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Rousseau and modern environmentalism 1991

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ROUSSEAU AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM by KENNETH WILLIAM SINGER B.A. The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1989 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES ( P o l i t i c a l Science) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1991 ° Kenneth W i l l i a m Singer, 1991 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 Date CXJJ- % DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been analyzed and characterized in many ways, but the relationship between certain aspects of his thought and what can be called eco- philosophy has not been pursued. Rousseau's ideas of man's relationship with nature, his condemnation of bourgeios society, the scientific/mechanistic paradigm and the idea of progress have dist inct paral lels to the thought of traditional eco- philosophers such as Thoreau, Muir and Leopold. Though Rousseau's thought is decidedly anthropocentric and therefore u t i l i t a r i an in i ts ethical content, he did favour a careful stewardship of nature which rejected treating i t as a resource to be exploited. Instead, he saw God's handiwork in the natural world and fe l t a great reverence for i t . To f ac i l i t a te this understanding, he studied botany and took many sol itary walks in the wilderness as a means of achieving a greater appreciation of i ts natural beauty and his place within i t . In addition, Rousseau's advocacy of direct democracy and small se l f - suf f ic ient agrarian communities also ref lect modern positions, part icularly those of Bookchin, Schumacher and the leaders of the various Green movements. Evidence from his work, thus, wil l be presented to support the contention that his philosophy has dist inct paral lels to these modern perspectives. While much of his thought seems hopelessly Utopian in the l ight of modern rea l i t ie s , there is a great deal that is relevant to the environmental problems modern society faces. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i ONE: INTRODUCTION: A) Rousseauian C r i t i c i s m 1 B) The Current Environmental C r i s i s 5 C) C o n f l i c t i n g I d e o l o g i e s i n the Modern Environ-mental Movement 8 TWO: ROUSSEAU AND NATURE: A) I n t r o d u c t i o n 19 B) Rousseau and the Romantic S p i r i t 22 C) Rousseau and Man's R e l a t i o n s h i p with the Natural World 26 THREE: ROUSSEAU, THOREAU AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM: A) Rousseau, Romanticism and the T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t Connection 38 B) Rousseau and Thoreau: A Comparative A n a l y s i s 41 C) Rousseau and John Muir 47 D) Rousseau and Aldo Leopold 51 E) Rousseau, Romanticism and the Modern Environ-mental Movement 56 FOUR: ROUSSEAU, PROGRESS AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM: A) I n t r o d u c t i o n 62 B) Rousseau, Human Nature and the F a l l o f Man 64 C) Thoreau and Modernity . 7 7 D) Rousseau, Modern Environmental ism and the C r i t i q u e o f Progress 83 i i i FIVE: ROUSSEAU AND THE POLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM: A) I n t r o d u c t i o n 92 B) Rousseau, Democracy and the 'General W i l l ' 93 C) Thoreau, the St a t e and C i v i l Disobedience 101 D) Rousseau, P a r t i c i p a t i o n and Modern Eco- philos o p h y 104 E) Rousseau and German Green Party P o l i t i c s 106 CONCLUSIONS: 114 WORKS CITED: 121 INTRODUCTION; ROUSSEAU AND THE MODERN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT Rousseauian Crit icism The 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is truly 'the man of a thousand faces. ' He has been characterized in many ways: an authoritarian, a l i be ra l , a co l lec t i v i sm an individual ist, and even an anarchist. His writings have evoked both high praise and extreme condemnation amongst commentators which leads to the conclusion that he is either one of the world's most misunderstood philosophers or one of i ts most inconsistent. (This writer prefers the former). According to David Cameron "Rousseauist crit icism...has been characterized by continuing fundamental disagreement and wildly confl ict ing scholarship ever since the 18th century." (Horowitz 1987, 7) Bertrand Russell argued that Rousseau was "the inventor of the po l i t i ca l philosophy of pseudo-democratic dictatorships" (Pepper 1984, 205), and Sir Henry Maine attacked him "for establishing a ' co l lect ive despot' and for reintroducing, in the Contrat social , 'the old divine right of kings in a new dress. ' " (Cassirer 1989, 4) James Mi l ler, although an admirer of Rousseau, summarized the various crit icisms of Rousseau thusly: Prophetic, regressive, unreal ist ic, a dictator wishing to recast society at w i l l , a stoic clinging to the past, a loser hopelessly t i l t i n g at windmills, Rousseau in his own way, at various moments, was a l l these things, and much more besides. (Mil ler, 1984, 204-205) 1 In c o n t r a s t French commentator Emile Faguet argued t h a t Rousseau was fundamentally an i n d i v i d u a l i s t ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 6), as d i d Henri See who p r a i s e d Rousseau as a l i b e r a l and denied t h a t he wanted to g i v e the s t a t e "an absolute and a g g r e s s i v e a u t h o r i t y . " ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 7) Others, however, saw Rousseau's i n d i v i d u a l i s m as i r r e s p o n s i b l e and regarded him as a " p h i l o s o p h e r o f ruinous d i s o r d e r . " ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 4) According to Peter Gay i n h i s l u c i d i n t r o d u c t i o n to Ernst C a s s i r e r ' s landmark essay The Question o f Jean-Jacques Rouseau "(m)any t h i n k e r s have s u f f e r e d at the hands of commentators, but few have had to endure as much as Rousseau." (1989, 4) Gay goes on to argue t h a t "the c r i t i c who wants to understand Rousseau must transcend p o l i t i c a l c a t e g o r i e s and c o n s i d e r h i s work as a whole." (Horowitz 1987, 9, f o o t n o t e 21) With t h i s advice i n mind, i t must be pointed out t h a t i t i s not the purpose o f t h i s paper to w r e s t l e with the v a r i o u s d i v e r g e n t p o i n t s of view. Instead, what w i l l be o f f e r e d i s a new per- s p e c t i v e on Rousseau (a 'new f a c e ' as i t were): Rousseau the " E n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t . " P r i m a r i l y , i t w i l l be argued t h a t aspects o f Rousseau's thought p a r a l l e l c e r t a i n t e n e t s o f modern environmental ism. To accomplish t h i s s e l e c t i o n s forwarded from h i s work w i l l be compared with some of c e n t r a l p i l l a r s of modern environmental p h i l o s o p h y . S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s paper w i l l focus on three main c u r r e n t s w i t h i n Rousseau's thought: man's r e l a t i o n - s h i p with nature; h i s c r i t i c i s m o f bourgeios s o c i e t y and of progress; and h i s d o c t r i n e s r e l a t e d to p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s . It w i l l be shown t h a t Rousseau not only shares much i n common 2 with the traditional "founding fathers" of modern environmental ism such as Thoreau, Muir and Leopold, but that he also shares much in common with modern points of view as represented by Bookchin, Schumacher, the authors of The Limits to Growth study, and the leaders of the various Green movements. Through this process i t wil l be argued that Rousseau deserves recognition for his influence on modern environmental ism, recognition that is slow in coming. Indeed, i t is puzzling why Rousseau has not be recognized or even acknowledged by modern eco-philosophers. His advocacy of direct democracy has a direct relationship to one of the central p i l l a r s of the German Green movement and his str iking analysis of bourgeois society and values has dist inct paral lels to current counter-modern cr i t ic ism ( i .e. Marcuse, and Berman). Nevertheless, rarely is Rousseau cited as an inspiration or even as a reference in the most current works of eco-philosophy. Part of the reason is probably as a result of the d i f f i cu l t y c r i t i c s have attempting to characterize Rousseau, in general terms. Thus, whenever one discusses Rousseau, a 'war must be waged' against his c r i t i c s even before one can begin to access what i t is he stands for in the specif ic instance—in this case his eco-philosophical perspective. This makes i t d i f f i c u l t to judge him f a i r l y , and one can suspect that perhaps this has discouraged later thinkers from attempting to analyze Rousseau's thought on environmental matters. Another reason might be that Rousseau's thought has often been equated, r ightly or wrongly, with tota l i tar ian forms of government. Eco-anarchists such as Bookchin argue in favour of 3 s o c i a l e q u a l i t y and s m a l l - s c a l e p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e m o c r a c i e s , much as Rousseau d i d , but t h e y , g e n e r a l l y , do n o t d i s c u s s t h e q u e s t i o n o f how t o m a i n t a i n o r d e r when d i f f e r e n t g roups o r t e r r i t o r i e s f i n d t h e i r o b j e c t i v e s a t c r o s s p u r p o s e s . F o r Rousseau, i n d i v i d u a l s had t o g i v e way t o whatever t h e ' g e n e r a l w i l l ' o f t h e community i n s i s t e d upon. O n l y t h e B l u e p r i n t f o r S u r v i v a l seems t o have gone so f a r as t o admit t h a t a s o c i e t y based on sound e c o l o g i c a l p r i n c i p l e s would have t o e n f o r c e i t s d i c t a t e s , o f t e n h a r s h l y , i n o r d e r t o e n s u r e t h a t t h e i n t e g r i t y o f t h e en v i r o n m e n t was m a i n t a i n e d . One can imagine t h e c o n f l i c t s t h a t c o u l d s p r i n g up i f t h e ' g e n e r a l w i l l ' d i c t a t e d t h a t a l l f o r e s t r y o p e r a t i o n s i n B r i t i s h Columbia would have t o c e a s e i m m e d i a t e l y o r t h a t o n l y b i c y c l e s would be a l l o w e d i n downtown Vanc o u v e r . I t would i n d e e d be a sad day i f t h e armed f o r c e s were used t o q u e l l a r e b e l l i o n from an a r e a whose predominant p o p u l a t i o n r e l i e s on t h e f o r e s t i n d u s t r y t o g e n e r a t e w e a l t h . More l i k e l y , however, economic i m p e r a t i v e s w i l l c o n t i n u e t o outweigh e c o l o g i c a l ones. P e o p l e a r e n o t y e t r e a d y t o a c c e p t t h e i d e a t h a t l i v i n g s t a n d a r d s i n w e s t e r n c o u n t r i e s may have t o be s c a l e d back t o meet e n v i r o n m e n t a l c o n c e r n s , much l e s s r e a d y t o 'shut down t h e economic e n g i n e s o f growth' e n t i r e l y . T h i s means t h a t i t i s l i k e l y t h a t t h e c o n d i t i o n o f t h e w o r l d ' s e n v i r o n m e n t w i l l c o n t i n u e t o d e t e r i o r a t e i n t o t h e f o r s e e a b l e f u t u r e . In o t h e r words, i f t h e c u r r e n t emphasis on growth i s l e f t u n f e t t e r e d , t h i n g s from an e c o l o g i c a l p o i n t o f view w i l l g e t much worse b e f o r e t h e y g e t b e t t e r . 4 If this should occur, i t is indeed ironic that a po l i t i ca l system much l ike Rousseau's may be necessary. Perhaps then ecophilosphers wi l l begin to examine Rousseau's thought in a much more serious manner. One retains hope, however, that the situation wil l not become so desperate that people wi l l be 'forced to be free' by an all-encompassing authority. One must keep in mind that Rousseau's form of po l i t i ca l organization rel ied on the idea that people would equate the public good with their own private good. In modern society economies run on a competitive individualism which emphasizes private good and merely hopes that the public good is served. In essence the public good is simply an inadvertent by-product. Meanwhile, the evidence continues to mount of the deleterious impact that this l ine of thinking has on the environment; thus, we now turn to a brief overview of the current c r i s i s . The Current Environmental Cr is is There is l i t t l e doubt that we are witnessing an assault on the environment of the worst magnitude. Industrialization coupled with an unquestioning faith in science, a col lect ive mindset that favours domination of nature rather than careful stewardship of i t , and the idea of continuous progress have lead to a situation whereby drastic and fundamental changes in the ways we l ive and think wil l be necessary i f we are to stop and i.ndeeed reverse the damage already done. In 1977 U.S President Jimmy Carter directed the Council on 5 E n v i r o n m e n t a l Q u a l i t y and t h e Department o f S t a t e t o make a s t u d y o f t h e p r o b a b l e changes i n t h e w o r l d ' s p o p u l a t i o n , n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s , and e n v i r o n m e n t t h r o u g h t h e end o f t h e c e n t u r y . ( G l o b a l 2000 R e p o r t , 1988, 1) I t s c o n c l u s i o n s were s t a r t l i n g and d i s t u r b i n g . E s s e n t i a l l y i f p r e s e n t t r e n d s c o n t i n u e t h e r e p o r t f o u n d t h a t " t h e w o r l d i n 2000 w i l l be more crowded, more p o l l u t e d , l e s s s t a b l e e c o l o g i c a l l y , and more v u l n e r a b l e t o d i s r u p t i o n t h a n t h e w o r l d we l i v e i n now." ( G l o b a l 2000 Report 1988, 1) F o r one t h i n g , t h e w o r l d ' s p o p u l a t i o n w i l l be 50 p e r c e n t h i g h e r i n t h e y e a r 2000 t h a n i n 1975 w i t h 90 p e r c e n t o f t h i s i n c r e a s e coming i n t h e T h i r d w o r l d . F u r t h e r m o r e , d e s p i t e t h e f a c t t h a t economies o f t h e l e s s d e v e l o p e d c o u n t r i e s a r e e x p e c t e d t o grow f a s t e r t h a n t h o s e o f t h e i n d u s t r i a l - i z e d n a t i o n s , t h e gap between r i c h and poor c o u n t r i e s w i l l c o n t i n u e t o widen. T h i s w i l l l e a d t o " s e r i o u s l o n g - t e r m d e c l i n e s i n t h e p r o d u c t i v i t y o f renewable n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s y s t e m s . " ( G l o b a l 2000 R e p o r t , 1988, 40) T h i s w i l l a l s o mean t h a t l e s s a r a b l e l a n d w i l l be a v a i l a b l e , w o r l d p e r c a p i t a water s u p p l i e s w i l l d e c l i n e by an e s t i m a t e d 35 p e r c e n t , and p r i c e s f o r t h e most v i t a l r e s o u r c e s w i l l r i s e o v e r and above i n f l a t i o n . The envi r o n m e n t i t s e l f w i l l l o s e i m p o r t a n t l i f e - s u p p o r t i n g c a p a b i l i t i e s . F o r example, 40 p e r c e n t o f t h e f o r e s t s s t i l l r e m a i n i n g i n t h e t h i r d w o r l d w i l l have been r a z e d , a t m o s p h e r i c c o n c e n t r a t i o n s o f c a r b o n d i o x i d e w i l l be a l m o s t a t h i r d h i g h e r t h a n p r e - i n d u s t r i a l l e v e l s , and 15-20 o f t h e e a r t h ' s t o t a l s p e c i e s o f p l a n t s and a n i m a l s w i l l be e x t i n c t . E s s e n t i a l l y , by t h e y e a r 2000 t h e p l a n e t ' s ' c a r r y i n g c a p a c i t y ' w i l l be s t r a i n e d a l m o s t beyond i t s l i m i t s . 