's (1995) labour on the flux be tween the " found" and the "made"; Steven Vogel's (1996) t reat ise connect ing Marxist c r i t i c a l theory, sociology of science and envi ronmenta l ethics wi th Winograd and Flores ' (1986) work connect ing the design of software to language, being, cu l ture , and technology. More speci f ica l ly , i t is through Abram (1996) that I forward my arguments around problemat ic shifts in cul ture in terms of technology, and how we understand interact ions between ecology, language, cu l ture , and cogni t ion . I draw from Latour's (1993) c r i t ique where he refutes the passing of moderni ty 27 and forward my refutation of the thesis of d isenchantment . It is through my in terpre ta t ion of Jagtenberg and Mckie's topographical work that I rea l ized the c r i t ique I was shaping required both mater ia l and ideologica l dimensions. Hayles ' (1995) formulat ion of nature as cont inuum is c r i t i c a l in synthesizing concept ions of nature and shedding light on the mater ia l i s t - ideal is t debate . Polanyi's (2001) work is important in underscoring the fa l lacy of faulty assumptions wi th in economic theory and its consequent ia l impl ica t ions on the poor and less developed nations of the w o r l d . Here Merchant 's (1980) sustained and systematic c r i t ique of the Scient i f ic Revolut ion also proves invaluable as an anthropological discourse underscoring the power of representat ion in t rac ing c y c l i c a l relat ionship be tween changing concept ions of nature, construct ion of the soc ia l , re i f ica t ion , and sedimenta t ion . As teacher-researcher , I bring in Taylor ' s (1991) f ramework and focus his c r i t ique on the need to answer the questions of technoscient i f ic , socia l , and economic nature that are underscored by the background questions and counter-quest ions I posed ear l ie r . I remain cognizant of the need for impar t ing hope to students for a bet ter w o r l d , and grappling wi th s tudents ' questions from an exis tent ia l s tandpoint . Tes ter ' s c r i t ique of re i f icat ion and its relat ionship to fe t ishizat ion and contempla t ion give me the courage to dea l wi th re i f icat ion and render i t cen t ra l in my research. Here, I propose to examine the questions that Tester and Taylor raise, through simultaneous acts 28 of deconstruct ion in unthinking a wor ld , remapping the discourse, and recovering immediacy in remember ing the Ear th . It is through Vogel's (1996) systematic c r i t ique of the problem of nature in c r i t i c a l theory that I rea l ized the c r i t i c a l impor tance of the flux be tween re i f icat ion and immediacy . One of the most important ways in which he helped was the formulat ion of my problem as "the problem of nature in technologica l c u l t u r e " . 1 8 Winograd and Flores ' (1986) work ( located wi th in technology, but connect ing work from biology, hermeneut ics and phenomenology) recognizes the need to understand language in a broader sense. This work was pivota l in helping me to recognize my work as one o f / i n / a b o u t language. Thei r refutation of the abi l i ty of software to grasp the complex i ty of language confirms Can twe l l ' s (1985) fears and coincides wi th my exper ience designing microprocessors. 1.4 PHENOMENOLOGY OF MOURNING IN EXISTENTIAL INQUIRY 1.4a Amorphous questions, ambiguities, and the problem of fit Research is normal ly a l inear process wi th the topic question def ined a priori through focusing on a burning problem that interests us and relates to our own lives and pract ices . Moreover , when researching envi ronmenta l issues, the problem of focus be tween the micro and the macro — the parts as they 29 relate to the whole — is necessarily an important concern . My first concern here is wi th reduct ionism, where we risk losing sight of the big pic ture when focusing on the par t icular . But the problem also has its inverse — when by shifting to the larger p ic ture , the detai ls are also obscured. What if the very act of reducing the complex i ty or broadening the lens runs the chance of dis tort ing our research? I bel ieve that we simultaneously need both these optics to address our inquiry by retaining a double-lens on the complex i ty of the wor ld i tself, even as we focus on the mic ro . Consistent wi th complex i ty theory, the topic question is dynamic rather than s tat ic , and l ike ly to be recursive rather than l inear (Capra, 1996; Prigogine & Stengers, 1997). In this a l ternate schema of research, through osc i l la t ion be tween parts and whole , I acknowledge my embeddedness and interconnectedness , even as I problemat ize my inquiry as being part o f / w i t h i n l iving systems. I can fo l low the breach through a qual i ta t ive endeavour by taking the argument to its logical end whi le embrac ing the connectedness be tween my life and my topic of i n q u i r y . 1 9 Here my ideas, rather than being la id out in advance, evolved as I wro te , read, and engaged wi th the l iving w o r l d . They arose out of my emergent exper ience of l iv ing , being, and en / ac t i ng wi th in a context where the wor ld and researcher are in t imate ly co - impl ica ted and in te rconnec ted (Varela , Thompson, & Rosch, 1991). 30 When we speak of the empi r i ca l , what can be more empi r i ca l than our own life experiences? In other words, the qual i ta t ive endeavour I speak of above is not l imi t ed to logic becoming an imated through transformative experiences in life i tself, when research and life meet contemporaneously wi th in the larger l iving context . For me, the empi r i ca l is also a profoundly discursive project imp l i c i t of my narrat ive — when Life seeks to understand i tself as story, and research unfolds out of the middle of l ife through ex is ten t ia l angst and grief, in the loss of a loved one. When our worlds become void of presence that cannot be replaced, when they become shorn of meaning, when one is plunged into the depths of despair, when nothing takes the pain away. When we are past all emotion, when we cannot cry. Not because our tears have run dry, but because back when we could cry, we still could feel. It is the moment when we become detached, numbed. When all is too vivid. Too real. Surreal. When our worlds crash. When my father passed way, in accordance w i th Chinese t rad i t ion , we mourned for the seven weeks wi thout respite in isolat ion wi th patches on our arms to remind us of our great loss and wi th only pain in our hearts as comfor t . It was a phenomenological ly heightened exper ience very di f f icul t to convey. I do not speak for the rest of my fami ly . For myself, I am not cer ta in I regained 31 the connect ion I severed wi th the w o r l d . I might argue that my research questions emerged from out of that in-between grieving space. But then that would be to acknowledge that i t might have only been possible to pin-point the origin of my inquiry post-hoc, when I cou ld not have rea l ized the cent ra l i ty of this shattering l i fe-event as the events unfolded. If so, it also compounds the previous problem of focus wi th the locat ion of the si te, in locat ing the or ig inal site of my inquiry at the site of grieving, rather than its post-hoc reconceptua l iza t ion . Questions l ike these hint at the kind of conundrum one might be faced wi th when one 's life collapses, in a research question born of ex is ten t ia l angst and the cont ingencies of l i fe , post-hoc. Ye t , how might we even say "post-hoc" when the pain lingers? In such moments, wi th in the rea l iza t ion that although we learn through pain, we might be in need of new language, since we cannot neatly put pain on a chronological con t inuum. That is, we rea l ize that we are at the l imits of language in describing emot iona l pa in . These typed let ters on the pr in ted page cannot possibly capture the depth of void I fe l t and cont inue to fee l . The same argument applies to our commonly unproblemat ic notion of ra t ionale . Here I d id not have a rat ionale per se, other than a vague need to understand the wor ld in order to teach i t a l te rna t ive ly (without enter ing into compl i c i ty wi th forces involved in the co l l ec t ive loss of meaning). The closest I 32 come to a ra t ionale is wi th the originary impulse . Ye t I cannot even c l a im my rat ionale began my work, as that impulse was only re t roact ive ly understood. In this respect, my dissertat ion forces a reconsiderat ion of a l l categories, whether in terms of pain , language, top ic , or ra t ionale . It emerges out of the void of ex is ten t ia l angst, and demonstrates not only i r regular i t ies in the wr i t ing process, but perhaps the kinds of quest ioning and ambigui ty when research emerges "from the midd le" , out of l i fe . 1.4b Originary impulse as ecological consciousness In the l i te ra ture , there are varying tes t imonials w i th vastly different accounts of how inf luent ia l environmental is ts k indled their eco logica l consciousness. I bel ieve i t was significant that some were able to reca l l the exact moment . For instance, Rachel Carson (1962/1994) whom some a t t r ibute as the founder of the envi ronmenta l movement , a t t r ibu ted her own awakening to the excep t iona l s i lence of spring. Wi th Aldo Leopold (1989), i t was in the moment of watch ing the fire go out of the eyes of a wo l f he had k i l l e d . For myself, i t was wi th in a spec ia l , car ing hospital wa rd . My ecologica l consciousness was abrupt ly re-awoken when confronted wi th the terr ifying exis ten t ia l question posed by my father when he asked me why he was dying. Appropr ia te ly , it was whi le reading Carolyn Merchant , Rachel Carson and Morris Berman next to my father's deathbed that I suddenly awoke to the rea l iza t ion 33 that my father, who was dying of cancer , had been poisoned by the same industr ia l corporate that released the toxins, which foul our air , water and earth. That was how my grieving transformed into eco log ica l consciousness, extending to the larger society, and the death of nature unt i l a green sensit ivi ty began to infuse my ent i re being. 1 Ac Existential pedagogical questions, emergent autopoietic inquiry In those nascent, poignant moments , wi th in moments of ex is ten t ia l angst, I was faced wi th a profoundly pedagogical ques t / ion that mir rored my father's seemingly i r ra t iona l quest ion. What does one do when one senses something is terribly amiss, yet one cannot name what is wrong, nor does one know what to do? Wi th that amorphous exis tent ia l quest ion, that was to la ter become my re t roact ive origin of inquiry, I began my search for the answer to my father's r iddle , real iz ing ful l w e l l I might not f ind an answer in a whole l i f e t ime . Thus, rather than beginning wi th a l inear framework, in contrast to convent ional research, my work began wi th a confounding pedagogical and research problem l ikened to the hermeneut ic c i rc le (Bontekoe, 1996). I had no idea where to start (except wi th the vague feel ing that I needed to respond to the larger problemat ic wi th in which my father's i l lness was located) , or how to begin, wi th no books avai lable to guide me in my unique quandary. Nor d id I know at the t ime , that the poignant moment was to be the point of origin of 34 my inquiry . My inquiry emerged out of l ived exper ience , where the nature of the ex is ten t ia l angst in endless quest ioning of seemingly i r ra t iona l questions my father posed co inc ided wi th tenets of autopoie t ic theory (Maturana & V a r e l a , 1980, 1992; Vare l a et a l . , 1991) and ethnographic emergence (Marcus, 1995) . 2 1 Merging l ife w i th work (Aoki , 1996), topic wi th method (Oberg, 2002), through a doubled turn wi th in an autopoie t ic reading, my inquiry disclosed as a four-way isomorphism between theory, l i fe , top ic , and method . 1.5 CONCEPTUALIZING AND MODELLING THE PROBLEM 1.5a Thesis and epistemological connections In what fol lows, I approach the above problem through d iagrammat ic model l ing . In order to ground this model in terms of its ep is temologica l connect ions w i th my argument, however , I pause to briefly re-state my guiding hypothesis along Taylor ian l ines. That is to say, my dissertat ion is guided by my cent ra l thesis which paral le ls Taylors ' argument that loss of meaning and horizons (Taylor, 1989, 1991), and crisis of the modern wor ld (Heidegger, 1977; Husserl , 1970; Nietzsche, 1974) are in te r twined . Both are arguably the end-results of f lawed and de tached concept ions of nature. Husserl (1970) laments that re i f icat ion is constant ly being sed imented . Marx and Engels (1967), and later Lukacs (1971a) posit that nature is conver ted mater ia l ly , and then social ly constructed as natural resource, and into commodi t i es . Marcuse (1964/1991) envisions a v i r tua l ly inescapable one-35 dimensional capitalistic discourse. If these postulates are true then how might we produce an effective critique of this force? What critique wil l be required to escape from the cycle of reification? How do we begin to conceptualize such a critique within what I call "the problem of nature in technological culture"? What are the key concepts and processes we might need to theorize as constituent postulates in the unfolding model of the argument? As an advance organizer, although the Abramic discourse appears to be the answer, it is not adequate to be open in immediacy. In order to escape from the reification of Life, we are also required to critique discursive forces that reify and sediment through cultural construction, to reverse the loss of nature and to reinsert nature back into the discourse. 1.5b Theorizing the abstract and immediate It is crit ical to model the problem, theorizing the flux in terms of both its ideological and material counterparts, and to pay attention to both abstract construction and lived effects (Jagtenberg & McKie, 1997). Such a model would need to show how it affects the kind of symmetrical critique called for in demonstrating the process through which it is possible to deconstruct abstract discourse, without re-reifying our lived experience into abstract categories alongside a parallel concrete component. Here I found "the circuit of culture" model by du Gay et a l . (1997)2 2 instructive and pivotal to my theorizing in critiquing their work and re-36 diagramming thei r cu l tu ra l process. Format ively in my ear l ie r models , I grafted onto their "c i rcu i t of cu l t u r e " model a sixth movement of "waste", symbolic of the absence of green c r i t ique . My "waste" rounded out thei r c i rcu i t of cu l tu ra l processes of regulation, identity, representation, production, and consumption. In my v iew this addi t ion augmented cu l tu ra l discourses i ron ica l ly ce lebra t ing consumption wi th emancipatory al ternat ives to de terminis t ic Marxism (Mackay, 1997; Storey, 1999). This new six-process c i rcu i t of cu l ture model has made transitory appearance wi th in the l i te ra ture (Feng, 2001 d; Feng a Chan , 2001; Pe t r ina , 2000) . However , I now bel ieve the problem extends beyond the inclusion of waste in the c i rcu i t of cu l tu re . There were more serious problems in lack of: (1) representat ion of nature as the ontologica l ly prior state before cu l ture ; (2) processes of social const ruct ion; and (3) c r i t ique of this c i rcu la t ion as progress. Co l l ec t ive ly , these omissions c a l l for radical re -problemat iza t ion that locates nature as pr imary over cu l ture , where cu l tu ra l processes are embedded within nature (Polanyi , 2001) . It was through reading Tester (1995) that I rea l ized any revisions would need to reflect the process through which nature is conver ted into cul ture , when the made becomes exper ienced as the found. That was how I der ived my "circuit of nature" model around the processes of immediacy, representation, reification and waste in Figure 5. This c i rcu i t of nature model highlights the problem of social construct ion and its mate r ia l resultant as waste , whi le c r i t iqu ing change as progress. Figure 5. introduces these four processes of immediacy, representation, reification and waste, insofar as they 37 relate to in tervent ion movements of deconstruction, topography, and immediacy shown in Figure 6. Figure 5. Ci rcui t of nature model Figure 5. i l lustrates the c y c l i c a l cu l tu ra l processes through which nature is constant ly being social ly constructed and consumed as resource, and in the process reif ied into objec t . Schemat ica l ly , in this figure, the t e rm immediacy refers to the site ontologically prior to social cons t ruct ion , whi le reification depicts the epistemologically post-constructed si te, and waste the ontologically post-constructed si te, w i th the last two terms corresponding to the ideologica l and mater ia l counterparts to the idea of progress. 38 In Figure 5., this expose of reification incubates a deconstructive moment that exposes the myth of progress as linear and cumulative. It replaces the problematic mythic view with an alternate one that reveals progress as spiralling and parasitic. In this view, progress is disclosed as cyclical through cultural processes represented in the flux from immediacy, representation, and reification to waste — in the process exponentially devouring the immediate while producing artefacts and tools. In actuality, "progress" silently and effectively consumes the Earth. As Figure 5. and Figure 6. are integrated in understanding the logic and development of my argument, they must read together. Scaffolding the processes in Figure 5. where I locate my critique within all four quadrants of the circuit of nature model, I build the conceptual bridge to my intervention in Figure 6. around three interventionist movements. Although the deconstructive move in Figure 5. is compelling, it is not enough to reveal what is problematic in deconstructing the continuous effects of reification, or to disclose how progress actually operates. What is required is a second order deconstruction in the opposite direction 2 3 to correct and undo effects of reification. In this second-order deconstruction in Figure 6., I have diagrammatically depicted this process as a counter flux with the arrow labelled deconstructive. This runs in the reversed direction from reification to 39 immediacy to reverse the flow, deconstructing the symbolic representations through which nature is represented to affect the dominant discourse. Immediate Figure 6. Ecographical critique in three movements Yet, even this single deconstructive moment is inadequate because we are obliged to provide a reconstruction to that which we deconstruct. Taking Figures 5 and 6 together, to counter the cyclic flow of "progress" in Figure 5 from immediacy, through representation, reification and waste, I theorize the need for three movements: deconstructive and immediate towards immediacy, and topographic towards reification. 40 According to the original plan of the book, which Heidegger discloses in the eighth section, Sein und Zeit was to consist of an introduction and six divisions divided into two parts of three divisions each. Heidegger published merely one-third of the work: the introduction and the first two divisions of part 1. One might say part l is predominantly systematic or constructive, and that part 2 was meant to be historical and destructive.... according to Heidegger, Sein und Zeit had to consist of a constructive and destructive component. In the unpublished part 2 Heidegger wanted to deconstruct the history of ontology, taking the problem of temporality as a guiding principle. (Philipse, 1 9 9 8 , p. 1 6 ) In a l l three of these moments , the d i rec t ion of the arrows is significant . The logic for the d i rec t ion of these arrows is the fo l lowing . Even as deconstructive unthinks re i f icat ion of the wor ld (suggested wi th the reverse arrow), s imilar to the Heideggerian plan for Being and Time above, the topographic corrects the loss of nature through a counter c o n s t r u c t i v e 2 4 move by remapping discourse to breach the omissions (suggested by the forward arrow). The immediate (in the reversed arrow towards or iginal immediacy) is strategical ly s i tuated within the presumed site of product ion and consumption where "waste" originates to counter the problem of re-reifying wi th in deconst ruct ion . This " immed ia t e " movement reminds us of the need for exper ience of immediacy wi th the Ear th . Having d iagrammed the problem, in what follows I l ink this model to the structure of my dissertat ion around which i t is correspondingly organized. 41 1.6 STRUCTURE OF DISSERTATION I have s tructured my dissertat ion around Figure 6. and the three intervent ionis t movements: o Deconstructive - Unthinking an arbitrary social ly const ructed wor ld o Topographic - Remapping and bringing nature back to the discourse o Immediate - Exper iencing immediacy in nature. Note how the first two are conceptual wh i le the th i rd is experiential. This w i l l in turn ex tend into an organizing heurist ic for the chapters . I wro te my dissertat ion in six chapters designed around these intervent ionis t movements and conc luded wi th a CODA. CHAPTER TWO and CHAPTER THREE make up the conceptual movement , whi le CHAPTER FIVE and CHAPTER SIX comprise the concrete exper ien t i a l movements . CHAPTER FOUR serves as a t rans i t ion. Wi th overlaps, the conceptua l movement general ly focuses hermeneutically on the discursive in in terpre t ive readings of nature. The concre te -exper ien t ia l - immedia te movement focuses on the phenomenological in l ived exper iences such as wi th in hospice, street , remote is land, and the funeral home. 42 Beginning wi th the deconstructive-historical, in CHAPTER T W O , The Deconstructive Movement, I take up the deconstruct ive movement and t race the genesis of how nature came to be represented in its current f lawed form. Here, I locate my work wi th in a discussion around why the issue of representat ion is c ruc ia l and the impera t ive for us to pay a t tent ion to what appears at first to be a cont radic t ion in terms — the socia l construct ion of nature (Evernden, 1992). The topographic movement fol lows in CHAPTER THREE. In The Topographic Movement, I examine the problem of the loss of nature through three sub-moments: in everyday mater ia l loss of nature around Orr ' s problem of educat ion and complic i ty(1994); the discursive loss of nature through exegesis (Wilson, 1990); and an instance in Lukacs of how nature was lost from the discourse (Lukacs, 1971a; Voge l , 1996). The remapping of nature works in d i a l ec t i ca l relat ionship wi th the recovery of nature, where one leads to the other , and v ice versa. After point ing out gaps in the l i te ra ture in Chapter Three , I draw from these to synthesize my findings on mul t ip le , re la ted reasons through which nature has become bracketed from the discourse through labe l l ing , debates, bifurcations, and spokespersons. Fol lowing this, in CHAPTER FOUR, I t ransi t ion from conceptua l to concre te wi th the deconstructive-present, w i th quot id ian lessons in immediacy turning to address the problem of design in re i f icat ion of representat ion. I address the supreme danger of re i f icat ion I have only a l luded to thus far as 43 contradictions. My deconstruction shifts here from hermeneutic-historic to the phenomenological, adopting a Heideggerian turn. I study various exemplars of deconstructive immediacy from the literature (Arendt, 1958; Heidegger, 1977; Tester, 1995), and culminate with my own immediacy in deconstruction where the broken spoon resurfaces to tel l stories as found objects. Having culminated with immediacy in a found object, in CHAPTER FIVE, I turn towards immediacy in the concrete and experiential. Here the narrative strand that weaves throughout my work resurfaces as a case study from my lived-felt-experience, where I detail the phenomenological immediacy of my existential angst in the Palliative Care Unit of Vancouver General Hospital when my father passed away. Here is where I also share how the unseen becomes the seen, how the seen becomes the unseen, and how the quotidian becomes the extraordinary; when trauma opens to the experience of fracturing and disclosure. I explore the autopoiesis exemplified in my work when narrative intertwines with theorizing in how life and work merge in my research. I continue with another case study of lived immediacy, with the themes of the possibility of the quotidian in the everyday. In this case, I describe the experience of being overwhelmed by images of the homeless as I strolled down a street in Toronto. These images suddenly appeared as if they came right out of a Dickens novel. I felt like an improbable Baudelairean (1972) flaneur seized with Heideggerian angst. 44 In CHAPTER SIX, I open wi th another study of t ransformative immediacy in nature in describing the healing exper ience I fel t wi th in " w i l d na ture , " whi le I was on a wr i t ing retreat wi th my col leagues. Here, I describe the feel ing that gradually enveloped me as I was awoken out of what began as a self- imposed wi thdrawal when I cou ld nei ther wr i te nor conceive of tomorrow after the mass tragedy of September two years past. In sharing my own fel t - t ransformative exper ience , and emphasizing the impor tance for immediacy in nature, I argue how, contrary to what I read, nature remains enchanted , almost undef i led in loca l i t ies . I take up the question of whether nature can speak. From there I shift to quot id ian lessons in immediacy w i th the Infinite when my mother and I visit my father. Again , I dwe l l on the phenomenological as my narrat ive returns this t ime to an ear l ie r t ime when Father was s t i l l a l ive and when I first exper ienced snowfal l and the presence of a green sun. Father ' s Dao Li returns to remind me of its s ignif icance. Again , I d w e l l on care — this t ime on the depar ted , in lessons of the heart that abound wi th in the co l l ec t ive memory of our lost loved ones. Here even the f lowers began to speak. Even fake flowers profess truths, when the fake imi ta tes the sign of the real wi th more lessons of the quot id ian . As the ex is ten t ia l returns in fu l l fury, we are reminded of the in terconnect ions among hermeneut ics , cur r icu lum and ecology (Jardine, 1998). I close my work wi th CODA where I address the di f f icul ty of l ived in te rpre ta t ion . As I turn to examine the cent ra l i ty of story again, my work 45 shifts once more to the tempora l and spir i tual flux be tween exis ten t ia l and the Infinite. I return as I began, wi th the impera t ive to rec la im the exis ten t ia l in our pedagogy and praxis. I summarize traces where nature was marginal ized from the discourse, advocat ing a hermeneut ica l phenomenology reading of the discourse that I found was obligatory to unravel the webs of meaning around discursive bifurcations. I also address the autopoie t ic turn wi th in my work in how my method emerged from the inquiry itself, ref lec t ing the autopoie t ic nature of my work in which I theor ize an isomorphism between l i fe , theory, method and top ic . 1.7 DELIMITATIONS The generalist has a special office, that of bringing together widely separated fields, presently fenced by the specialists, into a larger common area, visible only from the air. Only by forfeiting the detail can the over-all pattern be seen... (Mumford, 1 9 6 7 , p. 1 6 ) What is sought is pattern, not detail, similarities rather than disjunctions. And speculation, anathema to the careful scholar, is the adhesive that binds the pieces together. (Evernden, 1 9 9 3 , p. ix). I intended to trace connections between the retailing of one kind of fresh tropical fruit... sold by... British supermarket chains... and the people... growing it on two Jamaican farms.... think through, connections between overdeveloped and underdeveloped worlds, between rich and poor, between production and consumption, and between the everyday lives of people working throughout a commodity system... [where] a research project might be ... not set out beforehand, but emerge through the process of following "emergent objects of study" and seeing what networks can be traced out in the process. These objects... could be people, metaphors, conflicts and/or things... I had set out to follow a fruit thing and then found out... locales connected through this process extended beyond the "thing system" I had intended to trace... the worlds ... that blurred into each other... all had a bearing on what I was able to study... Looking back 46 on... my "emergent object of study" — the only thing that connected the multiple locales of my research— was me... (Cook, 2001, p. ioo-i04) 25 Together the above quotes help to guide my work and remind me of the limited scope of my work. After Evernden, I too am a generalist. The philosophical thrust of my arguments are anchored within my father's daily reminder to live a principled life of Dao Li, and my tutelage in the philosophical, literary and debating tradition of the Jesuits. I need to clarify at the outset that I find the task fallen to me most daunting, and my claims are qualified and limited. My work is selective rather than comprehensive26 and seeks to gather the pieces without dwelling on details, and to put together a compendium of sorts. Many of the works I cite are exemplars. What I can claim is more modest. Like Ian Cook (2001), I apologize for seeming to be all over the place, finding myself in an "expanded field" (p. 102) with an emergent piece of work that is perhaps more accidental than designed. When my work unfolded to disclose my narrative as its axis, I followed threads of existential angst. From the first, I had set my heart to the task of exegesis, whereby I read for meaning over merely assimilating fact. I can claim I have attempted to stay true to the discourse in diligently pursuing lost threads that were disclosed to me. In my attempt to capture the thrust of key arguments, my strategy has been to cite lengthier citations rather than fragments in the 47 hopes they can speak for themselves. Whenever possible, I have read key texts in their ent i re ty , often t racing my way to their sources. Mine is a project t inged wi th a sense of urgency to document the ethos we are i n , for ourselves, and perhaps for posteri ty, because we are caught wi th in a massive social exper iment wi th no equivalent . My c la ims are hopefully perceived as modest wri t ings cu l l ed from a heart that pains of a wor ld lost in objec t . It appears our pr iori t ies have turned away from those meaningful to us and from l i fe . The case studies that I share here, precisely because they are ordinary, whether wi th artefacts , or venues l ike hospices, streets, w i l d nature, or funeral homes, offer hope in their hidden quot id ian immediacy . 48 C H A P T E R T W O : T H E D E C O N S T R U C T I V E M O V E M E N T In this chapter I take up the difficult quest/ion of the deconstructive-historical in an attempt to bring nature back to the discourse. I approach this quest/ion through establishing the links between virtues, praxis, and narrative, as implicit of my story and my inquiry — as embedded through the works of Latour (1993), Merchant (1980), Leclerc (1986), and Marx and Engels (Engels, Dutt, & Haldane, 1976; Marx & Engels, 1967). Beginning from my assumption that life is a quest in search of a narrative unity, I ground the storied nature of my work with the age-old question — "what does it mean to lead the good l ife?" Here, the narrative unity of life connects virtue, practice, and narrative (Maclntyre, 1981). 2 7 From there I begin my narrative weave in how nature, culture, and technology appeared in undifferentiated form to me as a child. I narrate how the works that I cite above relate to my existential angst around the passing of my father, and how these initial readings were eventually to seed the development of my dissertation. 49 2.1 NARRATIVE UNITY OF LIFE Accord ing to Alasdair Maclntyre (1981), i t is not possible to speak of vir tues wi thout also speaking of pract ice and narrat ive as a three-fold unity of l i fe . Thus I cannot speak of needing to understand wi thout speaking about why that understanding is important to my storied l i fe , or prac t ic ing that understanding wi th in my exis tence . Cr i t i ca l ly , in this v iew, narrat ive can never be inc iden ta l to my wr i t ing , as my life is guided by the same ethics that dr ive my narrat ive being. Narrat ive weaves as a "green" thread in making whole my dissertat ion by always grounding my knowledge c la ims wi th in ethics and being. Narrat ive also points towards the poetics of being, to colour our lives and to give them meaning. For here, against hard facts, the narrat ive funct ion is about meaning, l i fe , and act ion — profoundly ex is ten t ia l in the quest for the good. That quest for the good is what Father ' s Dao Li is about and which inspires my own quest to understand his ex is ten t ia l questions and thei r meaning. Narrat ive as such is not just about storying but also about sharing, in terpre t ing , understanding, remember ing, hoping, teaching, and heal ing. It is wi th this mul t ip l i c i ty of senses, wi th in this t r ip le unity of vir tues, prac t ice , and narrat ive that one makes sense of what fol lows. 50 2.1a Memor ies of a chi ld At the end of each playful day, I la id my head on my p i l low. My weary eyel ids were heavy wi th thoughts that mingled in the twi l ight between wakefulness and dreams. I re f lec ted on the strange way in which this gentee l man taught us about the meaning of love. From those very beginning days, I learned by example how to love, and how love had a sacr i f i c ia l qual i ty. I remember grasping to understand what cause would steal Father away f rom his warm bed and the warmth of our company to brave the restless dank night air. I remember Father te l l ing us that his absence during the night ensured that we were going to be a l l right — fed , warm, and safe, w i th a roof over our heads. Whi le I d id not understand why, I think my aversion to economics and a l i fe of the mater ia l began there and then. I reca l l being puzz led at why other fathers did not have to get up in the middle of the night, and why the other fami l ies always had more. Although I could not understand the nature of Father ' s urgency, I sensed that was Father ' s excuse, to make him fee l bet ter because he real ly longed to ret i re when we ret i red. He le f t his warm bed wi th only half his w i l l . I also reca l l as w e l l , just beyond the steel frames of our windows, the sounds of the restless t rop ica l night air, the cacophony of a mi l l ion birds, amphibians, insects, the incessant barking of neighbourhood dogs baying at the 51 moon and the human commotion around them. Against the colourless walls, I recall seeing the shadow play emanating from the lights of the kerosene lamps that fi ltered in through our half-opened window. I would often hear the bells of hawkers and their yells as they pedalled by on their nocturnal bicycles specially outfitted with add-on technical contraptions to ply their wares. I heard sounds from potential buyers, curious onlookers, and indistinct parties whose shrill sounds pierced the st i l l , warm, tropical night air. I recall how these sounds of the night were constantly changing. Other times the wind howled outside my window, disturbing all nocturnal activity and replacing all with a furor that made the trees kneel at their mighty trunks. Although I could not see the downpour, the telltale force of the pitter-patter of the tropical monsoon upon our flimsy roof suggested to me that the torrential downpour more resembled long watery needles than tiny beaded droplets of moisture. There was however, always one constant in the night air — the absence and presence of our father. Absence in presence, because father would nightly steal away from our warm bed just as we were falling asleep. Yet he was always nearby, coming instantly to our rescue whenever we beckoned. I always wondered how he could be there so fast when, mere moments ago, he had seemed so far away. Through organic activity or tropical climatic changes outside, I always counted on hearing his characteristic clicking. Nightly, underlying the cacophony outside in the streets, I could detect the faint 52 mechanica l c l i ck ing of keys from Father ' s typewr i te r as he typed through the night in accompaniment to muted strains of Beethoven or Mozar t . It was this mechanica l sound of love that would eventual ly lu l l me to sleep above the dissonance of incessant ac t iv i ty or din and rage of the e lements . As we slept, and as Father typed , we were qui te unaware of the nature of the urgency, of how we struggled in poverty, and how Father ' s nightly sacrif ice helped to put food on our tables, c lothes on our backs, and provided shel ter from the storms that raged outs ide. One fateful night however, our s lumber was dis turbed by sounds of the howling t rop ica l winds that had somehow int ruded into our home and the wetness that soaked our warm sanctuary. We were t e r r i f i ed . A l l around us, we saw the leve l of the water rapidly rising wi thout measure. Drenched and c o l d , I remember Father ca lming our fears as he gently lowered first my l i t t l e brother and then me, fo l lowed by Mother , onto the tables that were in turn p i led on top of bigger furni ture. As the rushing waters threatened to engulf our l i t t l e family , I d is t inc t ly remember watching Father bend solid bars that framed the window, through which he gently lowered us outside beyond the spent frames to the safety of helping compassionate hands. Thanks to Father ' s strength that grew out of threat of impending per i l and humanity of our neighbours, we a l l survived the deluge. Our adventures d id not stop there . The fol lowing day, the character is t ic dank odour of a scholar 's l ibrary exposed to damaging effects of water greeted 53 our nostrils. Father struggled to salvage his precious books and his writings, separating each page patiently in a desperate attempt to dry them under the intense heat of the Asian sun. As I observed Father's intense dismay, I suddenly realized his writing and the way he spoke to us about books and the world, as well as his reading of this world, were deeply connected in a meaningful way to our place in, and relationship with, this mysterious world. I needed to begin here, at this site of family. It is the root story that connects my love and respect for my father's sacrifice, and his scholarship. It is also the story of my introduction to the world through sounds that were part of a symphony, where the chirping of nocturnal insects could not be separated from the hawker's bell and the mechanical typewriter. Perhaps that is why I have never been able to separate nature, culture and technology. From this story in which meaning first emerged for me, I turn next to share with you the intertwining between the narrative unity of my life and my reading of the literature through the portal of existential angst. 2.2 FROM OUT OF ANGST There was a strange stillness. The birds, for example - where had they gone? Many people spoke of them, puzzled and disturbed. The feeding stations in the backyards were deserted. The few birds seen anywhere were moribund; they trembled violently and could not fly. It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh. (Carson, 1 9 6 2 / 1 9 9 4 , p. 2 ) 54 I am not my experiences, and thus not really a part of the world around me. The logical end point of this world view is a feeling of total reification: everything is an object, alien, not-me; and I am ultimately an object too, an alienated "thing" in a world of other, equally meaningless things. This world is not of my own making; the cosmos cares nothing for me, and I do not really feel a sense of belonging to it. What I feel, in fact, is a sickness in the soul. (Berman, 1 9 8 1 , p. 1 7 ) Haven't we shed enough tears over the disenchantment of the world? Haven't we frightened ourselves enough ... thrust into a cold, soulless cosmos, wandering on an inert planet in a world devoid of meanings... (Latour, 1 9 9 3 , p. 1 1 5 ) Sometimes our words abandon us. Or they leave us v o i d . Unsure. Lost. We fee l numb. I need to begin here by locat ing these three works in the space of ex is ten t ia l angst that I exper ienced subsequent to the passing of my father. The commonal i ty wi th in the co ld breath of words from Carson's Silent Spring, Berman 's Reenchantment of the World, and Latour ' s We Have Never Been Modern, profoundly shaped my exegesis in the loss of the spir i tual a t tendant upon the shift from organism to mechanism. The anthropologist of science, Bruno Latour l ikely d id not mean for his work to be in terpre ted exis tent ia l ly . Given the exis ten t ia l import that I g leamed from the work of Latour, in its elegant capture of the epis temologica l struggle that foreshadows and shapes the modern wor ld , it is f i t t ing that I begin here: No one is truly modern who does not agree to keep God from interfering with Natural Law as well as the laws of the Republic. God becomes the crossed-out God of metaphysics, as different from the premodern God of the Christians as the Nature constructed in the laboratory is from the ancient phusis or the Society invented by sociologists from the old anthropological collective and its crowds of nonhumans... The moderns could now be both secular and pious at the same time... not by a supreme God but by an absent God... bracketed twice, once in metaphysics and again 55 in spirituality... no longer interfer[ing] in any way with the development of the moderns, but... effective and helpful with the spirit of humans alone. (Latour, 1 9 9 3 , p . 3 3 " 3 4 ) While deep in exis tent ia l angst, i t can be numbing to read Latour as he unravels the modern weave , naming the source of the complex sickness at root in feelings of insignif icance. At root, are we godless, soulless beings upon a random rock, whi r l ing in depths of co ld space indifferent to our exis tence and caring for no one? Reading Latour alongside Merchant and Berman made me real ize that , al though I had been deeply affected ecologica l ly , loss of the sacred was nevertheless cen t ra l to my c r i t ique . It is also wi th in these words we find the t e l l t a l e t races of my quest to recover nature. Here too, when Latour speaks about the God that is crossed out, after being tw ice bracketed , are the unformed seeds of what was la ter to become my c l a im of symmetr ica l marginal i ty . Nature too, is tw ice bracke ted , once by science, and once by cul ture through the economic . Both borrow her name as "natural sc ience" and "natural resource". I also remember there was something intr iguing wi th the cap i ta l i za t ion of the " N " in Natural Law and the " R " in Republ ic . I cou ld not understand what i t meant at the t ime . Something fa ta l in Latour ' s words a t t rac ted me. His words re la ted to the fatal is t ic questions that I remember my ai l ing Father had posed to me. I think it had something to do w i th how the symbolic v io lence of Latour ' s words threw me into an ex is ten t ia l predicament when referenced to Father ' s pl ight . I reca l l 56 when my father asked me why he was dying - he had also asked me a series of questions for which I d id not have any answers. Had he not been a good person? Had he not adhered to the social law of humans? Had he not obeyed the law of nature, conscious of his heal th , food intake, and regular exercises? And his other deep doubt: was his unt imely demise due to his inabi l i ty to bel ieve in divinity? Had he not struggled hard to be a bel iever , knocking at doors? Latour was significant in that he spoke to a l l of Father 's enigmat ic questions. Whi l e I had no answers, I sensed that mired wi th in the soft v io lence of Latour ' s text was a dialogue on a cosmic order beginning. I remember how the pa l l ia t ive nurses to ld us we a l l grieve di f ferent ly . Perhaps that is why my sense of sorrow was inexpl icably t inged wi th the sense of nervous absurdity in this in terna l dialogue as my father probed the cosmos in va in , in quiet anguish and resignation. Wi th in the seemingly i r ra t iona l questions posed by a resolutely modern being at the fateful hour of his passing was the height of the poetics of humil i ty of dying in a secular modern wor ld that thinks i tself t ranscendenta l . It was most te l l ing for me, that when i t came to the hour of t ruth - questions of d ivini ty re turned to haunt a dying modern man in an otherwise secular w o r l d . Although I d id not know it then , the rest of Latour ' s text also spoke to my exis tent ia l angst in confi rming the e lements that were to become core to my discourse, when Nature is renamed as ecology, Science as technology and Society as cu l tu re . It was also in Latour that I, who had been t ra ined in design 57 technology and science, f inal ly began to understand the concept of social ly construct ing the natural wor ld when I rea l ized that I had been taught to think through the scient i f ic method . Ye t , i t was somewhere in reading the next fragment which flows from the former, in how I came to understand social construct ion as phenomenon wr i t large, rather than mere construct ivism of the mind , that the depth of its fa ta l i ty struck me. Latour ' s words somehow made sense through thei r avowed absurdity. I began to understand the import of his words when I rea l ized wh i l e reading his text that I could never be sure whether Latour was a deeply religious being or its anti thesis: A threefold transcendence and threefold immanence in a crisscross schema that locks in all the possibilities: this is where I locate the power of the moderns. They have not made Nature; they make Society; they make Nature; they have not made Society; they have not made either, God has made everything; God has made nothing, they have made everything... by playing three times in a row on the same alternation between transcendence and immanence, the moderns mobilize Nature, objectify the social, and feel the spiritual presence of God, even while firmly maintaining that Nature escapes us, that Society is our own work, and that God no longer intervenes. Who could resist such a construction? Truly exceptional; events must have weakened this powerful mechanism for me to be able to describe it today with an ethnologist's detachment for a world that is in the process of disappearing... (Latour, 1 9 9 3 , p . 