6 According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "a world population of 10 b i l l i on ' i s close to ( i f not above) the maximum that an intensively managed world might hope to support with some degree of comfort and individual choice." (Global 2000 Report, 1988,41) The Global 2000 report estimates that this level wi l l be reached by the year 2030, and this same rate of growth "would produce a population of nearly 30 b i l l i on before the end of the 21st century." (Global 2000 Report 1988, 41) But what is perhaps the most ch i l l i ng conclusion, one that lends creedence to the 'Malthusian dilemma' is that as the world's populations exceed and reduce the land's carrying capacity in widening areas, the trends of the last century or two toward improved health and longer l i f e may come to a halt. Hunger and disease may claim more 1ives--especially l ives of babies and young children. (Global 2000 Report 1988, 42) The study concludes with an ominous note that nations, both co l lect ive ly and individually, must "take bold and imaginative steps toward improved social and economic conditions, reduce f e r t i l i t y , manage our resources more effect ively, and protect the environment" (Global 2000 Report 1988, 42) or else the myriad of problems we are currently facing such as desert i f icat ion, resource and species depletion, over-population, environmental degradation, acid rain, global warming and ozone depletion wil l only get worse. In fact, given the current lack of commitment on the part of governments and the general apathy of cit izens in the western industrialized countries, i t may already be too late to make effective long-lasting changes. 7 Conflicting Ideologies in the Modern Environmental Movement Interestingly enough, in much the same way that c r i t i c s of Rousseau disagree, the modern environmental philosophers, too, are at odds with one another other. Undeniably, modern environ- mentalism is 'a house divided. ' Despite the monolithic challenge society faces as a result of man's continued assault on the natural environment, the environmental movement is fragmented into a whole host of perspectives that prescribe different solutions or approaches. These varying outlooks are reflected in the wide range of environmental groups which include social ecologists, animal rights advocates, conservationists, radical 'ecotopians' and a whole host of single issue special interest groups. This s t rat i f i cat ion has lead to mass confusion in society and consternation amongst the various groups that has rendered the modern environmental movement, by and large, only marginally effective at mobilizing society to halt or reverse those habits and ways of thinking that have lead us to where we are today. This rea l i ty i s , in part, a ref lection of a host of dilemmas society faces that require tough choices, choices between development and preservation; between human beings' interests and those of animals and nature i t se l f ; and between present people's needs and the needs of future generations, just to name a few. These choices, thus, require an ethical framework that provides "answers to what is right, good, or obligatory." (Seligman 1989, 170) According to Clive Seligman, environmental 8 ethics can be broadly distinguished between u t i l i t a r i an and deontological theories of normative ethics. A deontological approach holds that an act is right or wrong "depending on whether ethical rules have been followed, regardless of whether they increase the good consequence." (Seligman 1989, 171) Kant's categorical imperative is perhaps the most famous deontological rule, and with respect to envi- ronmental ethics is best reflected in the philosophy of 'deep ecology.' This approach sees man as only one part of the eco- system and argues that every form of l i f e has an ' i n t r i n s i c ' or natural right to "freedom from excessive human interference, and to the opportunity to pursue their own definit ion of happi- ness." (Nash 1989, 147) This perspective does not place any greater value on the needs of humans within the biosphere than those of the rest of the biosphere's constituents. According to Warwick Fox: Deep ecology...strives to be non-anthropocentric by viewing humans as just one constituency among others in the biotic community, just one particular strand in the web of l i f e , just one kind of knot in the biospherical knot. (Alwyn Jones 1987, 43) Some 'deep ecologists' even extend this argument to include r ivers, mountains and other forms of 'non-l iv ing ' things. As an example of this, in 1981 the group Earth F i rs t ! gathered at the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River and unrolled a 300 foot black plast ic 'crack' down the concrete wall while at the same time shouting 'Free the Colorado!' "(T)hey le f t no doubt that their motives had to do with the integrity of natural ecological processes 9 r a t h e r than human r e c r e a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t i n those processes." (Nash 1989, 192) From a u t i l i t a r i a n p e r s p e c t i v e , however, p r o t e c t i o n o f the environment i s necessary to s a t i s f y a v a r i e t y o f d i s t i n c t l y "human wants, i n c l u d i n g r e c r e a t i o n a l , a e s t h e t i c , convenience, and s u r v i v a l needs...(and)...assumes a dualism between humans and nature." (Seligman 1989, 172-173) The problem here i s t h a t humans do not always act i n t h e i r own best i n t e r e s t s , and t h i s has f o r c e d p h i l o s o p h e r s to conclude t h a t i t i s l i k e l y t h a t "the environment cannot r e c e i v e adequate p r o t e c t i o n unless we begin to c o n s i d e r the needs of the environment apart from i t s u s e f u l n e s s to humans." (Seligman 1989, 170) Beyond the q u e s t i o n of e t h i c a l frameworks, the v a r i o u s p e r s p e c t i v e s can be f u r t h e r c l a s s i f i e d i n t o two general groupings: those who are t e c h n o l o g i c a l l y o p t i m i s t i c e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s ( t e c h n o c e n t r i c s ) ; and those who combine aspects of ecology with c e r t a i n t e n e t s o f romanticism ( e c o c e n t r i c s ) . (Pepper 1984, 22) The genesis o f t e c h n o c e n t r i c thought can be t r a c e d to the S c i e n t i f i c R e v o l u t i o n of the 16th and 17th century. T h i s r e v o l u t i o n i s g e n e r a l l y regarded to have begun from the time o f Copernicus and continued on through the end of the 17th century with the p u b l i c a t i o n o f Isaac Newton's Mathematical P r i n c i p l e s o f Natural Philosophy (1687). I t c h a l l e n g e d the predominance o f the medieval concept o f "an o r g a n i c , l i v i n g , and s p i r i t u a l u niverse...by t h a t o f the world as a machine " (Capra 1982, 54) The s c i e n t i f i c paradigm, thus, was e s t a b l i s h e d and continues to be the "dominant metaphor o f the modern e r a . " (Capra 1982, 54) 10 The establishment of this paradigm came about as result of developments in physics and astronomy exemplified by the work not only of Copernicus and Newton, but also of Galileo Gal i le i and Johannes Kepler. While Copernicus was responsible for overthrowing the view that the earth was the centre of the universe, Kepler forwarded revolutionary empirical concepts related to the motion of planets. Gali leo, meanwhile, confirmed the Copernican hypothesis and was the f i r s t to combine sc ient i f i c experimentation with the use of mathematical language to formulate the laws of nature that he 'discovered.' He postulated that scientists should " res t r ic t themselves to studying the essential properties of material bodies—shapes numbers and movement—which could be measured and quantified." (Capra 1982, 55) Descriptions such as colour, sound, taste, and the l ike were summarily dismissed as 'subjective mental projections. ' Thus, according to psychiatrist R.D.Laing human experience was exorcised from sc ient i f i c discussion taking with i t "aesthetics and ethical sens ib i l i ty, values, quality, form, feelings, motives, intentions, soul, consciousness, s p i r i t . " (Capra 1982, 55) This sc ient i f i c assault on the senses continued into the 17th century with the work of Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. While Bacon's work in the area of mathematics advocated using the knowledge gained from science to control and dominate nature, Descartes forwarded the view that the "key to the universe was i ts mathematical structure " (Capra 1982, 58) No longer did people view nature as an organism, but instead saw i t as a perfect machine that functioned to exacting mathematical laws. 11 Newton's part in this revolution centered on his synthesis of a l l s c ient i f i c work that proceeded him. He argued that the universe i t se l f was a unified system operating according to mathematical laws. This perspective, however, has been c r i t i - cized for overemphasizing the quantitative side of l i f e , while ignoring the qualitative aspects leaving nothing more than a "cold, inert universe made up entirely of dead matter...a world view made for machines, not people." (Rifkin 1989, 37) At any rate, as a result of the sc ient i f i c revolution a conceptual framework was established which gave a sc ient i f i c rationale "for the manipulation and exploitation of nature that has become typical of western culture." (Capra 1982, 61) For technocentric environmentalists, thus, science is not the enemy, but wil l be mankind's salvation. They staunchly maintain a faith in the ab i l i ty and efficiency of management to solve any problems by the use of objective analysis and a reliance on the laws of physical science. Technocentrics also "disavow public participation in environmental and other decision-making in favour of accepting as authoritative the advice of ( sc ient i f ic and economic) experts." (Pepper 1984, 29) They also maintain that man is jus t i f ied in appropriating and manipulating nature for his own ends, as long as 'careful management' practices are employed. For the most part they do not recognize the natural world as anything more than 'fodder for man's cannon.' Their approach does not emphasize the idea that man's spir itual well- being requires interaction with the natural environment, and for the most part they see nature as an object or resource to be 12 exploited, albeit carefully exploited. Their idea that nature's purpose is to serve mankind, however, assumes an extreme form of dualism between man and nature that is highly debatable. Furthermore, the unquestioning faith in technological solutions can lead to an irrational bel ief in the idea of progress and "in the ab i l i ty of advanced capitalism to maintain i t s e l f . " (Pepper 1984, 29) According to Murdy, however, an anthropocentrism that affirms the idea that mankind is to be valued more highly than other things in nature is not necessarily a problem. The problem l ies in our d i f f i cu l t y to distinguish between 'proper ends' which are progressive and promote human values and 'improper ends' which are retrogressive and destructive of human values." (Seligman 1989, 176) Ecological environmentalists (ecocentrics), on the other hand, believe in a symbiotic relationship between man and nature. Instead of dominating nature, man is seen as a part of i t . For the most part, nature is respected "for i ts own sake, above and beyond i ts usefulness or relationship toyman." (Pepper 1984, 27) If human beings were eliminated from the biotic community, l i f e on the planet would s t i l l have purpose and meaning. Furthermore, while man is not necessary to nature, ecocentrics believe that the reverse is not true, since nature is regarded as "necessary for his emotional, spir itual and physical wellbeing in the face of pressures from sophisticated and a r t i f i c i a l urban l i v ing " (Pepper 1984, 28) (an idea rejected by technocentrics). This point of view has paral lels to Rousseau and the Romantic Movement which arose in response to the Sc ient i f ic Revolution. 13 It should be noted, however, that ecocentrics are not simply distinguished by their non-scientif ic philosophical roots. There are also those who base their assumptions on science. Examples include Charles Darwin, Thomas Malthus, and modern sc ient i f i c ecocentrics such as Paul Ehrlich (Ehrlich 1990, 1) and the various neo-Malthusians. (Mellos 1988, 715) In essence, they believe that man is indeed only part of the biotic community, the primary tenet separating them from technocentrics. They believe that "anything which man does affects the rest of the global system and reverberates through it—eventual ly back onto him." (Pepper 1984, 28) Accordingly, biological laws such as carrying capacity, population, thermodynamics, and systems behavior were regarded as paramount. The output of sc ient i f i c ecocentrism includes theories relating to small-scale production, recycling, zero- population growth and low impact technologies. (Pepper 1984, 28) This approach is anthropocentric and recognizes the value of the science; yet, i t does not ignore the importance of cult ivating a relationship with nature. It is important to remember that these various c lass i f icat ions are simply descriptive tools at varying levels of abstraction, and that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, i t is dangerous to take certain selections of a philsopher's thought and display them as evidence he or she was decidedly ecocentric. As mentioned, Rousseau is d i f f i c u l t to c lass i fy on any terms; thus, this thesis wil l try to avoid placing specif ic labels on his thought. These distinctions are simply offered as descriptive tools one should keep in mind when accessing 14 Rousseau's thought. What is hoped is that the selections presented wi l l stand as examples of tendancies in his thought from which the reader can draw his own conclusions. The purposes of this thesis is to encourage further debate on the characterization of Rousseau as an 'environmentalist,' and not to draw def init ive conclusions about how to c lass i fy Rousseau in terms of modern environmental philosophy. Final ly these contending outlooks are further divided by a variety of issues which have relevance to a l l perspectives. These issues are often more accessible to the general public and include such questions as the importance of individual freedom versus the common good; the protection of national sovereignty versus the need for global