3 4 " 3 5 ) I remember s i t t ing beside my father 's bed in the pa l l ia t ive care unit , watching people dying almost dai ly from te rmina l il lnesses wi thout the presence of thei r loved ones by thei r s ide. I reca l l as I wondered that , aside from the wonderful ethos of care that permeated the ward , how could we , as a 58 society, a l low our loved ones to die in our midst, passively accept ing dic ta tes of "fate"? How had we , as a society, veered so far away from famil ies , those we care for, relat ions, pr ior i t ies and values in l ife to devalue them so in the coloniza t ion of the l i fewor ld (Habermas, 1984)? It led me to posit that surely this a t t i tud ina l change could not have happened overnight . There must have been safeguards that once pro tec ted social values and which must have slowly eroded away. Here again, Latour ' s words took on poignant meaning - in speaking to this question about social change. Having foreshadowed the background issues in general , I locate the foregoing wi th in Latour ' s thesis as I expound on one of the mul t ip le pathways in my exegesis on rec la iming nature. 2.3 ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE MODERN WORLD Once she has been sent into the filed, even the most rationalist ethnographer is capable of bringing together in... a single narrative that weaves together the way people regard the heavens and their ancestors, the way they build their houses and the way they grow yams or manioc or rice, the way they construct their government and their cosmology [as] simultaneously real, social and narrated... We too are afraid the sky is falling. We too associate the tiny gesture of releasing an aerosol spray with taboos pertaining to the heavens. We too take the laws, power and morality into account in order to understand what our sciences are telling us about the chemistry of the upper atmosphere. Yes, but we are not savages; no anthropologist studies us this way, and it is impossible to do with our own culture... what can be done elsewhere, with others. Why? Because we are modern. Our fabric is no longer seamless. Analytical continuity has become impossible. For traditional anthropologists, there is not — there cannot be anthropology of the modern world... [Yet] either it is impossible to do an anthropology of the modern world... or it is possible to do [so]... but then the ... definition of the modern world has to be altered. We pass from a limited problem — why do the networks remain elusive? 59 Why are science studies ignored? — to a broader and more classical problem: what does it mean to be modern? (Latour, 1 9 9 3 , p. 7 - 8 ) Wi th this c i t a t ion , we come to the crux of Latour ' s thesis in terpre ted through an anthropological lens, which for myself issues an impetus for an exegesis of the loss of nature from the discourse. This single passage is effect ive since i t sums up the other key e lements of Latour ' s anthropology of the modern wor ld that I have in t roduced thus far: 1) loss of the spi r i tual 2) epis temologica l struggle between the three forms of authori ty in moderni ty be tween d iv ine , natural and social authori ty and 3) hypothesis of moderni ty in construct ion as social thesis wr i t large, and personally, in "mak ing" me, through my Jesuit educat ion and socia l iza t ion in the format ion of conjoint epistemologies of theology, cu l ture , and sc ience. Accep t ing Latour ' s extraordinary thesis that posits moderni ty as social construct ion wr i t large, suggests no great ep is temologica l divides be tween cul tures in e i ther t ime or space, between the moderns and premoderns, the occ iden ta l and Other . Latour was l iberat ing in another sense. Whi le want ing to take up my exis ten t ia l query in the name of Father ' s Dao Li, I had been struck wi th a deep sense of a l iena t ion , as I am vi r tua l ly i l l i t e ra te in my own mother cu l ture , and I am t ra ined in thinking to ta l ly a l ien to those of my ancestors. Ye t inversely, from Latour ' s thesis that demanded an his tor ical vector , it is precisely the flux be tween this ambigui ty and my training under the Jesui t • 60 t rad i t ion that has prepared me for an exis tent ia l exegesis of the loss of nature from the discourse in Western history and philosophy. Put different ly , I rea l ized that , i f Latour ' s thesis is tenable , if moderni ty has never ar r ived , we might w e l l be wi th in the cusp of change and it might not be too late to reverse some of the damage. Ye t , if I was to undertake a general anthropology of the "modern" wor ld as per Latour ' s thesis, the question s t i l l remained on how far back I needed to go to t race how we have arr ived at our current quest ionable values around nature. Here, Merchant ' s and Berman 's poet ic text pointed a way towards a premodern wor ld of meaning, belonging and immers ion , approximate ly four centuries ago, prior to the bir th of modern science and the mechanis t ic v iew that had remade the wor ld and myself, in its reif ied image. 2.4 RECLAIMING NATURE FROM MACHINE By examining the transition from the organism to the machine as the dominant metaphor binding together... cosmos, society, and the self into a single cultural reality — a world view — I place less emphasis on the development of the internal content of science than on the social and intellectual factors involved in the transformation... [E]xternal factors do not cause intellectuals to invent a science or a metaphysics [for] a social context. Rather, an array of ideas ... available to a given age... unarticulated or... unconscious ... seem plausible to individuals or social groups [while] others do not. Some... spread; others temporarily die out. But the direction and accumulation of social changes begin to differentiate among the spectrum of possibilities... [S]ome ideas assume a... central role... while others move to the periphery. Out of this differential appeal... under particular social conditions, cultural transformations develop. Nor is the specific content of science determined by external factors. Instead social concerns serve consciously or unconsciously to justify a given 61 research program and to set problems for a developing science to pursue. Cultural norms and social ideologies, along with religious and philosophical assumptions, form a less visible but... important component of the conceptual framework... Through dialectical interaction science and culture develop as an organic whole, fragmenting and reintegrating out of ... social and intellectual tensions and tendencies. Between 1 5 0 0 and 1 7 0 0 , the Western world began to take on features that, in the dominant opinions of today, would make it modern and progressive. Now ecology and the women's movement have begun to challenge the values on which that opinion is based. By critically re-examining history from these perspectives, we may be able to discover values associated with the premodern world that may be worthy of transformation and reintegration into today and tomorrow's society. (Merchant, 1 9 8 0 , p. xxii) The abbrevia ted paragraph above from Carolyn Merchant ' s classic , The Death of Nature, offers an idea l point in point ing to cent ra l i ty of the c r i t i c a l shift in the metaphor of nature. It a l lows for readers ' h is tor ical apprec ia t ion of the background underpinning her ecofeminis t thesis s i tuated wi th in c r i t i c a l theory. Merchant ' s links between the interpretat ions of the book of nature wi th the consequent ia l exp lo i ta t ion of women and the environment s tem from the cu l tu ra l t ransformation associated wi th this fateful shift of the metaphor of nature of organism to machine . Fur thermore, Merchant ' s paragraph speaks to the his tor ical context in emphasizing the play of cont ingency. This his tor ical context of change comes into v iew in terms of cont ingency in relat ionship be tween ideas and the ethos of the age; the var iab i l i ty of these ideas, and their acceptance or re jec t ion; and connect ions be tween these ideas and social change. Here the re levance of Merchant ' s oeuvre lies in how it highlights social and his tor ical embeddedness 62 of spir i tual i ty and science, connect ions between science and cu l ture wi th in scient i f ic c la ims, and the problem of sc ient i sm. Merchant ' s c i ta t ion concerns i tself wi th the relat ionship be tween ideas and w o r l d , construct ion and deconst ruct ion, mind and mate r ia l , re i f icat ion and immediacy , and obl iquely , agency and de te rmin i sm. Merchant ' s rooted c r i t ique of the Scient i f ic Revolut ion not only locates my research wi th in a specif ic period (in speaking to deconstruct ing the past in terms of unearthing the history of change), i t also al lows for examining gaps be tween underlying assumptions and the mater ia l consequences that we exper ience today that issue from those assumptions. Symmetr ica l ly , d ia logica l ly and d ia l ec t i ca l ly , Merchant ' s c r i t ique speaks to my exploratory work. My cont r ibut ion replies to Merchant ' s concerns, a lbei t expressed wi th in a very different f raming. Yet another reason Merchant makes an idea l entry point for exege t ica l work lies in ep is temologica l plural ism that she offers in her subsequent wide r in terpre ta t ion of ecofeminism. As I discuss later , i t was through reading this par t icular piece of work that I began to understand the in terdisc ip l inary impera t ive that was to become so cen t ra l to the unfolding of my research. Not only do I ce lebra te and bel ieve in Merchant ' s thesis, but her work has also la id the ground for re- interpret ing her thesis wi th in my work. The problem of nature as machine dis t inct from humans, against nature as an organism — as the to ta l i ty of which we are a l l a part — becomes re- in terpre ted for myself as the problem of re i f ica t ion . 63 The taking of these two contr ibut ions together (Merchant, 1980, 1994) links my re- interpreta t ion of Merchant ' s problemat ic as the flux be tween rei f icat ion and immediacy , wi th its corol lary hermeneut ics in the loss of nature and a t tendant loss of meaning. Phenomenological ly , Merchant ' s The death of nature is f i t t ing when read alongside Latour ' s We have never been modern. Merchant ' s powerful in junct ion to rec la im nature and disparaged values spoke to my grief and exis ten t ia l angst of so many years ago, as I read her words beside my ai l ing fa ther ' s bedside (Feng, 2001a). 2.5 IMAGES OF NATURE The work of both Carolyn Merchant and Morris Berman merged wi th Rachel Carson (1962/1994) to speak to the per iod be tween the Scient i f ic Revolut ion and consequent ia l effects of today. Here, I found i t poignant to juxtapose Merchant ' s three his tor ical organic concept ions of nature that I describe prior to the turn of the Scient i f ic Revolut ion next to Berman 's lament at the loss of enchantment , and Carson's foreword ref lect ing her shock at the s i lence of spring: The primary view of nature was the idea that a designed hierarchical order existed in the cosmos and society corresponding to the organic integration of the parts of the body— a projection of the human being onto the cosmos. The term nature comprehended both the innate character and disposition of people and animals and the inherent creative power operating within material objects and phenomena. A second image was based on nature as an active unity of opposites in dialectical tension. A third was the Arcadian image of nature as benevolent, peaceful, and rustic, 64 deriving from Arcadia, the pastoral interior of the Greek Peloponnesus. Each of these interpretations had different social implications: the first image could be used as a justification for maintaining the existing social order, the second for changing society toward a new ideal, the third for escaping from the emerging problems of urban life. (Merchant, 1 9 8 0 , p. 6 ) The view of nature which predominated in the West down to the eve of the Scientific Revolution was that of an enchanted world. Rocks, trees, rivers, and clouds were all seen as wondrous, alive, and human beings felt at home in this environment. The cosmos... was a place of belonging. A member of this cosmos was not an alienated observer of it but a direct participant in its drama. His [sic] personal destiny was bound up with its destiny, and this relationship gave meaning to his [sic] life.... The story of the modern epoch... is one of progressive disenchantment. From the sixteenth century on, mind has been progressively expunged from the phenomenal world. ... the reference points for all scientific explanation are matter and motion... [in] the "mechanical philosophy." ...[a] dominant mode of thinking... best be described as disenchantment, nonparticipation, for it insists on a rigid distinction between observer and observed. Scientific consciousness is alienated consciousness: there is no ecstatic merger with nature, but rather total separation from it. Subject and object are always seen in opposition to each other... (Berman, 1 9 8 1 , p . 1 6 - 1 7 ) . On the farms the hens brooded, but no chicks hatched. The farmers complained that they were unable to raise any pigs — the litters were small and the young survived only a few days. The apple trees were coming to bloom but no bees droned among the blossoms, so there was no pollination and there would be no fruit... roadsides once attractive, were now lined with browned and withered vegetation as though swept by fire. These, too, were silent, deserted by all living things. Even the streams arte now lifeless. Anglers no longer visit them, for all the fish had died. In the gutters under the eves and between the shingles of the roof, a white granular powder still showed a few patches; some weeks before it had fallen like snow upon the roofs and the lawns, the fields and streams. No witchcraft, no enemy action has silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves... this town does not actually exist, but it might easily have counterparts in America or elsewhere in the world. I know of no community that has experienced all of the misfortunes I describe. Yet every one of these disasters have actually happened somewhere... many real communities have already suffered a substantial number of them. A grim spectre has crept upon us almost unnoticed, and this imagined tragedy may easily become a stark reality we all shall know. What has already silenced the 65 voices of spring in countless towns in America? This book is an attempt to explain. (Carson, 1 9 6 2 / 1 9 9 4 , p . 2 - 3 ) 2.6 CONTINGENCY, LATENT TENDENCIES, IMMANENT CRITIQUE Within Merchant's premodern organic images of nature as hierarchical, dialectical, and pastoral, I find seeds of what might be called an "immanent critique", where seeds of contingency and latent tendencies towards change were already present. As Merchant points out, within the first image of nature is found a semblance of order in human beings as integral parts of the whole, as hierarchical, which "symbolized the medieval-Renaissance cosmos whose pattern must not be violated" (p. 7). Within the second, is found a "dialectical image of nature, here symbolized by a woman representing the impetus to move society forward toward a new ideal" (p. 7). In the third image, nature was represented as female in the "pastoral poetry and art prevalent in the Renaissance." (p. 7) Berman's imagery also complements Merchant's depiction of the premodern conceptions of the place of humans within nature before the advent of the Scientific Revolution. Two of three images that Merchant presents are of nature as female, reflecting the hierarchical sense of immersion but nevertheless integral, ideal, and pastoral. Here the task that has befallen me is demarcated, located between transitional images of nature. Merchant argues that the problem lies within the mercurial ambiguity of these premodern images. She recognizes them to carry latent tendencies that are vulnerable to being subverted and 66 inver ted to turn into their anti thesis . This is a theme that re-emerges, as we w i l l f ind, wi th in Lukacs. For me, Merchant ' s three-fold in terpre ta t ion of nature links the second image of Hegel ' s , and Marx and Engel 's la ter d i a l ec t i c . And her th i rd image links to Rousseau's Romantic reac t ion . The cont ingency of the potent ia l of change and social moments associated wi th the ascendancy of science is thus prefigured in these premodern images of nature. These la tent dimensions also conta in the pat r iarchal and anthropocentr ic tendencies that underscore Merchant ' s main thesis: clues to the loss of nature from the discourse l ie wi th in how and why these versions of premodern nature transformed through cont ingency into ins t rumental versions of the th i rd found in modern sc ience, technology and cap i t a l i sm. But while the pastoral tradition symbolized nature as a benevolent female, it contained the implication that nature when ploughed and cultivated could be used as a commodity and manipulated as resource. Nature, tamed and subdued, could be transformed into a garden to provide both material and spiritual food to enhance the comfort and soothe the anxieties of men distraught by the demands of the urban world and the stresses of the marketplace. It depended on masculine perception of nature as mother and bride whose primary function was to comfort, nurture, and provide for the well-being of the male. In pastoral imagery, both nature and women are subordinate and essentially passive... The pastoral mode, although it viewed nature as benevolent, was a model created as an antidote to the pressures of urbanization and mechanization. It represented a fulfillment of human needs for nurture, but by conceiving of nature as passive, it nevertheless allowed for the possibility of its use and manipulation. Unlike the dialectical image of nature as the active unity of opposites in tension, the Arcadian image rendered nature passive and manageable. (Merchant, 1 9 8 0 , p. 9 ) 67 Here then , is a t rend that ripples throughout Merchant ' s text that traces in great de ta i l how cont ingencies turn into something other than expec ted . Yet these tendencies are balanced as w e l l , by immanent c la ims of another kind which hold that "not only d id the image of nature as nurturing mother conta in e th ica l impl ica t ions ... the organic framework itself, as a conceptua l system... car r ied wi th it an associated value sys tem" (p. 5). Merchant interplays contradic t ions and in ternal tensions at heart in changing concept ions of nature that attest to the propensity towards both deeper moral i ty on the one hand, and oppression and subversion on the other . As Merchant argues, i t is significant that the shift towards mechanism was simultaneous wi th the rise of cap i ta l i sm, a powerful conjunct ion that was responsible for eroding the once sacrosanct restraints against the explo i ta t ion of nature (Agricola , Hoover, & Hoover, 1950). 2.7 REMOVING AND REINSTATING RESTRAINTS The ment ion of restraints and their removal through history opens to the apparent ly cont radic tory suggestion that cont ingency might not en t i re ly be independent of agency. Removal of restraints might be thought of as precondit ions for cont ingent shifts in cu l tu ra l percept ions of nature. If so, then at least three impl ica t ions come to mind . 68 First, if restraint might prevent propensit ies towards problemat ic interpretat ions of nature, then there is an impera t ive for us to be phenomenologically open and awake in intentions. For example , restraints against the spol iat ion of nature are constant ly being removed in the name of progress and economic imperat ives . Second, i t suggests that the removal of restraints might not be as permanent as they might appear or as i r revers ible . If restraints have been his tor ical ly removed through faul ty reasoning, and we become aware of links between removal and cont ingency through acts of ref lexive self-knowing, i t might be possible to reactivate these restraints. Thi rd , given that these restraints were once in place , thei r react ivat ion might also be less problemat ic because a historical record exists, a t tes t ing to its operat ion in l imi t ing problemat ic tendencies . Let me i l lus t ra te what I mean wi th examples . Accord ing to Merchant ' s account , al though restraints had been in place to act as frameworks to guide human in terac t ion wi th nature, whether i t was against mining, cu t t ing trees, or pr ivat iz ing the commons, these restraints were gradually over turned wi th modern advents of capi ta l i sm and mechanism. For instance, al though we might be inc l ined to associate envi ronmenta l awareness wi th a form of react ion against modernism, we might be surprised to f ind there exis ted premodern envi ronmenta l sensibil i ty not unlike those of our t imes . Take for example the fo l lowing premodern injunctions in the two passages be low c i t ed by Merchant . What is extraordinary is not merely the 69 sensibi l i ty , but the origin of this form of sensibi l i ty , according to Merchant , in the first wi th in the wri t ings of Pl iny, and in the second, reminiscent of Seneca and Agr ippa , both found within the refutation of Agr ico la : The earth does not conceal a n d remove f r o m our eyes those things w h i c h are useful a n d necessary to m a n k i n d [sic], b u t o n the contrary, l ike a beneficent a n d k i n d l y mother she yields i n large abundance f r o m her bounty a n d br ings into the l ight of day the herbs, vegetables, grains, a n d fruits , a n d trees. The minerals , o n the other h a n d , she buries far beneath i n the depth of the g r o u n d , there they s h o u l d not be sought. ( P l i n y as c i ted b y A g r i c o l a i n M e r c h a n t , 1 9 8 0 , p. 3 4 ) But , besides this , the strongest argument of the detractor [of m i n i n g ] is that the fields are devastated by m i n i n g operations, for w h i c h reason ... no one s h o u l d d i g the earth for metals a n d so injure their very fertile f ields, their vineyards, a n d their olive groves. A l s o they argue that the woods a n d groves are cut d o w n , for there is need of w o o d for t imbers , machines, a n d the smel t ing of metals. A n d w h e n the woods a n d groves are fel led, t h e n are exterminated the beasts a n d b i r d s , m a n y of w h i c h f u r n i s h a pleasant a n d agreeable food for m a n . F u r t h e r , w h e n the ores are washed, the water w h i c h has been used poisons the brooks a n d streams, a n d either destroys the f ish or drives t h e m away. Therefore the inhabitants of these regions, o n account of the devastation of their fields, woods, groves, brooks , a n d rivers, f i n d great diff iculty i n p r o c u r i n g the necessaries of l ife, a n d b y reason of the destruct ion of the t i m b e r they are forced to greater expense i n erecting bui ld ings . T h u s i t is said, it is clear to a l l that there is greater detr iment f r o m m i n i n g t h a n the value of the metals w h i c h the m i n i n g produces. (Merchant , 1 9 8 0 , p. 3 6 ) Even as Merchant reminds us that the first imagery she ci tes from Pliny "reveals the normative force of the image of the ear th as nurturing mother" (p. 34), the wording in Pliny at once also seems to concea l another la tent tendency that bids its t ime . This is how the th i rd pastoral image of nature is t ransformed into one for exp lo i t a t ion , ant ic ipa t ing Adam Smith ' s (1776/1957) Utopian concept ions of a bountiful ear th providing for the Wealth of Nations, 70 wi th the fundamental assumption of nature as cap i t a l and endless resource. Thus, here we have thesis and antithesis as immanent d i a l ec t i ca l force wi th in thei r nascent forms that date back to ant iqui ty . The second c i ta t ion of Merchant also from Agr ico la , pays keen a t tent ion to injury to the ground, harvest of vines, fe l l ing of trees, ex t inc t ion of animals , poisoning of streams, and the loss of fish, a l l suggesting an economic impact , and an awareness of in terconnect iv i ty of the parts wi th in the whole . A t first glance, given the depth of this " e c o l o g i c a l " 2 8 awareness, it appears violators would have to be qui te persuasive to overturn what appears as an i r refutable ra t ional argument for restraint . A n d , persuasive they were . What appears as a ra t ional argument for restraint in the previous quote can be inver ted . Merchant ' s in terpre ta t ion of Agr ico la ' s counter- logic as shown in the quote be low presents as a form of a technologica l impera t ive , sanctioned by no less than Providence: To the argument that the woods were cut down and the price of timber therefore raised, Agricola responded that most mines occurred in unproductive, gloomy areas. Where the trees were removed from more productive sites, fertile fields could be created, the profits from which would reimburse the local inhabitants for their losses in timber supplies. Where the birds and animals had been destroyed by mining operations, the profits could be used to purchase "birds without number" and "edible beasts and fish elsewhere" and refurbish the area. The vices associated with the metals-anger, cruelty, discord, passion for power, avarice, and lust-should be attributed instead to human conduct: "It is not the metals which are to be blamed, but the evil passions of men which become inflamed and ignited; or it is due to the blind and impious desires of their minds." Agricola's arguments are a conscious attempt to 71 separate the o l d e r n o r m a t i v e c o n s t r a i n t s f r o m the image o f the meta ls themselves so t h a t n e w values can t h e n s u r r o u n d t h e m . ( M e r c h a n t , 1 9 8 0 , p. 3 8 ) . Since no authors have w r i t t e n of this art i n its entirety... I have w r i t t e n these twelve books De Re Metallica. O f these, the first b o o k contains the arguments w h i c h may be used against this art, a n d against metals a n d the mines , a n d what can be sa id i n their favour. The second b o o k describes the miner . . . discourse o n the f i n d i n g of veins. The t h i r d b o o k deals w i t h veins a n d stringers.. . The fourth b o o k explains the m e t h o d of d e l i m i t i n g veins... . The fifth b o o k describes the digging of ore a n d the surveyor's art. The s ixth b o o k describes the miners ' tools a n d machines. The seventh b o o k is o n the assaying of ore. The eighth b o o k lays d o w n the rules for the w o r k . . . . The n i n t h b o o k explains the methods of smel t ing ores. The tenth b o o k instructs ... i n the w o r k of separating si lver f r o m gold, a n d lead f r o m g o l d a n d silver. The eleventh b o o k shows the way of separating si lver f r o m copper. The twelfth b o o k gives us rules for manufactur ing salt, soda, a l u m , v i t r i o l , su lphur , b i t u m e n , a n d glass. (Agricola et a l . , 1 9 5 0 , p. xxix-xxx) ... those w h o speak i l l o f the metals a n d refuse to make use of t h e m , do not see that they accuse a n d c o n d e m n as w i c k e d the Creator Himse l f , w h e n they assert that H e [sic] fashioned some things v a i n l y a n d wi thout good cause, a n d thus they regard H i m [sic] as the A u t h o r of evils, w h i c h o p i n i o n is certainly not w o r t h y of p ious a n d sensible men. . . the earth does not conceal metals i n her depths because she does not w i s h that m e n s h o u l d dig t h e m out, b u t because provident a n d sagacious N a t u r e has appointed for each t h i n g its place. She generates t h e m i n the veins, stringers, a n d seams i n the rocks, as though i n special vessels a n d receptacles for such material . . . (Agricola et a l . , 1 9 5 0 , p. 1 2 ) I f we r e m o v e meta ls f r o m the service o f m a n , a l l m e t h o d s o f p r o t e c t i n g a n d s u s t a i n i n g h e a l t h a n d m o r e careful ly p r e s e r v i n g the course of l i fe are d o n e away w i t h . I f there were n o meta ls , m e n w o u l d pass a h o r r i b l e a n d w r e t c h e d existence i n the m i d s t o f w i l d beasts ; they w o u l d r e t u r n to the acorns a n d f r u i t s a n d b e r r i e s o f the forest. T h e y w o u l d feed u p o n the herbs a n d roots w h i c h they p l u c k e d u p w i t h t h e i r n a i l s . T h e y w o u l d d i g out caves i n w h i c h to l i e d o w n at n ight , a n d b y day they w o u l d rove i n the w o o d s a n d p l a i n s at r a n d o m l i k e beasts, a n d i n a s m u c h as t h i s c o n d i t i o n is u t t e r l y u n w o r t h y of h u m a n i t y , w i t h its s p l e n d i d a n d g l o r i o u s n a t u r a l e n d o w m e n t , w i l l anyone be so f o o l i s h or obst inate as not to a l l o w that meta ls are necessary for f o o d a n d c l o t h i n g a n d t h a t they t e n d to preserve l i fe? ... as the m i n e r s d i g a l m o s t exc lus ive ly i n m o u n t a i n s o therwise u n p r o d u c t i v e , a n d i n va l leys i n v e s t e d i n g l o o m , they do e i ther s l ight damage to the f ie lds o r n o n e at a l l . L a s t l y , w h e r e 72 woods and glades are cut down, they may be sown with grain after they have been cleared from the roots of shrubs and trees. These new fields soon produce rich crops, so that they repair the losses which the inhabitants suffer from increased cost of timber. Moreover, with the metals which are melted from the ore, birds without number, edible beasts and fish can be purchased elsewhere and brought to these mountainous regions. (Agr ico la et a l . , 1950, p . 14) It is instruct ive to place Agr i co l a ' s 2 9 text alongside Merchant ' s analysis of his work. Here, Agr ico la casts his arguments as the gift of Providence, where i t is humani ty ' s lot and mandate to t o i l , cu l t iva te and mine minerals , wi thout which there can be no further cu l t iva t ion , hunting, domest ica t ion and cooking. For wi thout tools that metals provide, humans would have to dig up the ear th wi th their nails, and wi thout homes made of wood and fashioned wi th tools, they would have to sleep in caves at night. Figure 7. Turning constraints into sanctions 73 Here is an example of how the inverse might l ie dormant and immanent wi th in history, when restraints were conver ted into sanctions through invert ing their arguments. A g r i c o l a ' s work was a p receden t . W i t h its soph i s t i ca t ed refuta t ions tha t t ake a priori the res t ra in ts in to cons ide ra t i on in Book One of an o v e r a l l p lan spanning t w e n t y years , A g r i c o l a ' s cha l l enge was f o r m i d a b l e . His in f luence as an au thor i ty on min ing and me ta l lu rgy for over 180 years can perhaps best be s u m m a r i z e d in the words of his t rans la tors , " u n t i l Sch lu t e r ' s work on me ta l lu rgy in 1738 i t had no e q u a l " (p. i i - i i i ) . M e r c h a n t ' s thesis is w e l l suppor ted - in this e x e m p l a r of the p o t e n t i a l of ove r tu rn ing of res t ra in ts , w i t h a t t endan t i m p l i c a t i o n s of my exegesis on the loss of na ture f rom the d i scourse . 2.7a Bacon and the domination of women and nature Given the significance of nature concep tua l ized as resource in cap i ta l i sm and nature 's other face in the rise of science, we need to make an obl igatory stop at the his tor ical junc ture of the Scient i f ic Revolut ion - the advent of the mechanica l philosophy and nascent industr ia l cap i t a l i sm. Bearing in mind the connect ion of shift in imagery and the associate problem of the loss of nature, here as w e l l , we begin to see more hints of loss. Given that Francis Bacon, the English philosopher, is one of the key figures at this c r i t i c a l in tersec t ion , i t is f i t t ing to begin w i th h im. Whereas it was Descartes (Descartes & V e i t c h , 1637/1989) in his Discourse on Method, who issued the injunct ion for human beings to be masters 74 [sic] and possessors of nature, it was Bacon (1660/1941) in Novum Organon (The New Method) who forged the language, metaphor, imagery, and program as a way to in terpret nature. Bacon drew paral lels be tween the subjugation of women and nature wi th the new injunct ion to enslave and tor ture nature as female . Note be low the language of Merchant in her cont inuing reference to tendencies that are in turn re la ted to images of nature as disorderly. Here i t becomes the lot of science to bring order to nature. Another p iece of the puzzle also falls into place when Merchant , in exposing Bacon 's class and gender bias, c lar i f ies the his tor ical interconnectedness be tween science and society by t rac ing the origins of the Baconian concept ion of science to its unl ikely source in medieva l magic. Not ice also, the obl ique reference to Agr ico la ' s counter-argument just ifying mining, as w e l l as Bacon 's founding role in the origins of the Royal society, both being coterminous wi th the bir th of the new ethics that w i l l henceforth underpin scient i f ic inquiry: Disorderly, active nature was soon forced to submit to the questions and experimental techniques of the new science. Francis Bacon ... transformed tendencies already extant in his own society into a total program advocating the control of nature for human benefit. Melding together a new philosophy based on natural magic as a technique for manipulating nature, the technologies of mining and metallurgy, the emerging concept of progress and a patriarchal structure of family and state, Bacon fashioned a new ethic sanctioning the exploitation of nature. [He] has been eulogized as the originator of the concept of the modern research institute... philosopher of industrial science, the inspiration behind the Royal Society ( 1 6 6 0 ) , and as the founder of the inductive method by which all people can verify for themselves the truths of science by the reading of nature's book. But from the perspective of nature, women, and the lower 75 orders of society emerges a less favorable image of B a c o n a n d a cr i t ique of his p r o g r a m as u l t imate ly benefit ing the middle-class male entrepreneur. Bacon, of course, was not responsible for subsequent use of his phi losophy. B u t because he was i n an extremely inf luent ia l social p o s i t i o n a n d i n t o u c h w i t h the i m p o r t a n t developments of h is t ime, his language, style, nuance, a n d metaphor become a m i r r o r reflecting his class perspective. Sensitive to the same transformations that h a d already begun to reduce w o m e n to psychic a n d reproductive resources, B a c o n developed the power of language as a pol i t i ca l i n s t r u m e n t i n reducing female nature to a resource for economic product ion . Female imagery became a tool i n adapting scientific knowledge a n d m e t h o d as a new f o r m of h u m a n power over nature... . (Merchant , 1 9 8 0 , p. 1 6 4 - 1 6 5 ) It is a strange mix wi th in Bacon that draws at once from the magic of the medieval magus and transforms it into science - a kind of repudiat ion of the occu l t , and by extension, of nature i tself . Here too, I see the close connect ion between the cour t room tr ials and the laboratory t r ia ls : the same mechanism employed in the oppression of the social by exorcis ing and tor tur ing wi tches , is symmetr ica l ly cast through the c r i t ique of an inf luent ia l philosopher, as tor ture in the l ibera t ion of the natura l . As Bacon says: "Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known, the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be o b e y e d " (Cott ingham, 1996, p . 304). What is interest ing is the commonal i ty , the first set of t r ia ls as confession, and the second set of tr ials as ex t rac t ion from Nature . And once again the la tent tendency to remove constraints is revealed: Bacon was also w e l l aware of the w i t c h tr ia ls t a k i n g place a l l over E u r o p e a n d i n part icular i n E n g l a n d d u r i n g the seventeenth century... the 1 6 1 2 trai ls of Lancashire witches ... inf luenced Bacon's p h i l o s o p h y a n d l i terary style. M u c h of the imagery he used i n del ineat ing his n e w scientific objectives a n d methods derives f r o m the c o u r t r o o m , a n d because i t treats 76 nature as a female to be tortured through mechanical investigations, strongly suggests the interrogation of the witch trials and the mechanical devices used to torture witches. He compared the interrogations of courtroom witnesses to the inquisition of nature... The new man [sic] of science must not think that the "inquisition of nature is in any part interdicted or forbidden." Nature must be "bound into service" and made a "slave", put "in constraint" and molded by the mechanical arts. The "searchers and the spies of nature" are to discover her plots and secrets. This method so readily applicable when nature is denoted by the female gender, degraded and made possible the exploitation of the natural environment... Bacon transformed the magical tradition by calling on the need to dominate nature not for sole benefit of the individual magician but for the good of the entire human race. Through vivid metaphor, he transformed the magus from nature's servant to its exploiter and nature from a teacher to a slave... (Merchant, 1 9 8 0 , p. 1 6 8 - 1 6 9 ) 2.7b Alternate pathways to Utopia Merchant reveals yet another significant impl ica t ion of Bacon 's U t o p i a , as one of the paths to three possible U t o p i a s . For alongside Bacon 's model of U t o p i a , there had been two others proposed by Campane l la and Andrea . It is wor thwhi le to fo l low Merchant rs c i t a t ion be low as i t i l lustrates my point about the nuanced nature of social change at the junc ture of the Scient i f ic Revolut ion. It is l ike ly these a l ternate pathways a l lowing for egal i tar ian dis t r ibut ion and also organic harmony between people and nature were antecedents in Rousseau, and subsequently, Marx. And of signif icance as w e l l , appear signs of an ear l ie r emancipa t ion of women , although these U t o p i a n al ternat ives were not wi thout thei r downside. Wi th the choice of Bacon 's th i rd technologica l U t o p i a over the other two possibil i t ies , immanent tendencies in plays of cont ingencies be tween knowledge and socie ta l change ushered in the 77 ins t rumental age of compet i t ive class-based, pa t r ia rcha l , h ie ra rch ica l , and possessive moderni ty: I n the early seventeenth century, two Utopian plans, T o m m a s o Campanel la 's City of the Sun ( 1 6 0 2 ) a n d J o h a n n V a l e n t i n Andrea 's Christianopolis ( 1 6 1 9 ) , articulated a phi losophy of c o m m u n a l shar ing that responded to the interests of artisans a n d the poor for m o r e egal itarian d i s t r i b u t i o n of weal th based u p o n an organic h a r m o n y between people a n d nature. They contrast markedly , with a third Utopia, The New Atlantis o f Francis Bacon ( 1 6 2 7 ) , which u n d e r m i n e d a n d t ransformed the concept of an organic Utopian community. Yet historians have largely emphasized the s i m i l a r i t y of these w o r k s for the emergence of m o d e r n science a n d educational theory... Bacon's ideas were rooted i n a n emerging market economy that tended to w i d e n the gap between upper a n d lower social classes by concentrating. . . weal th i n the hands of merchants, c lothiers, entrepreneurial adventurers, a n d yeomen farmers t h r o u g h the exploi tat ion a n d alterat ion of nature for the sake of progress. Andrea 's a n d Campanel la 's Utopian c o m m u n i t i e s postulated a more egalitarian v iew of w o m e n a n d m a n , art isan a n d master, t h a n Bacons' h ierarchica l a n d patr iarchal c o m m u n i t y . B u t Bacon's induct ive methodology, w h i c h he lped to establish a precedent by w h i c h a l l persons c o u l d verify the t r u t h for themselves, was also fundamenta l to the growth of egal i tar ianism. F r o m the perspective of today, there are b o t h posit ive a n d negative aspects to Campanel la 's a n d Andrea 's Utopias. Some of the ir ideas are basic to subsequent "back to the l a n d " Utopian movements that have rejected the d i v i s i o n of l a b o u r a n d the al ienat ion of people f o r m product ive w o r k brought about by capitalist modes of economic organizat ion. Yet C a m p a n e l l a advocated a p r o g r a m of eugenics considered repressive... whi le Andrea 's ideal society was based o n a r i g i d Calv inis t m o r a l i s m (Merchant , 1 9 8 0 , p. 7 9 - 8 0 ) . The obl igatory stop at Bacon and the various ar t icula t ions of Utopias is relevant to the question of the loss of nature from the discourse. As suggested above, i t w i l l also help me transi t ion to moderni ty . In what fol lows I turn from this engagement wi th the social to draw back the lens, and address the links be tween philosophy of nature and mechanica l philosophy. 78 The fol lowing sect ion links Bacon wi th developments of the scient i f ic philosophy he had expounded. It helps us grasp the consequences of shifting from the prior organismic concept ion of nature to the a l ternate imagery of the nature as a mechanical clock. When Nature was in terpre ted through the eyes of physics it held profound impl ica t ions for the theologica l and the soc ia l . When a l l l ife is reduced to substance and mechanica l mot ion , and a l iena ted by a tomism, there can be no place for divini ty - the path is set for ind iv idua l i sm, towards the corresponding fragmentat ion of the soc ia l . 2.7c Mechanica l phi losophy of nature and structural homologies The idea of scientif ic progress has been associated w i t h the rise of technology a n d "the requirements of the early capital ist ic economy" b y scholars who have argued the idea of cooperat ion a n d the shar ing of knowledge for b o t h the construct ion of theory a n d the p u b l i c good s t e m m e d f r o m the intel lectual attitudes of sixteenth-century master craftsmen, mechanica l engineers a n d a few academic scholars a n d humanists . (Merchant , 1980, p. 179) The B a c o n i a n p r o g r a m , so i m p o r t a n t to the rise of W e s t e r n science, contained w i t h i n i t a set of attitudes about nature a n d the scientist that reinforced the tendencies towards growth a n d progress inherent i n early capital ism.. . [Here] Bacon's mechanist ic Utopia was ful ly compatible w i t h the mechanica l phi losophy of nature that developed d u r i n g the seventeenth century. M e c h a n i s m d i v i d e d nature into a tomic particles, w h i c h l ike the c i v i l citizens of Bensalem, were passive a n d inert . M o t i o n a n d change were externally caused: the nature, the ul t imate source was G o d , the seventeenth century's d iv ine father, clockmaker, a n d engineer; i n Bensalem, i t was the patr iarchal scientific a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of Salomon's House . The atomic parts of the mechanica l universe were ordered i n a causal nexus such that b y contact the m o t i o n of one part caused the m o t i o n of the next. The l inear hierarchy of apprentices, novices, a n d scientists who passed a long the observations, exper imental results, a n d generalizations made the scientif ic m e t h o d as mechanica l as the operation of the universe itself.... The m o d e l of nature a n d society i n this Utopia was consistent w i t h the possibi l i t ies for increased technological a n d 79 administrative growth. In the, New Atlantis lay the intellectual origins of the modern planned environments initiated by the technocratic movements of the late 1920s and 1930s, which envisioned totally artificial environments created by and for humans... (Merchant, i98o,p. 185-186) I have argued that changing concept ions of nature are inext r icably in te rconnec ted to the social transformations that gave rise to t hem. I have touched upon the re la t ional links between science, technology, capi ta l i sm and the dominat ion of nature and women . Merchant ' s passage above summarizes this close relat ionship wi th special a t tent ion to epis temology. Wi th regards to this ep is temologica l s i tuat ion wi th in this nexus of arguments, Merchant ' s second passage begins by signall ing that a t t i tudes about nature are closely re la ted to the mechanica l descr ipt ion that ensues. Wi th respect to this mechanica l descr ip t ion , what caught my a t tent ion were the words "philosophy of na ture" and the qualifying adjec t ive , "mechan ica l " , symptomat ic of hermeneut ic d i f ferent ia t ion . Seeing the word " m e c h a n i c a l " wi th in the same breath as the words "philosophy of na ture" portends of the eventua l shift of the qual i f ier into the noun. That is to say, this presence of the adject ive suggests that the next shift in meaning wou ld l ike ly displace nature al together , as when the philosophy of science speaks in the name of nature. 80 2.7d Philosophy of Nature? Earlier, and until about two centuries ago, there had been a main field of inquiry known as philosophia naturalis, the philosophy of nature. Then this field of inquiry fairly abruptly ceased being pursued. It is interesting, and ... important to us today to determine how and why this happened. It is indeed not difficult to do so, and the main features of this history can be fairly quickly sketched. (Leclerc, 1 9 8 6 , p. 3 ) Here is that paradoxical term "philosophy of nature" again. As it turns out, Leclerc's book, The Philosophy of Nature and the manner in which he formulates his argument was an important find for my arguments, providing yet another window to enter the hermeneutics into the loss of nature from the discourse. What I found curious was that Leclerc's text, despite its tit le, was offering a philosophy of science, published by the Catholic University. What is Leclerc's lament referring to when he speaks about a philosophy of nature that is no more? When I read these words, I had originally thought that I had found yet more proof of the loss of nature from the discourse. To my surprise, as the next citation from Leclerc suggests, the philosophy of nature that he offers, appears to be not about nature in the sense of its premodern conceptions, but the philosophy of science that has already subsumed nature. Consider the implications of this next fragment: In the sixteenth century there occurred a considerable expansion of interest, especially among medical men who were leading scientists and thinkers of the day, in the philosophy of nature, which led to the momentous developments of the seventeenth century. Of particular importance in this process were the steps taken in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, 81 for these h a d the consequence of the introduct ion, of a new conception of nature, w h i c h appeared i n a n u m b e r of books about the year 1 6 2 0 , by...Sennert ... v a n Goorle ... Gali leo . . .Bacon .. a n d ... Basso i n his P h i -losophia Naturalis, 1 6 2 1 . This new conception of nature was elaborated a n d ful ly explored i n the course of the seventeenth century by .... Descartes, Gassendi,. . .Hobbes.. . Boyle, Leibniz a n d Newton, ... Descartes' Principles of Philosophy ( 1 6 4 4 ) was largely devoted to the phi losophy of nature. Gassendi . . .worked out the theory of material a tomism. Hobbes explored an alternative i n his De Corpore. Leibniz. . . examined the theories of his predecessors a n d developed his o w n alternative phi losophy of nature ...Newton's Philosophie Naturalis Principia Mathematica was publ ished i n 1 6 8 6 . A l t h o u g h the w o r k was m a i n l y concerned w i t h the "mathematical principles" of the phi losophy of nature, it contained some highly significant phi losophical sections... These writ ings o n the phi losophy of nature by these thinkers a n d others are among the most important works of the seventeenth century. (Leclerc, 1 9 8 6 , p. 3 ) Whi le we are aware of contributions to the sixteenth and seventeenth century by thinkers like Copernicus, Gal i l eo , Newton, and so on, i t is interesting to see these names next to the name of the "philosophy of nature" contrasted against the Merchant ' s premodern conceptions of nature. As indicat ive perhaps of the flux of change, there appears to be mul t ip le senses of the "philosophy of nature": "medic ine" and "cosmology" in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, "mathemat ics" and Newton in the late seventeenth century, and the impl ied one of "science", which is what it is now. Moreover, Lec lerc ' s philosophical argument published by a theological source appears to reflect the shift of nature from divine to scientif ic , and spiri tual to secular. The potent ia l of consulting Leclerc as source allows me to see the discourse from its own vantage point - one of science looking to understand 82 changes of conceptions of nature through scientific eyes. This is a point that I cannot overstress as I have found it c r i t i ca l in my broad-based exegesis. And whi le I have already analyzed Merchant 's v iew of the rise in mechanism at some length, unexpected gems can be found by asking the same question, from Leclerc ' s perspective. Consider the fol lowing c i ta t ion , also from Leclerc : ... Sebastian Basso has seen very clearly that basic to the new conception of nature was a new conception of matter. In this v iew matter h a d come to be conceived as itself substance, i n contrast to the previous conception i n w h i c h matter was only the correlative f o r m i n a substance. The consequences of the conception of matter as itself substance was an ineluctable metaphysical dua l i sm w h i c h h a d been explicit ly accepted by Basso a n d Gali leo a n d then systematically developed by Descartes. After N e w t o n the success of the natural science h a d become so overwhelming that the acceptance of this dua l i sm was no longer to be withstood, despite Leibniz 's vigorous struggle against it , a n d i n the eighteenth century a n d o n w a r d it reigned completely. The outcome was that the universe was div ided into two, one part consisting of matter, constituting nature, a n d the other part consisting of m i n d or spirit . The fields of i n q u i r y were d iv ided accordingly: natural science ru led i n the realm of nature, a n d phi losophy i n the realm of m i n d . Thenceforth these two, science a n d philosophy, each went its o w n way, i n separation f r o m the other. I n this d iv is ion there was no place for the phi losophy of nature. Its object h a d been nature, a n d this was n o w assigned to natural science. W h a t remained to phi losophy was only the epistemological a n d logical inquiry , w h i c h has natural science, but not nature, as its object— today usually cal led the phi losophy of science. Phi losophy of nature as a field of i n q u i r y ceased to exist. (Leclerc, 1986, p. 4) My focus here is the vantage point of Lec le rc ' s text and what i t laments . I have become a le r ted to the language i t brings and its s ignif icance. What I mean here is that in the course of reading the l i te ra ture , both broadly and 83 closely, I have become very interested in manifestations of debates and bifurcations that relate to na ture . .And, whi le I have read from mul t ip le sources of this fracturing and how i t has affected various thinkers, I have not seen the divide expressed in this manner ( i .e . nature = science + philosophy). This impl ies interest ing links between my interpreta t ions of Merchant and Lec le rc . Whereas in the former nature was d iv ided be tween science and materialism, in the la t ter nature was lost when d iv ided be tween philosophy and science. When we speak of divides between science and philosophy, i t becomes relevant that philosophy i tself is dominated by analytical philosophy after the postulates of scient i f ic logical a tomism that reduces a l l language and life to preposi t ional arguments around truth and negat ion. Fur thermore, whi le Merchant does not analyze the shift towards ana ly t ica l philosophy, Lec le rc ' s argument does not concern i tself w i th economics . Merging these arguments in Latour ' s anthropology, Merchant ' s natural history, and Lec le rc ' s phi losophical sc ience, we begin to grasp through multiple lenses, the changing hermeneut ics of nature and its consequence on the w o r l d . As suggested by my in te rmedia te summary, having surveyed Merchant ' s work, s tudied the impl ica t ions of mechanism, and pondered over its impac t on the changing philosophy of nature, there is one other aspect that I am obl iged to undertake. If I do not do so, I risk that my exegesis on the loss of nature from discourse might be incomple te . For it was through transformed notion of 84 nature as mater ia l base and natural resource, that the t ransformation of the wor ld and the inauguration of the modern wor ld mater ia l i sed (Polanyi , 2001). Whi le we are obl iged to discuss the impl ica t ions of nature as cap i t a l through the dominant discourse, we w i l l defer that t rea tment unt i l its c r i t i c a l reappearance in our next chapter on remapping the discourse. For now, consistent wi th our exege t ica l inquiry thus far wi th in the c r i t i c a l theory thread, we begin wi th the other face of modernism found wi th in Marxism, a lbe i t w i th a twis t . 2.7e Hypothesis: Green sensitivity within Marxism? Very ear ly on , I had s tumbled upon the intr iguing possibil i ty that Marx might have been sensitive to the excesses of cap i ta l i sm in the form of natural explo i ta t ion that exploi ts both humans and nature. I had been in t roduced to this possibil i ty in the thesis offered by Parsons (1994), one of the contr ibutors to Merchant ' s (1994) in terdisc ipl inary exposi t ion on c r i t i c a l theory. Like Merchant ' s own , Parsons' work was also on the theme of the dominat ion of nature. His thesis posits a green thread wi th in Marxism, a hypothesis I bel ieve holds plausibi l i ty through my own hermeneut ic reading of Marx. Parsons' thesis of green sensibi l i ty wi th in Marxism is perhaps best understood wi th a pic ture of ear ly capi ta l i sm as argued by Karl Marx: In the sphere of agriculture, modern industry has a more revolutionary effect than elsewhere, for this reason, that it annihilates the peasant, that 85 bulwark of the old society, and replaces him [sic] by the wage-labourer. Thus the desire for social changes, and the class antagonisms are brought to the same level in the country and in the towns. The irrational, old-fashioned methods of agriculture are replaced by scientific ones. Capitalist production completely tears asunder the old bond of union which held together agriculture and manufacture in their infancy... [B]y collecting the population in great centres, and causing an ever-increasing preponderance on the town population, [production] on the one hand concentrates the historical motive power of society; on the other hand it disturbs the circulation of matter between man [sic] and the soil, i.e. prevents the return to the soil of its elements consumed by man [sic] in the form of food and clothing; it therefore violates the conditions necessary to lasting fertility of the soil ... Moreover all progress in capitalistic agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the labourer, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time, is a progress towards ruining the lasting sources of that fertility ... Capitalist production, therefore, develops technology, and the combination together of various processes into a social whole, only by sapping the original sources of all wealth - the soil and the labourer. (Marx & Engels, 1 9 6 7 , 5 0 5 - 5 0 7 ) Marx ' s a t tent ion is focussed on the magnitude of change as it relates to the "sphere of agricul ture", where modern industry deprives the " s o i l " even as it obli terates the peasant and replaces her wi th wage-labourers. Of significance to my exegesis, I am persuaded that perhaps the best way for the reader to grasp this passage is to phenomenological ly exper ience the words of Marx . It is how I exper ience the hermeneut ics of nature in Marx. In this phenomenological descript ion, Marx paints a compel l ing picture of the magnitude of the shift in which relationships handed down through the centuries are r ipped apart. The industrialist as capital is t , in shifting the axis to urban centres, also effect ively destroys the ecology of the rural areas. 86 Note especial ly the words that Marx draws upon to paint the imagery, in terms of how the Industrial Revolution disturbs biological cycles . In violat ing the preconditions for the cont inued fecundity of the earth, it robs not only from the human vict ims of industr ial izat ion and urbanization, but the " s o i l " itself. Thus Parsons' thesis appears tenable, when Marx unequivocally exposes how capi ta l and technology subvert both the peasant and the land, in disrupting its ecology. Elsewhere I have in terpre ted the work at length (Feng, 1997), where I have theor ized that contrary to orthodoxy, both Marx and Engels qualify as proto-ecologists in their own right. The same kind of sensit ivi ty to nature also appears to exist in Engels. The revenge of nature that c r i t i c a l theory expounded in Adorno and Marcuse, often dismissed as vague appeals through natural ism, appears to have sound ra t ional origins in Engels ! 3 0 Consider for instance, the fo l lowing c i t a t ion from Engels: Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human conquest over nature. For each such conquest takes its revenge on us. Each of them, it is true, has in the first place the consequences on which we counted, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel out the first... And in fact, with every day that passes we are learning to understand these laws more correctly, and getting to know both the more immediate and the more remote consequences of our interference with the traditional course of nature. In particular, after the mighty advances of natural science in the present century, we are more and more getting to know, and hence to control, even the more remote natural consequences at least of our more ordinary productive activities. But the more this happens, the more men [sic] not only feel, but also know, their unity with nature, and thus the more impossible will become the senseless and anti-natural idea of a contradiction between mind and matter, man [sic] and nature, soul and 87 body... But of it has already required the labour of thousands of years for us to learn to some extent to calculate the remote natural consequences of our actions aiming at production, it has been still more difficult in regard to the more remote social consequences of these actions... In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only with the first tangible success; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn out to be of quite a different, mainly even of quite an opposite, character... (Engels et al., 1 9 7 6 , p. 2 9 1 - 2 9 6 ) This c i ta t ion from Engels appears to ref lect Merchant ' s f inding that a long history has exis ted since ant iqui ty warning of unintended natural consequences of human intervent ion in nature. Engels ' analysis is keenly aware from unant ic ipa ted natural consequences shifts to its concomi tan t social consequences. Signif icant ly, the focus on this often c i t ed sect ion on the t ransi t ion from ape to humans has been on the difference be tween humans and animals . Significantly as w e l l , the ed i tor ' s footnotes inform us Engel 's manuscript breaks off a b r u p t l y - leaving us to speculate regarding the depth of Engels ' understanding of unintended consequences and the revenge of nature. 2.7f Hermeneutic reading of green hypothesis Through another turn, I take up the above c i ta t ion of Marx again, this t ime hermeneutical ly, to explain the thinking behind my interpreta t ion. Whi le I am conscious my interpretat ion may appear to be anachronistic to Marx 's vocabulary, that is precisely my point. To i l lustrate the hermeneutics I am referring to, I have i ta l ic ized wi th in the c i t a t ion to draw a t tent ion to cer ta in 88 words that appear to reflect key concepts from current eco logica l discourses. When Marx wri tes : "disturbs the c i r cu l a t i on" , "prevents the re turn" , "violates the c o n d i t i o n " and "ruining the lasting sources of that f e r t i l i t y " these words also have para l le l in contemporary ecologica l currency. They conjure an ecologica l p ic ture of injust ice , disaster, d isp lacement , dysfunction, waste , and consumpt ion, in terms of the compl i c i ty of technology in the transgressions of c a p i t a l . 3 1 We identify these proxies by applying hermeneut ica l pr inciples and paying a t tent ion to the whole sense of the meaning of the tex t from its parts . For instance, if the green hypothesis is t rue, wi thout the benefi t of current eco logica l terms, but nevertheless having ecologica l sensibi l i ty , Marx would l ikely have drawn upon words l ike nature or "soil" as proxy for ecology. In hermeneut ica l ly reading Parsons' hypothesis, s t i rr ing wi th in Marx ' s t reat ise on cap i t a l we identify what appears to be the presence of a green theme. We note that the word , "soil" permeates the ent i re tex t . And wi th the substi tut ion of the words, " s o i l " w i th "nature" or "the Ear th" , Marx ' s words appear to ref lect our contemporary ecologica l sensi t ivi ty, perhaps wi thout the benefit of these cons t ruc t s . 3 2 Before concluding this chapter , there is one further point wor th ment ioning. Not only were contemporary ecologica l terms not l ike ly in publ ic consciousness during the t ime of Marx and Engels, other enabl ing terminology or constructs were also absent. For instance, al though the phenomenological 89 descr ipt ion that opened this sect ion might have been helped through drawing upon constructs l ike "paradigm", by a l lowing Marx to express his point wi th fewer words, we might have also lost the impact of Marx ' s phenomenological descr ipt ion in the bargain. In the absence of such a cons t ruc t , 3 3 Marx d id his best to describe wi th passion what he saw and fel t - the te r r ib le sense of chaos that permeated the air when the t rad i t iona l close association be tween agricul ture and manufacturing became severed. It is this emphasis on phenomenon and passion that makes Marx ' s wr i t ing phenomenologica l . Wi th in the fury of his passion, Marx painted a lasting picture of the t ransformation in the dissolution of t rad i t iona l bonds. This passage helps us immensely to grasp the dimensions to come , as cap i t a l matures and its in terna l logic fol lows its secret telos of re i f ica t ion . One can almost sense Marx ' s despair as he a t tempts to comprehend in a holist ic way what was happening to the society and the wor ld around h i m . Retaining that phenomenological sense of d isplacement w i l l be a key factor in helping us understand developments that unfold ahead. Lukacs ' c r i t ique of re i f ica t ion , as we w i l l see in the next chapter , was a systematic a t tempt to speak to the enormity of the shift, the ful l dimensions of which had not shown themselves, and have s t i l l not shown thei r fu l l ex tent . I cont inue my work in recovering nature in the next chapter , by remapping the discourse. I do this by taking Lukacs ' par t icular problem of nature as an exemplar of an exeget ica l approach to topography. The gaps revealed in recovering the loss of nature go toward the remapping of the discourse. 90 C H A P T E R T H R E E : T H E T O P O G R A P H I C M O V E M E N T 3.1 DIMENSIONING THE AMBIT My intent in this chapter is to offer three topographic moments to recover nature: wi th respect to: 1) inquiry into the loss of nature in our roles as teachers and the problem of compl ic i ty , 2) developing an exegesis of researching loss, and 3) examining an exemplary operat ion of exegesis in Lukacs ' c r i t ique of re i f ica t ion . I have sect ioned my chapter on topography into three corresponding parts. The first moment revisits the material loss of nature and couches that loss as a problem of compl i c i t y wi th regards to the perspect ives of c r i t i c a l educators . Given the de l imi ta t ions as discussed in CHAPTER ONE, my discussion is cursory. It strives to touch upon salient issues c r i t i c a l to my topographic movement . I locate the school as an inst i tut ion of moderni ty (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990; Carnoy, 1974; Macln tyre , 1999) that operates pr imar i ly under the dominant ethos that impl ica tes students in cycles of conspicuous consumption and waste . The fundamentals of educat ion proposed by Orr (1994) descr ibed ear l ie r inform this sec t ion . In the second part , I unravel threads of a hermeneut ic " cobweb" that connect theorists , ideas, l ineage, e tymologies , overlaps, and slippages. I 91 discuss the sui tabi l i ty of this cobweb metaphor to a t tend to the nature of the hermeneut ica l task wi th in the flux be tween in terpre ter , w o r l d , and text (Wilson, 1990). I draw from and merge the works of Vogel (1996), Wilson (1990), and Vare l a et a l . (1991) to arrive at this metaphor . I show an exemplar of the di f f icul t ies and the unfolding nature of my query when I examine the problems wi th labels and discursive bifurcations. In the th i rd part , I i l lus t ra te my theor iz ing and process of gathering Lukacs ' work in cont inui ty wi th my work in recovering nature. I discuss the kinds of d i f f icul t ies w e face in exegesis. I demonstra te how reviewing the status of nature that gives rise to the pic ture of cont rad ic t ion in part one, offers concre te ideas towards remapping the discourse. 3.1a A picture of contradictions By all accounts, humanity is facing a crisis, and this is widely acknowledged by the public. Yet, what is most disturbing is our inability to act on this knowledge... the translation of knowledge into action is what education is for and what pedagogy is about. Thus, our inability to take appropriate action for the crisis we face calls our practice of education into question. The starting point of this discussion is the following question: What factors in our education contribute to the problem? (Bai, 2 0 0 1 , p. 8 7 ) Education is not widely regarded as the problem, although the lack of it is. The conventional wisdom holds that all education is good, and the more one has, the better... [but we need] to challenge this view from an ecological perspective. The truth is without significant precautions, education can equip people merely to become more effective vandals of the earth., the essays accordingly, address the problem of education, rather than problems in education... not [as] a call to tinker with minutiae, but a call to deeper change. (Orr, 1 9 9 4 , p. 5 ) 92 Education is concerned with the "bringing forth" (educare) of human life. It is essentially a "generative" discipline, concerned with the emergence of new life in our midst, and what it is we might hope for this new life, what we might wish to engender. Ideally, each child embodies the possibility that things can become other than what they have already become. What could be called a "conservative" reading of this ideal would be one that finds this ideal precisely the problem of education: How do we educe new life in a way that conserves what already is? (Jardine, 1992, p. 116) We awake to find ourselves l iving in an age of irony and profound cont radic t ion (Brown, 1989). For, alas, i t is under the professed banner o f equal i ty that we find unfairness in uneven d is t r ibut ion . It is w i th in the hol low promises of prosperi ty that we find ex t reme need and poverty (Latouche, 1993). It is under the notion of robust heal th that we find incurable diseases and ep idemics . It is amidst proclamations of joy and hubris that we are humbled in our greatest hour of sorrow (Ehrenfeld, 1978). It is w i th in cr ies of jus t ice that injust ice lurks. It is under the rubric of reason that we find col lusive madness (Roszak, 1992). And instead of promises o f industry, we find waste (Szasz, 1994; Wackernagel & Rees, 1996). It is i ronic that through promises of gain we exper ience our greatest losses. Where c iv i l i t y and c iv i l i za t ion is championed , we find barbari ty instead (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1944/1998; Polanyi , 2001; Szasz, 1994; Wackernagel & Rees, 1996). It is under the banner of U t o p i a n d ream and order that we find dystopia and chaos. Perhaps the greatest irony, amidst the proclamations of f reedom underscoring a l l our greatest hopes, we find ourselves t rapped. Our future is underwr i t ten , 93 born free, but in chains everywhere (Rousseau & Cranston, 1984) t rapped wi th in the mirror of r e /p roduc t ion (Baudri l lard et a l . , 1990) and unable to escape from the c i rcu la r i ty of its madness. Given these contradic t ions , there are educators who are deeply concerned about the state of the wor ld , and who see the need for educat ion to be self-ref lexive to address compl i c i t y in cont r ibut ing to the eco log ica l p rob lem. Any topographic movement must begin by addressing both the intersect ion of this macro context of cont radic t ion and the concerns of teachers. Put different ly , there is an impera t ive to think through this macro-micro intersect ion where in the loss of nature from the discourse is imp l i ca t ed wi th in the contradic t ions our students face today. Clear ly , educators such as Bai and Jardine are of special interest to my disser ta t ion. But what do we know of these educators? Can we find a way of addressing their disparate concerns co l l ec t ive ly under a single rubric that speaks to the complexi ty? I bel ieve we can . Before I approach this issue, I need to address the larger ambi t in which schooling is immersed . As I review the background, I am simultaneously laying down aspects of history that speak to the loss of nature from the discourse. 94 3.1b M o d e r n i t y , r ights and change Before I embark on any c r i t ique , I begin by acknowledging the innovations that have improved our lot . In this respect , there have been significant strides wi th the advent of moderni ty . We are: t rea ted as free and unique individuals , recognized as equal beings deserving of dignity and respect; championed by, and pro tec ted under the banner of ina l ienable rights; and enfranchised through democra t ic se l f -determinat ion and governance. These rights are inclusive, d is t r ibuted to , of, by, and for a l l . 3 4 They replace the former system of exclusive rights once reserved for royal ty, church , nobi l i ty , priests, and lords, based upon bir thright , d ivine or o therwise , and other forms of h ierarchica l author i ty . Our rights are recognized wi th in a framework of mer i tocracy that rewards di l igence and work e th ic and provides opportuni ty for a l l individuals , societ ies and nations to thr ive . Here, it is significant that our rights are conceived as natural rights guaranteed by, and regulated under, a bureaucrat ic system of natural35 laws and modern inst i tut ions. These inst i tut ions not only organize loca l governance, but connect to in terna t ional bodies through a regulatory structure that al lows for social cohesions and order , media ted by global counterparts . Fur thermore, there are encouraging movements that a t tend to securing global needs, regardless of nat ional i ty , found wi th in the 95 mobi l iza t ion of Non-Governmenta l Organizations (NGOs) such as the Wor ld Wi ld l i f e Fund, Friends of the Ear th , Greenpeace , and Amnesty Internat ional . Moreover , in briefly shifting our discussion on rights toward the his tor ical context from which these rights emerged, the signing of the Magna Car ta eventual ly opened the way for expansion of rights to embrace those who had once been disenfranchised: women , in f i rmed, minor i t ies , animals and nature. Corresponding to those rights, we now l ive in societ ies that general ly to lera te difference and ce lebra te diversi ty . These rights, enac ted through social change, are loca ted wi th in larger s t ructural forces that in teract wi th social and economic revolut ions. Examples include the e ighteenth century French and Amer ican Revolut ions, and thei r counterparts in the Scient i f ic Revolutions of the s ixteenth century and Industrial Revolutions of the nineteenth century. Moreover , i t was these interact ions be tween natural , social and technologica l forces that wrought change. Without the concomitant rise of science and technology with capitalism, and the shift towards the secular, it is probable that these rights might not have come to pass (Merchant, 1980). It is problemat ic to speak of technology wi thout ment ion of cap i t a l i sm. The reverse holds t rue. Change as progress also wears a techno-scient i f ic face wi th a dol lar-s ign, where these dominant forces operate through s tructural homologies at the deeper leve l (Lukacs, 1971a; Weber et a l . , 1958). 96 Where once people feared that populat ion growth might outstr ip the supply of food, advances in science and technology have increased the y ie ld of product ion . Through modern medic ine , once feared age-old scourges l ike typhoid , cho le ra , dysentery, smal lpox, and bubonic plague are con t ro l l ed . Our technologica l ly advanced society converts raw mater ia l from reserve into power for the grids loca ted wi th in our c i t ies . Satel l i tes overhead, c i r c l e the globe and feed the consumer demands of our everyday work and leisure. It is, after a l l , this technologica l f ramework that renders possible affordable housing, publ ic t ransporta t ion, socia l ized medic ine , unemployment insurance, welfare payments, and old-age security benefits. And yet , whi le it appears on the surface that we are bet ter off as a lot , problems emerge when we push deeper . Here the imagery represents an idea l , whi le in prac t ice , there are problems associated wi th the assumptions underlying this model of society. Moreover , there can be v i r tua l ly no escape out of this system we are born into (Marcuse, 1964/1991). There is no way to "opt out" of the rules that shape society, consumpt ion, ident i ty , and everyday l ives under semblance of the natural (Lukacs, 1971a). 3.1c Cr i t ique of change as progress A l l is not what i t appears when touted ameni t ies l ike educa t ion , affordable housing, t ransporta t ion, socia l ized medic ine , unemployment insurance, wel fare payments or old-age securi ty benefits (championed by the 97 West for a l l under democracy for the globe) are conditional and based upon the priori t ies of c ap i t a l . Moreover , rights are economica l ly dis t r ibuted through a system that a l locates funding pr ior i t ies . The plight of the homeless suggests that rights do not accrue universal ly to economica l ly disadvantaged groups. Insti tutionally, i t is not at a l l c lear that modern inst i tut ions have been able to replace the ancient , theological ly based order and cosmology sundered by the Scient i f ic and Industrial Revolutions. The monocul ture of g lobal iza t ion contradic ts diversi ty, whether social or b io log ica l . It is not even c lear that knowledge has been cumula t ive . For First Nation languages, knowledge and ways of being have been ec l ipsed by moderni ty . And what of progress? It is not at a l l c lear that change is progress. Our technologica l ly advanced commerc ia l societ ies see the Earth as an endless reserve to explo i t for the taking. There are v i r tua l ly no l imits to scient i f ic exper imenta t ion . When it comes to science and technology, there is an absence of c lear e th ica l standards. What of the logic that argues whatever we are capable of making, we ought to be able to apply? Acts of mass genocide l ike Auschwi tz , and ex t inc t ion of species at test to something more akin to a return to barbar ism. Whi le it is t rue that we , as human beings, have made significant gains wi th in the advent of moderni ty , we must not lose sights that these are anthropocentr ic c la ims . Human industry has had devastat ing effects on the ecology of which we are a l l inext r icably a part . In short, theories have often 98 not translated into reality. Questions o f equality, freedom, uniqueness, dignity, respect, rights and democracy do not translate in the same way when it comes to the Other. Centuries after the revolution, royalty, aristocracy, and nobility survive with rights that accrue from birthright and t i t le. Furthermore, the Malthusian (1798/1965) hypothesis remains tenable, even compounded. Consider the problem: Thomas Malthus' (1798/1965) original formulation that modified Adam Smith's (1776/1957) U t o p i a , had limited the problem to exponential rise in population against arithmetic rise in food. Since our contemporary lives revolve around production, consumption and waste, the problem has exponentially exacerbated as we consume, use and secrete toxins compounding the problem of population and food. We have been warned that there are limits to our growth (Meadows & Rome, 1972). Collapse is anonymous and can come without warning as it might take the face of melting snowcaps in the poles, surges in scourges, or virtually any kind of planetary peri l . When viewed in this alternate way, we are back to the days of havoc before the modern dream: when old diseases linger, even as we are faced with previously unknown scourges like Severe Acquired Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Ebola, and Mad-cow disease; when the melting snow on top of Kilimanjaro join the ozone hole and warming planet, amidst rumours of war and mass carnage. As if symbolic of the age, even the mute objects of our fabrication, through processes of social construction and sedimentation, have not only 99 re i f ied , but have acquired cont ro l over us. As in the case of the ozone hole , i t is no longer c lear , what passes for technologica l , soc ia l , natural , or divine (Latour, 1993). It has also become c lear that objects were never neutra l ; they are invested, negot ia ted, and born of social expecta t ions (Bowers, 1988; Heidegger, 1977; Marcuse, 1964/1991). It appears we need to revise our opt imis t ic v iew, whi le respect ing the benefits, and replace that v iew wi th a more tenta t ive pic ture of con t rad ic t ion . We are back to where we began wi th the contradic t ions . I need to c lar i fy , however, my in tent ional i ty here. When I am formulat ing the problem through counter-arguments, it is not my intent ion to dwe l l on pessimism. Qui te the opposi te . I argue that t ransformation is possible only through self-awareness. My intent is to grapple wi th the extent of what we are deal ing w i th when we speak of compl i c i ty , and to clarify the ambi t of my topographic project whi le bearing in mind the cent ra l i ty of bringing nature back to the discourse. And even on the issue of our compl i c i ty , as I ind ica ted previously, i t can be approached wi th hope (by vir tue of the fact that the problem issues through our agency). In a l l of this, possibil i ty and hope awai t disclosure. Having deal t wi th benefits and refutation in contradic t ions , I turn to re la te these to the role of schooling, the issue of compl i c i ty , and the need for green c r i t ique in educa t ion . 100 3.1 d Role of schooling The roll-call of those institutions is a familiar one: representative democracy through which potentially autonomous individuals are portrayed as expressing their political preferences; a legal system purporting to safeguard the rights which individuals need, if they are to be treated as autonomous, including rights to freedom and expressions and enquiry; a free-market economy through which individuals are to express their preferences as consumers and investors; an expansion of those technologies which supply the material and organizational means for gratification of preferences; and a system of public education designed to prepare the young for participation in these institutions... (Maclntyre, 1999, p.246) I wrote the previous sect ion wi th four purposes in mind . First , I needed to dimension the ambi t of interest to my work in remapping the f i e ld . Second, I wanted to draw upon the dimensioning to background this work as the macro context in which I locate our schools wi th in a socia l -his tor ica l matr ix . Th i rd , I hoped to re la te this background to highlight the a t tendant responsibi l i ty of the social reproduct ion (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990) and socia l iza t ion thesis. Fourth , it was c r i t i c a l in this discussion to remind us that our schools are also one of the modern inst i tut ions (Carnoy, 1974) and part of the network that feeds into these larger adminis t ra t ive-power grids. Our roles as teachers are c r i t i c a l in terms of the problem of approaching the loss of meaning associated wi th the loss of nature from the discourse, which I posit at root in these contradic t ions . 101 Clear ly , as Macintyre (1999) reminds us, schools serve a p ivota l role in the functioning of modern societ ies . However , as Chan (2003) points out, despite emancipa tory gains in educa t ion , schools also cont inue to deploy human cap i ta l theory in v iewing students as human resource. As we shift our discussion from benefits to c r i t ique , it is important to self - ref lexively raise the problem of compl i c i t y . 3.1e The problem of education: What is education for? I return to the quest ion: Is i t possible to group the concerns of a new green genre of educators co l l ec t ive ly under a single rubric that speaks to complexi ty? One possible way lies wi th in the work of David Orr. As Orr (1994) points out, the first pass of reform of the sociology of educat ion exposed not only human cap i t a l theory operat ing in our schools, but also the hidden cur r icu lum and the associated cu l tu ra l cap i t a l cor re la ted wi th inherent dispari t ies be tween students. Bearing this in mind , Orr also argues that whi le i t is t rue we have made strides in equi ty of opportuni ty to these same resources, i t is also at this site where di f f icul t questions of compl i c i t y are loca ted . The c r i t i c a l quest ion now becomes: What if, while preparing our students for equity of opportunity, we fail at the same time to critique the "opportunities" we might be preparing them for? What if we find out those "opportunities" that allow our students to succeed also carry the burden of contributing to ecological devastation? 102 Orr answers that , i f that should happen, we , as teachers and researchers, become part of the p rob lem. Orr ' s c la r i f i ca t ion of the problem as the "problem 0 /educa t ion , rather than problem in educa t ion" (p. 5), leads us to the threshold of soc ia l iza t ion , and to the sociology of educa t ion . A case can be made to recognize this new genre of c r i t i c a l educators as a newer wave of reform in cont inui ty wi th the former in c r i t i c a l pedagogy, and towards the greening of the sociology of educa t ion . 3.1f Greening the third wave sociology of education The new sociology of education emerged in full strength in England and the United States over a decade ago as a critical response to what can be loosely termed as the discourse of traditional educational theory and practice. The central question, against which it developed its criticism of traditional schooling as well as its own theoretical discourse is typically Freirean: How does one make education meaningful so as to make it critical, and, one hopes, emancipatory? (Giroux, 1988, p. 111) With respect to Orr ' s c la ims, I am reminded that nearly twenty years ago, in the heyday of c r i t i c a l pedagogy, Henry Giroux in te rpre ted the rise of c r i t i c a l theory in educat ion as a new sociology of educa t ion . Since then , c r i t i c a l theory has i tse l f been c r i t iqued for the lack of green c r i t ique and sensi t ivi ty to its own l ibera l roots (Bowers, 1993). Wi th this shift, the question has been transformed from one of equi ty , to eco-sensibi l i ty . Rather than emphasizing compet i t ion for resources, even through equi ty , the shift has been to advocate for sensit ivi ty to the state of the planet . In this genre, I inc lude in the wri t ings of this new wave of educators (Bai , 2001; Blades, 1999; Bowers, 1988, 1993, 103 1997, 2000; Bowers & Flinders, 1990; Fels & Meyer, 1997; Feng, 2000; Jardine, 1993, 1998, 2000; Jardine, Clifford, & Friesen, 2003; Leggo, 2002; Orr, 1992; O'Sullivan, 1999; Petrina, 2000). Significantly, Orr's distinction of the educational crisis as the problem of education rather than problems in education, returns us to the question, "what is education for"? Having sketched the problem of education within a broader context, I proceed to the problem of topographical movement and recovering nature. 3.2 EXEGESIS OF THE LOSS OF NATURE Thus far, I have been assessing the material picture of contradictions which root within disparaged conceptions of nature. Respectively, we shifted from an historical review that traces the loss of nature from the discourse to discussion of its material manifestations within everyday life. With respect to structure and praxis, we resumed the question of complicity deferred earlier by examining our roles in the functioning of schools. Through this dialectical process, my topographic movement flows as an extension of recovering nature, even as the topographic move furthers the recovery of nature. As a second aspect of my topographic movement I move back to the hermeneutic looping. I shift back from world to discourse, this time focusing on the exegetical process through which the strands that I have been discussing are recovered. 104 3.2a Hermeneutical cobwebs of meaning Since exegesis places emphasis on meaning over facts, i t has a tendency to open up different spaces than one might otherwise encounter w i th an a priori fact-based search. This open-ended nature of the type of inquiry has had its chal lenges. It was precisely this unpredic tab i l i ty and autopoiesis that opened up new spaces of possibi l i ty. In turn these crea t ive spaces encouraged: in terplay of in terdependent concerns be tween phi lo logica l defini t ions wi th e tymology, phi losophical struggles wi th t ex tua l density, his tor ical concerns over context , and curiosi ty over genealogy and l ineage of ideas. Given my concern wi th the locations where questions of the loss of nature turn, I have focused upon narratives around loss and b i f i rca t ions— the debates, key figures, and the shifts. Intersections and lineages of ideas led me into a r ich labyrinth of networks when my search y ie lded connect ions be tween theorists otherwise thought as disparate . As my exegesis evo lved , phrasings hint ing of origins and frequency of cer ta in words and thei r reappearance in other contexts , often guided the d i rec t ion of my readings. Gradual ly the network of searches expanded to include informal searches wi th correspondence, where I found ideas exchanged but often not acknowledged (Benjamin, Scholem, 8t Adorno , 1994; Lukacs, Marcus, fit Tar , 1986), and often instead, subterranean (Dallmayr, 1991a, 1991b; Voge l , 1996). Out of my struggles emerged an appropriate metaphor for exegesis, that was cu l l ed from the juxtaposi t ion of 105 three readings, to depict the complex relations (Varela et a l . , 1991; Vogel, 1996; Wilson, 1990): I want to disentangle the various threads associated with "the problem of nature in Lukacs, but also to examine why they got entangled in the first place. The truth is, I will argue, that Lukacs position is marked from the start by a series of deep ambivalences about the status of nature and natural science, and it is these that have led to confusion among his critics as to what he really believes. Further it is these ambivalences, as much as the particular thesis he defends, that Lukacs bequeaths a difficult and ambiguous inheritance to Western Marxism tradition he inaugurates... (Vogel, 1996, p. 14) [Tlextual interpretation takes place within a "dialectical tension", that is, that interpretation occurs within a movement back and forth between text, interpreter, text, interpreter and so on, as the interpreter struggles to become clear about its meaning... [T]his dialectical tension in interpretation is a familiar experience to all who have read a text more than once. Another way of saying this is to say that in interpretation the interpreter enters into a "downward interpretive spiral vortex". Interpretation is a spiral movement between text, interpreter, text, interpreter, and so on, as the interpreter explores the world of the text, moving beyond superficial understanding (at the top of the spiral) to deeper levels of understanding (on the turns beneath). The image of a spiral vortex... suggests that one is drawn into the text, [with] depths to be explored. One becomes charmed and enchanted by the text, the further one explores it. One becomes aware of the world of the text, a world that may be quite different from the interpreter's own world. One becomes attuned to it... (Wilson, 1990:10) In our eyes, cognitive science is not a monolithic field, though it does have, as does any social activity, poles of domination so that some of its participating voices acquire more force than others at various periods in time... nevertheless our bias here will be to emphasize diversity. We propose to look at cognitive science as consisting of three successive stages... we have drawn them in the form of a "polar map with three concentric rings. The three stages correspond to the successive movement from centre to periphery; each ring indicates an important shift in the theoretical framework... moving around the circle, we have placed the major disciplines that constitute the field of cognitive science. We begin... with the centre or core of cognitive science generally known as cognitivism. (Varela et al., 1991, p. 6-7) 106 At some point, between my readings of Vogel's argument to disentangle threads, Wilson's (1990) hermeneutics as meta-interpretation, and Varela et al . 's conception of the "conceptual chart of the cognitive sciences"(p.7), it occurred to me that cobwebs would be a fitting metaphor for the labyrinthine and polar like structure of the discourse I was attempting to map to recover the nature lost within its tangled threads. It appeared to me that unravelling connections between theorists, ideas, lineages, etymologies, and slippages in meanings resembled the density packed patterning of a spider's web with its attendant temporal dimensions that hint of history. The spiralling notion and sense of dialectical tension between threads, meta-interpretation and polar mapping, emerge as organic and historical. The entangling of threads inherent to cobwebs makes for the ideal metaphor. Like strands of a spider's web, or like those of the web of Life, my exegetical meta-interpretations drew me more deeply into it in dialectical tension, and uncovered an emergent vocabulary and praxis in the quotidian. The web metaphor was also appropriate in another sense that webs of meaning inhere in the technology of the World Wide Web (WWW). I realized most of the literature classics were online, as their copyright had expired. I mention the web component of my exegetical work because I attribute it to directly finding material that other scholars appear to have missed. 107 In shifting w i th the flux from discourse, to wor ld , and back again to discourse, this t ime focusing on the exegesis i tself, we have gone around the hermeneut ic loop. The intent of this sect ion was to highlight aspects of exeget ica l work and to background my discussion ahead. It prepares us for an encounter wi th Lukacs, to see how revisi t ing the status of nature in his tor ical debates offers us clues toward the remapping of nature and c r i t ique of re i f ica t ion . 3.2b The problem of labels [Ljabels... might actually be counter-productive if they impede attentive reading and exegesis. In any case, the meaning of the label emerges only from the discussion of the concrete issues arising at the intersection of ontology and critique at the juncture of the Frankfurt and Freiburg schools. (Dallmayr, 1991a, p. viii) In the process of surveying the l i te ra ture , I often encountered the problem of posit ioning the author: What is her standpoint on this issue? What school of th inking does she come from? My exploratory work concurs w i th the findings of Dallmayr (1991a) c i t ed above, to c l a im that i t might be problemat ic to label a standpoint and associate theorists wi th rubrics without c lar i fying their fundamental values. Specif ica l ly put, w i th respect to my thesis around the loss of nature from the discourse, my findings suggest the prac t ice of labe l l ing and assuming rubrics might cont r ibute towards, i f not const i tu te , the marginal izat ion of nature from the discourse. 108 For instance, when David Held (1980) reminds us "The main figures of the Frankfurt School sought to learn from and synthesize the work of, among others, Kant , Hegel , Marx, Weber , Lukacs and F reud" (p. 16), the problem of standpoint of Lukacs and rubric imp l i c i t l y comes to the f o r e . 