solutions; and the rights of minorities versus those of the majority. (Pepper, 14) At the heart of these debates exists the underlying struggle between our desires for progress and material wealth and those values "connected with social and environmental justice and the non-material, spir itual sides of our nature." (Pepper 1984, 14) These two contrary philosophical outlooks are currently locked in an intense struggle as the western world, in particular, begins to grapple with the legacy of the Industrial Revolution, and begins to question the legitimacy of the idea that the natural world is ours to command and control. Lending support to this point of view the drafters of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, concluded that society must begin to recognize that the domination of nature by mankind has not served us well. 15 They argue that "most renewable resources are part of a complex and interlinked ecosystem, and maximum sustainable y ie ld must be defined after taking into account system-wide effects of exploitation." (OCF 1987, 45) In this way, system-wide harmony is the primary goal: In essence, sustainable development is a process change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investment, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are a l l in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. (OCF 1987, 46) Thus, while discerning the importance of an understanding of the individual parts in any system, many have argued for a ho l i s t ic approach which sees the whole as different from the mere sum of its parts. (Suzuki 1990, x i i ) "(A)nimals, plants micro-organisms, and inanimate substances are linked through a complex web of interdependencies involving the exchange of matter and energy in continual cycles." (Alwyn Jones 1987, 43) Since the pieces act di f ferent ly in combination, certain attributes emerge from their interaction that cannot be predetermined. James Lovelock's 'Gaia hypothesis' which argues that the earth i t s e l f is ' a l i ve ' is a form of this type of argument. (Lovelock, 1990, 1) Optimists, in fact, see the current debates over the environment as evidence that there is a new phase of mankind's historic and cultural development unfolding, that c i v i l i za t i on i s , once again, facing a fundamental transformation in thinking, or what Capra refers to as a 'paradigm sh i f t . ' (Capra 1982, 1) The growth and prol i feration of the environmental movement may be 16 further evidence of this sh i f t . Pessimists, however, see l i t t l e evidence of a general decline in faith that technological solutions to the environmental c r i s i s wi l l be found. They argue that environmentalists make up only a small yet vocal portion of society that do not ref lect general attitudes. They go on to c i te the pervasiveness of apathy towards environmental issues on the part of people who are too preoccupied with paying their b i l l s and 'getting ahead.' Pessimists emphasize the hypocricy of people who believe they are doing their part to stop environmental degradation by refusing to use plast ic utensils a l l the while continuing to drive gas-burning cars. They thus, reject the idea that a fundamental shift in thinking is underway. Instead, they argue that society wil l only change when the situation becomes so desperate that our very survivial as a species is threatened. As mentioned, for most people, this poss ib i l i ty s t i l l seems a long way off. For Rousseau, however, society condemned i t s e l f long ago to an uncertain future, a future based on false values and false needs, by adopting a mechanistic/scientific view of the world and by denying ' fee l ing ' in favour of rat ional izat ion. He, too, was a pessimist about society's future; thus, he demanded fundamental changes in the way we think, the way we work, and the way we govern ourselves. Much l ike modern environmentalists, Rousseau wanted to see po l i t i ca l systems evolve whereby people could direct ly participate in government, thereby ensuring, he supposed, that the best decisions for society as a whole would be made. He also advocated that man 17 c u l t i v a t e a h e a l t h y r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h n a t u r e which he b e l i e v e d , a f t e r a l l , was God's handiwork. F i n a l l y , he argued v o c i f e r i o u s l y f o r a r e t u r n t o s i m p l e t a s t e s and v a l u e s , and he r e j e c t e d t h e i d e a o f m a t e r i a l i s t i c measures o f s e l f - w o r t h . These c o n c e p t s w i l l be t h e p r i m a r y f o c u s o f t h i s p a p e r , and i t i s t o h i s i d e a s c o n c e r n i n g man's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h n a t u r e t h a t we now t u r n . 18 CHAPTER TWO: ROUSSEAU AND NATURE I n t r o d u c t i o n Rousseau's w r i t i n g s on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between man and nature r e p r e s e n t s one of the f o c a l p o i n t s o f h i s philosophy. Throughout h i s l i f e he wrote p a s s i o n a t e l y about the need f o r man to get back i n touch with h i s t r u e s e l f , to cut through the c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e o f s o c i e t y , and to r e a s s e s s s o c i e t y ' s emphasis on r a t i o n a l i s m represented by the s c i e n t i f i c r e v o l u t i o n and the t e n e t s o f Enlightenment philosophy. Rousseau f e l t very s t r o n g l y t h a t t h a t s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n c o u l d be achieved, i n p a r t , by communing with nature. Although h i s regard f o r nature i s a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c , Rousseau s t e a d f a s t l y advocated a c a r e f u l stewardship t h a t r e f l e c t e d h i s r e s p e c t f o r what he c o n s i d e r e d God's c r e a t i o n . He f e l t a profound reverence f o r nature which he b e l i e v e d was a c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n of God's presence, and he wrote long eloquent passages about h i s experiences walking i n the woods, c l i m b i n g mountains, and studying the f l o r a and fauna o f the w i l d e r n e s s areas he v i s i t e d . He seemed to f e e l c l o s e r to God d u r i n g these p e r i o d s of s o l i t a r y contemplation. In f a c t , he p r e f e r r e d these times alone. In the f i f t h chapter o f h i s Reveries o f a S o l i t a r y Walker he pointed out t h a t h i s long e x c u r s i o n s i n t o nature were perhaps the happiest times o f h i s l i f e : (J.H. Mason 1979, 308) I would s l i p away and go throw myself alone i n t o a boat t h a t I rowed to the middle of the lake when the water was calm; and t h e r e , s t r e t c h i n g myself out f u l l -l e n g t h i n the boat, my eyes turned to heaven, I l e t myself slowly d r i f t back and f o r t h with the water, 19 sometimes for several hours plunged in a thousand confused, but del ightful , reveries which, even without having any well-determined or constant object were in my opinion a hundred times preferable to the sweetest things I have found in what are called the pleasures of 1ife. (J.H. Mason 1979, 265) This simple but moving passage ref lects much of what Rousseau represented, and has dist inct romantic overtones: the sol i tary individual on a quest for self-discovery emphasizing feeling over rational sc ient i f i c analysis. In fact, Rousseau has often been referred to as the 'father of Romanticism' (Masters 1968, 93) particularly for his emphasis on individualism (Harvey 1980, 13), temperate realism and i ts opposite sentimental ism. (Masters 1968, 93) In essence, Rousseau's emphasis on feeling rather than reason reflected his bel ief, l ike so many of his romantic followers, "that the l ive instincts are more often right than the deadening dictates of social convention." (Featherstone 1978, 174) This is not to say, however, that Rousseau ignored reason in favour of simple feel ing, but instead that he believed that "emotions and reason were complementary and i t was only in areas where the reason could give no clear guidance that he followed what he termed the 'preuve du sentiment' in matters of conscience." (Harvey 1980, 7) For Rousseau, reason was always 'straight-jacketed' by i ts reliance on sense experience. In addition, his efforts to develop "a conception of his authentic self , a true sel f underlying the 'personae' imposed on him by society" (1980, 14) can also be considered further 20 evidence of his romantic leanings. According to Samuel Taylor the traditional elements, so oft repeated as to have become stereotypes or cl iches, include: the cult of nature and return to a natural mode of existence, the restoration of the rights of the emotions vis-a-vis the reason, individualism, both as the cult of freedom and as the cult of introspection or ' l e moi,' the mountain, lake and rustic community in the novel, the prototype romantic hero: Saint Preux, romantic love in the Nouveau Heloise and the rebirth of lyricism in French l i terature. Some would also add the restoration of the religious sp i r i t . (1980, 9-10) Taylor argues that Rousseau was not a cause of romanticism, although certainly "aspects of his writings and character... may...legitimately be regarded as romantic." (1980, 2) In fact, Rousseau never used the term 'romantique' "nor any other single label to characterize his writings." (1980, 3) Accordingly, Taylor argues that i t is in Rousseau's "quest for self-awareness that we see his closest approach to the romantic sp i r i t , and i t is this fact which makes i t profoundly inadequate to attach any label such as pre-romantic to Rousseau." (1980, 17) While recognizing the dangers involved in ascribing tidy labels to philosophical thought (especially when dealing with a thinker as complex and controversial as Rousseau); i t can be said that the romantic elements within his thought certainly provided inspiration for later thinkers, many of whom would influence environmental philosphy in the 19th and 20th century. i 21 Rousseau and the Romantic S p i r i t The term 'romantic' can be used i n many ways, so many ways i n f a c t t h a t i t has almost l o s t i t s o r i g i n a l f l a v o u r ( i f i t ever had one). According to A r t h u r Lovejoy romanticism was a 'phenomenon' t h a t developed i n a ' s e r i e s o f d i s s i m i l a r waves' or "as a s e r i e s o f seminal l i t e r a r y f i g u r e s producing o r g a n i c mutations so profound that they defy common d e s c r i p t i o n . " ! (1980, 3) In essence, the European romantic movement of the 18th and lSith century, w h i l e a l s o an a r t i s t i c and i n t e l l e c t u a l i ( movement, grew i n l a r g e p a r t as a r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t the i m a t e r i a l changes brought on by the s c i e n t i f i c r e v o l u t i o n and the r i s e o f i n d u s t r i a l c a p i t a l i s m . As c i t i e s grew and p r o d u c t i o n processes expanded, there was a growing sense o f unease t h a t these processes, r a t h e r than l e a d i n g to a more p e r f e c t world order had i n s t e a d unleashed ' v i o l e n t n a t u r a l f o r c e s ' t h a t had " l e d to a s p i r i t u a l a l i e n a t i o n of the mass o f people from the land and from each other." (Pepper 1984, 76) People were simply regarded as p a r t s i n the grand economic machine--"they were o b j e c t i v i z e d , they and t h e i r labour were reduced to the s t a t u s of a commodity." (1984, 76) As these processes o f u r b a n i z a t i o n and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n grew, many people began to p e r c e i v e them as degrading the environment and being d i r e c t l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the growth o f urban ghettos marked by s q u a l o r and d e p r i v a t i o n . (1984, 76) "They began to symbolize the f a i l u r e o f the Locke and Hume p h i l o s o p h i e s t h a t a p e r f e c t s o c i e t y could be a t t a i n e d by p e r m i t t i n g people to f o l l o w i n an 22 e n l i g h t e n e d way t h e i r s e l f i n t e r e s t . " (1984, 76) Thus, Romanticism was a r e a c t i o n " against the narrowness o f the 18th c e n t u r y . . . a g a i n s t the c u l t u r e o f r a t i o n a l i s m and the e m p i r i c i s t and m a t e r i a l o u tlook which i t had generated." (Campbell 1987, 181) In essence, Romanticism developed i n o p p o s i t i o n t o the Enlightenment's "excessive f a i t h i n reason, or i t s i n s u f f i c i e n t f a i t h i n f a i t h . " ( H alsted 1965, v i i i ) For C a r l Schmitt the Romantic movement represented "both a process o f s e c u l a r i z a t i o n and a process o f s u b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and p r i v a t i z a t i o n . " (1986, 121) Henri Peyne, meanwhile, argued t h a t the movement was marked by "extreme i n d i v i d u a l i s m and r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t an over-mechanized s o c i e t y and i t s h i e r a r c h i e s and b u r e a u c r a c i e s . " (1977, 36) Romanticism was a l s o marked by a deep-seated and "passionate l o v e o f nature." (1977, 36) For A r n o l d Hauser, Romanticism was the ex p r e s s i o n o f a world-view "which no lo n g e r b e l i e v e d i n abs o l u t e v a l u e s , c o u l d no longer b e l i e v e i n any values without t h i n k i n g of t h e i r r e l a t i v i t y , t h e i r h i s t o r i c a l l i m i t a t i o n s " (Halsted 1965, xv) According t o David Morse, however, Romanticism was p r o b l e m a t i c : The c a r d i n a l d o c t r i n e o f Romanticism, the i n s i s t e n c e on the autonomy o f the i n d i v i d u a l and the r e j e c t i o n o f ex t e r n a l laws, i n j u n c t i o n s and r e s t r a i n t s l e a d to a r e p e t i t i o n o f P r o t e s t a n t Angst: the extreme i s o l a t i o n o f the i n d i v i d u a l as he i s thrown back on h i s own resources under the highest law o f i n t r o s p e c t i o n and s e l f s c r u t i n y . The c o r o l l a r y o f the saving o f the s e l f i s the l o n e l i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n o f the s e l f t h a t i s saved. (1981, 172) Joseph Featherstone went f u r t h e r arguing t h a t ( t ) h e Romantic c u l t o f s e n s i b i l i t y , the noble savage, and c h i l d r e n ' s innocence which Rousseau began l e d to 23 egotism, n o s t a l g i a , s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , and the other forms o f evasion o f r e a l i t y we r i g h t a t t a c k when we t h i n k o f the weakheaded s i d e of a l l the v a r i o u s Romanticisms. (1978, 177) I r v i n g B a b b i t t went so f a r as to condemn the movement a l t o g e t h i n d i c t i n g Romantic m o r a l i t y f o r i t s emotionalism, s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , p r i m i t i v i s m , a n t i -i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m , s e l f - i n d u l g e n t i n d i v i d u a l i s m , p a s s i v i t y , and r e p u d i a t i o n o f the r e a l i t y p r i n c i p l e i n an u n d i s c i -p l i n e d r i o t o f the i m a g i n a t i o n — n o t to mention i t s c a r n a l i t y and l i b e r t i n i s m (Lockridge 1989, 15) Furthermore, B a b b i t t argued t h a t " ( t ) h e Romantic movement (was f i l l e d with the groans o f those who...evaded a c t i o n and at the same time (became) h i g h l y s e n s i t i v e and h i g h l y s e l f - c o n s c i o u s . " (Halsted 1965, 17) According to Samuel T a y l o r , however, B a b b i t t ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s " g r o s s l y i n a c c u r a t e , d i s c u r s i v e , and biased " (Harvey 1980, 2) Lockridge, meanwhile, c a l l s B a b b i t t ' s c o n c l u s i o n s "a c l e a r and d i s t i n c t m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the e t h i c s o f Romanticism." (Lockridge 1989, 16) He countered t h a t Romantic theory "assumes t h a t man i s n a t u r a l l y good, t h a t man's impulses are trustworthy, t h a t the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y i s u n r e l i a b l e to the p o i n t o f being dangerous or p o s s i b l y e v i l . " ( L o ckridge 1989, 16) Romanticism, thus, was not simply a philosophy, but was more a mode of f e e l i n g . With r e s p e c t to i n d i v i d u a l i s m , romantic thought emphasized the q u a l i t a t i v e r a t h e r than the q u a n t i t a t i v e aspects o f l i f e as c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the Enlightenment. Thus, i t s t r e s s e d "a person's uniqueness or p e c u l i a r i t y , r a t h e r than the f e a t u r e s which he (or she) shared with a l l mankind." (Campbell 1987, 183) 24 Although romantic thinkers agreed with the philosophes of the Enlightment that individuals had the right of self-determination, "their conception of the sel f as an essentially divine, and unique 'creat ive ' genius meant that this was largely interpreted as the right to 'self-expression, ' or self discovery." (1987, 183) By placing creat iv ity at the center of their thought, Romantics emphasized "the dist inct ive nature of their own selves." (1987, 183), a preoccupation clearly anticipated and indeed inspired by Rousseau in his Confessions: I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent and which, once complete, wil l have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a portrait in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray wil l by myself. Simply myself. I know my own heart and under stand my fellow man. But I am made unlike anyone I have every met: I wi l l even venture to say that I am l ike no one in the whole world. I may be no better, but at least I am different. (Cohen 1953, 17) It can be argued that this statement marked one of the f i r s t and most forceful descriptions of the romantic ideal. By placing the sel f at the center of their thought, Romantics emphasized the creative process arguing that i t was the "forces of nature within man, the passions and promptings of the id, which came to be regarded as the ultimate source of a l l thought, feeling and action, the very seat of the imagination." (Campbell 1987, 184) However, while counter-cultural theorists exalt feeling and the imagination in this manner, Rousseau stressed the importance of combining the functions of feeling and reason towards a higher form of intel lectual development. It is this synthesis or mediation of reason and feeling that marks one of Rousseau's contributions 25 to the h i s t o r y o f id e a s . His i d e a l o f the imagination guided by reason and r e i n f o r c e d by f e e l i n g r e f l e c t s a r a t i o n a l balance i n h i s thought t h a t i s o f t e n neglected by contemporary c r i t i c s who foc u s , perhaps too much, on h i s c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , h i s pessimism, and h i s tendancy t o overstatement. As o u t l i n e d i n Emile, h i s t r e a t i s e on na t u r a l education, the n a t u r a l man i s "a man o f reason whose mind i s i n the s e r v i c e o f a s e n s i b i l i t y , a r a t i o n a l t h i n k e r who i s not a f r a i d t o c r y . " (Featherstone 1978, 177) For Rousseau, man must "understand the general r a t i o n a l design o f nature as well as the mazes of the human heart, Rousseau's v e r s i o n o f Kant's two sovereign r e a l i t i e s , the s t a r r y heavens above and the moral law w i t h i n . " (Featherstone 1978, 177) According to Ronald Grimsley at the ce n t e r o f Rousseau's thought " i s the f i r m c o n v i c t i o n t h a t happiness and s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n are always a t t a i n a b l e by those who have the wisdom to r i s e above the f a l s e values o f c o r r u p t s o c i e t y and to r e - a f f i r m t h e i r f a i t h i n the power o f nature." (Grimsley 1983, 185) Indeed, i t i s h i s reverence f o r the n a t u r a l environment which c o n s t i t u t e s one o f the most s t r i k i n g elements o f h i s thought. Rousseau and Man's R e l a t i o n s h i p with the Natural World For Rousseau e v e r y t h i n g r e l a t e d to nature, and was based on f e e l i n g s he " c u l t i v a t e d from the f i r s t awakening of h i s s p i r i t u a l s e lf-awareness." ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 85) One must keep i n mind, however, t h a t Rousseau used the term 'nature' i n se v e r a l d i f f e r e n t ways. I t co u l d mean "the p h y s i c a l environment, the l i v i n g f o r c e i n the world and i n a person, what i s o r i g i n a l or inhe r e n t or 26 spontaneous, (or) what is manifest and what is potential." (Mason 1979, 260) This chapter focuses primarily on the relationship between Rousseau and nature in the sense of the natural world, a relationship marked by his almost mystical sense of direct communion with nature. This approach paral lels later thinkers such as Thoreau and Leopold and is reflected today in a variety of approaches to the environment. As Cassirer has suggested these feelings intoxicated him "long after he had become a sol itary misanthrope who avoided al l intercourse with men." (1989, 85) According to Rousseau: finding among men neither integrity nor truth, nor any of the feelings...without which al l society is but i l lus ion and vanity, I withdrew into myself; and, in l iv ing with myself and with nature, I tasted an in f in i te sweetness in the thought that I was not alone (Cassirer 1989, 85-86) Rousseau, thus, expresses an ' i d y l l i c passion' for a sol itary existence within nature. (Bookchin 1989, 153) According to Murray Bookchin, however, this mode of thinking had 'a less innocent side' since i t could also lead to a denial of the need for social intercourse and 'a needless opposition between wilderness and c i v i l i z a t i o n . ' He argues that Voltaire 's cr i t ic i sm that Rousseau was 'an enemy of mankind' was "not entirely an overstatement." (1989, 153) Neverthless, Rousseau's lyr ica l power, at i ts 'purest in the Nouvelle Heloise, was his ab i l i ty to "depict a l l human sentiment and passion as i f enveloped in the atmosphere of pure sensit iv i ty to nature." (Cassirer 1989, 86) Instead of being a neutral observer above nature, "he dips into i t s inner l i f e and 27 v i b r a t e s with i t s own rhythms. And i n t h i s he f i n d s a new source o f happiness t h a t can never dry up." ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 86) By d i s c o v e r i n g how we are a f f e c t e d by our n a t u r a l world, Rousseau hoped to show the b e n e f i t s of c u l t i v a t i n g a h e a l t h y r e l a t i o n s h i p with i t . T h i s i s demonstrated by Rousseau i n the f i r s t p a r t o f the Nouvelle H e l o i s e i n which he d e s c r i b e s a walk i n t o the mountains o f the High V a l a i s : It was here t h a t I d i s c e r n e d i n the p u r i t y o f the a i r , the t r u e cause o f the change i n my mood and o f the r e t u r n o f t h a t inner peace t h a t I had l o s t f o r so l o n g . T h i s , indeed, i s a general f e e l i n g common to a l l men, though not a l l are aware o f i t . In the high mountains, where the a i r i s pure and r a r e f i e d , we breathe more e a s i l y , our bodies f e e l l i g h t e r , our minds more serene, our p l e a s u r e s l e s s keen, our passions more r e s t r a i n e d . (J.H. Mason 1979, 137-38) According to S t a r o b i n s k i " ( t ) h e mountain to him was the answer to h i s hunger f o r the a b o l i t i o n of the i n e v i t a b l e impediments to v i s i o n and communication elsewhere." (Harvey 1980, 10) In a d d i t i o n to the m y s t i c a l aspect o f Rousseau's r e l a - t i o n s h i p with nature there e x i s t s a general enjoyment o f the world o f t r e e s , p l a n t s and f l o w e r s . In f a c t , Rousseau became i n t e n s e l y i n t e r e s t e d i n the study of botany. "I know o f no study i n the world b e t t e r s u i t e d to my n a t u r a l t a s t e s than t h a t o f p l a n t s . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 262) Rousseau not only s t u d i e d botany but wrote on i t as w e l l , c o l l e c t i n g together h i s o b s e r v a t i o n s i n h i s D i c t i o n a r y o f B o t a n i c a l Terms. Thus, h i s experiences with nature became marked not only by keen o b s e r v a t i o n but a l s o o f experience and p a r t i c i p a t i o n . "Instead o f being overwhelemed by the weight o f the u n i v e r s e , he was now overwhelmed by the marvels 28 of the natural world," (J.H. Mason 1979, 263) and in his f inal years the euphoria he fe l t when interacting with nature almost became his only sanctuary from a world he fe l t had abandoned him. As an example of this, the following is an extract from his Reveries of the Solitary Walker written during his stay on the island of Saint-Pierre: When the evening approached I went down from the top of the island and happily sat on the shore beside the lake, in some hidden spot. There the sound of the waves and the agitation of the water captivated my senses; they drove every other agitation from my soul and plunged i t into delicious reveries; the night often surprised me without my having noticed i t ; the ebb and flow of the water, with i ts continous sound, r is ing and fa l l ing , constantly struck my ears and my eyes; they made up for the internal movements which the reverie had extinguished inside me; they were enough to make me feel my existence with pleasure, without taking the trouble to think. Sometimes some weak and brief reflection was born on the instab i l i ty of earthly things, the image of which was on the surface of the water. But soon these l ight impressions were awed in the uniformity of continuous movement which lu l led me and held me, without any active help from my soul, to such an extent that, when called by the hour and the signal agreed upon, I could not tear myself away from there without effort. (J.H. Mason 1979, 265-66) The sense of communion with nature, this reaffirmation of i ts cleansing sp i r i t contrasted sharply with the dominant mechanistic paradigm of nature so prevalent during Rousseau's era. According to Cassirer, "Rousseau once again discovered the soul of nature" (Cassirer 1989, 106) thus perhaps becoming the f i r s t to enunciate a truly theological ecology, an ecological outlook based on faith rather than straight fact. This concept of nature's soul was to become central to Rousseau's view of the natural world. In his Profession of Faith 29 of a Savoyard Vicar Rousseau outlined his bel ief that, contrary to the materialist view that matter has movement or order of i ts own, "there must be an independent source of l i f e and i n t e l l i - gence... that is outside of the world and ourselves, namely, God." (J.H. Mason 1979, 210-11) Thus, the order or design he saw in the world was a direct proof of the existence of God. In addition, he argued for the concept of ' f i r s t cause,' supporting i t by referring to the dictates of his 'inner voice' or conscience: So the world is not some huge animal which moves of i ts own accord; i ts movements are therefore due to some external cause, a cause which I cannot perceive. But the inner voice makes this cause so apparent to me that I cannot watch the course of the sun without imagining a force which drives i t , and when the earth revolves I think I see the hand that sets i t in motion.... (J.H. Mason 1979, 217) Thus, he could not fathom the materialist concept "that passive and dead matter can have brought forth l iv ing and feeling beings, that blind chance has brought forth intel l igent beings, that that which does not think has brought forth thinking beings." (J.H. Mason 1979, 219) Instead he believed that the world was governed by 'a wise and powerful w i l l , ' and he saw the 'spectacle of nature' as God's handiwork. If matter in motion points me to a w i l l , matter in motion according to fixed laws points me to an intel l igence; that is the second art ic le of my creed. To act, to compare, to choose, are the operations of an active thinking being; so this being exists. Where do you find him existing, you wil l say? Not merely in the revolving heavens, nor in the sun which gives us l ight , not in myself alone, but in the sheep that grazes, the bird that f l i e s , the stone that f a l l s and the leaf blown by the wind. (J.H. Mason 1979, 218) 30 For Rousseau, God's handiwork could be seen everywhere in the natural world. Essentially Rousseau believed in a natural rel ig ion based on our own experiences of the world and ourselves. As mentioned, he argued against revelation, in favour of the concept of the 'spectacle of nature' and a bel ief in the 'inner voice. ' He rejected any rel igion that rel ied on Scripture, or miracles, and instead professed a faith that "was not a systematic set of beliefs based on reason, but the realization of the spir itual element in our nature, a matter of experience rather than argument." (J.H. Mason 1979, 211) Thus, he placed his faith squarely towards "a sense of wholeness in oneself and with the natural world," (Mason, 211) a world in which nature's order and its aesthetic qualit ies clearly revealed the hand of God. Rousseau also supported the concept of man's stewardship of nature. In the Profession he pointed out that "not only does he tame a l l the beasts, not only does he control i ts elements through his industry; but he alone knows how to control i t . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 220) But he cautions man not to be arrogant about this position of responsibi l ity syaing that while "'man is lord of the earth on which he dwells,' he should not be 'puffed up by this thought' but should instead be 'deeply moved by i t , ' because i t was a 'post of honour.'" (J.H. Mason 1979, 220) For Rousseau, the concept of stewardship was a trust that God placed in man's hands, while demanding of him that he rule " i t in a way consistent with being responsible to God for his realm." (Pepper 1984, 45) 31 Rousseau also developed a theory on the hierarchy of l i f e forms which marked perhaps the most ' t rad i t iona l ' element of his philosophy regarding the natural world, much of i t 'borrowed' from the great naturalist of his day: George-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon. Buffon's ideas, drawn particularly from his Natural History, would permeate much of Rousseau's work especially in the second Discours. (Starobinski 1988, 323) Rousseau's method in this Discours was similar to Buffon's in that they both "begin by describing an elementary form of existence as exhaustively as possible; they then identify what is due to the subsequent development of higher faculties by comparing the developed with the elementary form." (Starobinski 1988, 323) For Rousseau, there was a great difference between primitive man and the apes. In fact, Rousseau even speculated that some higher forms of apes l ike orangutans were not apes at a l l but primitive men, thus he expanded "the l imits of mankind." (Starobinski 1988, 327) The second Discours, written a century before Darwin's Origins of the Species, essentially took a resolutely evolutionary view toward human nature. Two hundred years before students of animal behavior... brought us extensive studies of our primate relat ives, Rousseau focused on the behavior of these species as a clue to our own origins. And long before a generation of anthropologists brought back truly careful accounts of prel iterate or 'savage' societies, Rousseau insisted that they fu l l y deserved the name 'human.' (Masters 1968, 95) Furthermore, Rousseau insisted on the idea of 'natural selection' or 'survival of the f i t t e s t ' long before Darwin, too. In the second Discours he argued that: 32 considering (man), in a word, as he must have come from the hands of nature...children bringing into the world the excellent constitution of their fathers and fort i fy ing i t with the same training that produced i t , thus acquire al l the vigor of which the human species is capable. Nature treats them precisly as the law of Sparta treated the children of c it izens: i t renders strong and robust those who are well constituted and makes a l l the others perish. (Masters 1968, 96) Although Rousseau recognized man as a member of the biotic community, he jus t i f ied seeing man at the top of the evolutionary scale by arguing that man's ab i l i ty to reason and his 'freedom to act' separated him from other l i f e forms. This does not necessarily put Rousseau at odds with modern environmentalists, because many of them recognize that human beings play a special role within the biotic community. It is only the 'deep ecolo- g i s ts , ' who deny this special role and equate human beings with al l other constituents of planet earth. The most important consideration, Rousseau would argue, would be to preserve and respect the integrity of God's handiwork, in other words to act as careful stewards. According to N.J.H. Dent, Rousseau supported his bel ief that man was above the animals "because of the scope and ingenuity of his action; because of his industry and practical intel l igence; because of his capacity to understand the whole and his own position in that." (1989, 240) For J.C. Greene, however, "by his differentiat ion of men and animals on the basis of the per fec t ib i l i t y of the former only, Rousseau in effect denied the poss ib i l i ty of organic evolution in the rest of the animal kingdom " (Horowitz 1987, 54) Asher Horowitz, on the other 33 hand, denies this interpretation saying that by distinguishing between animals and man Rousseau was merely arguing that the two have different modes of evolution. Horowitz argues that Rousseau is actually s i lent about evolution in the lower forms of l i f e , but he s k i l l f u l l y intertwines man's 'biological and cultural evolution' suggesting that cultural evolution in man is speeded up by his capacity for per fect ib i l i ty which animals do not possess; thus the gap between man and animals " is not absolute, even though the differences amount to qualitative ones." (1987, 64) While Rousseau did refer to animals in some of his writings as nothing more than 'ingenious machines,' he does appear that he fe l t they deserved respect as creatures created by God with purpose and intr ins ic value. In the second Discours he pointed out that, as sentient beings, animals should not be mistreated, but i f i t came down to a choice between man and animal, man was to prevai l . (Crocker 1967, 172) In opposition to Descartes, who denied that animals had conscious feeling, Rousseau argued that as they partake in some measure of our nature in virtue of that sens ib i l i ty with which they are endowned, we may well imagine they ought likewise to partake of the benefit of the natural law, and that man owes them a certain kind of duty. In fact, i t seems that, i f I am obliged not to injure any being l ike myself, i t is not so much because he is a reasonable being, as because he is a sensible being; and this quality, by being common to men and beasts, ought to exempt the latter from any unnecessary injuries the former might be able to do them. (1967, 172) Tied in with this is Rousseau's bel ief in pity as an innate tendancy in man--"a natural aversion to seeing any other being, 34 but especially any being l ike ourselves, suffer or perish." (1967, 171) One gets the sense that Rousseau believes that unnecessary cruelty to animals may desensitize man to the extent that he may begin to turn on his fellow man. In this respect, Rousseau's regard for other sentient beings may have a certain anthropocentrism that would be considered a u t i l i t a r i an and therefore false value by some ecocentrics, especially those in favour of animal rights. In other respects, however, Rousseau "seems to have recognized the strength of the arguments for vegetarianism without actually adopting the practice " (Singer 1990, 203) In the Emile, his educational treatise, he quotes Plutarch who attacks "the use of animals for food as unnatural, unnecessary, bloody murder:" (1990, 203) ...was i t a courage appropriate to men that possessed the f i r s t one who brought his mouth to wounded f lesh, who used his teeth to break the bones of an expiring animal, who had dead bodies--cadavers--served to him, and swallowed up in his stomach parts which a moment before bleated, lowed, walked, and saw? How could his hand have plunged a knife into the heart of a feeling being? How could his eyes have endured a murder? (Bloom 1979, 154) It is not clear, however, how far Rousseau was prepared to extend this position; although, i t would not be unrealist ic to conclude that only sentient beings, and perhaps only the highly 'developed' ones, would be considered. For Rousseau, hierarchy in the natural order determined the extent to which man owed lower forms of l i f e a duty to recognize their right to exist. However, i t appears that Rousseau would have violated this right i f i t was considered 35 necessary, although i t i s l i k e l y he would have held a high standard of what e x a c t l y would be considered 'necesssary.' T h i s approach, thus, r e j e c t s the e g a l i t a r i a n p o s i t i o n taken by modern 'deep e c o l o g i s t s ' t h a t every member of the b i o t i c community has i n t r i n s i c worth and at l e a s t the r i g h t to e x i s t . One c o u l d argue, o f course, t h a t l i o n s do not n e c e s s a r i l y t h i n k of r i g h t s when s t a l k i n g antelope. According to Roderick Nash non-human forms o f l i f e l a c k "the mental c a p a c i t y to t h i n k of t h e i r behavior i n terms of r i g h t and wrong or to enter i n t o a r e c i p r o c a l e t h i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p with humans." (1989, 124) At any r a t e , to extend r i g h t s to lower forms of l i f e would r e q u i r e , i n the words o f Peter Singer, " g r e a t e r a l t r u i s m on the p a r t o f mankind than any other l i b e r a t i o n movement because the b e n e f i c i a r i e s c o u l d not p r o t e s t on t h e i r own b e h a l f . " (Nash 1989, 138) For many, Rousseau i n c l u d e d , t h i s e t h i c a l boundary ends with s e n t i e n c e . The e s s e n t i a l i n g r e d i e n t s , t h e r e f o r e , of Rousseau's p h i l o s o p h i c a l approach to nature i n c l u d e the a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c idea t h a t man b e n e f i t s from a communion with nature; a r e c o g n i t i o n o f God's handiwork i n the n a t u r a l order and man's duty to r e s p e c t God's c r e a t i o n s ; an emphasis on the a e s t h e t i c w i t h i n nature; a p r a c t i c a l i n t e r e s t i n the study o f botany; a b e l i e f i n a h i e r a r - c h i c a l order i n nature with an emphasis on man's stewardship o f i t ; support f o r the concept of s e n t i e n c e as the grounds f o r r e c o g n i z i n g c e r t a i n ' r i g h t s ' f o r lower forms o f l i f e ; and a r e j e c t i o n o f the mechanistic view o f nature which sees i t as 'dead matter' governed by u n i v e r s a l mathematical p r i n c i p l e s . 36 In summary, Rousseau appears to have favoured a view of nature reflected by modern sc ient i f i c ecocentrics. He realised that man was a member of the biotic community (not above i t ) , but in recognizing man's stewardship of nature he supported the view that society had to reduce its impact on the natural world by carefully regulating those act iv i t ies that would be harmful to i t . 37 CHAPTER THREE: ROUSSEAU. THOREAU AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM Rousseau, Romanticism and the Transcendentalist Connection Rousseauian ideas would soon form part of the philosophy of romantic thought which would eventually find i ts way to the United States in the form of Transcendentalism. According to Richard Schneider "(t)ranscendentalism was an American offshoot of European romanticism based mostly on the philosophy of Kant and Hegel as f i l te red through the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge." (1987, 5) Kant himself recognized the debt he owed to Rousseau in his thought acknowledging that Rousseau's concept of moral instinct made him "the Newton of the moral world" (Temmer 1962, 113); thus, i t is not overstatement to argue that Transcendentalism i s , at least part ia l ly , indebted to Rousseau. Indeed, Norman Foerster argues this point saying that Rousseau, Kant and his successors in German philosophy, the Romantic movement in Germany and England "in large degree supplied both the substance and point of view" (1969, 2) to the American Romantic movement reflected by the Transcendentalists. Mark Temmer supports this contention arguing that since Kant and the German Idealists were deeply indebted to Rousseau there exists "a strong ideological current that leads from Rousseau to Emerson and Thoreau." (1962, 113) Walter Harding, on the other hand, downplays this connection by arguing that "(w)hile i t is widely recognized that a l l the American Transcendentalists derived much of their inspiration from the German Transcendentalists, most of i t came second hand through Coleridge and Carlyle." (1980, 97) In support of this 38 supposition, James Mcintosh argues that "(t)he influence of European romantic writers...(was) occassional, not central . " (Mcintosh 1974, 50) It is contended here, however, that even 'occassional ' or 'second hand' inspiration recognizes the idea that there are, at least, connections between Rousseau, the romantics and American Transcendentalists. The term 'transcendental' was f i r s t used by Kant as "a formal response to the skeptical or sensational philosophy of Locke, which insists that the mind contains only that which has been previously experienced by the senses." (Bodily, 205) According to Christopher Bodily, Kant believed that a class of ideas existed which were not derived from sense experience but which instead consisted of "natural intuitions of the mind through which experiences become meaningful " (1987, 205) These intuitions 'transcended' ordinary forms of understanding gleaned through the senses, and are essentially "a priori fundamental principles or structuring processes of a l l knowledge." (Angeles 1981, 297) Transcendentalists believe in the superiority of the intuit ive or spir itual over empirical knowledge, and they hold that "there is an ideal, spiritual real i ty beyond the space- time world of our experience that can be grasped and with which a l l things are infused." (1981, 297) According to Foerster the central words in their thought include ' i n tu i t i on , ' ' se l f - re l i ance , ' and 'following one's genius.' (1969, 3) In addition, transcendental thought divided the world into materialists and ideal ists . This position put the Transcenden- 39 t a l i s t s i n d i r e c t o p p o s i t i o n to m a t e r i a l i s t s o c i e t y and demanded: an inner s t r e n g t h and s e l f - r e l i a n c e t h a t was a c h a l l e n g e to m a i n t a i n . It meant t h a t 'whosoever would be a man must be a nonconformist;' t h a t i s , the i n d i v i d u a l must be w i l l i n g t o act on h i s or her conscience r a t h e r than on the o p i n i o n s o f s o c i e t y whenever the two c o n f l i c t . (Schneider 1987, 6) The Rousseauian f l a v o u r i n these comments i s unmistakable, p a r t i c u l a r l y i t s emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l conscience over the o p i n i o n s o f s o c i e t y . I t i s Ralph Waldo Emerson who i s recognized as the l e a d i n g proponent o f T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t thought. He "presumed a s p e c i a l knowledge or r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature d e r i v e d from i n t u i t i o n . " ( B o d i l y 1987, 206) Furthermore, he i n s i s t e d t h a t i f "we continue to suppress and ignore the n a t u r a l i n t u i t i o n s o f our mind, to r e f u s e to g i v e these i n t u i t i o n s a u t h o r i t y over our experience, then we w i l l be bound to a v u l g a r , l o w - l i v e d , and f r i v o l o u s e x i s t e n c e . " ( B o d i l y 1987, 206) For Emerson, Transcendentalism was a r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t "dogmatism, a g a i n s t P u r i t a n Orthodoxy, and a g a i n s t formalism and t r a d i t i o n , " ( B o d i l y 1987, 206) and h i s emphasis on i n t u i t i o n can be compared to Rousseau's concept o f a balance between reason and s e n s i b i l i t e . Emerson emphasized mind over matter arguing t h a t "(m)ind i s the only r e a l i t y , o f which a l l other natures are b e t t e r or worse r e f l e c t o r s . Nature, l i t e r a t u r e , h i s t o r y , are only s u b j e c t i v e phenomena." (Sneider 1987, 203) Emerson focused on the r e a l i t y o f ' s o u l ' alone, and t h i s s u b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and s u