3 6 Importantly, there is an impl i ed re la t ion be tween where one positions a th inker l ike Lukacs and the inferences one might be able to draw from that posi t ioning. Here an example might help to i l lus t ra te the point . Consider: What are we to think of Lyon (1994), when he wri tes , in Postmodernism, that "The best-known c r i t i c of the postmodern among social theorists is Jurgen Habermas" (p.78)? Or consider his questions, "Can we s t i l l work wi th moderni ty as Habermas or Taylor wou ld counsel , or seek to l ive beyond i t , in V a t t i m o ' s disor ientat ion or B a u d r i l l a r d ' s asocial rea l i ty?" (p. 85) Note that Lyon 's text on the postmodern elevates as "progeni tors" of postmoderni ty the seminal figures of Nietzsche, Heidegger and S immel , and the "new luminar ies" l ike Derr ida , Foucaul t , and Lyotard . The problem wi th an approach l ike Lyon 's based only around the notion of postmoderni ty comes quickly into v i ew when contras ted against its counter-example i n , The Wake of Imagination: towards a postmodern cu l ture (Kearney, 1991b). In the la t ter case we do not have a s i tuat ion in which Habermas or Taylor are set up as defenders of moderni ty , against their reca lc i t rant postmodern counter-parts in Derrida or Foucaul t . Instead, in Kearney, we have 109 a developing critique of the image that traces its trajectory and lineage through premodern, medieval, renaissance and the modern periods. If we then compare the two approaches, the implications suggest not only are there possible problems with typology, depending on the author, but that there exists very different interpretations of the same discourse. Why the difference? This is a crucial question! We might have a clue it has to do with the centrality of the postmodern discourse in Lyon (1994), but for now, in the interest of continuing our argument that answer will have to wait. For more clues with regards to this difference, consider Kearney and Rainwater's (1996), The continental philosophy reader. One finds not only Derrida, Foucault and Habermas within the same text (albeit listed under deconstruction and critical theory as subheadings), but also others like Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Lukacs. Or consider Critchley and Schroeder's (1998), A companion to continental philosophy where the names of Derrida, Foucault, and Habermas appear, along with names like Nietzsche, Heidegger and Kant. What is going on here? Do these disparate thinkers fall within the same rubric when the lens is changed as our analysis suggests? Moreover, if so, what does it say of these labels? Critchley and Schroeder (1998) affirm our first question in acknowledging that they are faced with this kind of problem when organizing sections of their reader. In reference to Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze, they protest that labels "often prevent rather than enable an appreciation of their work" (p. 2). These apparently disparate 110 discourses of crit ical theory, phenomenology and hermeneutics all fal l under the continental rubric that suggests rather than merely a changed lens, we have instead an expanded lens which subsumes Frankfurt critique and Freiburg ontology (Dallmayr, 1991a, 1991b). Postmodern work like Lyon's (1994) sets up oppositions characterizing those who argue in defence of modernity, like Habermas and Taylor, against those of the poststructural theorists like Lyotard and Derrida. Yet, when this opposition is compared with expanded contexts where they all belong under the same rubric, the differences do not appear as pronounced. Thus, we have a serious problem of distortion with the first instance. Without sufficient attention to their roots within the continental tradition, relegating Habermas and Taylor to a defence of modernity, and Derrida and Lyotard to postmodern critique, carries the implication the writer might not be aware that all of these theorists have common roots within hermeneutic and phenomenology traditions, or that the Frankfurt and Freiburg Schools are related as my exploratory research confirms. 3.2c Forgotten and lost threads At this point, I pause to revisit the question I deferred earlier, what accounts for the difference between Lyon's and Kearney's accounts? The difference likely stems from Kearney's positionality as a member within a continuing hermeneutic tradition (e.g. Kearney, 1991a, 1995, 2001; Kearney & 111 Dooley, 1999; Kearney & Rasmussen, 2001) that antedates the poststructural discourse. By contrast, Lyon (1994) positions himself in the postmodern as a debate that negates the internal consistency that underscores the overlaps in the background of theorists. While it is true, different theorists within the continental tradition have taken different stands, they nevertheless retain that root commonality based upon core tenets of hermeneutic phenomenology tradition from whence they came. That is to say, despite what appears as surface discontents, they nevertheless all speak variations of the same language with its core underlying assumptions that elevate certain aspects over others. To read this positioning without an awareness of this basic commonality would be distorting at best; and reproducing at worse, reflecting less than a complete understanding of the fundamentals that speak to both surface arguments. The problem stems in part from forgetting the rich phenomenology or hermeneutics backgrounds of key theorists. For instance, writers might not acknowledge Marcuse's phenomenological ties to Heidegger, because of Heidegger's problematic status with Nazism. Or perhaps with the popularity of Lyotard's (1984) The postmodern condition that provides the impetus for Lyon (1994), we might forget that Lyotard also wrote Phenomenology (1991), Lesson of the analytic of the sublime with a systematic examination of Kant (1994); or The confession of Augustine (2000). There are also exceptions, such as Luke's (1990a) rooting of Marcuse's Marxism in phenomenology. Other 112 examples , more relevant to my work, l ie in forgotten threads be tween Lukacs and Heidegger (see Goldmann , 1977); Benjamin and Adorno (Benjamin, 1973); Dil they and Husserl (Makkreel , Scanlon, St Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology. , 1987); or Husserl and Frege (Haaparanta, 1994). 3.2d Discursive bi furcat ions The problem is even more complex . For example , when we move up another " l e v e l , " w i th Derr ida , Lyotard and Habermas all under the cont inen ta l t rad i t ion , we can contrast this larger group against the discourse of the ana ly t ica l t rad i t ion , associated wi th names l ike Russell , Ayer , or Popper . Wi th in these discursive fractures at the "higher l e v e l " , between the cont inen ta l and ana ly t ica l t radi t ions, one finds the Vienna Ci rc le of Carnap, Schlock, Kraft , Kaufman and Fe ig l , and the philosophy of science we ran into ear l ie r (Bunge, 1998; Newton-Smith , 2000; Wa l l ace , 1996). Given this, we could pose the quest ion, can we find a yet "higher leve l commona l i t y " that bridges the two discourses? The answer is yes. We find that: Husserl is associated wi th cont inenta l t radi t ion whi le Frege, who was Husserl 's col league, was also the founder of the ana ly t ica l school and modern logic (Haaparanta, 1994; Hi l l fit Rosado Haddock, 2000); or Brenta'no, who was Husserl 's teacher , also taught Freud. If we go s t i l l "higher up" a leve l (bearing in mind that "higher up" means going back his tor ical ly) , we f ind what might be the roots in Kant . As Cr i t ch ley (2001) argues, "Immanuel Kant in the late 1 8 t h 113 century... in many ways is the f inal figure common to both con t inen ta l and analy t ica l t rad i t ions" (p. x i ) . We can then consider that after Kant we have a fracturing of the discourse, w i th the philosophy of science on the one hand and the human sciences on the other . Moreover , when we consider that these differing philosophies are, in turn , associated wi th different positions on nature, we can see that the very fracturing structure might have had di rec t impl ica t ions on the problem of nature in the discourse. Wi th Kant ' s posit ion on the unknowabi l i ty of nature, we also see the source of nature 's onto logica l status and " i n a b i l i t y " to speak in the discourse. 3.2e Hermeneutical phenomenology as corrective lens One of the impl ica t ions of these findings suggests that the first problem of label l ing might be re la ted to the problem of loss in obscuring relat ionships and discourses. Thus, given discourses that obfuscate, wi thout a thorough search one might not be able to f ind root influences. My brief rev iew above alerts us to the possibil i ty of an inadequate grasp of the genealogy and the possible consequences. Consider other questions I bel ieve to be key: What i f one is uninformed of hermeneut ics or phenomenology and a t tendant pr inciples , thinkers, and linkages? Can one navigate the discourse? The answer is yes. But can one navigate the discourse indef in i te ly and not expec t problems? 114 My answer here is no. As I have argued, being uninformed of the background of hermeneutics or phenomenology is extremely problematic, if not distorting. There can be no comparison reading Lyon (1994) against Vogel (1995) or How (1995) since the first is about postmodern discourse in general, and the latter two focus on the Habermas-Marcuse (1995) and Habermas-Gadamer (How, 1995) debates respectively. Within my argument, however, issues in these debates, are key to my ontological questions related to the status of nature. The implications are serious when one considers the student who is not informed of hermeneutics while reading the Lyon text, and the impression they might form not only of the interlocutors depicted, but salient issues in the discourse. With this claim, I am not conjecturing but speaking from my lived experience. Prior to being conversant about hermeneutics and phenomenology, the incomplete and distorting picture could only be corrected by hermeneutic-phenomenological awareness. Having examined the problem of the loss of nature with its difficulty in exegesis, I return next to our hermeneutical pursuit of the posited green thread within Marxism, with its legacy in the problem of nature in Lukacs. Exemplary of exegetical research, I problematize the status of nature with respect to Lukacs' hypothesis of three meanings of nature that has confounded Western Marxism, and extended the discourse, given the footprint of the Frankfurt School. The forgoing prepares us well for Lukacs. The problem of Lukacs is the 115 problem of nature. It revolves around the status of nature in terms of laws, sc ience, natural resource, e tc . Before we begin, a set of focus questions w i l l highlight the main issues in Lukacs. 3.3 HERMENEUTICS OF NATURE IN LUKACS 3.3a Questioning Nature Is nature " r e a l " or merely effects of discourse and social construction? (Eder, 1996; Evernden, 1992; Hannigan, 1995; Snyder, 1999; Soper, 1995) 3 7 Is de te rmina t ion or responsibi l i ty in our destiny as humans? Are we humans part of nature, and is i t possible to get past the dual ism thesis that argues for the bifurcat ion of the soc i a l / cu l tu ra l from the natural? If so, does a neo-Kant ian v iew s t i l l hold in the argument that the natural is ineffable and unknowable? Or, can i t be that we humans can actual ly be "discursively v io l en t " in aspiring to speak for a "mu te" nature (Alcoff, 1991; Soper, 1995) despi te the neo-Kantian impasse (Latour, 1993; Voge l , 1996)? If so, through what t ranscendental authori ty dare we speak, when the natural science that we a t tempt to hold as standard is i tself exposed as the product of human labour, social const ruct ion, and ideologica l prac t ice (Latour, 1993; Voge l , 1996)? Conversely, can we ascribe to t ranscendenta l normative c la ims that natural science seeks to dominate nature (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1944/1998; Leiss, 1972/1994; Merchant , 1980)? Is our c r i t i c a l labour, arguably immanent and wrought through t o i l , social construct ion and discourse, found 116 with in the same cruc ib le as the natural scient i f ic ra t ional i ty (Vogel , 1996)? A n d , is i t possible to avoid the a t tendant effects of c i rcu la r i ty and aspire towards natural ism beyond the social (Bookchin, 1996; Merchant , 1980; Naess & Rothenberg, 1989)? Can we remain potent to address the po l i t i ca l ramif icat ions of the thesis of social construct ion and discursive effects (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Eder, 1996; Evernden, 1992; Hannigan, 1995)? Co l l ec t ive ly these framing questions speak to the problem of the Kant ian divide discussed ear l ie r and the question of nature as subject , voice and presence in the discourse. Elsewhere I have e labora ted on these focus questions (Feng, 2001c) that I a t t r ibute to my reading of Vogel and ear l ie r to Lukacs. In what fol lows, reca l l three cen t ra l re la ted points. First, consider the merits of my c la ims , insofar as they relate to my thesis quest ion on the loss of nature from the discourse. Second, s i tuate the proximi ty of Lukacs to this quest ion of the bracket ing of nature from the discourse and the necessity of a more cen t ra l place for Lukacs in my reformulat ion of the problem of nature (Vogel , 1995, 1996). Th i rd , consider that these examples have origins wi th in l ived exper ience as w e l l as a t tent ion wi th theorists, debates, and bifurcations of discourses. It is l ike ly that i f I d id not have knowledge of Lukacs ' hermeneut ics background I would have drawn an incomple te or inaccura te impression of his work. I point to extant works I have found that document Lukacs ' t ies w i th Husserl and possibly Heidegger (Goldmann, 1977). It appears that Lukacs ' 117 discourse was not only Hegelian, but tempered with lost threads of hermeneutics and phenomenology discussed above: Thus Wes te rn M a r x i s m was marked f rom its beginnings by a cri t ique of science and scient ism. But what remains ambiguous. . . is just h o w far the cri t ique is supposed to reach. (Vogel , 1996, p. 2) In each of these cases the quest ion of the meaning and status of nature produces the difficulty.. . . The t rad i t ion of Wes te rn M a r x i s m is bedevi l led by a fundamental tens ion l u r k i n g w i t h i n its epistemological views, one that comes to the surface as soon as the quest ion of nature is posed. (Vogel , 1996, p . 4) I want not on ly to disentangle the various threads associated w i t h "the p rob lem of nature i n Lukacs ," but also want to examine why they got tangled i n the first place... it is these ambivalences, as m u c h as the part icular theses he defends, that Lukacs bequeaths as a difficult and ambiguous inheri tance to the Wes te rn M a r x i s m t rad i t ion he inaugurates. (Vogel , 1996, p . 14) ... 'Lukacs ' fundamental difficulty is w i t h nature," ... most commentators agree that this is so. Yet as soon as they start to describe what that difficulty consists i n , disagreement immedia te ly arises. The most c o m m o n cr i t i c i sm is that Lukacs denies the existence of nature as something independent of the social . . . Luc io Col le t t i expl ic i t ly exerts this, and Al f r ed Sch imdt too writes that Lukacs dissolves nature, bo th i n fo rm and content, into the forms of social appropr ia t ion. (Vogel , 1996, p . 13) Having rooted Western Marxism, with the influence of the Frankfurt school on the discourse and his ambiguity around the status of nature, Lukacs' shadow is significant, if not core, to my topographic task. The problems around the ambiguity between the critique of science or scientism in the meaning and status of nature are akin to my cobweb metaphor, where nature, as the fundamental issue in Lukacs, has never been resolved. Similarly, threads have 118 become entangled . Lukacs has been in terpre ted in varying positions: cast ing nature as a social category, furthering the Kantian d iv ide , being uncr i t i ca l of nature as natural sc ience, and so on . These are charges of denials of nature and of col lapsing nature into the soc ia l . What is going on in Lukacs? Thus the word 'nature' becomes highly ambiguous. We have already drawn attention to the idea, formulated most lucidly by Kant but essentially unchanged since Kepler and Galileo, of nature as the "aggregate of systems of the laws" governing what happens. Parallel to this conception whose development out of the economic structures of capitalism has been shown repeatedly, there is another conception of nature, a value concept, wholly different from the first one and embracing a wholly different cluster of meanings. A glance at the history of natural law shows the extent to which these two conceptions have become inextricably interwoven with each other. For here we can see that 'nature' has been heavily marked by the revolutionary struggle of the bourgeoisie: 'ordered', calculable, formal and abstract character of the approaching bourgeois society appears natural by the side of the artifice, the caprice and the disorder of feudalism and absolutism. At the same time if one thinks of Rousseau, there are echoes of a quite different meaning wholly incompatible with this one. It concentrates increasingly on the feeling that social institution (reification) strip man [sic] of his [sic] human essence and that the more culture and civilisation (i.e. capitalism and reification) take possession of him [sic], the less able he [sic] is to be a human being. And with a reversal of meanings that never becomes apparent, nature becomes the repository of all these inner tendencies opposing the growth of mechanisation, dehumanisation and reification. Nature thereby acquires the meaning of what has grown organically, what was not created by man [sic], in contrast to the artificial structures of human civilisation. But, at the same time, it can be understood as that aspect of human inwardness which has remained natural, or at least tends or longs to become natural once more. "They are what we once were," says Schiller of the forms of nature, "they are what we should once more become." But here, unexpectedly and indissolubly bound up with the other meanings, we discover a third conception of nature, one in which we can clearly discern the ideal and the tendency to overcome the problems of a reified existence. 'Nature' here refers to authentic humanity, the true essence of man [sic] liberated from the false, mechanising forms of society: man [sic] as a perfected whole who has inwardly overcome, or is in the process of overcoming, the dichotomies of theory and practice, reason and the senses, form and content; man [sic] whose tendency to create his own forms does not imply an abstract 119 rationalism which ignores concrete content; man [sic] for whom freedom and necessity are identical... (Lukacs, 1971a, p. 136-137) 3.3b The lost third thread in Lukacs In Lukacs ' own words, bur ied in about the middle of the book, he clar i f ies this first in terpre ta t ion of nature as science through natural law. He notes that para l le l to this thread is an economic in terpre ta t ion of "nature as va lue" wi th its own universe of meanings. But then, Lukacs brings in Rousseau, in addi t ion to Kant, as another in ter locutor that my research confirms (Luke, 1990b). The problem, according to Lukacs, is that these two have become conf la ted through "bourgeoisie, ' o rde red ' , ca lcu lab le , formal and abstract in terpre ta t ion of na ture" (p. 136). Here i t does not help that these words are also a r t i cu la ted through the echoes of Rousseauan authent ic i ty ; inner nature does not fit easily with nature as either scientific laws or material substrate. My raw hypothesis of the problem is thus three- fo ld . One, we are in a binary s i tuat ion through Kant wi th the " thing-in- i tself" , around the status of nature as c rea ted or not c rea ted , accessible or inaccessible , t ranscendent or immanent , de te rmined or free. Here is nature as an ep is temologica l problem around knowing nature. Two , we have another set of questions around ontology: in terms of what is nature? Three , against the positions a t t r ibu ted to Lukacs of holding nature as a social category or not, we f ind , in Lukacs' own words, not two, but three images of nature, as natural law (science), as value concept (economy), and as authent ic i ty (inner nature). The th i rd image sits in 120 uneasy tension wi th the other two; i t confounds the debate because i t is h idden. Whereas the first two map re la t ive ly w e l l onto epis temologica l tensions, this th i rd thread appears incommensurable , given its inv is ib i l i ty . 3.3c Where Rousseau and Weber meet in Lukacs The roots of this th i rd image of nature are grounded in Rousseau's inf luence on Marx (along wi th Bentham, Hegel and others). These roots are also found in the Romantic shift of hermeneutics from theology to philosophy. Thus here we have the makings of a confounding prob lem. Lukacs ' th i rd concept ion of nature does not emerge except through careful reading, or in my case, through conduct ing my thorough search on his text in d ig i ta l f o r m a t . 3 8 In col lapsing the onto logica l dimensions into the first two concept ions of nature as constructed or found, we risk commi t t ing a ca tegor ica l error by confusing epistemology with ontology.39 Here the Rousseaun tendency in Lukacs ' "opposing the growth of mechanisat ion, dehumanisat ion and r e i f i ca t ion" may be read as Romant ic ism, natural ism or hermeneut ics : since a l l three have roots in Rousseau. It is relevant to my work that the feel ing of re i f icat ion also roots wi th in Rousseau. But before I expand on this point , I need to first discuss another source in Lukacs that appears to in te rac t w i t h this Rousseaun cr i t ique of re i f icat ion as inauthent ic i ty : Lukacs with much debt to Weber... uncovers a set of striking structural homologies among remarkably diverse groups of areas... [with] his claim 121 ... these all share a deep structure [which] is the bourgeois worldview.... And that ultimately its roots lie in the phenomenon of reification. (Vogel, 1996, p. 21) In the approach to science not as taws but as critique of its objectivist at t i tude , we find Lukacs highly suspicious of objec t iv ism and its corre la tes . This a t t i tude emanates from what I bel ieve to be the hermeneut ica l dimension of Lukacs, which as I pointed out above, has affinit ies w i th Romant ic ism, both wi th roots wi th Rousseau. Here Lukacs draws from the Weber ian wor ldv iew as ob jec t ive , subject to formal laws, reducible by analysis, and ahis tor ica l . It is in this sense, the Rousseaun and Weber ian readings converge when Lukacs broadens the concept of re i f ica t ion only to re-read re i f ica t ion as commodi ty fet ishism. Al though, it remains unclear to me how it might be possible to broaden the concept wi thout enlarging i t to be primary over c a p i t a l . In this sense I am doing no more than to carry Lukacs ' theor iz ing to i ts logical conclus ion; the c redi t is s t i l l Lukacs ' . I close wi th one more c i ta t ion to verify what I had ment ioned about the inf luence from Rousseau. To fac i l i t a te this discussion, I have highlighted the c r i t i c a l sec t ion. It is significant that Lukacs often refers to the Kant ian "thing-in- i t se l f" that haunts Marxism, wi th in the same breath that he cr i t iques re i f ica t ion . The c i t a t ion captures the plausibi l i ty that bourgeois thought dominates scient i f ic logic in put t ing philosophy in the service of c ap i t a l : 122 Rousseau's "social man" [sic] living in the "social condition" with "his artificial constitution" is, in fact, bourgeois man. Rousseau's natural and civic man, therefore, can be seen as radical critiques and alternative visions of bourgeois lifeworld that Rousseau saw emerging in the eighteenth century. This point becomes clear in re-examining his notions of Nature, property and the political contract. Beginning with Bacon, and leading through Descartes, Leibnitz, and Newton, the new forms of the "bourgeois" intellect sought a structure of scientific logic and formal reason capable of ensuring "the calculability of the world." In reducing Nature to nothing but a rational design, a calculable mechanism, and a dead object, bourgeois thought gained the power, through the mediation of science and technical arts, to manipulate Nature and society exploitatively for the advantage of the enterprising, wealthy, propertied and the powerful. The "idealized kingdom of the bourgeois" ultimately turns "nature into mere objectivity" robbing both Nature and humanity of subjectivity, which reduces them to different classes of objects suited for different purposes as objective materials. As objective materials, both natural resources and human beings increasingly become trapped in reified definitions as objects, as things, as commodity-forms; in turn the commodity form reinforces the bourgeois form of life based upon the market, the commodity, and rational calculation. Here, men [sic] and Nature fall victims to the phantom objectivity of the commodity form as "it became to the interests of men [sic] to appear what they were not," namely commodity objects and calculating particular wills, as "man, heretofore free and independent, was not in consequence of multitude of new needs brought into subjection" by these reifications of bourgeois commodity fetishism. The bourgeois philosophe armed with Enlightenment rationalism objectified Nature and then naturalized humanity, as La Mettrie's and Helvetius' notion of "man as machine," in fact illustrates. Rousseau on the other hand remained critical of these notions. In contradiction, he sought to subjectify Nature, and by doing so, to rehumanize humanity through the General Will, virtuous legislation, and an active educated conscience. (Luke, 1990b, p.112-113) 3.3d T o w a r d topographic movement in the quot id ian In sum, I began wi th a vague question of how nature became bracketed from the discourse. But in order to grasp the complex i ty of the problem, i t was necessary to pass through the obl igatory hermeneut ica l -phenomenologica l turn . It was through that turn that I loca ted the problem wi th in labe l l ing , debates, bifurcations, spokesperson and links. But as seen in Lukacs, the problem also 123 lies within the natural, scientific and economic conflating in the discourse and the categorical error of confusing epistemology with ontology. I find it uncanny that the isomorphism reappears where the natural is ecology, the scientific is technology and the economic the cultural. It suggests no matter how we approach the problem, these dimensions always appear. Clearly all these ambiguities, lost threads and bifurcations point towards the loss of nature from the discourse. They need our attention. I have argued there are the consequential effects that issue from this confusion and the dominance of distorted conceptions of nature. In this chapter, I have identified three aspects of this loss, in the everyday, in the structure of the discourse itself, and with respect to particular debates and discourses. Furthermore, my search has disclosed the bracketing of nature twice, once through science in the philosophy of science, once again through culture in nature as capital. These dimensions also suggest locating my topographic movement around these omissions. In place of a singular source, I found systemic tendencies like internal logic, structural homologies, removal of constraints on behaviour and the life, and a webbed structure that has revealed lost threads in twisted and subterranean strands. With recovery and my topographical project in mind, I found a new metaphor, developed an exegetical method, realized hermeneutics and phenomenology as an obligatory passage point, and located the problem as one 124 general ly around the quixot ic status of nature. My cont r ibut ion to the ambiguity of nature in Lukacs was my response to Jagtenberg and Mck ie ' s (1997) c a l l for a topographical project . Having responded to a c a l l , I also c a l l for revival of Lukacs. We need to see that Lukacs, l ike Weber and Benjamin, sits at the doorway between the nineteenth and twent ie th century . This was the same doorway through which nature was lost wi th in the ensuing contradic t ions around its in terpre ta t ion as science and cap i t a l . In a l l of this, perhaps the most profound finding is the in terna l ver i f ica t ion of the ex is ten t ia l question that I had posed which led me to the status of nature in the consequent ia l question inquir ing into the foundations of the epis temology and ontology of nature. Even more, whi le I had no a priori in tent towards cur r icu lum theory, my concept ion of Quotidian Pedagogy and my pract ice that is self-ref lexive of the problem of compl i c i t y emerged from my exegesis. Having discussed abstract components , I turn now to the quot id ian in concre te immediacy in the second half of my disser ta t ion. 125 C H A P T E R F O U R : T O W A R D T H E I M M E D I A T E M O V E M E N T This chapter deals wi th the flux between immediacy and re i f icat ion to address the mode I c a l l the deconstructive present. What I f ind very te l l ing is that each t ime I t r i ed to wr i te the chapters separately, whether on re i f ica t ion , or immediacy , they appeared to resist the forced separat ion. It was only when I s topped insisting on separat ing re i f icat ion and immediacy , in t rea t ing the two as separate chapters , through an imposed a priori sequencing, that I overcame the inordinate di f f icul ty I faced . What this phenomenon suggested was a kind of performative (Fels, 1999; Fels & Meyer , 1997) va l id i ty in terna l to the d i a l ec t i ca l flux be tween re i f icat ion and immediacy at tes t ing to the very dimension I had been struggling w i t h ; perhaps its l ived-fe l t -exis tence . The resistance suggested that i t d id not make sense to a t tempt to wr i t e chapters in isolat ion of each other . Thus i t is f i t t ing how it a l l flows smoothly now, where the deconstructive present as immediacy flows natural ly out of the deconstructive past, not at the demarca t ion of a chapter , but wi th in the chapter i tself . In what fol lows, I try to work wi th this tension, where in the first half is more theore t ica l ly based, and covers the obl igatory groundwork. The second 126 half is exper ien t ia l and transit ions to immediacy which makes up the balance of my disser ta t ion. 4.1 WHEN SUNLIGHT GLISTENS ACROSS THE WATER ON THE PIER / remember it was one of those days where the sun glistened gently across the water, when I suddenly felt in gentle rapture. I think it had something to do with the soft jazz in the background, the warm summer breeze that caught my face when I stepped outside, deep in thought. Or maybe it was the sunlight playing on the water... in fact I am sure it was... or maybe it was... in how the sun played with the water, that was playing on the soft summer breeze., as the gentle jazz tunes filled the air.. maybe it had to do with the fact that I had been preoccupied only a moment ago.... Or maybe the magic lies in the interplay between my inattentiveness being brought back., to Life by the breeze., as the totality caught me by surprise., the best part of it.. it was all unexpected., and I was in the moment., and with the sun high in the sky.. at midday.. it was going to be an eternity.. the bad part... beauty is meant to be shared., it was one of those things which grows when it was shared with someone meaningful., as when one shares the fading embers of the setting sun... in smallness of being... but of course, I had been unprepared for beauty, too absorbed in my writing, alone by myself, my reading and my thoughts., still, it would be an eternity before the sun would set... and it was nice to be caught by rapture again., when one is least suspecting it... I have probably written these words in various ways a dozen times. It was a piece of memory that somehow lingered in my being. One could say I might have a certain disposition to these moments. The wonderful thing is they are not rational, in that they are unplanned, as one encounters destiny when one is thinking one is merely stepping outside for air.. I suppose given my intention you could say that my act was instrumental... but I don't think it was... and I do think we need to differentiate between the intentional and the instrumental., it was more spontaneous., the next chapters will enfold similar instances when the same kind of feeling has suddenly inexplicably unfolded around me., the feeling is difficult to convey... it may be the insects in the night air., or the certain shade of light., or in the face of people who are about to face the Infinite in their appreciation of music, or along one's mundane walk down an inner city street... but it's always something that begins to gradually feel different in the air... 127 Now I confess I do not have a sound rational-theory for this experiential phenomenon., and I am aware of how mythical this all sounds... but it happens to me... and mythos is story by another name... I only know.. (which is more important)., that it works., and that it must for others., but the point for me is., when one enters into it., one is unprepared., and perhaps it is because of that unpreparedness amidst an openness to possibility., that a crack opens between the world in the world... that momentarily allows one to see differently., it can be precipitated by happiness or grief... but the other thing about these moments., because they happen in unplanned spontaneity... they are also brief, elusive and finite... and one usually does not know how long will the feeling last... but it seems to me... if the Infinite were to be found.. it would be hidden in those moments., that can make a difference., when we mere mortals., glimpse... ever so briefly... at life as if we were not in it... given that it has this profound quality and it has been working for me... I am wondering... theorizing., whether we can make more concrete this opening between the worlds... we cannot cause it happen., but we just might be able to allow it to happen more often., if that is possible., then I believe there is possibility for what I call quotidian pedagogy... it is in dedication to these moments when the familiar becomes unfamiliar., in the breakdown of the everyday., within the everyday., that my writing which follows is dedicated to Hope in immediacy for Life is like a river where one is flooded with the experience of being., that can take on a mundane quality if we let ourselves forget the world., or forget the hearts that pay attention to the world.... rather we can leap into the immediacy of things for therein lies also the possibility of Grace... 4.2 WINDOWS AND OPENNESS TO PHENOMENON To begin with I need to confess that I took a measure of academic license in writing what appears as solipsistic appeal of phenomenological immediacy for myself. 4 0 But here I am hoping that through the literary device of intersubjectivity, my readers can identify with the sudden bursts of unplanned, but sometimes also life-transforming insights. They feel like 128 windows that periodically open and close, ready to disclose that which is always present, but often remains concealed in the face of reification. For lack of a better metaphor, these are windows that sometimes appear once in a lifetime, without ever re-opening again. Or at other times appearing periodically, preparing us for our encounter with immediacy and destiny. The freeplay of words almost takes me back there where I re-attune to my regained experience, even as I share my experience in Husserlian hopes that the intersubjective speaks across context and people. This is how I understand the lifeworld. This is how it periodically discloses to me. I believe these insights avail themselves if one is open to possibility in phenomenological attentiveness. As an educator-researcher, with pedagogy present-at-heart, I am hopeful for the potential of this form of phenomenological experience in my conceptualization of quotidian pedagogy. And, while I believe that it is important to grasp the significance of this kind of experience as it unfolds, the recollection of immediacy can be just as meaningful, if not more meaningful. The phenomenological instances I share in the balance of my dissertation fall into this category. But first, with sunlight on the water as backdrop, here is my experiential take on immediacy... 4.3 IMMEDIACY, HERMENEUTICS, PHENOMENOLOGY, AND TRANSFORMATION "In its contemporary form... one cannot separate phenomenology and hermeneutics...." (Pinar, 1995, p. 405). Although Will iam Pinar penned these 129 words eight years ago, I bel ieve his words s t i l l hold t rue. They are both as elusive as that space of immediacy. Thus I confess that I f e e l this deep urge to name immediacy as that space of possibility where hermeneut ics and phenomenology converge. Nevertheless I am mindful that immediacy has often been negatively associated wi th re i f i cat ion, as w i th Lukacs ' false immediacy, in Marxist false consciousness. But then again, immediacy has o f ten been cast as that urgent obsession of reaching the elusive substrate. It seems to me the f irst misses the opportunity for lending itself to the space of t ransformat ion, wh i le the second perhaps misses the point, when it hurries for that elusive ground. It might be prudent to slow down, to opt for disclosure over discovery, a l lowing for transformation to perco late to the top as immediacy. Immediacy here manifests as conceptua l and concrete, not necessari ly as ideas, although it can, but as the tang ib le in mate r i a l fo rm, whether as semblance of Levinasian face, the sunlight on the water , a child 's smile, or traces where the Divine passes. 4.4 QUESTIONING REIFICATION What happens when the Earth that nourishes L i fe becomes expunged of d iv in ity and sense of the sacred? What happens when we humans have no externa l recourse, when we can no longer appeal to externa l arbiters? What happens, in our post-Kantian wor ld , when the gods have abandoned us, when we humans come to bel ieve that it is we who construct the world? What happens when encouraged by our successes and excesses, we humans become 130 convinced we can conquer nature, and in our self-congratulatory hubris even bel ieve we make our own world? What happens i f be tween objec t and sign we come across the problem of representat ion that suggests a design as va l id as its representat ion, but that the representat ion is flawed? What i f seemingly innocuous substances can merge to become le tha l — where the immanent responsibil i ty of design is absent or refuted, under the banner of terror? What if the objects designed to bet ter our l ives, end up doing the opposite — wi th the capabi l i ty of harming and obl i te ra t ing Life through construct ion of the object on a mass scale? Further, what i f a f law is not found, wi th in par t icular designs, and becomes a systemic t rend , answering to the internal logic of design? What i f deeply buried wi th in that logic exists congenital defects that can systematical ly undo the potent ia l once thought possible i n /by / t h rough that very design? What if wi th in the process of ascendancy of Reason as envisioned by the Western Enl igtenment , the power to ob l i te ra te Life has lost a l l sense of conscience and d i rec t iona l i ty , and where ex t inc t ion is i ron ica l ly obscured under the name of the laws of nature? What i f knowing has been expunged of subject ivi ty , spi r i tual i ty , and meaning? What happens i f we arr ive at an age where we are beholden to the constructs c rea ted by those wi th power, where we can no longer t e l l the social origins of the mater ia l destruct ion behind such constructs? 131 In short, I worry and shudder when the objec t is wr i t large above us, looming larger than Life — when all is turned into object, when we cannot see the undoing of the wor ld , when we dare to bel ieve we make our w o r l d , even as it unravels before us? 4.5 PROBLEM OF DESIGN AS REIFICATION I begin wi th a par t icular in terpre ta t ion of the problem of re i f icat ion close to my heart around the problem of representat ion in design. Whi le now a concerned member of a global communi ty , teacher , or researcher, I once used to play a more quest ionable role in designing the heart of the microprocessor that powers our technologica l age. It is from this design vantage point , w i th a t roubled "green" heart , that I speak. Not as alarmist , but to share some of the questions that have been worrying me for several decades. I first became a ler ted to the problem of model l ing , representat ion, and construct in computer design and began to question the danger that lurks wi th in d ig i ta l design. Dwel l ing as we do, wi th in the house of language, i t takes a l i fe t ime to not only name the danger as " re i f i ca t ion" , but to also reformulate our language to ar t icu la te the complex i ty of that danger. Based upon my design background, I bel ieve we need to prepare ourselves to answer these diff icul t questions, and face the impera t ive before us — we humans have a r r ived at this problemat ic nexus descr ibed above, when a l l is objec t . I make this c l a im wi th debt to Georg Lukacs whom I bel ieve gl impsed the danger, for he too had been struggling for 132 language to describe the mystery of its fatal embrace. It is appropriate to frame this discussion with more questions, but this time focused on the problem of design. 4.5a Questioning design What happens, when we arrive at an age where it is possible to draw from logical symbols in our heads, sketch these symbols, and link them in design, to predict with precision the eventuality of occurrences based upon these abstract linkages? What happens when we cast these designs in the name of general-purpose objects that allow for not only ubiquity of presence, but also anonymity of producers and consumers around the object? What if, within that ubiquity of presence and anonymity of design, objects that have been mass produced can be mass consumed without attendant personal responsibility and ethical imperatives? What if these objects of design are built not to better our lives and to make them more meaningful, but to harm and obliterate life on a mass scale? Finally, is it indeed problematic to mass-produce objects that can do mass harm, and not question the ambiguity of design, and the congenital defects between design and implementation that can obliterate a world? How is it possible that these conjoined problems have come to pass? Moreover, what is it that makes possible continuation of this profound problem, allowing for its proliferation and intensification? 133 4.5b Modelling between world and computer Today a typical computer science or engineering student can sketch symbols on a piece of paper, and by following principles of Boolean algebra, translate the symbols into artefacts by hooking together integrated circuits, and with unerring accuracy confirm the design through its operation. The goal here is to make what is known as a general-purpose device that can fit as easily into a microwave as an incendiary device. To have the ability and hence, power, to translate an abstraction into concrete reality with unerring accuracy, presuming one has obeyed the laws of logic, is the height of hubris when the machine wil l do one's bidding. If the lure of power is not tragic enough, there is worse to follow. We have no way of knowing whether that device wil l end up in a microwave or in a missile. The engineer has no responsibility except for the functioning that has been promised by the design. The design is only as reliable as its representation. I know all this because I became aware of this phenomenon years ago when I was designing a general-purpose microprocessor. Between my father's Dao Li and the teachings of the Jesuits, I was shaken by potential hubris, and horrified by the implication of the ubiquity, anonymity, irresponsibility, and unreliability that appeared as neutral or even virtuous. That was when I defected. But it has taken me all this time to articulate the situation that I sensed was deeply f lawed. Perhaps the most challenging problem to communicate is also the most basic one around which other problems revolved. I identify this as the problem of design, modelling and implementation, which I 134 now read through social theory as the problem of reification. Let me expand on this. When Figure 7 adapted from Cantwell is read alongside the citation from Abram (1996), and Cantwell (1985), we get a sense of the depth of the problem of design. The diagram and the citations expose the problem of design as linguistic, manifested in the form of the m/srepresentation of the lifeworld. There are also those who refute the oversimplification of the problem of design, arguing that software simulation cannot take in the complexity of the lifeworld (Winograd & Flores, 1986). How did Western civilization become so estranged from non-human nature, so obvious to the presence of other animals and the earth, that our current lifestyles and activities contribute daily to the destruction of whole ecosystems... and to the extinction of countless species? ... [h]ow did civilized humankind lose all sense of reciprocity and relationship with the animate natural world...? How did civilization break out of, and leave behind, the animistic and participatory mode of experience known to all native, place-based cultures? ... [Ajnimism was never... left behind. The participatory proclivity of the senses were simply transferred from the depths of the surrounding life-world to the visible letters of the alphabet... [A]s the hills and bending grasses once spoke to our tribal ancestors, so these written letters and words now speak to us.... The sense that engaged or participated with this new writing found themselves locked within a discourse that had become exclusively human. Only thus, with the advent and spread of phonetic writing, did the rest of nature begin to lose its voice... [when] the printing press, and the dissemination of uniformly printed texts that it made possible, used in the Enlightenment and the profoundly detached view of nature that was to prevail in the modern period... (Abram, 1996, p. 137-138) On October 5, i 9 6 0 , the American Ballistic Missile Early-warning System Station at Thule, Greenland, indicated a large contingent of Soviet missiles headed towards the United States. Fortunately, common sense prevailed ... [since] international tensions weren't particularly high at the time. The system had only recently been installed. Kruschev was in New York, and... 135 a massive Soviet attack seemed unlikely. As a result no devastating counter attack was launched. What was the problem? The moon had risen, and was reflecting radar signals back to earth. Needless to say, this lunar reflection hadn't been predicted by the system's designers... (Cantwell, 1985, p. 18) ti, : -o • * ' rS hwmsmm II DIGITAL TREE Figure 8. The problem of (mis)representation of the w o r l d Where the mode l acts as translator between the wor ld and the computer , the impl ica t ions are immense. We have (mis)representat ion in the model that translates the wor ld into the computer . The compute r is only as re l iable as the representat ion through which the w o r l d is f i l t e r ed . But the problem is even deeper . This relat ionship is i tself posi ted upon the naive assumption of rea l i ty according to correspondence theory that forgets we are not ex terna l to the w o r l d but integral — as a being-wi thin- the-more- than-human w o r l d . Thus, even wi thout going into layers of cu l tu ra l const ruct ion and 136 software representation, when groups of microprocessors are networked to become mini-systems, we introduce the problem of layers of construction that could be. flawed at its core. But the integrity of the whole system is seriously compromised when something as large as the moon can be missed out of the representation for contingency. Through this example we can see how the problem of design can be compounded by the anonymity, unreliability, irresponsibility and hubris at the level of reification writ large. The complexity of this problem symbolizes both the ethos of our age, and the depth and extent of reification. Having laid out the problem with design as exemplar template for conveying the magnitude of the problem of reification, systemic immanence of the flaw, and the potential for abuse, I shift next to a more philosophical discussion of the problem of reification. Rather than believing the gradual unfolding of the events we have been tracing as one of malicious intent, we need to stand back, and question whether the problem might lie within the obscure origins of historical Utopian intentions. 4 1 If we have become thrall to the object, we need to somehow find our way back to re-awakening our sensibilities and to cease our obsession with construction — to turn away from our prolonged infatuation with the object. At the same time, we need to realize that the power of immediacy exists within all of us to break the spell of reification through deconstruction of the social that reifies our world, our hearts, and Life. As we live our everyday lives 137 through layers and layers of representation, we need to learn to turn away from our extended gaze, to see past "object" and illusion, and toward the Life that stands, always already, long before our hypnotic thrall to the machine. In CHAPTER TWO, I traced a path, questioning the mechanism through which the lived world has been turned into object. My path turned to remap that fragmentation in CHAPTER THREE. In this chapter, I shift from the abstract to re-immerse myself within the immediacy of the lifeworld, to grasp and wake up to the reification of Life, and the world. While we need to acknowledge the emancipatory power of the theory of social construction in exposing the socially constituted nature of the material world, in how our lives, learning, teaching, politics, and even our sciences have been constituted through and through by construction, we need to also avoid the danger of reifying the theory, to the point where we expunge any traces of the real. We need to begin by reversing the direction that we have been proceeding towards thus far, by questioning the elevation of the Kantian theory of the construction of knowledge. This theory tempts us with the possible conceit of believing that we made the world even as we remain blind to the layers and layers of imagery over the ontologically prior l ifeworld. Here is where, precisely because of the power of the primacy of ideas in shaping not only the found social world but (due to the dominance of the West) the entire living Earth (in its power to consume all as monoculture), we need to 138 turn back to the wor ld before idea . We also need to quest ion the wisdom of e levat ing the power of social construct ion through exposing its uniqueness as cont ingency wi th in the conjunct ion of events that have made the unthinkable possible. Wi th the reign of ar t i f ice over l i fe , where discourse negates the l iving tissue of the wor ld , where theory looms larger than life that gives i t u t terance , and where we choose to bel ieve in numbers over stories our ancestors t e l l us, we need to also find our paths back to immediacy. Thus, w h i l e i t is c lear we need to c r i t ique the phi losophica l arguments that resulted in our being en twined wi th in the operat ion of "the big machine" , we need to also avoid re i f ica t ion , by simultaneously immersing ourselves in immediacy in the ontologica l ly prior l i f ewor ld . We need to deconstruct the past and the everyday to find Life behind re i f ica t ion . 4.6 UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE SUPREME DANGER OF REIFICATION Since ant iqui ty , humanity has been l iving under the yoke of the ethos of the age. That much is c lear . What remains unclear is whether the yoke that we find ourselves l iving under today is qual i ta t ive ly different from the past. Whi le the debate continues, i t appears w e are l iv ing under antecedents wi thout paral lels in history. We are reminded of the sheer magnitude and depth of this change by the mark of the human impr in t to forever a l te r the face of the Earth — to te rminate the mirac le of Li fe . Some even hold the radica l v iew that the air we breathe and blue skies overhead are no longer as they were in the t ime 139 of our ancestors (McKibben, 1999). There are others who tel l us that even our stories are at end (see Kearney, 2002). Thus, even as we balk at the extent of material change, we need to also critique the more insidious aspect of this change that cannot be held in our hands, but which tugs at our hearts. The power of the object has been wel l documented, extending back to antiquity. But what is so different about its power today? We may perhaps answer by explaining that what is different here is not only to be found in the scale of power of the image, but also in the manner in which it abrogates its responsibility — it professes responsibility while concealing its source in a wholly new way. While the act of social construction carries with it an implied responsibility, that responsibility is vacuous when it stamps its name on designs made for harm, unless referenced to terror. In saying this, it seems we are passing from the professed Age of Discovery and Age of Reason into the Age of the Image, where the Object holds us in thrall as it towers over us, reducing all to things. Put differently, in debt to Bruno Latour, our difficulty here lies not only within the ambit of its effect, or temporality of its operation, but also in its ontology. And here object ontology works in doubled movement. On the one hand, it is troubling when we reify that which is un-natural, in believing it is natural. On the other hand, perhaps even more troubling, when we deny the natural altogether, when all is cast under sway of the social. If our negation of that which is ontologically prior to human construction is not problematic 140 enough, that same denial is often assumed under the mode of responsibility of being. 4 2 For as some hold, to say that we have created the world is, and ought to be, synonymous to assuming responsibility for our actions in our making. The irony then, is not when we reify that which we construct as given, but when we hold up Utopian ideas of this mode of being. Urgently, not only does construction writ large as reification threaten to entrap us within the circularity of its unceasing re/production, obfuscating all that which gives meaning and purpose to our lives, but we might also be precluded from alternate modes of being. Here it is significant that the fetters that restrain us are not attached to our limbs and extremities, but within the ontological status of being under the shadow of an all-enveloping epistemology. The foregoing is commensurate with the challenge we face: We need to conceptualize reification in a wholly different way. In casting the problem of reification through my onto-linguistic lens within the promise of the hermeneutic phenomenology tradition, and based upon an expanded Weberian-Lukacsian view, I propose an inversion. Reification is the more fearful phenomenon, over capital. Against the Marxist interpretation of the economic as primary, in which reification is subset as economic fetishization, which might well have begun that way, we have now arrived at the age when the economic, indeed al l , is secondary to reification. When all is object there is the danger of eclipsing meaning under its long shadow. 141 4.6a Returning to the Heart, refuting anthropocentric individualism The first source of worry is individualism. Of course individualism also names what many people consider the finest achievement of modern civilization. We live in a world where people have a right to choose for themselves their own patterns of life, to decide in conscience what conditions to espouse, to determine the shapes of their lives in a whole host of what their ancestors couldn't control. The worry has been repeatedly expressed that the individual lost something important along with the larger social and cosmic horizons of action.... This loss of purpose was linked to a narrowing. People lost the broader vision because they focused on their individual lives. Democratic equality, says Tocqueville, draws the individual towards himself [sic]... the dark side of individualism is a centring on the self, which both flattens and narrows our lives, making them poorer in meaning, and less concerned with others or society. (Taylor, 1991, p. 2-4) But all this talk is beginning to sound too theoretical. Consistent with the sensibility throughout my dissertation, we need to be self-critical of reification in abstraction by returning once more to ground our arguments in the concrete. This reflects my appreciation of Taylor, who draws from de Tocqueville (1835) in his critique of individualism. Here, the concrete is the lived-felt everyday sense palpitating within the beating of our hearts. The best way I know how to do this is to remind our hearts through a series of pointed questions, which through their posing already suggest the power and effect of reification to obscure what we value. In this respect, I also found persuasive the critique of individualism echoed in Ted Aoki's (1997) notion of possessive individualism, and Chet Bowers' (1995) ecocritique of liberalism. I also remind 142 the reader that the questioning technique is implicit to the quotidian pedagogy and the two axioms I mentioned in CHAPTER ONE. What does it mean when our self-esteem is linked to vocations, where work in terms of having a job confers upon us an ontological status equivalent to the value of being? Here, life ironically functions in the most material of ways in exchange of currency, services, and goods, supported by complex abstractions that only elites trained in economics understand. And what does it mean for instance, when the rise and fall of the market is tuned, not to morals but rise and downfall of beings? What does it mean, when we bet our fortunes on the misfortune of others? What happens when we succeed in fooling ourselves into believing that unconditional growth is the key driving force and only index that matters? What happens within this matrix, when education is subordinated to the wil l of the market as means to an end, reduced to the mere acquisition of skills? What does it mean, when we take what is freely given in nature, and charge for it, denying access to those most in need? What does it mean when the sand flowing in the hourglass towers over us, in regulating our lives, our activities and our hearts, to redefine what we understand as happiness? What happens when our gods abandon us, when in delirium of hubris we forget ourselves and believe the cultural activity we call "natural" science to be transcendental? What happens when we alter the found world and have no way to return to its prior state? What does it mean when we "harvest" organs 143 and exchange genetic mater ia l be tween humans, animals , and plants for human self-gain, wi th no cer ta in ty of the outcomes? What happens when we consume genet ica l ly modif ied food wi thout ab i l i ty to effect the reversal? What happens when we can patent Life and price l ife-saving medicines out of the reach of those who are most i l l of health? What happens when we take for granted the l iving Earth that nourishes the wor ld and makes a l l Life possible? What does i t say of our regard for Li fe , when in our need to fee l safe we wantonly slaughter animals by the thousands, when we but suspect they are diseased? What does i t mean when i t becomes normal for our fingers to hover over the nuclear button? What does i t mean when we are encouraged to discard things broken or old? Where are our hearts when we care not whether the waste we leave behind lasts for days or mil lennia? What happens when we fa i l to understand the effect of our actions wi th in an enclosed , in te rconnec ted , and in terdependent context that sustains the fragile web of Life (Capra, 1996)? Further, what happens when the dominant ethos of the age is repeated in refrain, in the process obliterating t rad i t iona l ways of the heart , incompat ib le to the possessive, compe t i t ive ways of l ived identi ty? What happens when we t rave l in enclosed "mo to r i zed" isolat ion dai ly , to and fro from our work? What stirs in us when we do not know our neighbours? How does it f ee l , when our hearts are s t i f led because the neighbour has become a mobi le thing as exchangeable and dispensable as our te lephone numbers, even as dear 1 4 4 ones spend their time far away from us, knowing Life is fleeting? What do we feel when we feel the steeling of our hearts as we hurry by a being in need? What does it mean when we scorn the weak? What does it tel l us of our priorities and practices as a society that forbids beings who once nourished us in infancy to be listed as our dependants? What does it mean when we know that we can count on Reason to justify our objectives, regardless of the im/morality or content of our actions? Where do we hide, when violence rears its ugliness in the name of Reason? What does it mean when Reason betrays itself? What happens when the present becomes capable of obliterating the past, our history, and our narratives — when even our esteemed elders can be persuaded by subliminal construction of the new ethos to discard the old? What does it mean when we no longer can tell reality from simulacra, when we cannot even tel l we are under the spell of "the object" that looms large above us? How is it that we have arrived at a point where we can no longer tell the difference? What have we got ourselves into? How have we arrived herel How do we break the spell? 4.6b The problem of history in immediacy As we grapple with these questions, the problem of deconstructing construction and image is beginning to sound analogous to the previous phenomenal condition arising when sets of protagonists converge around a single tree. These opposing intents — to harvest or to rescue the tree — may 145 have equal legitimacy and stories to te l l . And as before, although we need to intervene at the site of immediacy, we also need to deconstruct the pathways of "construction" that lead here by rooting the problem phenomenologically and hermeneutically within our lived experiences and interpretations. Once more, it is with the historical that I begin. Given the isomorphism between the more general problem of history in immediacy with the specific exemplar I foreshadowed in CHAPTER ONE under "Application of Pedagogical Cri t ique", I therefore reference what I am about to argue with the claims I made previously with respect to that phenomenon around the tree. By way of review, I repeat here, the question of historical origins of the loss of nature from the discourse — in order to re-locate it within the larger ambit of the family of contemporary questions above. While the magnitude and duration of the effects arising from this loss could not have been generated overnight, it can be argued that the catastrophes we experience today (e.g. environmental crisis, the spectre of war, economic disparities) often began with different historical origins and assumptions in Utopian visions. Hence, the historical connection of contemporary questions I pose cannot be refuted. Yet it is not only historicism I am professing here. Many problematic consequences that have issued today may have been entirely unexpected, at the time of their inception. Yet the fact remains that at the site of the originary impulses and subsequent to them there were sceptical voices. To name a few: Rousseau's (1984) Romantic Reaction; Mary Wollstonecraft's (1792/1991) extension of 146 rights to women; civil disobedience of Thoreau (1854/1960); and the dire warnings of Nietzsche (1974). 4.6c Education and change through interpreting the world Since we are midway through my dissertation, between reification and immediacy, here is also an excellent opportunity to pause and review what we have been learning on our journey thus far. Let me begin by claiming the predicament informing my work arises from the circularity interlocking our existential conditions. Existentially, it helps to understand that our predicament is profoundly historically-existential, since we exist within dominant systems bequeathed to us through radical historical changes in worldviews. Here the changes felt and manifested at the material level are reinforced in whole — at the psychic and spiritual level. By circular interlocking I mean what we know of the dominant systems in this existential sense has been institutionally enclosed through grids, mazes, and networks of rational interlocking systems that effectively close off alternatives, thereby constraining further discourse. Moreover, we need to recognize this limitation as paradoxical. While the matrix theoretically professes to celebrate our self-determination by means of its inherent expansive nature, we find that when enacted, our degrees of freedom are effectively constrained to a point where debate is virtually sealed from possibilities (Marcuse, 1964/1991). 147 Within this interlocking circularity of "the wor ld" that we are born into, which we did not ourselves entirely make, and in which we live, research, teach, study, and work, there are disturbing signs of instability where the state of the planet urgently requires our attention. Here education can become the transformative force towards emancipation (O'Sullivan, 1999), here is one place where Hope resides (Halpin, 2001). Yet even as educators, while cognizant of the state of the planet and global trends, and being aware of the need to intervene praxiologically, we also find ourselves at varying degrees, unsure of what to do. We too, are locked within the interlocking rational gridwork. What's to be done? And how are we as educators to intervene? Is our task here one of: changing the world, or of interpreting the world? And are these two tasks mutually exclusive? Or can we change the lifeworld through interpreting it? Given the sense-making nature of human beings, it appears change might only be possible through dialectical interpretation of the world. Yet, as soon as we utter these words, other questions come to the heart. Given the insidious and encircling nature of our predicament, how can we attempt to formulate a method to critique our problem, while ensuring that we ourselves do not end up further reifying our alienation? This might happen when the problem is made worse through our own inadvertent actions — when teachers and curricular developers end up being complicit in furthering the problem, even as they are attempting to intervene, and where our schools are part of the institutions that make up the grid. Importantly, whatever we do, as educators, we also need to remind ourselves of the primacy of lived 148 interpretation. We alienate ourselves if we entrench ourselves within abstraction, in forgetting to pay attention to what is unfolding right before us in the lifeworld of the lived curriculum(Aoki, 1996; Aoki, 1991). With regard to breaking the spell of reification, not only is it difficult to escape from the circularity, but the continuity and maintenance of the circulatory interlock implies our complicit participation, despite our praxis. Whether we are referring to problems with optics (blind to the problem before us), awareness, (not being sufficiently discerning), ennui (tired of struggling), or worse, the kind of resignation associated with nihilism (we shrug our shoulders unsure what to do, so we do nothing), we are thoroughly implicated in complicit participation. But pointing out the problem also suggests that reversal is possible at precisely the same site. Rather than merely opening our eyes, we need to "open" our full being and immerse ourselves in experience and hope. We need to attune ourselves to learning to see the unfamiliar in the familiar, the absent in the present and the concealed in the revealed. Pedagogically, as educators, if we become phenomenologically attuned to the changes around us, learning to question the broader implications of changes as they appear, we might collectively prevent their reification. When we begin to question what we are encouraged to take for granted, we question why we cannot list our parents as dependants as they do not qualify; question the anonymity of objects around us; question the proliferation of registered weapons in our communities; or even question why the light simultaneously 149 turns green for both the pedestrian crossing the street, and the left-turning vehic le. 4 3 As educators, the price of not questioning might be to reify the event, wherein reification continues as "second nature" (Lukacs, 1971b). It can sediment itself into the depths of language and social constructions and behaviours and the passing of time become lost in history. Here it helps to remind the reader that my work in tracing the loss of nature from the discourse represents an act towards immediacy; a recovery of this advanced reification as sedimentation, what Edmund Husserl (1970) feared could happen if we forget the lifeworld. Perhaps that is why we are now faced with these phenomenological events in the first place; the first changes that came about historically might have slipped by without sufficient and persistent critique. Take the problem with the green left-turning signal and pedestrian walk sign. For there to be signal lights, first there have to be roads that are paved. But for roads to be paved, the original communities living in the area would have had to be persuaded to approve of changes. I wonder what those communities would say if they saw the gridlocks on the freeways today. On the other hand, consider the consequences of refusal or standing up for one's rights or sense of justice. Perhaps we should ask Rosa Parks about her steadfast refusal to sit at the rear of the bus, and whether she understood the future implications of her act? We could pose a question to Rousseau: did he foresee that the reactions he helped to originate not only gave Marx a few ideas, but 150 became connected to genealogies of modern dissent (Luke, 1990b). My work is rooted to this lineage. A concrete example of this kind of critique of reification as sedimentation can be found within a passage in Rousseau's A Discourse on Inequality where he speaks of property: The first man [sic] who having enclosed a piece of land, thought of saying 'This is mine and found people... to believe him [sic], was the true founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders, how much misery and horror the human race would have been spared if someone had pulled up the stakes and filled the ditch and cried out to his [sic] fellow men[sic]: Beware of listening to this impostor. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to everyone and that the earth itself belongs to no one! (Rousseau & Cranston, 1984, p. 109) Tester (1995) reminds us that the nature of reification is quixotic. It speaks the same language that is found within enchantment. Keith Tester's thesis of the socially constructed world paradoxically appearing as " found" rather than "made", finds new interpretation for Lukacs' (1971a) theory of reification as "second nature". In both what is constructed appears as wonderful and as natural as the blue sky outside, bearing no traces of the labour that has made it (Vogel, 1996), or meaning and communities that are attached to the artefact. Initially, while equating the two has the character of an oxymoron, Tester's postulate becomes plausible, in explaining the nature of commodification to enthral — to be gripped under the sign of the object. Here I find Tester's reformulation convincing, precisely because of the enchantment of artefacts. The world is felt not as disenchanted as Weber had theorized, but as enchanted where the image reigns to mock the life that gave it utterance. 151 4.6d The shift from epistemology to ontology The heart has its reasons which reason does not know... Blaise Pascal When we speak of "the object", we are speaking of beings with materials, as well as ontologically prior objects, where there stands a " found" nature before culture and before social construction. Yet, the object before us still bears the traces of our labour. This begs the question: Can the position which argues for ontologically prior nature be reconciled with socially constructed nature? It appears contradictory to posit nature prior to the social, even as the social constructs the world: and, if we are able to compromise here, can we do so without denying ontologically " found" nature? Moreover, by compromising here have we fallen into the trap and limits of Reason? Furthermore, what of the problem of epistemology in the claim that we interact with the world through "knowing" the world? When we speak of nature, do we need to be reminded that we are speaking, not of nature per se, but of our constructed and represented knowledge of nature? This might sound like I am heading for the Kantian impasse. That is, by speaking of human interaction with, nature only in terms of "knowing" nature, am I just steps away from limiting "knowing" and positing that "nature-in-itself" is unknowable and ineffable? That is, of course, the dangerous move I wish to avoid here. Quite the contrary. In fairness to Kant (1929), where I believe he was trying to insulate 152 that which is ineffable and sacred, I need to elaborate on how and why the Kantian impasse (Vogel, 1996) has become extremely problematic with respect to my thesis around the loss of nature from the discourse. Given our limited human physiology and attendant characteristics, the sense of schism between the social and the natural becomes implicit within the notion that we cannot possibly hope to grasp the "things-in-themselves" (i.e. Nature, Divinity), beyond the limits of our sense apparatus. The problem is that this sense of dualism not only distorts and fractures how we claim to know nature, but it also extends the inability to know the "things-in-themselves." That is to say, this primary sense of ineffability, when applied ontologically, renders the "things-in-themselves" mute, with neither discursive rights nor intrinsic value. Furthermore, when this primary sense of ontological extension becomes sedimented, through replication, we have the makings of the problem I call the reification of Life. Yet ontology is not the problem. It is only the above interpretation that I find problematic. Let me elaborate. In reminding ourselves that knowledge of Nature is not the same as Nature, I am suggesting that there are limits, because our claims of nature can at best only speak of how we know nature, not of the nature of Nature. On the other hand, as fully embodied beings (Varela et a l . , 1991) our interactions with the lifeworld cannot be limited to "knowing". As the above caution from Pascal suggests, "knowing" cannot be separated from the sensation within our hearts. 153 Moreover, we are part of the nature that the Kantian divide and the Cartesian doubt would make the object. It is in this sense that I find the existential attractive to casting my work, limiting hubris, when reminded that we are limited beings, as Heidegger (1971) so aptly put it, capable of dying. 4 4 Thus, to restrict our experience of life to "knowing" is highly problematic, when our life wholly extend to the condition of our human existence and experience as mortal beings. With words like "existence" and "being", we open the portal to experience the world ontologically different through intersubjectivity. Here, our emphases shift from knowing to doing and relationships, as temporal embodied beings-within-the-more-than-human-world, capable of empathy, caring, respect, and responsibility in our awareness of the limitations of the Other through our own sense of fragility of being. This suggests that a way to resolve the problems of epistemology might lie in approaching our understanding of nature ontologically. Here I am insisting the world is not apart from us, we from each other, and our minds from our bodies. My inquiry does not arise out of Cartesian doubt. Instead when I refer to ontology in this existential sense, I am referring to a specific interpretation of the concept of Nature as informed by the hermeneutical phenomenology tradition which stresses the embodied character of existence with the parts related to the whole (see Bontekoe, 1996). 154 The "existential" portal appeals to my work, when "knowing" is cast within embodied cognition. According to Varela et a l . (1991), we neither exist as "disembodied observers [nor] dis-worlded mind" (p.4). I paraphrase this to mean that we exist as beings-within-the-more-than-human-lifeworld. Here, I share an appropriate phrase from Abram, in how he captures the essence of the human condition: the "body is a sort of open circuit that completes itself only in things, in others, in the encompassing earth" (1996, p. 62). When interpreting the world, the embodied discourse remind us of the need to remain phenomenologically aware in our intentionality of changes as they happen within — momentarily escaping from the circularity when the world discloses in immediacy. It is in our human condition that we are as beings-within-more-than-human-world. 4.6e Existence, lifeworld, intentionality, disclosure One of the key aspects of phenomenology as a "science" of experience is the understanding of intentionality based upon the directedness of consciousness toward an object. Intentionality is intimately linked in its relationship to the lifeworld (Lebenswelt), around immediacy in experience of being, and within the Husserlian concept of intersubjectivity. Here, I turn to supplement my application of hermeneutics with its phenomenological counterpart. 155 Emmanuel Levinas explains in Kearney (1984) that Husserl was interested in the "relation between our logical judgements and our perceptual experience" (p. 52). In this sense, Husserl's phenomenology was his attempt to access the ontologically prior lifeworld before science via his science of experience. Husserl posited the possibility of such accessing through the bracketing 4 5 of the world, where his concept of intersubjectivity allowed for multiple beings to share phenomena. Jean Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Emmanuel Levinas, to mention as few continental philosphers, all developed their readings of Husserl with shifts towards existentialism, embodiment, and theology, respectively. Heidegger himself radicalized Husserl's ideas by grounding his transcendental ideas in everyday existence around the conceptions of temporality and existential angst. The uniqueness of Heidegger's mode of inquiry exists as a two-fold conjunction — the fusion of Husserlian phenomenology and Diltheyan hermeneutics, on the one hand, and the conjunction of Eastern and Western philosophy on the other (Bontekoe, 1996; May & Parkes, 1996). This is why Heidegger's mode holds appeal for my work and why I reference my onto-linguistic inquiry to existential interpretation. Although, my interpretation has a Heideggerian bent, I have also included the uniqueness of Levinas and Merleau-Ponty in their existential leanings. Throughout the previous chapters, I have repeatedly emphasized that the source inspiring the "deconstructive present" and the mediating flux 156 between reification and immediacy lies in the juncture where hermeneutics meets phenomenology. Up to now, however, I have only spoken of disclosure — core to this mode of experiencing — in generalities. To finish this section I would like to offer further discussion of this mode of awareness insofar as it differs for me from other forms of awareness, and wherever appropriate, I move to dwell on its pedagogical implications. While concurring with Lukacs' claim that the greater problem lies in the need to lift the "veil of reif ication" (Lukacs, 1971a, p. 86) towards seeing past the veil to the ontologically prior, I also differ significantly. In accordance with Marxist discourse, Lukacs interprets the phenomenon of reification in terms of false consciousness — false immediacy to be penetrated by the social activist. I argue, on the other hand, that we need to attend to the hermeneutical-phenomenology tradition which holds that dangers exist alongside grace in the already always before us. Here, I am drawn to Heidegger's hermeneutical phenomenological interpretation of Husserlian phenomenology. Unlike Husserl, immediacy from this view is not readily available. Instead, it is obscured due to the givenness and familiarity through our human condition of being-in the-more-than-human world (see for example, Bontekoe, 1996; Kockelmans, 1988). The appeal of the combined hermeneutic-phenomenological approach lies in its reversal of the directionality of knowing. In reversing directionality it also opens up a space for humility. The departure lies not in the "active" being but the "attentive" being. To claim that one discovers is to believe that one 157 moulds the wor ld through one 's agency, rather than to say something has been disclosed to one through one 's receptivity. Ye t to be a t ten t ive is not to be passive wi thout agency, rather to be open to possibil i ty wi thout presumption. In set t ing possibil i ty against presumption, passivity against ac t iv i ty , vulnerabi l i ty against supremacy, f ini tude against expansiveness, at tentiveness against abandon, we also crea te spaces for, humi l i ty against arrogance. Rather than locat ing agency wi th in the human in terms of discovery of that which is h idden, I propose that i t is by being predisposed, open, and a t tent ive , that disclosure and the "bringing fo r th " of that which already is becomes possible. 4.7 ONTO-LINGUISTIC ANTECEDENTS WITHIN THE TRADITION 4.7a The Arendtian gift This kind of exis tent ia l ly inf luenced disclosure is seen in the in t roduct ion of Hannah Arend t ' s , The Human Condition, where her deconstruct ion takes on an almost e therea l qua l i ty . Here, then , is an instance of seeing beyond the fami l iar , to bring forth what is a lready present wi th in the mode of technology as presencing. This I in terpret as immediacy — the space where , both danger and saving grace dwel ls (Heidegger, 1 9 7 7 ) . In 1957, an earth-born object made by man [sic] was launched into the universe, where for some weeks it circled the earth according to the same laws of gravitation that swing and keep in motion the celestial bodies-the sun, the moon, and the stars. To be sure, the man [sic]-made satellite was 158 no moon or star, no heavenly body which could follow its circling path for a time span that to us mortals, bound by earthly time, lasts from eternity to eternity. Yet, for a time it managed to stay in the skies; it dwelt and moved in the proximity of the heavenly bodies as though it had been admitted tentatively to their sublime company. This event, second in importance to no other, not even to the splitting of the atom, would have been greeted with unmitigated joy if it had not been for the uncomfortable military and political circumstances attending it. But, curiously enough, this joy was not trimphal; it was not pride or awe at the tremendousness of human power and mastery which filled the hearts of men, who now, when they looked up from the earth toward the skies, could behold there a thing of their own making. The immediate reaction, expressed on the spur of the moment, was relief about the first "step toward escape from men's imprisonment to the earth. (Arendt, 1958, p. 1). Within Arendt's imagery and poetry we see an illustration of how her hermeneutical and phenomenological interpretation of an "earth-born ob jec t " 4 6 discloses the meaning of that event in terms of its significance in altering how Life wil l henceforth be lived qualitatively differently on the Earth. This reminds me of Latour's (1993) analysis, where he talks of America before and after electricity — quoting the work of Thomas Hughes on Thomas Edison's research into filaments for Edison's incandescent lamp. The latter is not the same America, for "Hughes reconstructs all America around the incandescent filament of Edison's lamp... [as] America before electricity and America after are two different places" (p. 4), Similarly, interpreting Arendt, Life can never be the same again, for the world after the launch of the satellite is not the same world. By contrast, hermeneutically-phenomenologically speaking, to name the object as a satellite and to understand its social meaning synonymous to that 159 conferred by media through public consensus, would be not only to miss the phenomenological significance and the message, but also to reinforce its reification as social meaning. It is also instructive to see Arendt dwells in phenomenological experience, at the prospect of elation of escape from the Earth. Within Arendt's hermeneutic phenomenology, we read of experiencing that might make us stop and wonder if we too can learn to lift the Lukacsian veil of reification, not by penetrating and discovering, but by being open to immediacy as Arendt does. The implications for pedagogy are profound. I am convinced that the depth of this type of analysis within Arendt, if inculcated through quotidian pedagogy in our students, can help them towards dereifying their human condition. Consider Arendt's continuing interpretation... What is new is only that one of this country's most respectable newspapers finally brought to its front page what up to then had been buried in ...science fiction... The banality of the statement should not make us overlook how extraordinary in fact it was; for although Christians have spoken of the earth as a vale of tears and philosophers have looked upon their body as a prison of mind or soul, nobody in the history of mankind has ever conceived of the earth as a prison for men's bodies or shown such eagerness to go literally from here to the moon. Should the emancipation and secularization of the modern age, which began with a turning-away, not necessarily from God, but from a god who was the Father [sic] of men [sic] in heaven, end with an even more fateful repudiation of an Earth who was the Mother of all living creatures under the sky. The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition, and earthly nature, for all we know, may be unique in the universe in providing human beings with a habitat in which they can move and breathe without effort and without artifice. The human artifice of the world separates human existence from...animal environments, but life itself is outside this artificial world, and through life man [sic] remains related to all other living organisms. For some time now, a great many scientific endeavours have been directed toward 160 making life also "artificial," toward cutting the last tie through which even man [sic] belongs among the children of nature. It is the same desire to escape from imprisonment to the earth that is manifest in the attempt to create life in, the test tube, in the desire to ... to produce superior human beings" and "to alter [their] size, shape and function"; and the wish to escape the human condition, I suspect, also underlies the hope to extend man's life-span far beyond the hundred-year limit. (Arendt, 1958, p. 2) With this ex tended c i t a t ion , Arendt interprets the e la t ion as escape from Mother who has made a l l l ife possible on Ear th . Arendt exposes the sense of ar t i f i c ia l i ty embedded in the famil iar ce lebra t ion of this kind of escape, rooting that impulse to escape from the human condi t ion i tself , and locat ing its t ra jectory wi th in the history of the tendency towards secular iza t ion emblemat i c of the modern age. Moreover , wi th in the lament of Arend t ' s text , I cannot help but de tec t a twinge of nostalgia, of loss, and of a l ienat ion from our quintessent ia l l i fe-giving Ear th . For me, Arendt hints at the possibil i ty of pedagogy that is unique in its abi l i ty to see the fami l ia r as unfamil iar , capable of l i f t ing the objec t i f ica t ion that mortif ies Life and si tuat ing her in terpre ta t ion wi th in history. The next c i t a t ion dwel ls on the impor tance of context and history in Arend t ' s percept ion of connect ions be tween theology, economy, moral i ty , ecology, and technology: ... It is in the nature of the human surveying capacity that it can function only if man disentangles himself from all involvement in and concern with the close at hand and withdraws himself to a distance from everything near him. The greater the distance between himself and his surroundings, world or earth, the more he will be able to survey and to measure and the less will worldly, earth-bound space be left to him. The fact that the decisive shrinkage of the earth was the consequence of the invention of the airplane, that is, of leaving the surface of the earth altogether, is like a 161 symbol for the general phenomenon that any decrease of terrestrial distance can be won only at the price of putting a decisive distance between man and earth, of alienating man from his immediate earthly surroundings. The fact that the Reformation, an altogether different event, eventually confronts us with a similar phenomenon of alienation, which Max Weber even identified, under the name of "innerworldly asceticism," as the innermost spring of the new capitalist mentality, may be one of the many coincidences... What is so striking and disturbing is the similarity in utmost divergence. For this innerworldly alienation has nothing to do, either in intent or content, with the alienation from the earth inherent in the discovery and taking possession of the earth. [Here] the innerworldly alienation whose historical factuality Max Weber demonstrated in his famous essay is not only present in the new morality that grew out of Luther's and Calvin's attempts to restore the uncompromising otherworldliness of the Christian faith; it is equally present, albeit on an altogether different level, in the expropriation of the peasantry, which was the unforeseen consequence of the expropriation of church property and as such, the greatest single factor in the breakdown of the feudal system...(Arendt, 1958, p. 251)47 Here again, Arendt links the present to the past. Whereas social consensus perceives the advent of flight or the advancements in measurement as accomplishments, Arendt finds these developments problematic. For her, the distance travelled through these accomplishments vary inversely to the distance the human heart travels in its consequential estrangement arising out of objective science and capitalistic gain. These hermeneutic-phenomenological threads that weave throughout the warp and weft of Arendt's thesis are of significance to my work on addressing the loss of nature from the discourse and the ensuing loss of meaning. 162 4.7b The Heideggerian Turn Martin Heidegger, who was also Arendt's teacher, 4 8 is often cited as the theorist responsible for merging the traditions of Dilthey's (1989) hermeneutics and Husserl's (1970) phenomenology (see Bontekoe, 1996). Appropriately, the next citation is drawn from an interview with Martin Heidegger in Der Spiegel, and first published posthumously in 1976. 4 9Here Heidegger's interpretation 5 0 of the photographs of the Earth, appears to be reminiscent of Arendt 's 5 1 interpretation, but additionally, accompanied by what appears to be a tone of resignation, when he laments that there is "no way to respond to the essence of technology" (p. 105): Everything is functioning. This is exactly what is so uncanny, that everything is functioning and that the functioning drives us more and more to even further functioning, and that technology tears men loose from the earth and uproots them. I do not know whether you were frightened, but I at any rate was frightened when I saw pictures coming from the moon to the earth. We don't need any atom bomb. The uprooting of man has already taken place. The only thing we have left is purely technological relationships. This is no longer the earth on which man lives...The frame holding sway means: the essence of man is framed, claimed, and challenged by a power which manifests itself in the essence of technology, a power which man himself does not control. To help with this realization is all that one can expect of thought. Philosophy is at an end... philosophy will not be able to effect an immediate transformation of the present condition of the world.... Only a god can save us. The sole possibility that is left for us is to prepare a sort of readiness, through thinking and poetizing, for the appearance of the god or the absence of the god in the time of floundering... (Heidegger, 1993, p. 105-106) 163 Again there is a characteristic distinction to be made. The astronauts and most people, myself included, 5 2 saw something like a spiritual aesthetic in the achievement of moon landing (O'Sullivan, 1999). Others credit those first pictures of Earthrise from the moon with origins of the modern environmental movement. Yet in its all-enveloping oneness, Heidegger had ambivalent concerns. For concealed within those pictures, Heidegger saw the supreme danger. The problem as it disclosed to Heidegger was not only in escaping from the Earth, and no longer valuing our historic human condition of being-in-the-world. His concern was focussed upon the all-encompassing en/framing essence of technology — a mode of being that threatens to eclipse, even preclude, all other modes of being, perhaps irrevocably, even indefinitely. 