b o r d i n a t i o n o f the n a t u r a l world i s p r i m a r i l y the reason why Emerson i s not recog n i z e d as an i n s p i r a t i o n f o r modern environmental ism. That 40 'honour' would go to one o f h i s p u p i l s : Henri David Thoreau. Rousseau and Thoreau: A Comparative A n a l y s i s Thoreau has been d e s c r i b e d as "a c h i l d o f the Romantic e r a . " (Sneider 1987, 392) According to Mcintosh, Thoreau's romantic consciousness i s " c o n d i t i o n e d by h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l i n h e r i t a n c e from romanticism,; a n d . . . r e f l e c t s h i s contemporary awareness as a T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t . . . " (1974, 22) He was " c o n t i n u a l l y f a s c i n a t e d by the r e l a t i o n o f the p o e t i c mind to the e x t e r n a l world. Mcintosh sees him as a 'romantic n a t u r a l i s t ' because he regarded man's "communication with nature as s p i r i t u a l , not d e s t r u c t i v e of human s p i r i t , " (1974, 9) and a l s o because he gave "nature the d i g n i t y o f an independent s t a t u s . " (1974, 53) Thoreau f i r s t came i n t o contact with Emerson as a c o l l e g e student a f t e r reading h i s seminal work Nature d u r i n g h i s s e n i o r at Harvard. (Schneider 1987, 5) Emerson, thus, became Thoreau's i n t e l l e c t u a l mentor and he even l i v e d with Emerson and h i s f a m i l y f o r a p e r i o d of time. Thoreau, however, d i d not share Emerson's doubt about the e x i s t e n c e o f the n a t u r a l world. His b e l i e f i n the " r e a l i t y o f nature was unshakable..." (Schneider 1987, 7) For Thoreau, " r e a l i t y c o n s i s t e d i n the r e l a t i o n among God, humanity, and nature--a s o r t of t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t t r i n i t y - - e a c h with i t s own i n t e g r i t y and c r e a t i v i t y . " (Schneider 1987, 7) Thoreau b e l i e v e d t h a t the " i d e a l was not to be found so much beyond the m a t e r i a l world (as Emerson argued) as w i t h i n and through i t . " (Schneider 1987, 7) Instead, Thoreau want "to get pa r t way out o f h i s i s o l a t e d mind and c l o s e r to nature, to e x i s t i n a border area 41 between t h a t mind and nature." (Mcintosh 1974, 21) and thus f a c i l i t a t e the process of s e l f - d i s c o v e r y . Thoreau put t h i s process i n t o a c t i o n i n 1845 when Emerson gave him permission to use some of h i s land at Walden Pond, where Thoreau went to l i v e f o r two y e a r s . There he used an axe to c l e a r a small p i e c e of land and b u i l t h i m s e l f a modest c a b i n . During t h i s time Thoreau immersed h i m s e l f i n the p r a c t i c a l study o f nature developing h i s s k i l l s as a b o t a n i s t much l i k e Rousseau d i d one hundred years e a r l i e r . Both seemed to f e e l t h a t an a p p r e c i a t i o n of nature c o u l d not be f u l l y developed without a p r a c t i c a l working knowledge o f i t s f u n c t i o n s . The work he produced d u r i n g t h i s time, Walden, would r e p r e s e n t much of the core of h i s thought, but i t i s a l s o c h a l k f u l l o f h i s p r a c t i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n s . According to B o d i l y , h i s two years at Walden Pond was "an attempt at pragmatic d i s c o v e r y , at c o n f r o n t i n g l i f e , e x p e r i e n c i n g and experimenting, working to i n c r e a s e l i f e ' s present meaning." (1987, 212) Thoreau would subsequently w r i t e of h i s reasons f o r going i n t o the woods i n an essay t i t l e d "Where I L i v e d , and What I L i v e d For:" I went to the woods because I wished to l i v e d e l i -b e r a t e l y , to f r o n t only the e s s e n t i a l f a c t s o f l i f e , and see i f I could not l e a r n what i t had to teach and not, when I came to d i e , d i s c o v e r t h a t I had not l i v e d I wanted to l i v e deep and suck out a l l the marrow o f l i f e . (Anderson 1973, 168) One o f the primary purposes of Walden, thus, was to show t h a t people were capable of l i v i n g i n nature and t h a t the experience would be s p i r i t u a l l y e n l i g h t e n i n g . Although Thoreau r e c o g n i z e d mankind's s e p a r a t i o n from nature he s t i l l wanted to experience 42 a f e e l i n g o f being 'at home' i n i t : (Mcintosh 1974, 51) We need the t o n i c of w i l d n e s s - - t o wade sometimes i n marshes where the b i t t e r n and the meadow-hen l u r k , and hear the booming of the snipe; t o smell the whispering sedge where only some w i l d e r and more s o l i t a r y fowl b u i l d s her nest, and the mink crawls with i t s b e l l y c l o s e t o the ground We can never have enough o f Nature...(and at Walden Pond I w a s ) . . . a f f e c t e d as i f i n a p e c u l i a r sense I stood i n the l a b o r a t o r y of the A r t i s t who made me. (Shanley 1971, 317-18) Although there i s no evidence to suggest Thoreau ever read Rousseau d i r e c t l y , Thoreau's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f God with nature and h i s re v e r e n t r e s p e c t f o r nature c l e a r l y harken back to Rousseau. In the essay "The Ascent of Saddleback" Thoreau again h i n t s at the concept o f d i v i n e handiwork i n nature by d e s c r i b i n g the beginning of h i s walk with the o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t " ( i ) t seemed a road f o r the p i l g r i m to enter upon who would climb to the gates o f heaven." (Anderson 1973, 123) According to Nash, Thoreau's T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t background l e d him to b e l i e v e i n an 'Oversoul' or g o d l i k e moral f o r c e t h a t permeated e v e r y t h i n g i n nature. Using i n t u i t i o n r a t h e r than reason and s c i e n c e , humans could transcend p h y s i c a l appearances and p e r c e i v e 'the c u r r e n t s o f the U n i v e r s a l Being.' b i n d i n g the world together. (Nash 1989, 36) Commentators, however, have argued t h a t Thoreau's d e s c r i p t i o n s of nature are not n e c e s s a r i l y t h e o l o g i c a l i n connotation so much as 'mental and c e l e s t i a l , ' i n other words a "romantic, not a C h r i s t i a n , r e v e l a t i o n . " (Mcintosh 1974, 163) Another p a r a l l e l to Rousseau can be found i n Thoreau's l o v e o f s o l i t a r y walks as a means o f r e v e r i e . In h i s essay 43 "The Wild," Thoreau d e s c r i b e s the b e n e f i t s o f t h i s form o f i n t e r a c t i o n with nature: "I t h i n k t h a t I cannot preserve my h e a l t h and s p i r i t s , unless I spend f o u r hours a day at l e a s t . . . s a u n t e r i n g throught the woods and over the h i l l s and f i e l d s , a b s o l u t e l y f r e e from a l l w o r l d l y engagements." (Anderson 1973, 135) Indeed, Thoreau p i t i e s those who cannot or do not enjoy walking throught the woods as he does saying "I t h i n k they they deserve some c r e d i t f o r not having a l l committed s u i c i d e long ago." (Anderson 1973, 135) Li k e Rousseau, Thoreau used these walks f o r s o l i t a r y contemplation, as a means o f breaking through the b a r r i e r s s e p a r a t i n g man from nature and pre v e n t i n g him from d i s c o v e r i n g h i s t r u e s e l f . In essence, he sought a kind o f u n i t y or oneness with nature and, l i k e Rousseau, Thoreau made the p r i n c i p l e "'Know t h y s e l f " the s i n e qua non of the t r u t h o f ( h i s ) words." (Temmer 1962, 112) According to W i l l i a m Wolf, thus, there were two major com- ponents to Thoreau's e c o l o g i c a l philosophy: "(1) a m y s t i c a l sense o f the oneness o f a l l l i f e throught r e c i p r o c a l i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and (2) a s e n s i t i v i t y toward a l l of nature, o r g a n i c and i n o r g a n i c , and a d e s i r e f o r f e l l o w s h i p with a l l t h i n g s . " (1974, 147) L i k e Rousseau, he acknowledges t h a t man i s a p a r t o f the n a t u r a l world and he expresses a d e s i r e f o r d i r e c t communion with i t , to become "wholly i n v o l v e d i n nature...(even though)...our thoughts tend to separate us from nature." (Mcintosh 1974, 249-50) In a d d i t i o n , Thoreau argued t h a t "nature f e e l s , sympathizes, i s s e n t i e n t , and t h a t as the r e s u l t o f her kindness the r e l a t i o n between man and nature i s one o f i n t i m a t e f r i e n d s h i p . " (Mcintosh 44 1974, 24) In the chapter " S o l i t u d e " from Walden t h i s sense t h a t nature i t s e l f i s a l i v e and t h a t man i s i n t i m a t e l y connected with i t i s made c l e a r : A l l Nature would be a f f e c t e d , and the sun's b r i g h t n e s s fade, and the winds would s i g n humanely, and the clouds r a i n t e a r s , and the woods shed t h e i r leaves and put on mourning i n midsummer, i f any man should ever f o r a j u s t cause g r i e v e . S h a l l I not have i n t e l l i g e n c e with the earth? Am I not p a r t l y leaves and vegetable mould myself? (Shanley 1971, 138) Thus, h i s philosophy r e v e a l e d a r e j e c t i o n of the e a r t h as a dead, i n e r t mass, but i n s t e a d r e f l e c t e d a b e l i e f t h a t " i t i s a body, has a s p i r i t , i s o r g a n i c and f l u i d to the i n f l u e n c e o f i t s s p i r i t . " (Nash 1989, 37) The n a t u r a l world, thus, i s d e s c r i b e d as an i n t e g r a t e d community o f which man was a p a r t . For Thoreau, there was no h i e r a r c h y or d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i n nature. "What we c a l l w i l d n e s s . . . i s a c i v i l i z a t i o n other than our own The woods... were not t e n a n t l e s s , but c h o k e - f u l l o f honest s p i r i t s as good as myself any day." (Nash 1989, 37) Furthermore, according to Paul de Man, "Saddleback" can be compared to the t w e n t y - t h i r d l e t t e r o f Rousseau's Nouvelle H e l o i s e where "the p o e t - p r o t a g o n i s t t e l l s o f h i s f e e l i n g s o f transcendence, freedom, and peace i n the high mountains " (Paul de Man 1984, 13) The f o l l o w i n g example from "Saddleback," which d e s c r i b e Thoreau's o b s e r v a t i o n s and f e e l i n g s upon rea c h i n g the summit o f the mountain, c l e a r l y p a r a l l e l Rousseau: As the l i g h t i n c r e a s e d , I d i s c o v e r e d around me an ocean o f mist, which by chance reached up e x a c t l y to the base o f the tower, and shut out every v e s t i g e of the e a r t h , while I was l e f t f l o a t i n g on t h i s fragment o f the wreck o f a world, on my carved plank, i n c l o u d l a n d ; a s i t u a t i o n which r e q u i r e d no a i d from the imagination to render i t 45 impressive. (Anderson 1973, 127) The ' s p e c t a c l e of nature,' thus, i s e x a l t e d by Thoreau and p r o v i d e s him with a m y s t i c a l sense o f peace and sympathetic f r i e n d - s h i p with the n a t u r a l world t h a t could not be achieved w i t h i n the bosum o f s o c i e t y : A l l around beneath me was spread f o r a hundred m i l e s on every s i d e , as f a r as the eye could reach, an u n d u l a t i n g country o f c l o u d s , answering i n the v a r i e d swell o f i t s s u r f a c e to the t e r r e s t r i a l world i t v e i l e d . I t was such a country as we might see i n dreams, with a l l the d e l i g h t s o f p a r a d i s e . (Anderson 1973, 127) Obviously, Thoreau e m p h a t i c a l l y r e j e c t e d the idea o f man's domination o f nature, i n s t e a d l e a n i n g towards a kind of stewardship t h a t was the l e a s t i n t r u s i v e . In t h i s r e s p e c t , Thoreau seems to have gone f u r t h e r than Rousseau. The environmental e t h i c t h a t Thoreau advocated argued t h a t a l l l i f e f o r m s are worthy o f r e s p e c t , r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e i r value to humans. He argued t h a t " ( e ) v e r y c r e a t u r e i s b e t t e r a l i v e than dead, men and moose and pine t r e e s . " (Nash 1989, 37) I t would seem t h a t Thoreau went much f u r t h e r than Rousseau i n a p p l y i n g the concept o f s e n t i e n c e as a means o f d i v i n i n g c e r t a i n r i g h t s to lower forms o f l i f e . While Rousseau argued t h a t animals should not be ' u n n e c e s s a r i l y ' harmed and t h a t to do so would d e n i g r a t e man, Thoreau seems to be saying t h a t a l l members o f the b i o t i c community had an i n t r i n s i c r i g h t to l i f e . Thus, he r e j e c t e d human domination o f nature, going so f a r as to imply t h a t humans degraded nature by t h e i r very presence. 46 As mentioned, Thoreau recognized t h a t nature had i n t r i n s i c v a l u e, an 'independent s t a t u s . ' He denied the concept o f h i e r a r c h y and argued t h a t b e l i e v i n g t h a t one c o u l d possess nature was a c t u a l l y c o u n t e r - p r o d u c t i v e . According to Mcintosh: ...(T)he d e s i r e f o r a t o t a l p ossession o f nature by the separated mind leads to a s e l f i s h and dangerous d i s t o r t i o n o f the observed world and a r e d u c t i o n o f t h i s source o f t h e i r being, a way of k i l l i n g a god they need. T h e r e f o r e , they (should) t r y to conceive the imagination as r e c o n c i l e d to nature, not as c o n t r o l l i n g i t or wholly t r a n s f o r m i n g i t ; and they seek an imaginative balance between mind and nature. (1974, 53) In f a c t , i t c o u l d be argued t h a t t h i s balance between mind and nature echoes Rousseau's c a l l f o r a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n between reason and f e e l i n g and between man and nature i t s e l f . For Thoreau, t h i s s y n t h e s i s o f reason and f e e l i n g went beyond simply obeying the i n s t i n c t s o f one's temperament, but i n s t e a d i n v o l v e d s u b j e c t i n g these i n s t i n c t s to the s c r u t i n y of man's innate c a p a c i t y f o r r e f l e c t i o n . U l t i m a t e l y , Thoreau was convinced t h a t the man/nature r e l a t i o n s h i p o f h i s time had become s t r a i n e d by man's d e s i r e f o r dominion over nature. He r e j e c t e d the mater- i a l i s t , as well as the u t i l i t a r i a n conceptions o f h i s time, and by doing so guaranteed h i m s e l f i m m o r t a l i t y as a i n s p i r a t i o n to l a t e r e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s . Rousseau and John Muir Another major f i g u r e of the 19th century who would become a major i n f l u e n c e of modern environmental ism was John Muir, founder of the S i e r r a Club (1892). S i m i l a r to Thoreau, Muir b e l i e v e d 47 t h a t nature e x i s t e d f i r s t and foremost f o r i t s e l f and f o r i t s c r e a t o r . E v e r y t h i n g had value. But Muir went even f u r t h e r by promoting a r a d i c a l l y e g a l i t a r i a n form o f ecocentrism. For example, he placed absolute value on every p a r t o f the n a t u r a l world asking such extreme questions as "would not the world s u f f e r . . . b y the banishment o f a s i n g l e weed." (Nash 1989, 39) Muir agreed with e a r l i e r romantic t h i n k e r s t h a t the " b a s i s o f r e s p e c t f o r nature was to recognize i t as p a r t of the c r e a t e d community to which humans a l s o belonged." (1989, 39) He s t r o n g l y f e l t t h a t God's presence was everywhere, not only i n animals but i n p l a n t s and rocks as w e l l . He a l s o denied the concept o f h i e r a r c h y w i t h i n the n a t u r a l order asking the q u e s t i o n : "Why should man value h i m s e l f as more than a small p a r t o f one g r e a t u n i t o f c r e a t i o n . " (1989, 39) In p a r t , Muir was i n s p i r e d by the s c i e n t i f i c ecocentrism of Darwin whose " e v o l u t i o n a r y e x p l a n a t i o n of the p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f l i f e on e a r t h undermined d u a l i s t i c p h i l o s o p h i e s . . . ( w h i c h argued f o r ) . . . h i e r a r c h y , dominion...