4.7c Tester as transformative pedagogy B u t the photographs of the earth i m p l i e d the possibi l i ty that a l l of these stable a n d taken for granted certainties c o u l d no longer be accepted wi thout a second thought. ... a single man. . . h a d taken ... photographs w h i c h conta in w i t h i n i t the whole extent of everything that h u m a n i t y h a d done since t i m e i m m e m o r i a l , a n d everything that h u m a n i t y can ever do... extracted f r o m a c o m m u n i t y of humanity . . . made greater t h a n it . H e c o u l d gaze u p o n a l l the homes a n d a l l the achievements of a l l h u m a n i t y i n re lat ion to the universe even though a l l h u m a n i t y c o u l d never gaze back u p o n h i m . . . [And] technology... in tended to provide a f ramework for the security a n d enr ichment of h u m a n existence, h a d become able to conta in a l l h u m a n i t y w i t h i n i t ; the art i f ic ia l w o r l d of technology h a d become able to show that the h u m a n is potential ly relatively s m a l l a n d t r i v i a l . . . the photographs impl ies a conta inment of the meanings of the earth even as they also i m p l i e d a freedom of humanity . . . f r o m their natura l home. B u t i n that containment. . . also made the earth a p r o b l e m to be dealt w i t h ; an opportuni ty to be exploited, a s tanding reserve w a i t i n g for a n i m a t i o n b y the designs a n d desires of h u m a n i t y t h r o u g h technology. [They] made the earth absolutely banal . . . [but] i f the earth is b a n a l then so is humani ty . . . i f h u m a n i t y is able to enframe the earth t h e n h u m a n i t y cannot be as b a n a l as 164 the earth; but is therefore.... quite homeless in the universe... [Thus] humanity and the earth have been put into a situation of crisis, and if that was not bad enough, the thinking which might enable us to steel ourselves to our situation is in a state of crisis as well.... They... reduce the earth to the status of a thing... In themselves [they] mean everything because actually they mean next to nothing... the images show absolutely everything and narrate absolutely nothing. ... to such an extent that perhaps we are consigned to irony. The world becomes independent of us and seemingly indifferent towards us even though all our attention is focused upon it raise...questions about the meaning of humanity and they offer no resource whatsoever. They throw us back onto our resources which... deprive of any conventional authority... (Tester, 1995, p. 3-6) The above citation that mirrors Heidegger's concern is another exemplar that I would characterize as an instance of onto-linguistic mode of being, within the sense of irony in Keith Tester's interpretation of Heidegger's pronouncements concerning the moon photographs appears a quintessential Arendtian-Heideggerian analysis. In one sense, he surpasses the theorists he is interpreting. In fairness, of course, to both Arendt and Heidegger, Tester had dialectical access to new language likely made possible through the labour of Arendt and Tester (which, recalling the title of Tester's book, The Inhuman condition, against Arendt's The human condition, appears to have had significant influence on Tester). Tester's reading of Arendt and Heidegger had a profound effect on me. I credit Tester with making me interpret my problem of nature, technology and culture in a wholly new way. It made me realize that I was obliged to move my work onto the ground of being itself, where the question I was posing seemed to have its own teleology in finding itself in being. It was in internalizing the 165 profound effect of reading Tester that I began to grasp the potential in the understanding of disclosure. I was to later call this an "onto-linguistic" understanding, through which I began to sense Hope in immediacy, as the always already. When reading Tester in conjunction with key works in hermeneutics, 5 3 I was reminded of two literature sources that I previously read in a wholly new way. Within the eco-literary flourish of David Abram (1996) I felt the sense of reverence for a sensate live Earth that speaks. With Winograd and Flores (1986) I appreciated their refutation of the correspondence theory of cognition through their deep critique of representation. Moreover, their work also had affiliations with notions of "complexity" and "embodied cognition" found in the work of Fritjof Capra (1996) and Varela et al (1991). Yet the disclosure did not stop there. The deeper appreciation was for connections that I stumbled into between what appeared to be three disparate texts on nature (Abram, 1996), culture (Tester, 1995), and technology (Winograd & Flores, 1986) in their common emphasis with language. It was out of this understanding and subsequent reading of Heidegger (1977) that my interest in language and disclosure within immediacy congealed as the onto-linguistic disclosure that follows. 166 4.8 HIDDEN MYTHOS AND TELOS OF AN OBJECT We need to look re i f icat ion in the eye . We need to deconstruct the present as it unfolds, before us within immediacy. For instance, in Figure 8. be low, what do we see? We may reply that we see a p iece of art , a p ic ture , a cu l tu ra l ar tefact , or art con templa t ing the meet ing of the animate and the inanimate — the whole and the broken, the useful and useless. It is a l l of these, for we see and interpret the " th ing" through Kantian categories we have been taught to divide the wor ld wi th (Will insky, 1998). The pract ice of classifying and categor iz ing is reminiscent of our tendency to labe l d i f ference. But perhaps there is more to what we see. Perhaps we need to t ranscend categories to "see" the spoon as form, mate r ia l , pot ter , or r i tua l . Or, perhaps, the spoon is a mode of being, praxis, communi ty , becoming, s to ry ing , 5 5 presencing and truth (Heidegger, 1977). 167 Figure 9. Deconstructing the present as i t unfolds This is the th i rd t ime we have seen the spoon in this d isser ta t ion . We note that each t ime that we have seen the spoon i t has disclosed more . Wi th each passing, l ike the j e w e l turning in the light, we see another facet . We first 168 saw the spoon when we shared a story around the spoon as we opened the invitation to my dissertation. There we saw why this spoon means so much to me, even though it is broken, and how, when it broke it disclosed my reluctance to discard it. For not only has this spoon travelled across the oceans with our family a long time ago when we first came to North America. It was also a time when my father was stil l alive and our family was still whole. The spoon is like family in more ways than one. It is only my mother and I who now share of the spoon and it is meaningful as presence alone. The spoon through its story is also a time and mood shifter, as it can as easily alter my mood, as it shifts time. So the spoon is family, even as it reminds me of sustenance and virtue. The second time we saw the spoon it told another story. It spoke of its old incarnation as unspectacular, but life-giving mud at the bottom of the riverbed, and its transformation through love and craft into pottery or china. That is when the spoon appears to us for the first time as a tool, with the ability to affect our destiny. But then as we found out, we were in an in-between space where we only saw the spoon as culture, before it revealed to us its original form as earth, and its function as technology. And through that turn, it demonstrated the power of the arbitrary in social construction, when what is "made" can appear instead as " found". That was when the spoon spoke cf possibility within the liminal space between these attributes. Here the spoon also told us to see form as transferable principle. I suggested then, that if we 169 fa i l to see the spoon as technology, there was the danger that we wou ld do l ikewise wi th gunpowder, or the unravel l ing of the genet ic code . 4.8a Layered stories in quot idian immediacy W i l l the spoon t e l l us another story? If we are open and ready for disclosure, perhaps i t w i l l unfold in immediacy . Pray t e l l , what we w i l l hear? This t ime , the spoon, happy to see us, speaks in two voices — of whole and part, before and after it breaks. Undeniably , this type of phenomenological analysis offers powerful c r i t ique of re i f ica t ion . Connec ted to its evocat ive power is the character is t ic of its dep th . Once we open ourselves to disclosure, the spoon reveals even more of i tself . Through an ar t is t ic pass, we find before us a cu l tu ra l ar tefact , a p iece of art ostensibly representing " r e a l " objects . An objec t of cu l ture that testifies of human product ion that is made, not found. Ye t , as Tester argues e loquent ly , the objec t , l ike other objects of "second nature", appears as nature, more l ike ly to be exper ienced as found, rather than made. In the process, the objec t has been na tura l ized , whi le conceal ing the labour and the Ear th . Ye t , in another sense, cou ld we not have a l te rna t ive ly c l a imed wi th in a prior sense, that all that goes into the construct ion of the cu l tu ra l ar tefact as representat ion, as art , can also be found in nature, and hence, not made? In accept ing this a l ternate thesis, we come to the rea l iza t ion that even though a l l 170 is nature, we only see representations of the real, or more precisely, social construction. That act of realizing the simultaneity of found and made nature of cultural object carries implications, with potential to subvert the reification of the found as cultural object, and in so doing, in the unthinking of a world, of objects and social construction. By deepening these lines of critique, we realize that not only is my art found but so is its content. Put differently, moving outward from the picture, the leaf, the ceramic which makes the spoon, and the constituents that went into engineering the technology that enabled the artist to capture and to re-present the interactions as a work of art — in all of these nature is found. Here, the found becomes the made, and hence the real, within the disclosure that made objects have their counterparts in found nature. 4.8b Classifying and fragmenting While the leaf is intact, alive and animate, by contrast, the spoon is broken, dead and inanimate. The leaf and the spoon belong to different categories. After all, intact things are not broken things, things that are alive are not dead things, and animate is not inanimate. At least that is how we are taught to divide the world (Willinsky, 1998). Surely, we cannot violate these categories? Or can we? But if we dare to do so, what havoc lies in wait for us? Disclosure of cultural construction as reification reveals classification56 in how the act of cultural production through classifying also transforms the living 171 Earth into an object wor ld . Ecological ly speaking, i t is not only a question of breaking these categories, but if we are to speak to the per i l of crisis of relationships, we must begin fo r thwi th . As Hannah Arendt (1958) warned us in The Human Condition, that although it might be convenient, to think to make, and to classify the Earth, there is also something profound lost with in the bargain. To categor ize the Earth and reify as separate objects what was once whole is a form of disentanglement, and social delusion. Signif icantly, w i th techno-sc ient i f ic logic, the forms of representations are converted into categories, through which we apprehend and contemplate the workings of the found Earth. Thus acts of deconstruct ion as phenomenological ly i n terpreted of fer us deconstruct ive eyes, an onto-l inguist ic lens through which we can see the wor ld-before-making. Here the praxis works in opening ourselves in humi l i ty as at tent ive beings to possibi l ity of disclosure, resisting ease of conformity and social consensus, wh i le at tempt ing to grasp what the manifestat ions and/or changes mean. Whereas social consensus sees a sate l l i te , as an ob jec t of technolog ica l supremacy or spectacular photos of the Earth, if we pay attent ion to the phenomenon and ask ourselves what it is telling us or what has profoundly changed, we too might arr ive at disclosures s imilar to Arendt ' s and Heidegger ' s. 172 Yet no sooner do we start, we are fraught in difficulty as we begin to lose our way. Sure, that green leaf came from something growing in our garden, but what of the broken spoon? Surely we made, if not manufactured, that cultural artefact? But should we be become transfixed on the object as fetish, and only observe the finished form of the object, then our deconstructive acts might come to an abrupt halt. A significant turn opens when we direct our attentions away from the finished form, to recover the materials through which the spoon came to be. The moment we begin to think of the spoon in terms of materials, tools and culture, our deconstructive act is rendered profound. We realize that not only are materials and tools implicit aspects of culture, but when taken collectively they also convey the very definition of what we understand as technology. We acknowledge our spoon represents not only an artefact of culture, or a technological artefact, but technology itself. 4.8c Technology as a mode of being To push our act of deconstruction further, not only is our spoon a representation of technology, we have revealed our spoon as technology. Here world re-discloses itself as the Earth, and in so doing, helps us to unthink a social wor ld. 5 7 Central to our deconstruction, when we consider objects at the material level, all becomes found; the leaf is found in the garden, the clay that makes the spoon was once the mud at the bottom of a river, as was its exterior paint, once of plant dyes, or of some derivative of molten rock. In recognizing 173 our spoon as technology, our acts of deconstruction are even more powerful for another reason. They disclose that in the making of " a " world, we are working with an arbitrary model of singular representation. And should this social construction be exposed as flawed, it signals of danger and expresses many of the problems we are experiencing. As pointed out by Heidegger (1977) within this form of en/framing of the Earth is the immediate danger of the impulse of the domination of nature implicit to Baconian techno-scientific rationale. According to Heidegger the danger does not stop there. Given the ubiquity of social construction, perhaps the greatest danger lies when we turn living nature into a warehouse of resource, precluding all other forms of experiencing the Earth. In the process, we impoverish the imagination, which in turn, cuts off further disclosure of alternate modes of being. When the world is encoded through digital codes negating the living earth, that optic prevents us from seeing beyond coded reification (Bowers, 1995). Herein lies danger in how we find it difficult to see past illusions. While the screen and microprocessor directly and obviously reminds us of technology, the broken spoon is less readily seen, even hidden as technology. Through our acts of deconstruction, we open a space for nature, culture and technology to be seen in tandem. And within that awareness of the discursive separation of Nature into ecology, culture and technology, we 174 realize that the need for bridging apparently disparate discourses and exposing categories as artificial is one and the same task. 4.8d Enter the actor and community Our acts of deconstruction promise to disclose more. Combining all our insights, thus far, we have been analyzing disembodied/passive objects of technological culture in nature. But these objects are for some purpose, for some being. Here then is my debt and tie to Husserlian intentionality. And with the mention of intentionality, we are reminded of existence and ethics, in what is not seen but felt in the picture. The vital links missing from our analysis — the actor/being of this discourse, author-poet, and the social dynamic through which these artefacts obtain meaning. At the risk of over-simplifying the argument, here the significance of the actor is profound. As noted above, at the point when s/he re-enters our analysis, s/he also layers our discourse with existential meaning. Where once we had two "dumb objects" in close proximity, engaging in passivity, with the introduction of the. actor a space is simultaneously opened up for meaning to re/emerge through existence. All these objects as leaf, spoon or art are meaningful for the actor. In the realization that the leaf and spoon come together within the act of providing nourishment for living mortal being, what has been absent in this particular analysis is the actor, and the Earth sustaining the actor. 175 Yet, even this analysis seems incomplete, for what of that social dynamic? For the social is s t i l l missing f rom our analysis — when we make soup we also make community through the social relat ions of product ion. It is s ignif icant that the act of production and hence of technology, be seen as int imate ly re lated to the meaning of being, for it suggests that we might understand something deeper about the spoon as technology. For meaning to emerge, we need to bring in a plural i ty and polis of actors, and the notion of community in space-t ime (Arendt, 1958). Conjunct ion of the leaf and spoon suggests communal ce lebrat ion in the partaking of the fruits of the Earth. With this p icture of communal act iv i ty, we not only open up technology, history, and the valuing of the mater ia l , but we also make sense of these concepts in terms of act iv i t ies of f i n i te , stor ied beings, where in meaning is anchored wi th in l ived narratives. 4.8e Disclosure in breakdown Thus far we have only referred to the spoon as broken. But of what s ignif icance is the break that we see? Poet ica l ly and art i s t ica l ly , the break suggests mul t ip le meanings. On the one hand, i t suggests loss of cont inu ity of meaning through history, loss of ident i ty associated wi th that object , and the loss of story and history that appl ies to individuals or co l l ec t i ve cultures a l ike. In so doing, i t accentuates the close weave between ar tefact , cu l ture, act iv i ty , history, and ident i ty. On the other hand, the breakdown represents change and promise found wi th in the hermeneut ic notion that such breaks open a crack 176 where disclosure emerges in that breaking. After a l l , i t was through the b reak ing 5 8 of the spoon that this dissertat ion and cu l tu ra l ar tefact was born. Thus far, when thinking of this break, our analysis of objec t of cul ture has not involved the notion of value of the ar tefact . Here the break also has economic dimensions, w i th respect to the a l ienat ion found in fe t ishiz ing, commodifying, and object i fying the w o r l d . The ut terance of the word "va lue" is significant here, for wi th this u t terance the economic enters into our analysis to exacerbate the re i f icat ion discussed previously. Reif icat ion is not just any re i f ica t ion . It is the re i f icat ion of object in terms of u t i l i ty . The mater ia l s t ructure and ac t iv i ty around communa l making of the soup has to do wi th exis tence and survival , as necessi tated by needs through the praxis of labour. Signif icant ly, through our deconstruct ive acts, we have not only seen the arbitrariness of categories, but also its power to deceive through, and as representation.. Cent ra l to our previous analysis, these categories underscore the economic through which a l l that passes is l eve l l ed and reduced . Given that the economic conjoins the techno-scient i f ic , this reduct ionis t ic aspect makes the mode of obscuring and preclusion even more worr i some. In combining the mode of technology and the reduct ion of Earth to the economic , we find the twin clangers of the conjoined re i f ica t ion of the technologica l and the economic . Here the broken spoon impl ies a shift in cu l tu ra l values — first as commodi ty and then through its breaking, as waste . 177 Turning to the spoon as commodity, the danger of arbitrary value is underscored when we consider the material with which the spoon was made. This spoon is made of mud, but had it been made of precious metal, it might have been salvaged. Such a difference in agency bears examination. In exposing this problematic relationship between perceived value of these materials and our actions that flow from this value, we once again see dangers of reification, but this time through an economic eye. For arguably, it is through this very kind of economic valuation that wars are fought — when the material, through potential to respond to human needs, such as with oi l , gold and silver, subverts the valuing of Life. 4.8f The dialectic within immediacy Turning to the second voice of the broken spoon, what value remains within a finished artefact that is no longer whole? For even if we were to rejoin the pieces, there would always be a fracture line. Here, this line of thinking signals yet another problematic dynamic: Once the solid configuration of the object has been compromised, it ceases to be of value, and re-designated as refuse. Combining our all-too-brief analysis of economic valuation of artefact as commodity and its subsequent devaluation as waste suggests the outlines of an extraordinary thesis. The arbitrariness of the artefact has potential to create very unanticipated consequences from the dynamic originally animated by our 178 material, such as communal needs as expressed through technology, and economic valuing. The artefact further exacerbates our storied lives, histories, polis and identities to reveal the hidden impulse of destruction that hides all other means of valuing. With this all-encompassing economic valuing which threatens to turn all into mere resource, we arrive at the ultimate irony. For what we do to the spoon, we do also to ourselves, ever faithful to economics we too, become expendable resources for disposal. Yet all is not lost, for we are also caring beings. If we seek to be truly attentive to our hearts through our acts of deconstruction and re-visiting originary sites, there is hope for us. For, as Holderlin muses: where danger re-sides, grows the saving power also. That is to say if we ask the right questions, the dynamic which reduces all life to economic explanation can reveal itself as perverse. In place of found nature, we may find instead made objects that give us ideology as false consciousness, falsehood, false needs, false pride, false identities, false politics, and even false meaning. And in so doing, we would have recast nature as resource, with potential for conflict and self-annihilation. The task of unthinking of a world is an urgent one of demystifying and revealing the mystical power of fetishization of modern Life under the shadow of reification. Through exposing the power of social construction to make what is a world into the world, we need to unthink the world, and the socially constructed meaning of "the wor ld" that issues from the reification of nature. 179 4.8g From discovery to disclosure Perhaps the spoon wil l tel l us that we have never invented even a small part of the world. How could we even begin to think so? For the way in which we have pieced together the living world is likely to be one of myriad of ways in which it might be possible to do so. Nay, we did not even discover the world, for the Earth has always been ontologically prior to us. From originary conditions Life has been rendered possible. The point is, the spoon might tel l us that the directionality of knowing is important, whether in the case of the fibre optic cable, satellites responsible for the network that connects our labour with the rest of humanity, or in the intricate patterns we cast in earthenware moulds. We need to be aware that disclosure rather than arising in the human, filters through the human as a mode of being. Put differently, if we are amenable to seeking to be consciously aware and attentive to our hearts, paying close attention to the spoon in how it affects the life of others in community, then we might see things as they are. We may see things as part of the living context of which we help to complete the circuit. These are the times when the living, sensuous world, of which we are all an intricate part, discloses itself to us, should we predispose ourselves to disclosure. Moreover, it is through humility that we might hear the voice of disclosure. As mere mortals, we need to be mindful of the directionality of knowing, for doing so might mitigate against the possibility of anthropocentric 180 hubris. We might acknowledge that the vector of knowing does not originate within the human, but within the living tissue of the sensuous world that give rise to all phenomena. 4.8h Connecting presence, form, praxis and truth If we give the spoon leave, it wil l speak more of disclosure. Disclosure is presence and presencing, and presencing is truth. If we ask the spoon again how it came to be, might the spoon tell us the story in another way? It might say it came to be through the form, which constitutes the shape of the spoon, as spoonness. Or it might say it is of mud as well as paint. Or it might say, that it came to be because of the potter. Or it might just say it is here because we care when we sup in celebration and that it assumes the forms through which we express that care in performing the rites of supping together. In so doing, the spoon discloses itself as presence where truth might prevail. Perhaps in the end it is not the spoon as material, form, or potter, but in what it means to us when we sup, when we manifest its mode as one that does no harm. Here, form reveals itself as praxis, for it is in praxis that the spoon comes to be, as an implement for sharing and joy. When it manifests as an instrument to sup together in joy, it manifests in antithetical form to divisive danger. Reminded once again of the poet Holderlin — w i t h i n the danger waits also the saving Grace — truth appears in presence and praxis. 181 Final ly , the spoon also discloses that whi le we cannot produce that immediacy space, it is in pract ic ing hermeneut ics as meta- in terpre ta t ion coupled to being exis tent ia l ly and in tent ional ly aware of the l i fewor ld in language that makes i t possible for us to grasp immediacy as i t is disclosing. Whether i t manifests in the concre te as the spoon te l l ing the story, or as idea — when vir tue comes in the name of Freedom, Hope, or Love — we need to be recept ive to immediacy . Pedagogical ly, i t is here at this por ta l of humi l i ty where quot id ian pedagogy awaits us. 182 CHAPTER FIVE: IMMEDIACY, CARING AND ABSENCE 5.1 SIGNATURES IN CARING W h a t w e c a l l t h e b e g i n n i n g i s o f t e n t h e e n d A n d t o m a k e a n e n d i s t o m a k e a b e g i n n i n g . T h e e n d i s w h e r e w e s t a r t from... W e d i e w i t h t h e d y i n g : S e e , t h e y d e p a r t , a n d w e g o w i t h t h e m . W e a r e b o r n w i t h t h e d e a d : S e e , t h e y r e t u r n , a n d b r i n g u s w i t h t h e m . T h e m o m e n t o f t h e r o s e a n d t h e m o m e n t o f t h e y e w - t r e e A r e o f e q u a l d u r a t i o n . . . . T.S. Eliot59 I can barely reca l l the room. Yet , unl ike the usual, banal , c o l d , s ter i le , rooms wi th l i t t l e or no colour , this room had a personali ty of its own . A l l around me was a sense of a t tent ion to care , inscr ibed in the pat tern of pastel f lower t r im that ran along the wal l s . It c i rcumscr ibed the room, high above, where the wal ls meet the ceiling' . Even so, i t d id not stop there , I cou ld almost fee l the care , diffuse as i t were , into our beings. We fel t deeply touched by the hint of care to de t a i l , in softness that permeated the room. It was in the comfor table rec l in ing chairs for family members, the coordinat ion of subdued fabrics and wal lpaper to the background of pastel t r im on the wal l s , even in 183 the rays of the sun streaming into the room. For this was a gift, a thoughtful and generous space that allowed us to breathe and gather easier, that had even been designed with accommodation for family members to stay while caring for the infirmed. The view to the outside world was qualitatively different; away from the din and chatter, with a sense of serenity. Sadly, the ornate floral patterns, the wallpaper, the coordinating trims, the soft reclining chairs, the generous space, the serene view outside the window, even the extra bed, were alas also the culmination of a life journey. They were part of the last sanctuary for my dear father in the terminal stages of his cancer. This room was full of meaning and graced by profound expressions of humanity, made possible through blessings of love from the caring of fellow human beings for the departing of one of their kind. Here then was a space of dignity and respect. We had moved Father from the once sterile, impersonal conditions with bland walls and matching hard chairs and shared space into this personal and private space without greater financial outlay. Welling inside me was a profound sense of gratitude for the deep caring from our society that I had never before known existed. Here too germinates love within anticipated healing from grief in the creation of a last space of meaning and gathering for the terminally i l l , who are too sick to retreat quietly into the dis/comfort of their own homes. It is a surrogate 184 home-away-from-home and a generative space for love to renew and reaffirm itself. As Father's disease became terminal, we found ourselves immersed within the multiple weaves of human stories in the palliative care unit of the Vancouver General Hospital. Here, in the hospice, Life takes on a very different aesthetic that is full of appreciation, meaning and poignancy. As the wonderful nurses tel l you, patients either take out their anger at their fateful misfortune on the world, or they leave in quiet resignation. Everywhere around us, people were wheeled away, their heads exposed, as if in quiet slumber and contentment. We sensed that was likely the last time we would see their faces. We cannot help but be pulled into the human stories of others whose fates have somehow converged with our own. For here, sparing none, within the heightened sensorium of the human experience, in sounds, smells, tastes, sights, and tactil ity threatening to overload one's senses, is to be found the consistent reminder of the fragility of Life, its preciousness, and our own impending mortality. Permeating the air was a feeling, a pathos that was extremely difficult to convey, yet one whose signature was everywhere. It was, for instance, in the songs I loved and grew up with that I associated with certain nostalgia — the connecting signature that had made me realize the dying woman near me, who looked older than her years was about my age. 185 This signature in songs was able to bridge feel ing across divides of space, t ime , and bodies. Ye t , I cou ld not help but fee l somewhat intrusive, even guil ty, l is tening to the beautiful songs played by the woman who occup ied the room d i rec t ly opposi te Father's. Unknown to this pr ivate , anonymous woman-being, I was quie t ly sharing in her in t imate sadness and pain as she l is tened over and over to that song. This genteel woman who left a deep impression in my psyche, never had visi tors. She gently played her music , and looked out of her l i t t l e window for hours on end everyday, acute ly aware of her impending mor ta l i ty . Her rhythmic r i tual led me to ask whether it had been the wor ld that had forgotten her, whe ther it was she who had turned her back to the w o r l d , or, some combina t ion of the two . Or, whether I should even ask. The signature was also in how the simplest of things took on new l ight . Upon hearing my brother play the first notes of Chopin's Etude in C Minor , blank faces of those marked appeared from every corner , s lowly gathering around the piano, lured as if to the piper . Maybe the signature was also in my brother's pain escaping through his fingers that the young and o ld in the room fel t and shared. For somehow paradoxical ly , notes bounced off the grain of this old un-tuned piano and conveyed a feel ing that reached out into the air to touch in si lent communica t ion , a l l who heard its melanchol ic melody . Its power was palpable , binding us a l l , t ranscending our meagre separate selves in the room. One and a l l we lowered our eyes and heads in synchrony, as though bowing in respect and si lent , universal reverence. 186 5.2 EXISTENTIAL ANGST, AWAKENING, AND ADVOCACY There, in the palliative care unit, two words that I only later understood as "meaning" and "significance", began to permeate my being. For what is living, if it is not about something meaningful? The unbearable silence and serenity made me look not outside, but deep into my heart for the answer to the question of meaning. For myself, somehow, I had a sense of what it was not about. When a person is about to depart, dressed in only a humble hospital gown, it becomes clear what they cannot take with them. In the end it dawned upon me that what the dying take with them, is how they feel about themselves in terms of the world. Through his humble passing my father had shown me it was not about amassing more objects and wealth, or about being seen with status symbols. Neither was it about getting ahead at any cost, without empathy for neither family nor friend. It was not about self-image, good looks, or claims of supremacy over others. For these, as the saying goes, are all f leeting, ephemeral, images that blow away with the slightest wind. What counted was the awareness of the sense of mortality. Regardless of any theological claims, I realized I would never again see my father in his human form. The labour of his life as development and the love inscribed in that ethereal way in his veins and arms were becoming more emaciated by the day. What counted also, for me, was to try to make a dying man happy. And, although it might sound contrary in the hour of a person's passing, what 187 perhaps mattered more was quality against mere quantity of time spent in wishing we had done other things together. What greatly mattered were family, companionship, friendship, conversation, poetry, art, writing, music and love. What mattered also was celebrating the gift of l ife, feeling grace, and a sense of spirituality animating the world. What mattered was experience over observation. What mattered also was feeling the caress of the gentle summer wind on my skin as I participated within the presence of being, with someone special amidst the embers of the setting sun. I felt the smallness of being. What mattered was having values that one deeply believed in. What mattered was to right injustice. And yes, what was cri t ical in all of this... was to try to save the Earth. 5.3 GRIEF, EMERGENT MEANING, FRACTURING OF WORLD We all felt powerless, hoping against hope, haunted by the grim truth that Father's life was slowly slipping away. Each day meant a day less of time he had and one more towards the fateful day. Those were the moments when we all wondered who would be beside Father in the hour of his passing. We were torn in sharing Father's elation, triumphant after a particularly terrible night, and yet terrified at the same time, knowing he wil l have to face that same horror yet again. And although Father never once complained of pain, we 188 all knew he must have been in pain. It was also in those hours that the meaning of euthanasia as mercy killing gripped our beings as we thought about sparing Father from more pain and hurt. Since Father's pain occurred amidst the continuity of everyday life, we initially observed vigil by his beside. But as his illness progressed and prolonged, the pragmatic returned. Rather than all of us staying vigilant at Father's bedside, my brother had been obliged to fly back to Toronto to return to his family and his practice. And as the toll on us became equally palpable, Mother and I gradually developed a schedule, taking turns to watch over my i l l Father. It was a most alienating scene. It felt like we had all returned home after a trip, to find Father missing. I searched for meaning. It was within this alienating context of watching, waiting, caring, amidst hoping and despairing that as I returned to attend my classes, with a pager as reminder of daily exigency. I was prepared for the worst, ready to go at a moment's notice, leaving classes, feeding the meters, cycling daily through that routine, when something odd happened. My world broke in two. A fracturing that had a most ethereal quality capable of sneaking up on one's heart as it catches one unaware. When the common becomes the strange: daily motions of feeding the meter after classes, going upstairs to care for Father, winding his bed up and down for optimum comfort, returning to feed the meter, returning to feed Father, and collapsing exhausted from the day — expending the most trivial of energies on the most menial of tasks. 189 One day, almost in slow motion, I was struck hard by the stark contrast in how different life was outside this bubble of care. People whom I witnessed outside, more than often, were in stark contrast to those in the ward. They all seemed to be in a rush, impatient, unforgiving, and callous compared to the sanguine pace with its intimate attention to care and forgiveness of the trespassed. Yet, those I witnessed in the arterial streets where I parked were nothing compared to those on the main street where I walked that day to do some errands. That was when the contrast burst vividly into full view. Along the main street there were signs of greed everywhere. Cars honked impatiently; people walked by briskly over the homeless in the streets, seeming not only without care, but with an added measure of righteous but misplaced scorn. This fracturing occurred at what had been thus far the most crit ical time in my life. I was constantly reviewing everything. I remember asking myself, how had the fracturing been possible? In what follows, I attempt to embed the experience of fracturing with the overall changes in our life pattern that we were all experiencing as we mourned Father's passing. In so doing, I seek to forward a theory of autopoiesis as emergent research. 190 5.4 AUTOPOIESIS AS EMERGENT RESEARCH 5.4a Questions for topic and method For my dissertation research, I did not experience problems with theory, because I read voraciously, not just for facts, but for meaning. However, the same could not be said for my topic and method. My particular quandary revolved around the double notion that although it was clear to me for a priori reasons that method could not drive research, I was not convinced the reverse was always tenable. At some point, however, within the unfolding of my research and the struggle with life exigencies, I arrived at what might be called a topical-methodological thesis. I asked myself what corpus of research resonated with the almost unpredictable kinds of perturbations, exigencies, and fluctuations that I was experiencing. The breakthrough came in my answer to my own question when it occurred to me that the state I was in bore a close resemblance to that found in extant work variously known in the literature as systems theory, chaos theory, complexity theory and autopoietic theory. 5.4b Correspondence between life and theory I could not help noticing certain correspondences. For instance, it occurred to me that the changes in our state, in the extended grieving process 191 my whole family went through, compared similarly to those of systems far from equilibrium. Consistent with fundamental principles through which systems are explained in terms of oscillation and feedback loops, I believe it was significant that we all went through continuous self-examination while performing repetitious tasks during this period. This repetitious oscillation accounted, at least for myself, as a heightened sense of existential angst where even the smallest of details appeared to me as meaningful signs that were to later profoundly affect my understanding of the world. 5.4c Literature, theory, and lived experience According to llya Prigogine's theory of dissipative structures (see Prigogine & Holte, 1993; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984, 1997), as systems move far away from equilibrium, there arises through processes of self-organization the tendency to evolve into new states of increased orders of complexity. Of significance, this phenomenon also holds true for living organisms in terms of autopoietic theory (Maturana & Varela, 1980; Varela et a l . , 1991; Winograd & Flores, 1986). Arguably, the dissipative structures and autopoietic phenomenon applied to social systems — systems of duress that I had felt through the loss of my father and characterized by schedules and demands that were far from normal — reminded me of the extreme disorder experienced when systems in general move far from equilibrium. In terms of the social analogue, we have the following line of reasoning. Within our new order of living, consistent with the theory of dissipative structures and autopoietic, we attempt to make sense 192 of our loss and find ourselves in constant review, doing repetitious tasks similar to those of feedback loops that are fundamental to chaos theory (Capra, 1996). Consistent with my social reading of systems theory, I theorized that there existed within the liminal spaces of life disorders new possibilities that were forming to eventually destabilize and re-stabilize our lives through higher order, as newfound meaning. Perhaps, because I was already searching for meaning during the moment of loss, my existential angst sharpened in/as academic inquiry. Here is an example of what I have been calling the potential for disclosure, when one might be predisposed through misfortune to enter the space of immediacy. As I vacillated daily, back and forth between the world of the meters and the space inside my father's room in the palliative care unit, the same reality that had once been one and whole, slowly began to fracture into two worlds, characterized by absence of care, and care. The realities seemed too different to be otherwise. This fracturing in turn opened the way to learn from the quotidian, when (and where) the familiar took on the semblance of the unfamiliar, and where I came back to the same space only to find the space I knew so well was now different. 5.4d Reconceptualizing research as autopoietic In these two narratives I am interested in the moment when I became aware of a congruence between the topic and the method of inquiry. This congruence runs so deep that the topic becomes the method through 193 w h i c h the topic is pursued. I n the first s i tuat ion, mindfulness became the m e t h o d of s tudying mindfulness; i n the second, emergent i n q u i r y became the m e t h o d of s tudying emergent i n q u i r y . (Oberg, 2 0 0 2 , p. 4) I began with no idea where to start except with the vague feeling that I needed to respond to the larger problematic within which Father's illness was located. There were no frameworks and books available to guide me in my amorphous quandary, and without knowing at the time, the poignant introduction of my existential angst was retroactively to be the point of origin of my inquiry. Yet, through a self-organizing recursive process characteristic of autopoiesis, my inquiry emerged out of lived experience, unfolding in reverse, through existential angst, from emphasis on lived repetition, and reading voraciously — placing exegesis over conclusions, meaning over facts, and obtaining meaning for which I knew not the questions. Two significant influences emerged out of this void. The first is one I have already attributed to Ted Aoki's advice. The second was my good fortune in coming across the work of Antionette Oberg (2002) who, through her work steeped in chaos theory, forwarded her powerful claim that method might sometimes be topic. As can be seen in Oberg's citation above, these two influences allowed me to further posit that if it is possible to merge life with work (Aoki, 1996), and topic with method (Oberg, 2002) — through a doubled turn within the autopoietic read — then the theorizing which arises out of a 194 l i fe inexorable from the research question was i tse l f a method wi th in the four-way isomorphism between theory, l i fe , topic and method . 5.5 A PLACE TO CALL HOME When you're weary, feeling small When tears are in, your eyes I will dry them all I'm on your side Oh, when times get rough And friends just can't be found Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down When you're weary When you out in the street When evening falls so hard I will comfort you I'm on your side, When times are rough And friends just can't be found Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down Simon and Garfunkel, circa 1969 When I asked such questions as what is living on the street like for adolescents, how are the lives of street kids structured, or how do street kids structure their lives, the literature is virtually silent. (Mayers, 2 0 0 1 , p. 135) Like the prophets admonishing the clan, like the seer who tried to shape the future, street kids are calling us. (Mayers, 2 0 0 1 , p. 119) ... (I)t seems we have forgotten to examine how it might be possible our values, which underscore our society, precipitate or perpetuate the current 195 climate for kids on the street. Their relationship is most exquisitely exemplified by kids as they expose their perceptions of the underlying market economy values which seep into much of what we do and say, plan and understand. (Mayers, 2 0 0 1 , p. 122) 5.5a Recovery, Caring and Uncaring Caring and uncaring, l ike laughing and crying in the wise words of Joni M i t c h e l l , are the same release, two sides of the same impulse that speaks to our human cond i t ion . It is through one that we are most intensively reminded of the other . Here, I invi te the reader to share my lessons from the quot id ian : In the mirror opposite of car ing, in my walk along a long street in my horror at my own apparent inadequate a t tent ion to care on that s treet . These moments a l lowed me to re-connect wi th the specia l car ing I exper ienced so poignantly, and so many years ago, in the pa l l ia t ive care unit; and wi th the plight of the homeless. We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness... All manner of thing shall be well 196 When the tongues of flames are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. TS Eliot 5.6 KNOWING THE PLACE FOR THE FIRST TIME Like dew drops a f ter the deluge, understandings appeared in the sights disclosed to me in my walk and in my own react ion to those images along that long street. These ext remely disturbing images that v is i ted me on that f a te fu l day would not go away, tear ing at my bosom, and seeping deep into my sub-consciousness. They reminded me why my exper ience in the pa l l ia t ive care unit had been so poignant. It was the v i sceral , found in those disturbing and eer ie images looming out of the deep, dark night, as if appearing f rom a Dickens novel, that inter rupted my self-absorption. I had just presented a paper (Feng, 2001 e) at the Ontar io Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) in Toronto. I was absorbed in the thoughts of the wonderfu l people I had just met at the conference. As the images clashed wi th my thoughts, I was reminded why i t was that I had embarked upon my work in the first p lace. Like before, i t was seeing the fami l ia r , once again, as the unfami l iar. The images reminded me how the single wor ld I once knew had been spl it asunder into two in the twi l ight of Father ' s struggle, never to rejoin again, 197 except within the single breath of articulation through which I attempt to make sense of that fracturing. The moments of fracturing had forever changed my understanding of the world, and had provided the secret impetus behind my attempts to make whole a world reduced to object, levelled in meaning, and fi ltered through the lens of economic-technoscientific-social construction. I was walking down what could have been any street, typical of any decaying inner core of an urban city, where the homeless struggle in vain to find shelter in misery, and where the rich rush to flee to the suburbs. Ironically, while I had been occasioned to present my paper and to learn from my colleagues, my greatest "disclosure' and understanding came from the quotidian lessons of that fateful walk in the streets. I had come face-to face with the huddled: faceless, amorphous, masses everywhere, sleeping on the streets with pieces of makeshift tarp and plastic to shield their exposed bodies from the dank night air. That was when I realized it was happening all over again. As the images sunk in, it was as if, in slow motion, the world was fracturing again. 