(and t h e ) . . . e x p e c t a t i o n t h a t the r e s t o f nature e x i s t e d to serve one precocious primate." (1989, 42) Thus, f o r Muir the concept of e v o l u t i o n "was an enormously humbling idea, suggesting t h a t every c r e a t u r e on the p l a n e t had a r i g h t to e x i s t - - o r at l e a s t the r i g h t to s t r u g g l e to e x i s t — e q u a l to t h a t of every other c r e a t u r e . " (1989, 43) In t h i s sense, Muir went beyond the concept of stewardship advocated by Rousseau who, as s t a t e d , saw man as being ordained by God to manage the world i n an ' e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y - f r i e n d l y ' way. Muir a l s o expressed, i n s i m i l a r f a s h i o n to Rousseau, the view t h a t 48 communion with nature was a s p i r i t u a l l y u p l i f t i n g e xperience. According to Murray Bookchin, Muir found i n w i l d e r n e s s a s p i r i t u a l l y r e v i v i n g form o f communion with nonhuman l i f e ; one t h a t presumably awakened deep-seated human longings and i n s t i n c t s . T h i s view goes back to...Rousseau' i d y l l i c p a s s ion f o r a s o l i t a r y way o f l i f e amidst n a t u r a l beauty. (1989, 152-153) For Muir " ( n ) a t u r e was h i s church, the p l a c e where he p e r c e i v e d and worshipped God, and from t h a t standpoint p r o t e c t i o n o f nature became a holy war." (Nash 1989, 41) L i k e Rousseau, thus, Muir seemed to forward an a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c view t h a t p r e s e r v i n g nature b e n e f i t e d man by c l e a n s i n g h i s s p i r i t o f the e v i l s o f an e x p l o i t a t i v e s o c i a l order. In h i s defence, however, Nash argues t h a t Muir's l a t e r emphasis on the b e n e f i t s o f nature f o r people was designed to "camouflage h i s r a d i c a l e g a l i t a r i a n i s m i n more acc e p t a b l e r h e t o r i c . " (Nash 1989, 41) T h i s was done i n order to convince those i n p o l i t i c a l power of the n e c e s s i t y of passing l e g i s l a t i o n designed to preserve n a t u r a l w i l d e r n e s s areas such as Yosemite N a t i o n a l Park and the High S i e r r a i n h i s home s t a t e o f C a l i f o r n i a . In f a c t , Muir c l a s h e d v i g o r o u s l y with managerial conser- v a t i o n i s t s such as G i f f o r d Pinchot who opposed 'wilderness f o r w i l d e r n e s s - s a k e ' p r e s e r v a t i o n i s t s l i k e Muir. For Pinchot: The f i r s t g r e a t f a c t about c o n s e r v a t i o n . . . i s t h a t i t stands f o r development Conservation does mean p r o v i s i o n f o r the f u t u r e but i t means a l s o and f i r s t o f a l l the r e c o g n i t i o n of the r i g h t of the present g e n e r a t i o n to the f u l l e s t necessary use o f a l l the resources with which t h i s country i s so abundantly b l e s s e d . (Pepper 1984, 82) 49 T h i s h i g h l y u t i l i t a r i a n concept of nature, however, enraged Muir who "held nothing back when i t came to a t t a c k i n g people who would d e s t r o y the w i l d e r n e s s . " (Nash 1989, 41) His was a "manichaen world o f b l a c k and white, good and e v i l , vying f o r the American environment," (Nash 1989, 41) and he f e r v e n t l y b e l i e v e d t h a t h i s opponents, Pinchot i n c l u d e d , were not simply wrong but m o r a l l y bankrupt. For Muir, the best "human economic a c t i v i t y . . . w a s n e a r l y i n v i s i b l e . " (Paehlke 1989, 17) In s i m i l a r f a s h i o n to both Thoreau and Rousseau, he admired the n a t i v e peoples o f North America who "walk s o f t l y and hurt the landscape h a r d l y more than the b i r d s or s q u i r r e l s , and t h e i r brush and bark huts l a s t h a r d l y l o n g e r than those o f woodrats." (Paehlke 1989, 17) In essence, Muir f e l t t h a t "humans had no r i g h t to a l t e r the n a t u r a l surrounding i n ways nature c o u l d not r e s t o r e w i t h i n a short p e r i o d o f time." (Paehlke 1989, 17) Thus, Muir's approach m i r r o r s t h a t o f Thoreau, but goes much f u r t h e r than Rousseau. While Rousseau supported stewardship and e s s e n t i a l l y regarded communion with nature as b e n e f i c i a l to man, Muir denied h i e r a r c h y i n nature and supported the idea of the nature's i n t r i n s i c worth r e g a r d l e s s o f i t s u t i l i t y to man. L i k e Rousseau, however, Muir equated the n a t u r a l world with the presence o f God and regarded human a c t i v i t y t h a t degraded t h i s world as a s a c r i l e g e . Muir's o r i e n t a t i o n , thus, gave "the p r e s e r v a t i o n crusade a c e r t a i n moral i n t e n s i t y " (Nash 1989, 41) t h a t would be adopted by the r a d i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s o f l a t e r g e n e r a t i o n s , l e a d i n g one to conclude t h a t i t i s Muir who may t r u l y be the f a t h e r o f modern environmental ism ( p a r t i c u l a r l y 'deep e c o l o g y ' ) . 50 Rousseau and Aldo Leopold Before going on to d i s c u s s some modern p e r s p e c t i v e s and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p with romanticism, we need to touch on one p h i l o s o p h e r whose " i n t e l l i g e n t b lending o f ecology and e t h i c s " (Paehlke 1989, 18) has d i r e c t p a r a l l e l s to Rousseau and the romantic movement: Aldo Leopold. In doing so, we must keep i n mind Rousseau's general approach to nature: h i s anthropo- c e n t r i s m , h i s sense o f duty to nature, h i s f a i t h i n the concept o f benign stewardship, h i s emphasis on the study o f botany, and h i s m y s t i c a l q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s reverence f o r God's handiwork. There i s l i t t l e doubt t h a t Aldo Leopold r e p r e s e n t s one o f the major i n f l u e n c e s i n the e v o l u t i o n of environmental e t h i c s . J . B a i r d C a l l i c o t t r e f e r r e d to Leopold as "the f a t h e r or founding genius o f r e c e n t environmental e t h i c s . " (Nash 1989, 63) In h i s h i g h l y p r o v o c a t i v e book A Sand County Almanac (1949) he enunciated the idea o f the interdependence of the b i o t i c community t h a t we have a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d . For Leopold, man had to change h i s r o l e from t h a t o f a conqueror o f nature to simply t h a t o f a member of the 1 and-community, a community he b e l i e v e d was, i n f a c t , an organism or l i v i n g r e a l i t y . (Paehlke 1989, 18) He argued t h a t "(w)e abuse land because we regard i t as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use i t with love and r e s p e c t . " (Nash 1989, 69) He b e l i e v e d t h a t s i n c e man alone has the power to a f f e c t nature, we a l s o have the power to d e s t r o y o u r s e l v e s . Thus, we have a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to e s t a b l i s h what he r e f e r r e d to as the 'land 51 e t h i c ' which r e j e c t s the idea t h a t we are s u s t a i n e d by i n d u s t r y and economy, but are i n s t e a d s u s t a i n e d , "as are a l l l i v i n g t h i n g s , by the l a n d . We are but one p a r t o f an i n t e r a c t i v e g l o b a l ecosystem, and we i n j u r e the land i n any way at our own p e r i l . " (Paehlke 1989, 18) Thus, the 'land e t h i c ' argues t h a t "(a) t h i n g i s r i g h t when i t tends to preserve the i n t e g r i t y , s t a b i l i t y and beauty of the b i o t i c community. It i s wrong when i t tends otherwise." (Leopold 1987, 224-25) T h i s simple statement marked the core o f Leopold's p h i l o s o p h i c a l approach. Leopold, h i m s e l f an e c o l o g i s t who worked as a manager o f n a t i o n a l f o r e s t s i n New Mexico and A r i z o n a , s k i l l f u l l y combined s c i e n c e and sentiment, much l i k e Rousseau. His e a r l i e r w r i t i n g s , i n p a r t i c u l a r , r e v e a l e d a Rousseauian f l a v o u r by t a k i n g an instrumental view o f the land e t h i c arguing t h a t i t was simply prudent of man to t r e a t nature with an e t h i c a l regard s i n c e i t was the land t h a t s u s t a i n e d him. According to Nash, Leopold r e c o g n i z e d t h a t e x p r e s s i n g u t i l i t a r i a n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n h i s philosophy would win more adherents i n p o l i t i c a l c i r c l e s than i f he took a more a n t a g o n i s t i c approach ( s i m i l a r to M u i r ) . (1989, 63) He r e a l i z e d t h a t "philosophy and r e l i g i o n (had) not y e t h e a r d . . . ( o f ) . . . t h e extension o f s o c i a l conscience from people to l a n d . " ( C a l l i c o t t 1987, 83) Yet i n the c o n c l u d i n g s e c t i o n of the Almanac he took the f i n a l step from anthropo- c e n t r i s m to a more r a d i c a l l y e c o c e n t r i c approach t h a t argued i n favour o f the " i n s t r i n s i c r i g h t s to e x i s t e n c e of nonhuman l i f e forms and o f l i f e communities or ecosystems." (1987, 81) S p e c i f i c a l l y , he a f f i r m e d t h a t man had o b l i g a t i o n s to the 52 land "over and above those d i c t a t e d by s e l f - i n t e r e s t , o b l i g a t i o n s grounded on the r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t humans and the other components o f nature are e c o l o g i c a l equals." (1987, 81) F i n a l l y , i n order t h a t t h i s e t h i c be recognized and adhered t o , Leopold argued f o r " a complete r e s t r u c t u r i n g o f b a s i c . . . p r i o r i t i e s and behavior, and a r a d i c a l r e d e f i n i t i o n o f p r o g r e s s . " (1987, 84) Leopold's land e t h i c , thus, forwarded the view t h a t "the e a r t h was...an organism possessing a c e r t a i n kind and degree o f l i f e . " (1987, 78) T h i s concept would l a t e r be a f f i r m e d i n the 'Gaia hypothesis' o f James Lovelock who argues t h a t the e a r t h i s a l i v e . (Lovelock 1990, 3-14) For Rousseau, the idea t h a t the land i t s e l f was a l i v e and had c e r t a i n r i g h t s , i n and of i t s e l f , was completely f o r e i g n . As mentioned, h i s philosophy was more of an 'eco-theology' c e n t e r i n g on the duty o f man to r e s p e c t God's n a t u r a l order and to act as a benign steward. Rousseau would have been more i n l i n e with Leopold's e a r l i e r w r i t i n g s t h a t argued i n favour o f a r e s p e c t f u l r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature t h a t was s p i r i t u a l l y u p l i f t i n g f o r man, and thus a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c i n i t s sentiments. However, Leopold's ecophilosophy, as i t developed, d i d reveal an outrage at simple u t i l i t a r i a n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y those based on economics t h a t was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Rousseau and the romantic movement. For Leopold, the d e s t r u c t i o n of land was wrong " i n the same sense t h a t abuse o f another human being was wrong." ( C a l l i c o t t 1987, 79) Rousseau, however, d i d not go t h i s f a r , d e s p i t e h i s reverence f o r the n a t u r a l world ( p o s s i b l y because i n Rousseau's time untouched w i l d e r n e s s was s t i l l abundant). In a d d i t i o n , the 53 concept o f extending r i g h t s to c e r t a i n c l a s s e s of people was s t i l l i n i t s i n f a n c y ; thus, the idea o f extending r i g h t s to the land would not have even been c o n s i d e r e d . Rousseau d i d b e l i e v e , however, t h a t s e n t i e n t beings deserved some form o f c o n s i d e r a t i o n , even though man's i n t e r e s t s may have to take precedence. Perhaps, though, the most d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l between Rousseau and Leopold was t h a t they both shared what C a l l i c o t t has c a l l e d a 'land a e s t h e t i c ' As mentioned, Leopold argued t h a t a c t i o n s were r i g h t i f they tended to preserve the i n t e g r i t y , s t a b i l i t y , and beauty o f the b i o t i c community and were wrong i f they tended otherwise (emphasis added). Rousseau, too, spoke o f the j o y and reverence he f e l t f o r the 'wildness' o f the n a t u r a l o r d e r . His Reveries and the Nouvelle H e l o i s e are f u l l o f d e s c r i p t i v e passages (examples p r e v i o u s l y quoted) a l l u d i n g to the m a j e s t i c beauty o f nature i n i t s p r i s t i n e s t a t e . Both Rousseau and Leopold were n a t u r a l i s t s - - L e o p o l d was a t r a i n e d e c o l o g i s t and Rousseau was a s e l f - t a u g h t b o t a n i s t - - t h u s , both based t h e i r a p p r e c i a t i o n o f the a e s t h e t i c s o f the land on knowledgeable grounds. In h i s t h i r d l e t t e r to Malesherbes, Rousseau d e s c r i b e s a walk i n the f o r e s t of Montmorency: There nature seemed to u n f o l d before my eyes an ever-new magnificence. The g o l d of the broom and the purple o f the heather s t r u c k my eyes with a r i c h n e s s t h a t moved my heart. M a j e s t i c t r e e s covered me with t h e i r shade, d e l i c a t e shrubs surrounded me; the a s t o n i s h i n g v a r i e t y of herbs and flowers which I t r o d underfoot kept my mind c o n t i n u a l l y a l t e r i n g between o b s e r v a t i o n and ad m i r a t i o n . (J.H. Mason 1979, 261) 54 For Leopold, too, a p p r e c i a t i o n of the n a t u r a l beauty o f the land depended on one's own knowledge of t h i n g s such as ecology, h i s t o r y , geology, and even paleontology, which helped form a r e f i n e d a p p r e c i a t i o n not only of what