5.6a Between affluence and effluence In stark contrast to the visible human stories in the palliative care unit, the poignancy might have returned because, there was an added effect on the street which had a glaring, but impersonal, anaesthetizing effect upon the reluctant participant in this temporal drama. For at the time of morning that I 198 was walking, no faces were to be seen, only hint of bodies strewn everywhere, desperately seeking shelter. Poignancy was further exacerbated by my inability to act. For stunned by the sheer magnitude of the plight of the homeless, I found myself in angst again, feeling terribly guilty when I had to step off the curb and face some faceless bodies spilled to the edge of the sidewalk. Where and how would I begin? That was when I realized that I could not help. That sinking feeling, although logical, was extremely unsettling. I was also faced with disgust at my cowardice and apparent lack of compassion. My walk down that street took an eternity as I felt estranged from myself, and when the plight of the homeless had been driven so viscerally home. But my long stroll had been deliberate in atonement for my callousness. And like the classical flaneur of Baudelaire alongside images of Dickens, I walked aimlessly, searching deeply for answers, and asking why it was that I appeared to be acting like those I perceived outside the sphere of care, so many years ago. It was then that I came to the realization that part of the answer could be found in the sheer magnitude, and the anonymity. Here in the streets, even empathy can assume an amorphous quality when one does not know the humanity below the sheets and when one is unable to see faces, unsure of their fates. Here too within a moment of symbolism with numbing poetic disquiet, I realized that the shopping carts the homeless push around and garbage bags in which they stored their worldly belongings, combine to signify the dispossessed of the streets, of modernity. For these were the refuse of society, the quintessential consumers of waste. The non-human material symbols of 199 consumpt ion, and human masses; bags designed to co l l ec t refuse, and humanity who depend upon them not for co l l ec t ion for disposal , but for the disposed. 5.6b Connecting lived experience to theory Here was an instance of l ived e m p i r i c i s m , 6 0 where popular theory and immediacy of exper ience connec ted for me. Far away from home or my sanguine l i t t l e sanitary hote l room, where I read, wr i t e , and con templa ted social const ruct ion, I became exposed to the most v iscera l and raw of views, vulnerable to the real that I exper ienced and feel ing the hol lowing of meaning. Before me were the masses of cu l tu ra l consumpt ion, caught wi th in axes of ident i ty , r e /p roduc t ion , regulation and representat ion (du Gay et a l . , 1997; Mackay, 1997; Storey, 1999), theor ized by the c r i t i c a l theory of the Frankfurt (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1944/1998; Marcuse, 1964/1991) School . Here as w e l l is where we connect w i th g lobal iza t ion theory (Beck, 1999, 2000; Giddens, 1999; Kor ten , 2001; Latouche, 1993; Mander & Goldsmi th , 1996; O'Sull ivan, 1999; Sassen, 1998) where hollowness becomes tangible at the foot l eve l , and where real i ty lies sprawled before one amassed in the dank night air on the co ld pavement . Here was a l ived lesson in how mass d isplacement and the loss of happiness, famil ies and l ives, correla tes wi th the costs d isproport ionate ly d is t r ibuted global ly and local ly in the widening gulf be tween the r ich and the 200 poor (Latouche, 1993), an effect of corporate greed (Korten, 2001), and consumer lifestyles that impacts our environment (McKibben, 1999; Meadows et a l . , 1992). Critically, here is the theme, as per the Frankfurt School, which interweaves together nature and society (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1944/1998), where social and ecological oppression are inextricably entwined (Bahro & Jenkins, 1994). For in the ascendancy of the secular and the rational, nothing it seems is sacred, and none is spared within the ambit of the lust for growth and its unquenchable greed. Here, too, was where I felt the uneven exposure of the poor to risk being theorized in the literature, and where the untenable lack of humanity, as evidenced in the human condition I had personally experienced, validates why the metaphor of a machine guiding human praxis is profoundly problematic. We meet the undeniable end-result of the justification behind the mechanistic cry championed by the social Darwinists of the day: that.in the inevitable struggle for self and society there must be winners and losers. Under that tarp and plastic were the losers of social Darwinism — the abandoned huddling amongst themselves on the streets without a home to call their own, with only the cold night sky and the firmaments for their comfort and roof. The homeless do have relatives or loved ones. And yet, the question needs to be asked: if they have loved ones, family and people who care about them, where are they? How does the homeless end up on the street, destitute, and past hope? We need to interrogate our hearts and our praxis. How is it that 201 brothers and sisters who once played alongside each other , and mothers and fathers who once looked after them, can now be estranged from thei r care? Without romant ic iz ing the p rob lem, and cognizant of the complex i ty of these issues, what cause withholds their loved ones to reach out to them material ly? And yet the issues are surely more complex than this. Questions beg to be asked: how is i t that our hearts have strayed so far? Surely there must have been some warning when the changes began to take place some t ime ago. And when exact ly was that t ime? What did they do back then? Did they see the changes coming? As wi th the death of nature Merchant (1980) uncovers, or my example of different part ies gathered around the t ree . Here again, are seeds for disclosure in quot idian lessons. That is to say, not only are our exper iences today the end result of changes that came to pass under the force of history, but that even today, before our very eyes, under our very noses, there are new signs of changes. If a l lowed to be wrought, these changes w i l l profoundly affect the fabric of lives of our ch i ldren and grandchi ldren to come. Here the chal lenge for us, as educators and researchers, is to not only learn how to see these signs, but to in terpret their meanings in in tervent ion and through the pract ice of quot id ian pedagogy. Such in tervent ion requires us to take the t ime to pause and a l low ourselves vulnerabi l i ty to a l low for disclosure in the immedia te . 202 5.6c Symptoms of cultural decadence I fear that, when we pass by bodies in the street it is symbolic of harbingers and symptoms of deeper societal malady and the shape of things to come. It suggests the magnitude of economic collapse and the betrayal in the loss of love and compassion writ large in the ethos of the times. Without the traditional hearth, which a family can gather around, in a place that one can call home, it is symbolic of the decay of not only the family, its warmth... but of civilization itself. Modernity, it seems, exacts a high price, perhaps too high. We pay for it dearly, with our happiness, our families, our lives, and our souls. Here is where I fear the loss of the home means more. We need to also remind ourselves, that despite atomistic-individual philosophy, the homeless in the street (as with loss of biodiversity), are collective losses, symbolic of the distance the modern heart has strayed and the ethos of the times that permits the straying. As I have discussed in CHAPTER THREE, given our pivotal role as teachers and researchers responsible for the teaching of future teachers and researchers, we need to have a good grasp of these issues, so that we do not inadvertently end up complicit (Bowers & Flinders, 1990; Jardine, 1998; Orr, 1994; O'Sullivan, 1999). Given the complexity of the issues, this is arguably, a formidable task, yet it is one we must take up. Stating the problem positively, given our immense responsibility and charge, as teachers and researchers, we have the 203 potential to truly make a difference, through education committed to answer to the same calling. 5.6d Between caring and uncaring Summing up, I have retroactively written these contrasting accounts of care in the palliative care unit and of its absence in the street. In a sense, these words represent some of what I could not articulate when I was moving between what appeared to me as a zone of caring contrasted against a zone of callousness — at the time of my father's illness and again with my walk down that long street. When my father passed away, it was almost as if through these recursive oscillations, in accordance to system theory, within the twilight between the two worlds, I fel l into an existential crevasse of nothingness. Gradually that null opened in disclosure, to glimpse that which I might not have otherwise experienced. I am persuaded that within the charged existential state my heart-mind was in, it became possible to glimpse into illuminated and nether spaces, as with Eliot's poetry, where the familiar becomes unfamiliar. For in place of the familiar there had been rupture, which contrasted what I felt in the ward to the uncaring existence I witnessed and later experienced myself in the streets. This kind of awareness, which I have been calling quotidian lessons, becomes available when the mist of illusion clears for even a moment. 204 We have seen how violence towards nature is also mirrored in violence in culture. What is significant to remember about this violence is that the prior and more powerful symbolic violence lies in how it obscures the dynamics of change. As we saw in CHAPTER THREE and CHAPTER FOUR, symbolic violence is rendered possible through the lens with which we construct meaning and society where meaning is embodied in practice and lifestyles and reinforced in commercial fetishization of the material. What once was arbitrary and constructed begins to take the semblance of the given and the real. As we have seen, reification of a world becomes the naturalization of the world, and with the processes of sedimentation, the act of reification is forgotten as it becomes buried within history. I have been underscoring the crit ical point; these acts of reification and sedimentation importantly involve, and enact through, our conceptions of nature, such that they manifest as the dominant ethos of the age. What lies buried are not only trajectories through which our understanding of nature, and hence ourselves, have become flawed and contorted, but also pathways back to the real. It becomes apparent what is urgently needed is a praxiological understanding and stance to meet both the reification of nature and allow for immersion within immediacy in nature. Having traced construction through deconstruction, while proposing a redefined topography that includes nature, and a re-awakened sense of caring in presence of quotidian lessons through immediacy in lived culture, I turn next towards immediacy in the wilderness (or at least in this case, cared-for wilderness) and beyond... 205 CHAPTER SIX: IMMEDIACY IN NATURE AND TEMPORALITY: VOICES IN THE LIFEWORLD S E V E N S P A R R O W S Seven yellow-backed sparrows light in the lime tips of a spruce like ceramic miniatures from Red Rose tea, small enough to be almost real they peck at the branches, a feast of budworms, while crows watch from telephone lines and I sit on Nan and Pop's patio sipping a rye and seven I remember my daughter carried the spruce home from S.D. Cook Elementary on Save the Earth Day, a seedling in a Dixie cup Pop planted it in his backyard because we had none for a year while on a detour from Alberta to British Columbia that took us home to Newfoundland for years Pop feared he mowed the spruce with the daisies, and now it holds sparrows, the longing of crows, and memories enough to keep the heart calling earth's rhythms with roots seeking deep and deeper, the whole earth sung in veins of long light (Leggo, 2 0 0 2 ) 206 The Sung Dynasty in China was one of the greatest artistic periods in world history. It was also a great time in the development of Ch'an Buddhism, with its close affinities to Daoist philosophy. Common themes of Sung Dynasty painters were sparse landscapes in inkwash, decorated with poems. I would like to take you into one of these wonderful landscapes of mountains partly shrouded in mist. You have to look carefully. Down there below is a raging river. A narrow path winds upwards into the lower reaches of the mountain, and here a spidery bridge cross the white waters, a bit further up is a ledge overlooking the river, and yes, there are three figures seated on the ground. Is it a picnic? No, they are drinking rice wine and are engaged in animated conversation. A guarded pine tree leans over the ledge where the three men are sitting. Because of their bearing, we know they are scholars. Or perhaps poets but what are these poets doing in the wilderness? A sweating traveller, covered with dust, Stops at my house for some fresh water. "Sit down on the bio rock near the gate. It's noon and there is a breeze in the willows"... I cite this poem because of its natural grace. It has the quality of a snapshot. In its simplicity, it is both transparent and beguiling. But this simplicity is the achievement of great art. It is simplicity acquired only after a great deal of internal work on oneself... to overcome the Confucian formalities and artifice of the city... now finds genuine meaning... in the simple gesture of hospitality... (Friedman, 2 0 0 2 ) 207 6.1 CLEAR WATER SPEAKS If authenticity is being true to ourselves, is recovering our own "sentiment de l'existence," then perhaps we can only achieve it integrally if we rec-ognize that this sentiment connects us to a wider whole. It was perhaps not an accident that in the Romantic period the self-feeling and the feeling of belonging to nature were linked. Perhaps the loss of a sense of belonging through a publicly defined order needs to be compensated by a stronger, more inner sense of linkage. Perhaps this is what a great deal of modern poetry has been trying to articulate; and perhaps we need few things more today than such articulation. (Taylor, 1991, p.91) One moment I remember packing my bags, getting everyone ready and the next moment I was onto the deck and onto the ferry as we neared land. It was a very nice day, with blue-white sky above, and serene pastel blue-green ocean below. I think I know what had triggered the impulse within me. It was somewhere between those soft gusts of the summer air, that gentle rocking of the ferry travelling ever so slow as it literally glided over the waters, with the gulls flying alongside us, and the amazing clarity of the water that could dispel all notions of a polluted world beyond redemption... that the magic began... It must have been that unbelievably clear seawater that first spoke to my injured heart, as the island came closer and closer into view... releasing a symphony of emotions within me. My writing below originated within the vague intentions of some nature writing I had thought of writing when I was gently touched on my shoulder. This feeling that I must include a lived felt experiential moment in my work on recovering nature was directly inspired by my experiences that day, as we touched on the island, when the magic gradually overwhelmed me... The passage below is inspired by, and written in the voice of Rousseau's articulated sensibility — a sense of inner nature and inner voice that will not let the heart be still... 208 6.1a The magic unfolds Imagine, an idy l l i c set t ing on a dream island nest led far beyond the deep blue waters that reminds one that despite the spol ia t ion of the last two centuries of warfare , s tr ife, mil i tary- industr ia l -consumer l i festyles , these waters have survived, re la t ive ly prist ine, as they have for mi l l enn ia , and before the appearance of the human footprint . Tucked away on the is land 's foothi l ls , t rai ls and lakes, one finds the sanguine l ifestyle once l amented as forever los t , 6 1 w i th the advent of indust r ia l iza t ion and moderni ty . Imagine then , upon approaching this refuge on the is le , a gem, wi th in cared-for-but-yet-free wilderness and discovering a voluntar i ly s impler way of being, r e c y c l i n g 6 2 and sustaining l i f e . 6 3 Imagine a place reminiscent of l ife before the first chimneys that blackened the once green countryside and fouled the fresh air . Imagine yourself long before the release of CFCs responsible for the hole in the ozone, long before the warming of the surface of our planet Ear th , and long before the scale of loss of biodiversi ty that threatens the ex t inc t ion of a l l Life on Ear th . 2 0 9 Imagine if you wi l l , how one's heart delights uncontrollably, without reason as it were, with a gentle whisper, to find gentle human care in their attention to delicate threads of the web of life preserved conscientiously with reverence and responsibility towards the Earth. Imagine further, as one loses yet another heartbeat, when one inhales in disbelief, as the picturesque panorama surrounding one begins to gradually unfold. Here is a place, where animals do not fear humans, as horses frolic and graze in innocence, as in that primeval garden before the Fall , where a dog changes its facial expression to acknowledge arrival at a sacred site: nourishing a special witness, the last of its kind, a survivor and living testament to the blade of progress. 6.1b Sublime witness Sublime Witnessing... Beyond the ugly and the beautiful the modern and the primal stands the sublime witness to the Ages gnarled bark and root exposed Look here the unkindest cut that threatened to turn the organic into resource Where some see Nature incarnate a testament for the Ages Others see only utility and profit mere resources for the taking reducing History in the blink of a blade into sawdust memories Look here the unkindest cut a betrayal of our interconnectedness an eclipse in our consciousness 210 a break in the Web of Life And yet... She survives to witness a new dawn when eyes must needs reopen to that which they have been blind For even alongside the greedy cut of gain we see new Life, new Hopes to herald in another new dawn when humans learn to dwell well in harmony with that which they are a part Look here the unkindest cut that nearly fell Her grace one that threatened to reduce beauty to utility one that mocks the Earth within the arc of human hubris one that scorns Life and makes a mockery of Nature in a vain attempt to negate beauty, awe and splendour Surely Opa will see a new day For she has Patience to wait longer for the Turn in Natural History When life no longer scorns itself when humans reconnect with the earth and return to their sense to find themselves in humility only a small figure before a looming cosmos But maybe today is that day... For she has already waited millennia as the circle has almost gone full turn with collapse near, perhaps inevitable as our yearning, increases to herald in a new vision., on the threshold of a new dawn... (Feng, 2 0 0 2 ) With in the sanctuary, nest led among the fa l len w i l d , stands the subl ime witness, a survivor wi th a cut to its side and a story to t e l l , the last of its k ind . Here stands a thousand year-old t ree that has seen the te r r ib le dislocat ions from global changes in wor ldv iew and history wrought by the impera t ive to conquer and cont ro l nature in accordance wi th the mechanis t ic f ramework of the Scient i f ic Revolut ion . It has witnessed the twin effects of the social inequit ies and envi ronmenta l degradation brought forth by the Industrial Revolut ion . The t ree weeps for the w o r l d , in the consequent ia l loss of l ives, human and non-human, in po l i t i ca l revolut ionary upheavals, bruta l i ty and inhumani ty of humans to humans and the more-than-human wor ld that ushered in the "modern w o r l d " . Bearing witness to the i ronic , but tragic t ru th , the t ree has fel t v io lence of power and arrogance. The t ree has been through co loniza t ion of both the natural and social w o r l d , and mater ia l consequences corre la t ing to the modern ideology of change as progress (Jagtenberg Et M c K i e , 1997). 6.1c Weaves of a single loom, strands of joys and sorrows In this chapter , I again wr i t e of the concre te in immediacy , in journeys of the heart wi th in that magical space where v i r tue , disclosure, and the saving Grace dwel ls . In both of the exper iences I wr i t e about here, I share how this kind of immedia te essence sneaks up when one 's heart is least aware . In its 212 power to consume the wonderfully vulnerable space of being within the flux between real and artif ice, whether in sorrow or joy, the immediate opens up for "disclosure". This first piece begins with the experience of immediacy in the wild that seeded my postulate below of the continuing enchantment of nature. Although I modify the construct of enchantment, I also extend far beyond the kind of abstraction implied by the construct. It is in a way difficult to describe why I had begun to feel that way when I was taken in by the experience. I know in part I felt the world was enchanted, and not just the nature that I was immersed in. I know in part it had to do with the refutation of that which is implied by the meaning of the construct called "disenchantment". The term implies for instance that the magic of sacredness and wonder has been expunged from the world, and perhaps with it the correlate reflection of that loss in the spoliation of nature. I had not planned of re-enchanting nature. As I wil l explain, it was the farthest thing in my heart-mind. I wil l try to convey the lived-felt meaning of what I mean when I refute the "disenchantment" of the world. The second segment shares a journey-within-a-journey when the infinite opens to convey quotidian lessons of another kind for finite beings. It is another potent reminder of an experience where those who return to the bosom of affinity can stil l affect our hearts, and the colours of the day. At the same time, within this same space lies also the knowing that, here, grasping can only 2 1 3 be about the ungraspable, for in the very reaching for the gulf between the finite and Divine lies the lessons of humility. 6.2 ENCHANTMENT AS COUNTER-THESIS When the ocean spoke to me in time with its soft rocky movements, it made me feel enchanted in that first sense, of feeling awe, wonder and magic that made me feel happy for apparently no reason. It was enchantment in the sensuous, lived-felt, immersive sense. But this sense of enchantment was not alone as it moved dialectically with the material sense of enchantment. Or perhaps it is precisely because I have been reading so much of disenchantment and have seen so many pictures of despoliation and waste that my senses were vulnerable even to the hint of enchantment. The ocean had truly surprised me with how clean it was that day. Thus, perhaps the ocean spoke so loudly because the magnitude of its persuasiveness was inversely proportional to my own lived-felt sense of loss of enchantment. I really was discouraged by recent news I had heard of black soot captured deep within the ice at the poles that could be traced to the first chimneys of the industrial revolution. But the clarity gave me new hope. Where once I had been despondent wondering how to undo centuries of wholesale damage to our planet, and sickened by the magnitude of the despoliation, when the ocean spoke, I now thought the reverse. 214 That is, rather than being faced with damage that takes generations to heal, I began to postulate that the damage has been exaggerated in two ways: in terms of degree and scale. With the first, I began to realize that there was the possibility that much of the earth, like the water, remains relatively uncontaminated. With the second, if there remain pockets of relatively unsullied nature, rather than being faced with a task that takes generations to reverse, collectively the pockets of such pristine places refuted the picture of nearly irreversible damage I had internalized. Let me try to connect my feelings to the ecological l iterature. According to Gaian theory Life refutes her destruction (Lovelock, 1995). Even the greens of Nagasaki have returned to bloom. In contrast to the "end of the wor ld" thesis (McKibben, 1999) that has been a significant contribution to the literature, as indicator of crisis (one that I highly value), I forward a counter-thesis that "enchantment" remains tenable. Admittedly, my counter-claim is animated through modest, subjective convictions of a beating heart that wants to believe that even after centuries of pollution, we have not succeeded in desecrating, disenchanting and destroying the natural world. We have merely sullied parts of it. That is to say, against conventional environmental crit ique, a large part of nature survives relatively intact, as testament of her timeless endurance. My claim can also be supported by Latour's counter thesis refuting the formidable "irreversible arrow of t ime" thesis associated with modernity 215 (Latour, 1993). Elsewhere, on the theme of enchantment , wr i t ing wi th B i l l Doll and Stephen Pet r ina , we have argued that "Nie tzsche ' s pronouncement of the 'death of God and the tales of disenchantment that fo l lowed were modern self-fulf i l l ing prophecies. Our cosmos is enchan ted" (Doll , Feng, & Pet r ina , 2001). In this move, our argument works to ex tend Latour ' s refutat ion of moderni ty social construct ion wr i t large to the correla tes postulated in its name (e.g. Weber et a l . , 1958). Further, when Tester (1995) exposes enchantment as i tself a construct that can be subverted and turned towards the objec t , he suggests the arbitrariness of the construct . Ye t , what is more impor tant in Tester ' s c l a im is not the deconstruct ion of the construct per se, but in how he exposes the pul l of the objec t as enchantment , and hence the danger. By postulat ing another para l le l pathway to enchantment , this t ime based upon an argument wi th a mater ia l cor re la te that alongside the i rrefutable effects of po l lu t ion , I also have affirmations of pockets of re la t ive ly undefi led nature that has wi ths tood the ravages of industr ia l cu l ture . I offer an an t i the t i ca l a l te rnat ive in immediacy to counter the problemat ic th ra l l of the objec t in re i f i ca t ion . 6.3 HURT AND FOLLOWING AUTHENTIC VOICES WITHIN AND WITHOUT Let me pick up the c i t a t ion from Taylor , which opened this chapter . Bearing in mind what I have in t roduced in CHAPTER FOUR on immediacy as the material and conceptual space of possibility, my work here a t tempts to grasp the possibil i ty of "au then t ic i ty" as immediacy . Wi th in the space of the 216 quotidian is immediacy that is invisible to all but the heart, if that heart be amenable. I want to expand here on "voice", "speaking", and "hurt". Charles Taylor argues that Jean Jacques Rousseau develops his conception of authenticity as a "sentiment de I'existence," at the same time that he formulates his critiques on the estrangement of culture from nature. Taylor writes, "Rousseau frequently presents the issue of morality as that of our following a voice of nature within us" (p. 27). While it may be possible to intellectualize Rousseau's claim, I am still persuaded that his claim can only be grasped within immediacy, in one's heart, in nature — and especially so when we speak of injury to the heart. I need to share more of the background to my writing retreat. Prior to getting onto the ferry, I had been in an unsettled mood where I felt as if I was going through the motions. I had been slowly recovering from the emotional aftermath of the mass tragedy, when planes had roared overhead in the skies of September in New York City. Whereas prior to the fateful event, I had been dwelling on the conceptual, my entire mood had turned toward the mass grief that seemed only too real. These were real people, real families, real stories, and real tears. Initially, the mass tragedy rendered me incapable of writing, as I experienced a moment when I emotionally felt as if I could not think beyond that day. The surreal moments unfolding before my eyes made me want to curl up and return to my body. Affected physically, my body literally shut down. I desperately sought for the 2 1 7 rea l . Emotions w e l l e d wi th in me and I co i led into the proverbia l foe ta l stance, where I dwe l l ed on the v i scera l , not knowing when I wou ld re-surface. After incubat ing for seven days, I gradually came out of my self- imposed isolat ion to rejoin the w o r l d . S t i l l sad, upset, and confused, I was looking forward to an upcoming wr i t ing retreat , to a secluded Island (Figure 9). In a mood I could only descr ibe as a haze, I was ready to lose myself in the woods, expect ing nothing spectacular , I yearned to do some nature wr i t i ng , unaware that I was opening for the Rousseauan voice that was to gradual ly sneak up on me... Figure 10. Sanctuary and transformation in green 218 This voice manifested itself in my nature writings, inspired and written by the ocean and by the majestic and ancient thousand-year birch that had made me speculate about the borders of being. It was under the shade of her wings and gentle green embrace that the words came through hurt appendages that touched the liminal space. When immediacy congealed for me in the material, my experiences in the wild made me wonder if immediacy is fully capable of manifesting in material form as water or another living, and perhaps sentient being. But the question of nature speaking is one that bears further elaboration... 6.3a Lessons in the undergrowth If we are attentive enough amidst the thick undergrowth we may find l itt le spans of the web of Life through which all life is rendered possible. Interconnected inextricably through the delicate weaves that are threatened daily by increasing human impact, we may find that the unravelling of one part of the web threatens to unravel the whole. Through this disclosure we wil l begin to appreciate the lived meaning of biodiversity and understand the dangerous implications of its social counterpart enacted within the rise of global monoculture articulated through the discourse of globalization. Here, too, is where we begin to replace the worn dangerous imagery of nature as limitless resource reserved for storage and application, with the humbler notion of limits to growth and potential collapse (Meadows et a l . , 219 1992; Meadows & Rome, 1972). But, where is that point when the system is threatened wi th collapse? A n d , w i l l we have enough warning? Like the w i l d weeds growing exponent ia l ly in a half-empty pond on the eve before the weeds overf low the pond, there w i l l l i t e ra l ly be l i t t l e or no warning, and l ike the weeds, the next doubl ing w i l l overf low the measure of the pond. We l ive wi th in a l iving wor ld where a l l affects a l l in the system and when we exceed the l imi ts of nature, systemic col lapse may come in the shape of pes t i lence , the mel t ing of the caps, global war or Severe Acqui red Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). I confess that for an urban-dwel ler wi th a green heart I had s tumbled upon a pic ture of harmony wi th in the undergrowth that made me lament and want to acquaint myself w i th everything I should al ready be fami l ia r w i t h . For l ike the typ ica l c i ty being who champions the Ear th , I fe l t ashamed. I cou ld not t e l l the various ingredients that had gone into the making of that evening 's soup; I could not t e l l the plants served in the soup by name, sight or taste. Here then in the most basic of ways, the wilderness was al ready beginning to teach me about sustenance — how to dwe l l w e l l w i th the rest of nature, of which we are a l l a part , how to t e l l medic ine from tox in . I am convinced that i f we open our hearts to the wonder we behold in nature, i t has the po ten t ia l to draw us back from the brink of se l f -annihi la t ion . The Earth is recovered once again — not as phantasmagoria, or imagery par-exce l lence through specia l effects of cu l ture , but in /as its p r imordia l s tate . Here then is another fe l t sense of the l i f ewor ld , and the po ten t ia l to undo the 220 modern fol ly of progress. It is perhaps only through revisi t ing and l ingering in the undergrowth that we find how far we have strayed from nature and our hearts, and how much we have deemed as exp lo i tab le in the name of progress. Here, too, is where we can revisit our hearts in ways that can enable us to re-enter the wor ld of progress wi th new eyes that a ler t us of its hidden dangers. Here, too, if we give in to the splendour a l l around us and a l low ourselves to be absorbed by its t ranqui l beauty, as we frol ic in the w i l d , we might f ind peace wi th in ourselves and harmony wi th what is around us. We might also f ind the st irr ing of some long-buried pr imordia l emot ion that makes us want to speak out in defence of the natural r ea lm. Even as the ancient a l lure of the woods at once motivates us to preserve its state for its own sake, if we pay a t tent ion to its rhythm, its pulse can help develop wi th in us a deep c r i t ique . We can begin to quest ion the wisdom of our everyday undertakings, by problemat iz ing its very foundations in the underlying assumptions that buttress dominant c la ims in the name of Reason. The pulse might also lead us to reassess the mechanism through which pa t r ia rchal human hubris, in its i ronic c la ims of knowing nature, estranges us a l l , even as i t lays down the seeds of des t ruc t ion . For here, too, we might begin to ask ourselves deeply whether we need to place a morator ium on human impact on the natural wor ld and undertake a planetary project to heal the Ear th . Having seen the tendency of ins t rumenta l 221 reason to debase a l l as standing resource for the taking, or commodi ty , as i t betrays Life wi th the f la t tening of value and the consequent ia l loss of meaning, purpose and Divini ty , here, too, is a chance for r enewal . For wi th in the green lies potent ia l pathways that can lead us out of nihi l ism and back to significance and the sacred. Whether in terms of religious or secular overtones, we can a l l recognize at least one meaning of the word sacred wi th in the intr insic value of a l l l i fe . The sacred opens spaces for media t ion to ce lebra te the mirac le in a l l its abundance. Life is i tself sacred. 6.3b Does Nature speak? Moreover, it is not only those entities acknowledged by Western civiliza-tion as "alive," not only the other animals and plants that speak, as spirits, to the senses of an oral culture, but also the meandering river from which those animals drink, and the torrential monsoon rains, and the stone that fits neatly into the palm of the hand. The mountains too, has its thoughts. The forest birds whirring and chattering as the sun slips below the horizon as vocal organs of the rain forest itself. (Abram, 1996, p. 14) Thus far, I have spoken mostly of learning from nature and of the pedagogical impor t of exper iencing the w i l d . I have also hinted that i t might be problemat ic to wr i t e of nature speaking. Ye t , rather than c la iming i t is we who are teaching ourselves, i t is more appropria te to say nature is teaching us, in that we are speaking of disclosure through nature. Accord ing to my reading of the l i te ra ture , however, where 1 speak.of disclosure of learning from nature, I 222 commit the sin of naturalism (Vogel, 1996) in crossing the forbidden Kantian divide. The prior question is, "does nature speak?" According to modern thinking, how do we make into subjects what we conventionally understand as objects? How can we use active grammar for what is not human? How can we violate that divide? Or can it be that nature can speak? The apparent contradiction attached to the prior question, whether nature can speak, is the reason that animates this chapter, To say that nature can speak, is alternatively to mean, "to remember nature", and to hear our inner voice through Rousseau's notions of authenticity. In reply to the question of whether nature can speak, we need to perhaps ask the correlate question: Might not Nature be speaking all the time? Perhaps it is we who do not heed her urgent cries and calls. We believe Nature to be mute in spite of the signs showing up all around us. Perhaps, we might be able to hear nature speak, if we were to shut off the incessant drone of our florescent lamps64 overhead in our classrooms, and the hum of the engines all around us. While these are apparently designed to make our lives easier, we have become oblivious and all too familiar with them. Within the green, the curious squirrel that just skirted by, the cry of the mighty eagle flying overhead, the forest too — they are all lessons we can learn, if only we are willing to open up our hearts, in gratitude, awe, and humility. There is also something peaceful in surrendering to the beauty of the 223 pastel sunset as it slowly sinks into the sea — it too has something to say. And the water's healing message was also a voice. I believe it is extremely significant that not only was the water speaking, but it was asking through that inner voice in a being that was hurt, to open his heart to allow for immediacy to come into the space of healing. There may be other reasons as well why we might not hear nature speak. For true to modern human conceit, we imagine the voice of nature anthropocentrically verifiable only through human epistemology and language. Yet, we can conceptualize nature speaking through the following series of postulates: As speaking falls under the rubric of communication and communication can be broadened as exchange, where it might be difficult to speak of tornadoes as communication or intelligence, they might be described less problematically as forms of patterning. Pushing this argument further, alternate ways of patterning that differ radically from conventional ones could be expanded to include the movement of earth below our feet, change in heat and direction of the wind, a pitch in an eagle's cry, or intricate Mandelbrot patterns (see Mandelbrot, 1982). Broadening our interpretation of patterns as possible warning signs, we could include marked atmospheric changes, mass extinction, puzzling animal behaviours, or even shifts in social patterns. This broadened interpretation of speaking or communication under a Batesonian take (see Bateson, 1972) carries implications for the message of evolution. For even if the message of nature is survival, it might not be that of 224 survival of the fittest, as postulated by self-centred and self-elevating homo sapiens. To believe human beings should be, first and foremost, the unit of survival might be to commit a categorical error of the first order. The unit of analysis may turn out to be not the survival of the individual, but the viability of the context which makes life possible, i.e. the entire system. This concludes the segment of immediacy in nature where I have argued of the possibility for the immediate to take material form, and as authenticity. In the same way, the immediate takes material form in my next piece on the space between finite and Infinite. 6.4 BETWEEN THE FINITE AND THE INFINITE The deferral of presence turns out to imply messianic waiting and expectation, and the deconstruction of presence turns out to be not a denial of the presence of God but a critique of the idols of presence, which has at least as much as to do with Moses' complaint of Aaron, as with Nietzsche. It is idolatry to think that anything present can embody the four autre or claim to be its visible form in history, the instantiation and actualization of the impossible, for whose coming, like teary-eyed Augustine, deconstruction always prays and weeps... (Caputo & Scanlon, 1999, p. 5). For this next segment, we seek to speak of immediacy in terms of the space between the finite and the Infinite. And, when we speak of the finite and the Infinite, we will invite Levinas to guide us in our travails of the heart ahead. Here, Levinas is right. It is the face that brings us all to ourselves and it 225 is not about the closing of difference, but of the gap which celebrates mortality in humility. There is none better who is more qualified to address this liminality than Levinas. And I too share his conviction that the ethical can, indeed should, coexist with the ontological, to become primary. For ethics, it is only in the infinite relation with the other that God passes... that traces of God are to be found. God thus reveals himself [sic] as a trace, not an ontological presence. (Kearney, 1984, p. 67) Ontology as a state of affairs can afford to sleep. But love cannot sleep, can never be peaceful or permanent. Love is the incessant watching over the other; it can never be satisfied or content with the bourgeois ideal of love as domestic comfort or the mutual possession of two people... (Kearney, 1984, p. 66) 6.4a The phenomenal shift into immediacy We have seen that existential angst connected with the Infinite has been for myself, the portal with which to access immediacy, whether it was in the palliative care unit, the streets, or in found nature. We have learned that immediacy appears to be always present in shifting spatial and temporal dimensions. We saw it in the sharing of food, memories of the child, the walk alongside the homeless in the street, and the angst of losing a loved one. We have also learned that we can be pulled into immediacy without warning if we are open and attentive. We have also learned the irony — that where danger dwells, grows also the saving grace, and that it is precisely through despair that we find possibility for hope. 226 While grief might not be the only portal, it is one, which animates me. We also need to be reminded that the dead are not gone, not only do they remain in our hearts, they are physically interred sharing in immediacy with us. Even more, they are never forgotten, where even the slightest shift may bring them back into our waking consciousness. To illustrate how immediacy in the Infinite has opened to quotidian pedagogy for me, I want to share with you another instance of disclosure in immediacy. With her driving, Mother and I are on our way to visit Father. It has been awhile since we last visited him. Perhaps reading David Jardine put me into a receptive mode as I looked up to catch the phenomenon that she was referring to. What was it? It looked like snow! It couldn't be, but it was — a very late snowfall. As the pattern was gradually forming on my awareness I realized I was experiencing another shift into immediacy. What was it that triggered the shift in reception? Perhaps it had to do with the conjunction of events around mother's question, the book I was reading, our impending visit with Father, and the air around our customary quiet drive. Or perhaps it was due to the almost hypnotic motion, because like the ferry on the water, the first flakes of snow cascaded ever so gently. 6.4b Snowflakes dancing, green sun, yellow cabs Seeing these first flakes of snow reminded me of a time when I was not familiar with the snow. That was the time when Father was alive when we 227 watched snow falling for the first time from our hotel room overlooking the city of Los Angeles. That was when I saw nature transformed into a way that I could barely recognize. After a lifetime around the equator, I remember gazing at the green orb in the sky, befuddled by its haunting surreal colour, its fiery display tempered and discoloured by the smog of industrialization and lifestyle. Yet another completely chaotic dance greeted us, a mechanical one, generated by the hum of the metropolitan bustle of the traffic grids of North American life. That was also when we learned the lesson of living at the edge of the speed of sight, where yellow cabs do not necessarily stop for people waiting on the boulevard. Those nascent clips and sound bytes were to comprise the concrete informing my journey ahead where these experiences of the green Sol, dancing snowflakes and the metropolitan gridlock were later to inform my environmental consciousness. As I thought about how Father's Dao Li continues to guide us in his absence, it made me sad that he was no longer with us. The snowflakes had transported me to quotidian lessons in the past, and like the spoon and water, they too were time and mood shifters. 6.4c Through the portal of Care, visiting Father My thoughts of our struggles with Father championing Dao Li, and the seeds of discontent that were to shape my later academic life were interrupted when I noticed we were almost there. It had been awhile since my last visit. The giant green oaks and cedars seemed to comfort us, as we went through the 228 gates, embracing us within their calming folds. As we drove on slowly to find a parking spot, mother and I could almost feel, without verbalizing how we were, united in the feeling generated by the poignant sights before us. The chirping of birds graced the blue skies overhead. In front, amongst pastoral green, signs of care were everywhere to be found. A panorama of splashes of red, yellow, orange, pink and blue unfolded before us — colourful bouquets laid by the tombstones, erupting in muted celebration of Life reminding visitors of presence, departures, and remembrances. Telling inscriptions of care, compassion, and love dotted the unfolding landscape as far as the eye could behold. Here, at last, were the silent witnesses to the final grounding of unity — the embrace of mortality uniting all beings in the spirit of humanity and humility that bend us all in quiet genuflection of appreciation, loss, and sense of the sacred. I am always torn when I come to the funeral home to visit with Father. On the one hand, I am always filled with sadness, reminded of the finality of mortality. Yet, despite its morbidity and the reminder of finality, the pain is also tinged, nay saturated, with gladness. I appreciate visiting Father and spending time with him. I am profoundly grateful every time we visit here. The bustle I mentioned above, which I have become nearly impervious to, gradually melts away, giving way to quotidian lessons awaiting my heart. 229 6.4d Lessons of the heart and remembering Lessons of the heart abound here if one is attentive. As we approach Father, there are fresh flowers in his vase! The freshness of these flowers suggests the trace presence of family and friends who had lovingly placed them mere hours ago. Quotidian pedagogy always follows mother's gentle act of unwrapping the paper, discarding old flowers, refilling the vase with water and placing the new flowers we brought with us into the vase. It is also present in the way that she carefully cleans the tabletop for the next person who brings flowers to remember. Here too, is where we learn the lessons of the heart as we reciprocate in kind. Yet another quotidian lesson unfolds as I watch mother gently take two flowers from the bouquet and place them gently into the vase belonging to the departed mother of the thoughtful family friends who had left Father those beautiful flowers. 6.4e The dance of the flowers Still other less obvious lessons disclose in revealing appearances. Here is where the real meets the fake, where fake flowers that greet us inside remind us of the bloom we just witnessed basking outside in the sun. Even more, here the real and fake coexists in dance, with the permanent fake flowers that reside in Father's vase always at the ready to manifest alone, when the fresh flowers subside. 230 We might be tempted to ask ourselves how many of the other flowers that abound in the aisles are also false. Quite honestly, it is hard to te l l . In this charged realm, even the false profess truths. Herein lies another quotidian lesson when the reverse is true, when the real imitates the sign of the fake, as when mother gently feels the stems of the flowers, surprised to find they are real! As mother tests the veracity of Life, I am reminded of the irreducible and irreplaceable quality of Life, of its preciousness, and the extent with which the fake has come to represent the real in this complex dialogue, reminiscent of discourses around nature, culture, and technology discussed here. 6.4f Visiting the faces of Love As flowers yield to tactile and close visual inspection, they reveal as simulacras of the real. They are fake. I am reminded of the extent of the profound deceit. Even the photograph of my father, which greets his visitors and us, is yet another representation. Only this time it is comprised of dots, deposited strategically upon specially treated paper — an image made up of residual traces of chemical reactions from another t ime. Here we have the ultimate absurdity perhaps, when one can be transfixed and transformed by the sign of the real, in absence of the real. Surely, it must be the ultimate act of absurdity for an extra-terrestrial being, when beholding arrogant mortals genuflecting before chemically graven images that upon close inspection, reveal only as simulacra, composed of mere traces knitting a convincing tapestry to form semblance that remind beings of beings. 231 And yet , it is a l l rea l , too rea l . Surreal . As the gentle music plays in the background, our eyes w e l l up wi th emot ion as we bow in memory before the smal l b lack-and-white pic ture of Father. Like the rest of the people we meet wi th in this charged space, we have a l l gathered to honour and to respect the depar ted amongst us. As Mother and I speak to the pictures before us in the privacy of our hearts, I wonder what she might be t e l l ing or asking Father, even as she might be wonder ing about my inner feelings and thoughts. It is t e l l ing that i t always takes t ime for one to set t le here in the immedia t e . Adjust ing for the break from complacency and dis t ract ing, but v i t a l sounds of p i t ter -pat ter of smal l feet down the hal lway is d i f f icu l t . Even background music, ca lming as i t is, pulls me away from my intent . Signs of the rea l , and the absence of real are present. Here arises another quot id ian pedagogical oppor tuni ty : To ask ourselves why it is impor tant for being-within- the-more- than-human-world , to have these representat ions as semblances of the real? It is when we ask this quest ion that we touch something deep wi th in us. Fake flowers carry meaning for mor ta l beings who treasure l i fe , who ce lebra te , long for, and mourn for others no longer in thei r presence; who care deeply for other beings who bring meaning in comple t ing their meagre l ives. It is wi th in moments of fragil i ty that we find our greatest strength. Mor ta l i ty at tenuates our i l lusions of grandeur. It makes us ask e th ica l questions of being. As I reminisce of my father, two significant dates inscr ibed upon the marble c i rcumscr ib ing a l i t t l e g i r l ' s face take on a different meaning. 232 What was her story like that is being celebrated by an outpouring of balloons, cards, and flowers, amidst signs of Divinity? 6.4g Ecopedagogy as performative immediacy At this juncture, I pause to remember in gratitude why my dissertation on reification of Life and its reversal through reconstruction and immediacy necessarily begins and ends with personal anecdotes from my lived narrative. In so doing, I am emphasizing my thorough conviction within an Aokian (1996) turn that aside from deconstructing the reification of Life and reconstructing gaps in the discourse, we need to open our heart to quotidian lessons in immediacy. These lessons abound before us, in our narratives and in the lived life that gives meaning and utterance to our lives as text. Before I close I need to acknowledge the book I was reading, David Jardine's (1998) To Dwell with a Boundless Heart. Within Jardine's caring text dwells my rationale for my conceptual contribution in lived immediacy, in "affinities between hermeneutics, curriculum and ecology" (p. 1). Importantly, Jardine reminds us as teachers that we need to "interweav[e] meanings and experiences ... in a genuinely, pedagogic way" (p. 6). We cannot estrange ourselves from our lived lives, and theorize in abstraction. We need "theorizing that erupts out of our lives together and is about our lives together" (p. 7). This is precisely the mode of embodied lived-theorizing informing my work. It emphasizes the dynamic, living context which gives rise to it. Theory is 233 interpreted praxiologically, through experiences and lived life, linked performatively to narrative, life, and concrete experience towards transformation (Fels, 1999; Fels a Meyer, 1997; Linds, 2001). It is here, within life lived as quotidian lessons that we find the sinews of lived theorizing that webs together the earthly flows in embodied cognition (Varela et al., 1991) and colours our mortal coils, imbuing it with meaning (Jardine, 1998). Like Aoki and Jardine, I, too, believe that curriculum must be located within this lived nexus. Whether we are theorizing about the splitting of culture from nature, ascension of technology from culture, human condition in terms of homo sapiens, homo faber, and homo ludens, the flux between real and simulacra, or material and ideas, it is within lived experience that we must root pedagogy and discourse. Within this embedded interpretation, learning, cognition and life are synonymous (Maturana & Varela, 1980; Winograd & Flores, 1986). Moreover, for curriculum to be meaningful and ethical, whether in teaching, learning or research, it must be existentially65 grounded within acts of passion and compassion that attempt to grasp at fundamentals of love, community, relationship, and living, in what it means to be human-within the-more-than-human-world. 6 .4h Fa ther , rei f icat ion and intervent ion The passion of semblances, hidden messages and quotidian lessons are meaningful in another direct way. It has been an extremely challenging, deeply 234 soul searching, and recursive process to wr i te about histor ical re i f i ca t ion , hermeneut ic examinat ion of discursive ef fects of representat ion and sedimentat ion, discourse to address loss of nature, and phenomenological immediacy in nature. Somewhere, w i th a l l the disruptions in l i fe , and the looming crisis fac ing the wor ld amidst rumours of war and mass disaster, my heart had somehow been lost along the way. I was humbled by the sheer enormity of the task I had set myself, saddened by the para l le l magnitude of the global crisis. In short, there was a point when I doubted the complet ion of this long journey I had set out to explore. As much as I struggled against i t , my l i fe would invar iably reify. In resett ing my l ived re i f i cat ion, my visit w i th Father had j o l t ed my heart out of its complacency. Upon returning f rom my vis it, I became seized w i th compuls ion to put feel ings to keyboard. Perhaps, Father had been speaking to me, a l l along, as the true impetus that guides my fingers. Whether w i th the c r i t i c a l sights foreshadowing my rendezvous wi th destiny in wr i t ing this dissertat ion, or quot id ian lessons that e/merged to awake and make me aware I had been stuck in my wr i t ing, it was through vis it ing my father that I found my heart and courage to comple te my journey. 235 CODA As for those who would take the whole world to tinker with as they see fit, I observe that they will never succeed: For the world is a sacred vessel not to be altered by man [sic]. The tinkers will spoil it; Usurpers will lose it. Lao-tze Oh our Mother the Earth Oh our Father the sky Weave for us a garment of brightness May the warp be the white light of morning May the weft be the red light of evening May the fringes be the falling rain May the border be the standing rainbow That we may walk where the birds sing Where grass is green Tewa American Indian poem Song of the Sky loom Difficulty of lived interpretation I imagine myself moving to a pacific community where I find contentment. As a stranger to the community, I move through life daily, aware of the givens around which community life is organized. One day, I sense something amiss. That feeling subsides when I ignore my intuition, only to return the next day, the day after, the next week, or the next month. Until another day, the feeling persists within a pervasive sense of unease that no 236 longer seems to go away. Within all of this, not only do I not know what the problem might be, as yet I am unable to articulate that which disturbs the air, since I am a stranger to the community and do not yet know the language. While I initially feel alone with this sense, as I begin to interpret the language in the absence of an interpreter, I gradually grow aware of collective instinct lending credence to my own, even as collective instincts cannot be affirmed, when I am unsure of my translation. But I can never be sure. As I become acquainted with the language: I am not sure whether the ocean is drying up, or the impending danger might be from fire or earthquake. I even read that it is we who inflict the calamity upon ourselves, but cannot know, when I am learning to read signs, even as I attempt to unravel the problem. Further, to interpret the message, I have to know where to look for references, but in order to look for references; I have to not only name the reference, but also find those who had uttered these references. The problem is made worse; I am confronted with relativism in that everyone has her or his own interpretations, while the rest carry on seemingly oblivious of the peri l . What is worse, no one is sure. While answers might lie in the text, most old, I have to know by what names they were cal led, and which ones, even as one is learning to read the symbols with a sense of urgency, unsure whether the perceived threat might be from drainage, fire, or earthquake, as time grows short for averting the impending danger... 237 Existential storying, pedagogy, as meaningful language After thinking through how I might convey the extent of the difficulty that I feel challenged with daily in lived-interpretation, I realized the best way might be to relate how I feel about the difficulties, challenges, and elations within this kind of work that can sometimes tear at my heart. The imagery and the story illustrate how I have been feeling for an extending period. This story works as a pedagogical vehicle for several reasons. To begin with, the story only makes sense to conditioned beings, mortals who leave behind inscriptions, who interpret text while aware of vulnerability and temporality, without external arbiters for appeal. This sense of storied existence, attests to the power of meaning-making and morality for these temporal beings, through its meandering and the rise and fall of the heart as the story unfolds. Moreover, gone here is the hubris of beings sure of their actions, arrogant with their power. In its place are tentative beings, capable of love, dying and community. Like Beckett's (1954) Godot, the play of contingency reminds us of our own existential predicament in the sense that we too are never sure when and if the calamity, wil l come. In the place of confidence, there is Kierkegaardian (1987) angst rather than Cartesian (1637/1989) doubt. But if one senses the shadow of Nietzsche, one is not wrong. Truly, I had Nietzsche's fateful passage from the Gay Science in heart when I wrote the above passage, as it read through a Heideggerian (1977) interpretation: 238 Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!" — As many of those who do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or, is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? — Thus they yelled and laughed. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried"; I will tell you. We have killed him— you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell nothing as yet of God's decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. And we have killed him. "How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us— for the sake of this deed he [sic] will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto." Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces, and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of man.[sic] Lighting and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars— and yet they have done this themselves"... (Nietzsche, 1974, p. 181-182) As I cite Nietzsche, I confess I am struck with the unintended parallels in my litt le story that opened the CODA. The drying up of the ocean was an oblique reference to Nietzsche's imagery of drying up the sea, a reference that held deep impressions for Heidegger and Taylor (1989: 17). But its emergence 239 in this form suggests perhaps the reason why Nietzsche chose to forward his urgent claim through the story form, given the morality inherent to narrative and common existential implications of the oeuvre. But I too chose to begin with the story for these reasons. In so doing I share what is in my heart-mind on why I chose to embark on this particular journey. Refuting reification and sedimentation I need to begin by clarifying that I make my claims in this CODA in relation to a question posed 6 6 to me: Why re-invoke existentialism after it has been long relegated to history? My short answer is because we need it given the apparent impending urgency and difficulty of interpretation. Although I am engaged in a modest conversation here, and I am not aspiring to grand theory, perhaps I can draw from my story analogy to suggest reversing Lyotard 's (1984) cautions. As the metanarrative of modernity marginalizes nature from the discourse to almost preclude other ways of being, Lyotard notwithstanding, perhaps we need to revisit potentials of existentially-based interpretations in accounts of human ethicality in the lifeworld. There are also other reasons why I have chosen to locate my work at the hermeneutic phenomenology nexus that comes to the fore when this problem is posed in the question: What indeed, could possibly come after deconstruction, Marxism, existentialism, Neo-Kantianism, mechanism, objectivity, secularism, loss of nature, and loss of sense of the sacred? I submit bringing nature back 240 through a renewal of the sacred. There can be no alternative to spirituality since we are, as my litt le story above suggests, profoundly spiritual beings. My tentative answer after others in the literature (Caputo & Scanlon, 1999; Levinas, Peperzak, Critchley, & Bernasconi, 1996) would be to retain a sense of the sacredness of Life within hermeneutic-phenomenological consciousness. When we are no longer amazed by contradictions, when fragmentation abounds, when historical consciousness is subverted by/replaced with scientific consciousness, when construct is more real than the Life it seeks to imitate, when discourse is d is t racted- all within a large reading of reification about to sediment into history (Husserl, 1970) and other modes of being are in danger of being foreclosed and precluded (Heidegger, 1977)- as moral beings we need to retrace our way and be open to disclosure from the lifeworld. Perhaps here lies the real fear of the inquisition of Gali leo. With his claims, not only did Galileo move heaven and earth, but these claims when ushered in through the door left ajar inadvertently by Aquinas via reason to faith, eventually culminates via Luther, again unexpectedly, in the loss of the Divine and the devaluation of all value in Nietzsche. Now reification as object writ large (Lukacs, 1971a) threatens to annihilate the pathways to the Infinite, fusing together Kantian scepticism, Hegelian alienation, Heideggerian forgetting, Kierkegaardian despair, Marxist commodification, Nietzschean nihilism, and Weberian rationality (Critchley & Schroeder, 1998). 241 Obstacles to exegesis In my disser ta t ion, I formula ted a procedure to bring nature back to the discourse through the form of exeget ica l exercise I have ca l l ed onto-l inguist ic inquiry. As I have indica ted there are many obstacles. Some of these concern basics l ike nomencla ture . Others have to do wi th being a ler t both to frequency of words and in ways they are in terpre ted and employed . S t i l l others require not only knowledge of the biography of key theorists , but the context and their contemporar ies . I have had to learn to read words wi th in his tor ic i ty to prevent mistakes from anachronism in order to grasp the ideas behind words in older texts that corre la te to thei r modern concept ions . I learned for instance, to read broadly and to follow the threads that lead, no matter how obscure. When the text was unavai lable , I searched the web . When I needed to locate key words, I scanned texts so that I cou ld search the text for occurrences of key words. Where threads appeared only to disappear, I learned to seek out threads that are less obvious in correspondences be tween theorists and their contemporar ies . Here i t is c r i t i c a l to be informed of genealogies w i th respect to ideas, heri tage, and transformations. In a l l of this, in order to understand contexts and progression of ideas, I read thoroughly to be informed of history and the history of philosophies. In order to seek out the origins of concepts , I have, wherever possible, sought or iginal sources and read texts in thei r en t i re ty . 242 Traces where nature have been marginalized It was through overcoming these obstacles that I found multiple ways by which nature was marginalized from discourse that were often working in conjunction. For instance, although it might sound obvious, the engagement of key thinkers and types of debate they engaged with or raised, profoundly affected turns in discourse. Think of the origins of Nietzschean nihilism, in terms of the Kantian divide/impasse in response to rationalism in Cartesian doubt on the one hand, and empiricism in Humean scepticism that issue from Locke. Moreover, the meaning of words and privileging of one interpretation over another were crit ical in this respect. For instance, think of Hannigan's (1995) work tracing the privileging of materialist Marxist interpretation over the ecological thread within Marxism. Merchant's conception of immanent tendencies becoming their polar opposites in the overcoming of restraints was another crit ical tool to trace the loss of nature. Furthermore, as pointed out by Simon Critchley (Critchley & Schroeder, 1998), labels like postmodernism that "prevent rather than enable an appreciation of their work" (p. 2), or how prolonging of divide between continental and analytical philosophy serve to obfuscate rather than elucidate. Added to this, as Critchley also points out, there exists the problem of nomenclature. While clearly Critchley makes these claims in lamenting the problematic divide between continental and analytical philosophy, his claims also speak to 243 my work t racing the loss of nature from the discourse. For example , here, when faced wi th the problem of nomencla ture , I had almost been exc luded from an awareness of Cr i t ch ley ' s arguments that speak to my work. However , I found the rubric through broad sustained engagement wi th my readings in hermeneutics and phenomenology, and in t rac ing the genealogy of concepts and thinkers . Cr i t ch ley ' s c la ims of " insular i ty and in t e l l ec tua l sec ta r ian ism" (p. 14) and problems wi th e l id ing origins of discourse through naming also makes the c l a im for how the loss of nature could have been made possible. Then there are problems in terna l to cont inenta l philosophy that have to do wi th the density of the text that makes the reading a formidable chal lenge . Perhaps one of the most significant ways that I found the loss of nature from the discourse was wi th in the in terac t ion be tween discourses that profess to speak in nature 's name from which they sought to der ive authori ty and the effects that issue from compet ing c la ims . Take for instance, what I found from reading Leclerc (1986). I conf i rmed, as I suspected, that science had usurped the name of nature. Wi th the advent of science as the new "philosophy of na ture ," debates were contes ted in nature 's name: whether wi th in ana ly t ica l philosophy that takes science as its object of inquiry, c l a iming to be working wi th nature; or wi th in Marxist d ia lec t ics wi th science as framework. It was also helpful to contrast how, when the effort is made to speak in nature 's name from the side of natural ism it is thoroughly refuted by those who c l a i m t ranscendental authori ty through nature as sc ience . 244 Hermeneutical phenomenology to the rescue Having summed up some of my findings, I close on a more personal note. When I began my long journey, I was caught within existential angst. I was lost without any conception of what I was to do, or how to do it. My long and difficult journey ahead deepened and was prolonged through the untimely passing of my father. Yet all the time, in my hunger for meaning, my task had been a hermeneutical one by definition, even when I did not know it by name but read voraciously for meaning. The arc I travelled that was autopoietic by its unfolding nature was also at once also similar to travelling around that great hermeneutic circle, each time coming to see the world differently. Within my existential angst that often accompanied my work, I held no illusions of cumulative awareness, for the reversed appeared to be the case. The more I picked at my task, the harder it got, and the more I had to read in following the traces I set out to follow. There were times when I secretly thought I would never complete my work. But as I write these last words, I may be finally finishing this phase of my journey, fully aware I have only opened a small fragment of a dialogue that needs to happen. What made this turn of events possible were two events through which I finally began to understand my work in an alternate sense. The first lies within an unremarkable turn within the realization that every time I thought I made a discovery, the inverse was true. Yet when I began to truly celebrate being 245 open, attentive and predisposed to reception, the lifeworld revealed something of itself. Where once vibrancy was threatened with banality, new meanings and the hope sprang up. Importantly, these hopes were incarnate in the shape of the beings I credit and acknowledge in the beginning of my dissertation. The second discourse, which I discovered late in my research after seeing my work as living autopoietic inquiry, had the effect of crystallizing much of what I was stil l querying that had resisted all my efforts at theorizing. As I slowly overcame my fear of my inadequateness in believing that disclosure would come from the lifeworld, this lens began to disclose gradually, through mentors and colleagues as hermeneutic phenomenology consciousness. In humbling acts of disclosure in sequence, all the spaces where I had once been blocked began to slowly open up as I followed the hermeneutic threads. In one respect, it affirmed what I already appreciated but was not sure whether to bring into the discourse. In another, it opened anew within the old texts I had been grappling with for some time. For instance, finally reading Merchant to completion made my return to crit ical theory immanent, and with that return, the pieces that did not fit within Vogel's reading of Lukacs' work, began to make sense. That is, only after I realized the hermeneutic roots within Lukacs, which, to certain critics like those of the Frankfurt School who dismissed hermeneutics, Lukacs' work smacked of irrationality. 246 That was when I began to see Lukacs' ambiguity in terms of the uneasy tension between his readings of Dilthey and Marx, where Lukacs subscribed to an anti-scientistic view while retaining hermeneutic leanings. Here the problem was rooted in the status of nature, as Vogel argued, but not as I believe in the logic argued by Vogel. Lukacs' ambiguity towards nature was effect rather than cause because the status of nature was already in debate; no one, not even Lukacs himself could get past the impasse at the time. The shift required me to recognize that nature had been usurped by science. For instance, Marxism's dialectic of history had also been founded on nature as science. Dilthey, as well carried the ambiguity in his retention of objectivity in the work of the Human Sciences as pointed out by Gadamer (1975), in Truth and Method. Gadamer's lineage from Heideggerian fusion of hermeneutic phenomenology merges together ideas of Dilthey and Husserl, with Husserl's own ambivalence in retention of science, but not its positivism. We have a mess. This is because we have a situation where Romantic ideas were retained in hermeneutics; the polarizing of science and philosophy of science supported science through analytical philosophy. Any appeal to nature outside of the scientific method and its correlates in analytical, had been valued on par as animism. We now know continental philosophy included part and whole within its conception of the complexity of nature (Capra, 1996). By contrast, in our t ime, and given consequences, flawed logic discloses within historicity when certain questions are posed to the discourse. Unpacking 247 the problem of nature in Lukacs was challenging. It took readings of his correspondence and Lukacs' works before words like "total i ty" emerged as telltale signals of hermeneutic presence. With that unpacking the problem of typology, which I postulated and wrote about, I was aware of its lack that I could not describe. I began to correlate the split in Brentano through Husserl and his other student Freud, each with links to continental and analytical traditions respectively. Given the development possible through re-reading under hermeneutic phenomenology, I turned to draw the implication that perhaps a re-reading of the literature is in order at the juncture where hermeneutics meets with phenomenology. Here I need to caution, however, this missing piece, analogous to a piece of a puzzle, is not the last piece nor is there a definitive puzzle. Rather it was a piece that required, to some extent, taking apart some of the pieces that we once thought had fit and to find one of the pieces that had previously been in place prevented more work on the puzzle until the problematic fit was discovered. I attempted to illustrate that systemic thinking was a lens made possible by hermeneutic phenomenology. In a sense the whole of this chapter speaks to this process. Of course my work is incomplete. There are likely historically conditioned blind spots within my own thinking. Putting it all into perspective, my work is only one small fragmentary conversation in a long dialogue and lifetime of research. I am hopeful that I have accomplished in some measure 248 the problem I set out to grasp: the problem of nature in technological culture. It has been a long journey, one that has been full of heartaches. Completion was only possible with the help of faith, warmth of friendship, support of compassion, incandescence of love, and sparks of hope lighting the clearing towards making difference. Paraphrasing T. S. Eliot's fateful words, we have journeyed far, only to come around to return to where we began and know our place again for the first t ime. Here the familiar is experienced as unfamiliar and the lifeworld opens for a fraction of an instant to re-disclose itself in all its immediacy, in the celebration of Life as it already is. Traces of the originary text [God] resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he [sic] does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. (Robert Persig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance6?) The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection; the water has no mind to receive their image. (Zen poet, circa 7 0 0 A.D.) In this dissertation, I was reminded of the need to recover the loss of nature from the discourse. I have sought to apply myself to the humbling task, hopeful that within the renewal of spring's new hope, we can convey the healing magic of the nexus where hermeneutics and phenomenology converge with our hearts in Life. I am hopeful of our journey together. The poignant stories emerge from within its sinews, and our heartfelt dialogues wil l continue 249 beyond the binding making whole these pages. It can be transformative when we stop taking our world and actions for granted in reinterpreting phenomenologically the ontologically prior lifeworld of nature, within all its vibrancy. Perhaps we are not too late for the Gods and Nietzsche's madman, coming not early but appropriately at the appointed hour when the monkey stood at the door has come and gone... We might once again be inclined, even groaning from under the shadow of the secular, to widen the meaning of interpretation to include the traces of the originary text prior to found nature. Within the sparks of Divinity our lives are made meaningful in attesting to the continuing miracle of Life. Perhaps the repressed return, when the pretender that usurped nature's name to unchain the earth from the sun that threatened once to shut out the Divine, has lost it transcendental grip that at once blocks our access and precludes the world. I am hopeful that new language has found its way into my text in the awareness that our l i fe's praxis has always been about languaging the world. Perhaps it is in this sense, I am told, that my labour tracing the loss of nature, in the end, turns out to be an attempt to find traces of the Infinite in first nature. 250 REFERENCES Abram, D. (1996). The spell of the sensuous : Perception and language in a more-than-human world (1st ed.). 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McGraw (Eds.), Modernity and its futures (pp. 117-167). Cambridge: Pol i ty Press. 262 NOTES i 1 Worded differently, this is the problem which Nietzsche (1974) poses as the problem of nihilism, Husserl (1970) sees as loss of the l ifeworld, Heidegger (1962) posits as forgetting of Being, Sartre (1957) exalts as nothingness. Taylor is also appropriate as advance organizer to unfold my proposal around loss of meaning because the retrieval project that I am advocating is similar to the one that he is calling for. 2 Although this is a phrase commonly attributed to Weber — Gerth and Mills clarify that Weber borrowed the phrase from Friedrich Schiller, the romantic. 3 To qualify, this is my interpretation of Bruno Latour's work. Latour's theorizing has influenced me in profound ways. It was Latour who alerted to me to the flux of purification and translation in the discourse, which I re-interpret as reification and remapping. Besides making me aware of discourses around nature, culture and technology, Latour alerted me to sources of competing authority; divine, natural, and social that influence the shaping of the modern world. Latour's recognition of the continuing power of divine authority, in contrast to the shifts towards the secular, was also pivotal in turning my work towards the existential. 4 Steven Vogel frames his claims through neo-Kantian interpretation, a framing that helped me to formulate my own critique. Vogel, whose work in located at the nexus between Marxist crit ical theory, post-empiricist philosophy, and sociology of science, also made me aware of the corresponding mappings, as culture, nature, and technology. Additionally, Vogel's examination of Lukacs' Marxist critique of reification and contemplation, and Vogel's critique of naturalism, based upon his interpretation of the Kantian divide, denying human capacity to "know" the things-in themselves (hence the problematic legitimacy of giving voice to nature), were al l pivotal influences to my work. Of significance, the status of nature remains unsettled, remaining to haunt crit ical theory. In sum although Vogel saw no problems with dumb nature, his approach towards the debate educated me on the elements of the debates. 5 Poggeler attributes the phrase to Martin Heidegger, inspired in turn, by Holderlin's poetics. See Heidegger (1971) for his poetic attribution to the poetry of Holderlin. 6 Martin Heidegger casts a problematic shadow in twentieth century philosophy. Thus we have Bertrand Russell's (1945) compilation on philosophy from antiquity to the present without mention of the philosopher of Being. And yet, when we consider how Heidegger combines the hermeneutical thread in Dilthey with phenomenological thread in Husserl (see Bontekoe, 1996) Heidegger's influence becomes obligatory. While I too am uncomfortable with Heidegger's affiliations with National Socialism, my research has nevertheless convinced me of the significance of his contribution. Heideggerian deconstruction also holds potential for quotidian pedagogy. Consult Wolin (1991) and (Philipse, 1998) for clarifying the controversy in Heidegger. 71 need to make a necessary distinction here, although there is admittedly an effect that might be construed as therapeutic in my work, I am neither trained in psychoanalysis, nor is my work intended as therapy. What I propose is something more modest, to work with a conceptual language to explore the flux between hope and the existential basis of students' queries. 8 Note the similarity between hope and despair with disclosure and concealment above. This is not an accidental pairing, although more nuanced. Disclosure can unfold as hope, but concealment, by its very nature, hides al l , perhaps even despair. My phrase is not merely poetic, it is also meant as a literary device to critique the problematic portrayal of emotions as binary. 9 Note the interesting juxtaposition of Winograd and Flores with Abram; effectively they are all expressing their fields as language, the first from technology and the second from ecology. Inherent in the flux between separation and unification in language that they speak in common, is my PhD thesis. 263 1 0 Somewhat obtuse, although he does not articulate the argument in the same way, I got the idea from Bruno Latour when he plots the "trajectory" of an object, the vacuum pump, along an existence-essence vertical axis, in terms of its improvement over t ime, over a nature and subject "polari ty" horizontal axis. To get an idea of this abstraction, read Latour (1993). 1 1 I have seen the term in Bookchin (1996), Tester (1995) and Vogel (1996). Given the nature of my inquiry, I have been curious of the words "second nature", a most apt construct I first found in Bookchin. I have traced the term to Lukacs (1971b), it appears he may wel l have coined the term. 1 2 This section is intended to clarify my awareness of the problem of implementation, and is intended as part of the general sketch of the problematic. 1 3 Orr makes the key distinction between problems in education and problems of education, whereas the former describes typical everyday problems in education, while the latter calls attention to the fundamental question of the purpose of education. Thus while the former involves important issues like relevant curriculum, parental involvement and class size, the latter focused on the fundamental question around the meaning of education. Or to put it in Orr's words, complicity begs the question, "what is education for?" (p.7). 1 41 learned this technique from reading Nietzsche and Dilthey; making statements in the imperative voice, without citations, as truism, more of style than of empirical rigour, but effective, as it catches the reader's attention in its brash attitude towards declarations. 1 5 Here I identify with Taylor's project in several ways. Like Taylor's, mine is also a "essay in retr ieval" (p.10) concerned with a "quest" (p.17) around "loss of horizon" (p.19). In seeking to similarly expand the sense of the moral, I am also obliged to critique scientific frameworks that dismiss ontological claims to ethicality under the epistemological cloud that Taylor calls the "modern naturalist consciousness" (p.5). Moreover, I note these parallels appear to offer my work a measure of validity. While my pathway is different from Taylor's, it nevertheless appears similar both in outline and ambit, suggesting perhaps, a degree of internal coherence and consistency around inquiries in ethicality in discourses of nature. "[a]n important strand of modern naturalist consciousness has tried to... declare... irrelevant to morality... ontological accounts" 1 6 My originary impulse was framed within an existential question posed by my father, wherein the direction in which his question led me, eventually manifested as a form of ecological consciousness. See Feng (2001b) and Feng (2001a) for an idea of my nascent formulations of my current contribution. My book chapter was an important milestone for my dissertation. This is because it not only documents a stage in the emergence of my work, it also created the model with which I was to revisit my writing, this time making a hermeneutic turn, with an appreciation that although I did not know it at the t ime, the exegetical orientation to my work has always been profoundly phenomenological and hermeneutic. 1 7 Perhaps one of the most poignant instances I recall was the sight of a Buddhist monk on the television who had doused himself with kerosene and set himself on fire. Here is the kind of fear that I define as existential. I knew with that act, that monk condemned himself in this world and the next, for according to my understanding of Buddhist teaching, not only did he lose his life, he might be condemned for an eternity, as the taking of one's own life is the ultimate karmic setback in terms of reincarnation. The fear that gripped the child was within the riddle posed by his singular act. I could not understand what force, what good, could impel someone to sacrifice himself for eternity, and abandon al l hope. Here was a polit ical but existential act that burned into the memory of a child before he even understands the concept of critique. 1 81 arrived at this formulation through reading Vogel's critique of the ambivalent status of nature that he calls the problem of nature in Lukacs. Lukacs' work is significant for multiple reasons. Not only was it one of the inaugural first interpretations of Western Marxism, it was also one of the first critique of scientism and social construction, paving the way for those in the Frankfurt School who wrote in naturalism like Marcuse (1964/1991), and those like Vogel who critique naturalism. Importantly, through Vogel I learned the language of this debate. See (Marcuse, 1964/1991) for an idea of how he "speaks" for nature, on the side of naturalism. 264 This was an impasse for me. Thankfully, Ted Aoki made me aware of the legitimacy and possibility of connecting the questions that tore at my heart with the requirement for topic question and rationale. 2 0 Here I found the advice of my committee members invaluable, as they helped me to steer me through uncharted waters, while I, trying to conduct research, was plunged into serious existential angst. 2 1 As I expand later, I found this reference through the emergent work of Ian Cook (2001) around narrative, with whom I also found a measure of affinity. 2 2 I am grateful to Stephen Petrina for introducing me to the du Gay et al (1997) model in particular, and to cultural studies in general that helped shape the conceptual underpinnings integral to my critique of reif ication. 2 3 Rather than refer to direction as clockwise or counter-clockwise, which can be confusing, I reference movement towards reification and towards immediacy. 2 41 came to the realization that it was inadequate to take down the structure alone; one needs also to rebuild another in its place. As it turns out, this may be an obligatory pass when one deals with existence and ontology. I was stunned when I came across this citation from Philipse (1998) on Heidegger's plan. In a way it not only makes sense, as I found, since at another level, the two are part of a single moment, as are reification and immediacy are part of the same dance, two sides of a singular phenomenon, as we shall see in CHAPTERS TWO and CHAPTER THREE, that dialectically feed on each other. 2 5 Here again, I bring up the unfolding nature of my work, pointing out the uncanny parallels. Where my work disclosed as autopoietic, Cook found his work related to George Marcus' (1995) ethnographic thesis around emergent fieldwork. Where I followed threads of existential angst, Cook followed the lines tracing the trajectory of a tropical fruit. What was also interesting is what was common between two "unintentional" projects, we both weaved through complexities of nature, culture and technology following complex paths, and we both found our narratives as the pivot around which our dissertation turned and made sense. I am grateful to Kadi Purru for the Cook reference that although very different from my own work, nevertheless appears to mirror my own lived experience, where life meets research, generating topic, theory, and method. 2 6 For instance, I do not and cannot, claim my work on tracing nature as an exhaustive history of the loss of nature. Rather the work that I offer represents select moments in the loss of nature from the discourse. 2 7 As I searched for a way to make central narrative within my life praxis in accordance to Father's Dao Li, I am grateful to Munir Vellani for pointing me to Maclntyre's appropriate and wise words. 2 81 confess to incurring an anachronism, but this as one that Merchant infuses into her work, in putting inverted quotes around ecology (see p.36). Also the notion of anachronism is an interesting one when one is undertaking exegesis, as we wi l l see when we visit the work of Marx and Engels in the next chapter. 2 9 Here is the original reference that Merchant uncovers. I am indebted to Steve Petrina for informing me of this Agricola source that is sti l l available in its Latin versions. 3 0 Through reading Vogel, I realized that appeals to speak on the side of naturalism have historically been dismissed on the basis of irrational claims about nature's absolute otherness, which by Kantian definition lies beyond human knowing. This citation is relevant to my thesis in several ways. Not only does what appear as irrational claims have rational origins in Engels' materialistic science, this source also betrays the manner in which science too, attempts to interpret nature's absolute otherness through its re/constructions. 3 1 Perhaps not too coincidentally, as Marx emphasizes how these elements connect in the internal logic of capital, I could not help but notice these are also the constituents in my hermeneutics of nature around the intersection of nature, culture and technology. 3 2 Although I also cannot rule out the possibility from a letter written by Marx to Engels on having "just finished correcting the last sheet... so this volume is f inished" (Marx St Engels, 1967, p.2), dated 1867, prior to the publication, that Marx might have been informed of the 265 work of Ernst Haeckel who coined the word in 1866. See Worster's (1977/1994) ecological history for the origins and dating of the word ecology in Haeckel, "First appearing in 1866, Oecologie was one of the many neologisms of Ernst Haeckel the leading German disciple of Darwin..." (p. 192) 3 3 A etymology check with the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) reveals the presence of a pre-Kuhnian conception of the word "paradigm" dating back to 1483 with Late Latin and Greek roots as archetype, exemplar, and idea. See Kuhn (1965) modern interpretation of paradigm as philosophical framework. 3 4 Here 1 I am grateful to Jerry Coombs for his reminder that these hard-won gains issue from the same modernity and Enlightenment under crit ique. 3 5 These notions of natural rights and natural law, although not critiqued in this pass of our discussion, nevertheless become the seeds of contention when we take up the issue of the representation of nature. 3 6 Based on my engagement with the literature, social theorists like Weber and Simmel, act as gateways as it were between the nineteenth and twentieth century. George Lukacs and Walter Benjamin also stand out here although the latter is likely more acknowledged, with the notable exceptions as we see here in Held (1980), where Lukacs' name is spoken in the same breath as the prominent figures of the nineteenth century. 3 7 Cf. One cannot make this utterance without mentioning Gary Snyder. Although I take a different approach here, it is appropriate to pause at this question associated with Synder. It is relevant to point out that instead to finding a strict dichotomy denying or professing the social construction of nature, I not only found a range of expressions, but also traversed along the range myself. I began with a position similar to that exemplified by writers like Gary Synder who refutes the notion of a constructed nature. But prompted by my reading of Merchant's work around the metaphors of nature, I gradually moved towards the midway positions of Neil Evernden and Kate Soper. It was not until I stumbled (in my search for literature connecting nature and culture) into environmental sociology in works by sociologists like Klaus Eder's and John Hannigan that it began to dawn on me it was precisely in social construction that I needed to locate myself. It was through my tenure in the environmental sociology literature that I became interested in the notion of reification and sedimentation in the construction of the social, and the relationship of that question to the loss of nature from the discourse. 3 8 These are three obscure paragraphs, which one can miss if one blinked. While I have not read the text in ful l , I have yet to run into another clear position in the book. Very difficult to f ind, and easy to miss, I only found it through a search engine. 3 9 While discussion often revolves around epistemological questions concerning knowing the status of nature as created or not, accessible or inaccessible, transcendent or immanent, determined or free, it appears to me we are in effect struggling with another set of questions around ontology. Questions not about knowing nature per se, but more fundamentally in terms of what is nature? Moreover, relevant to my research, we need to be reminded we are not speaking of nature per se, but of our constructed and represented knowledge of nature. 4 0 At risk of sounding solipsistic, I am aware that I cannot speak for others (Alcoff, 1991), what I share here is not meant as generalization, but particular to my lived experience. I am however; hoping some of this might transfer through the sense of intersubjectivity to convey the sense of the po