one saw but what the r e l a t i o n o f t h a t v i s i o n was to the whole o f nature and n a t u r a l h i s t o r y . "What one experiences i s as much a product o f how one t h i n k s as i t i s the c o n d i t i o n o f one's senses and the s p e c i f i c content o f one's environment" ( C a l l i c o t t 1987, 164)--the 'land a e s t h e t i c . ' S i m i l a r l y , Rousseau d i s c u s s e s h i s f e e l i n g s about the study o f p l a n t s d u r i n g one p a r t i c u l a r walk: The constant s i m i l a r i t y , and at the same time e x t r a -o r d i n a r y v a r i e t y , which p l a n t s possess, only a f f e c t s those who have some knowledge of them. (Those who do not have t h i s knowledge) have only a s t u p i d and monotonous admiration, when they look on these t r e a s u r e s o f nature. They see nothing i n d e t a i l , they do not even know what they ought to look a t . Nor are they aware of the whole, because they have no idea o f the r e l a t i o n s and combinations which over-whelm with t h e i r marvels the mind o f the observer. (J.H. Mason 1979, 164) In a d d i t i o n , the 'land a e s t h e t i c ' i n v o l v e d a l l the senses: s m e l l , t a s t e , hearing and touch, as well as s i g h t . According to C a l l i c o t t , t h i s combination enhanced one's sense of a e s t h e t i c s and l e d one to f i n d beauty i n w i l d nature as well as the s c e n i c or p i c t u r e s q u e . For Leopold, " ( t ) h e land a e s t h e t i c enable us to mine the hidden r i c h e s of the o r d i n a r y ; i t ennobles the commonplace; i t br i n g s n a t u r a l beauty l i t e r a l l y home from the h i l l s . " (1987, 168) In t h i s sense i t f o s t e r s an a p p r e c i a t i o n of "the r i v e r bottoms, f a l l o w f i e l d s , bogs, and ponds on the 55 back f o r t y . " (1987, 168) T h i s i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e ' l a n d a e s t h e t i c ' becomes c l e a r when i t i s l i n k e d w i t h t h e e t h i c s o f environmen- t a l ism. W h i l e e t h i c s i m p l y l i m i t a t i o n s on a c t i o n s which may be u n d e s i r a b l e , e n v i r o n m e n t a l a e s t h e t i c s d e a l s w i t h t h e b e a u t y o f t h e n a t u r a l e n v i r o n m e n t ; t h e r e f o r e , i t i s an a t t r a c t i o n and not a d u t y . "Duty i s d e m a n d i n g — o f t e n something t o s h i r k ; b e a u t y i s s e d u c t i v e — s o m e t h i n g t o l o v e and c h e r i s h . " (1987, 158) Hence, L e o p o l d b e l i e v e d t h a t t o " ' c u l t i v a t e i n t h e p u b l i c . . . a r e f i n e d t a s t e i n n a t u r a l o b j e c t s ' i s v i t a l t o e n l i g h t e n e d demo- c r a t i c l a n d - u s e i s s u e s . " (1987, 158) Rousseau u n d o u b t e d l y would have a g r e e d . In summary, L e o p o l d ' s "most s i n g u l a r achievement was h i s i n t e l l i g e n t b l e n d i n g o f e c o l o g y and e t h i c s . He saw t h e l a n d i t s e l f as an o r g a n i s m , a l i v i n g r e a l i t y . " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 18) R e c o g n i z i n g t h a t man a l o n e had t h e power t o d e s t r o y ' n a t u r e - a s - a - whole,' he "went on t o d e v e l o p a r i c h e t h i c a l b a s i s f o r t h e p r e s e v a t i o n o f n a t u r e " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 18) and used s c i e n t i f i c o b s e r v a t i o n t o d i s c o v e r "the e x t e n t t o which humanity was a p a r t o f n a t u r e . " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 18) H i s work would p r o v e t o be one o f t h e g r e a t e s t i n f l u e n c e s on modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism, p a r t i - c u l a r l y t h a t b r a n c h o f t h e movement which a s c r i b e s i n t r i n s i c v a l u e t o n a t u r e s e p a r a t e from man's u t i l i t a r i a n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . Rousseau, Romanticism and t h e Modern E n v i r o n m e n t a l Movement A c c o r d i n g t o R o b e r t P a e h l k e , modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism "might be s a i d t o have begun i n 1960 w i t h t h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f Rachel C a r s o n ' s p r o f o u n d l y i m p o r t a n t book, S i l e n t S p r i n g . " (1989, 21) 56 T h i s book b l e n d e d s c i e n t i f i c , p o l i t i c a l and moral arguments b u i l d i n g on t h e work o f L e o p o l d "and became t h e h a l l m a r k o f p o p u l a r e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism." ( P a e h l k e 1989, 28) E s s e n t i a l l y t h e book was w r i t t e n t o " i n f o r m t h e p u b l i c about t h e u n r e s t r i c t e d p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f c h e m i c a l p e s t i c i d e s i n t h e e n v i r o n m e n t . . . ( a n d e m p h a s i z e d ) . . . t h e n e c e s s i t y o f l i n k i n g s c i e n t i f i c knowledge and p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n . " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 28) C a r s o n " g a l v a n i z e d p u b l i c i n t e r e s t i n p o l l u t i o n by p o p u l a r i z i n g an u n d e r s t a n d i n g i n f o r m e d by t o x i c o l o g y , e c o l o g y , and e p i d e m i o l o g y - - t h e t h r e e s c i e n c e s o f p o l l u t i o n . " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 29) Her work c o n f i r m e d what e a r l i e r p h i l o s o p h e r s c o u l d o n l y s p e c u l a t e about i n a b s t r a c t t e r m s : t h e i n t e r r e l a t e d n e s s o f a l l members o f t h e b i o s p h e r e . By u t i l i z i n g h e r s c i e n t i f i c b ackground she p r e s e n t e d an argument based on f o u r key n a t u r a l p r o c e s s e s : b i o a c c u m u l a t i o n ( t h e b u i l d u p o f t o x i c s u b s t a n c e s i n f o o d c h a i n s ) ; n a t u r a l r e s i s t e n c e ( l o w e r o r d e r s p e c i e s s h r u g o f f t o x i n s t h a t h i g h e r o r d e r s p e c i e s cannot r e s i s t ) ; n a t u r a l d i s p e r s i o n ( t o x i n s a r e d i s p e r s e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e b i o s p h e r e ) ; and, t h e b i o c h e m i c a l i n t e r a c t i o n o f t o x i c s u b s t a n c e s ( t o x i n c o m b i n a t i o n s c r e a t i n g more l e t h a l forms o f p o l l u t i o n ) . ( P a e h l k e 1989, 31-32) As a r e s u l t o f C a r s o n ' s g r o u n d b r e a k i n g , y e t c o n t r o v e r s i a l work modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s have been a b l e t o d e v e l o p t h e c o n c e p t o f i n t e r d e p e n d e n c e by r e c o g n i z i n g , r a t h e r t h a n d e n y i n g , t h e v a l u e o f s c i e n t i f i c o b s e r v a t i o n . In much t h e same way t h a t Rousseau, T h o r e a u , and L e o p o l d i n s i s t e d t h a t a f u l l a p p r e c i a t i o n o f n a t u r e r e q u i r e s p r a c t i c a l knowledge o f i t s i n t e r w o r k i n g s , most modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s , l i k e C a r s o n , have come t o r e c o g n i z e 57 the need to support their philosophical contentions with practical evidence deduced from observation. This emphasis on science, however, has meant that, by in large, romantic concepts relating to a quasi-mystical relationship with nature are generally downplayed or rejected by modern environmentalists. In addition, as mentioned, the modern environmental movement is not represented by a dist inct set of principles. Some groups recognize the role science plays in providing solid evidentiary backing to claims about man's impact on the natural world, while others condemn science as the rationale behind the man's exploi- tation of the environment. The latter insist on "fundamental changes in the values, attitudes and behavior of individuals and social institutions " (Pepper 1984, 28) As a result, modern environmental ism appears to be highly diffused, and indeed has "dist inct ive and opposite po l i t i ca l wings." (Pepper 1984, 213). 'Conservative' ecocentrics favour l imits to growth and the concept of ' l i feboat ethics ' relying on conser- vation and careful stewardship, while ' l i bera l ecocentrics ins ist on fundamental changes in society's attitude to the environment and demand rights for a l l constituents of the biosphere (some even include mountains, r ivers, and forests) regardless of the impact this approach might have on humans. Essentially, some base their positions on ethical ut i l i tar ianism while others are decidedly deontological in their outlook ('deep ecologists ' ) . Furthermore, i t should be pointed out that even within certain ecocentric groups "there are deep ambiguities and contradic- t ions." (Pepper 1984, 213) 58 In this sense, thus, Rousseau is hard to categorize. In some respects his philosophy might be identif ied as 'conservative', while in other respects he reveals a rather decidedly ' l i b e r a l ' form of ecocentrism. In summary, his philosophy argued that sentient beings are worthy of consideration i f not actual rights; that environmental integrity is necessary for man's spir itual well- being, that man has a duty to respect God's creation, and that there is a necessity, indeed an obligation to be careful stewards. Rousseau, thus, emphasized man's unique role within the biosphere, a concept many radical or ' l i b e r a l ' ecocentric environmentalists, for example, would deny. For them, man has a "moral obligation towards nature 'not simply for the pleasure of man, but as a biot ic r ight . ' (Pepper 1984, 27) ' L ibera l ' ecocentrics, however, do agree with Rousseau in terms of his advocacy of decentralized, small-scale democratic communities of which more wil l be said in Chapter Five, but his emphasis on nature as a conduit for self-discovery is generally ignored except by a very narrow part of the modern environmental movement that emphasizes mystical aspects of environmental philosophy. To repeat, modern environmentalists, particularly ecocentrics, tend to de-, emphasize u t i l i t a r i an considerations that argue nature is good for man's soul. As mentioned, they instead focus on respecting nature for its own sake, above and beyond its usefulness to man. There is one modern ecophilosopher who deserves mention for the paral lels between his thought and Rousseau's regarding the question of hierarchy, sentience, and animal rights: 59 Murray Bookchin. Like Rousseau, Bookchin recognized the ' spec ia l ' role humans play within the ecosystem. He argues that human beings possess the 'capacity to think conceptually' and to ' feel a deep empathy for the world of l i f e , ' and i t is because of this quality that he believes i t is "possible for humanity...to reverse the devastation i t has in f l i c ted on the biosphere." (1990, 186-187) He argues that "humanity's vast capacities to alter...nature are themselves a product of natural evolution--not of a deity or the result of some sort of cosmic perversity." (1990,42) He insists that environmentalists must recognize the indisputable fact that "a l l the non-human l i f e forms that exist today are, l ike i t or not, to some degree in human custody, and whether they are preserved in their wi ld l i fe depends largely on human attitudes and behavior." (1990, 43) Bookchin, l ike Rousseau, recognized the idea of stewardship. For these reasons Bookchin condemns those in the ecological movement who equate human worth to that of lower forms of l i f e (sometimes including mountains and r ivers) . He argues that such thinking "degrades the entire project of a meaningful ecological ethics." (1990, 46) It f a i l s to recognize the uniquesness of humans within the biosphere and our ab i l i ty to attribute moral worth to non-humans. He argues that there is no "hierarchy, domination, class structure, nor State in the matural world other than projections that the social ly conditioned human mind extends into non-human biological relationships." (1990, 184) What Bookchin fears is that i f an ethic based on biospheric egalitarianism were accepted, then mankind would not have an 60 e t h i c a l b a s i s , g i v e n t h e l o g i c , f o r e l i m i n a t i n g m a l a r i a o r y e l l o w - f e v e r m o s q u i t o s . F u r t h e r m o r e , i f s o c i e t y b e g i n s making e x c e p t i o n s , i t would d e s c e n d i n t o t h e t r a p o f r e l a t i v i s t i c e t h i c s i n which one p e r s o n ' s p r o t e c t e d s p e c i e s i s a n o t h e r ' s e x p e n d a b l e e l e m e n t . Thus, t o t a l k i n terms o f b i o s p h e r i c r i g h t s i s t o i n t r o d u c e d e c i d e d l y human c o n c e p t s i n t o a non-human w o r l d t h a t does n o t , i n d e e d c a n n o t , a p p r e c i a t e o r even r e c o g n i z e such c o n s i d e r a t i o n . B o o k c h i n , o f c o u r s e , s t r o n g l y s u p p o r t s t h e i d e a o f s t e w a r d s h i p by a d v o c a t i n g t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f an ' e c o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y ' i n which man i s i n b a l a n c e w i t h n a t u r e , b u t , l i k e Rousseau, he i s not w i l l i n g t o e x t e n d r i g h t s t o i n d i v i d u a l s members o f t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d . With r e s p e c t t o Rousseau's p o s i t i o n r e g a r d i n g man's r e l a t i o n - s h i p t o t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d , i t i s argued t h a t h i s c o n c e p t s a r e d e c i d e d l y t r a d i t i o n a l , a f a c t o r which may a c c o u n t f o r t h e l a c k o f s c h o l a r l y work on Rousseau i n t h i s a r e a . I t i s h i s condem- n a t i o n o f t h e i d e a o f p r o g r e s s , h i s c r i t i c i s m s o f man w i t h i n s o c i e t y , and h i s adovocacy o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e m o c r a t i c forms o f government which a r e much more p r o v o c a t i v e and, t h e r e f o r e , r e l e v a n t t o modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l t h o u g h t . The n e x t c h a p t e r w i l l d i s c u s s t h e f i r s t two i s s u e s , w h i l e t h e l a t t e r c o n c e p t w i l l be p r e s e n t e d i n t h e c h a p t e r f o l l o w i n g a f t e r w a r d s . 61 CHAPTER FOUR: ROUSSEAU. PROGRESS AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM We cannot resist 'progress' but, on the other hand, we must not simply surrender to i t . We must guide i t and, in fu l l independence, designate i ts goal. (Rousseau as quoted in Cassirer 1989, 105) Introduction Modern environmental ism may be 'a house divided' but there is one underlying concept that a l l environmentalists, even technocentrics, seem to share: the idea that growth must be limited so as to preserve the integrity of the biosphere. No matter what ' p o l i t i c a l ' approach is adopted, modern environmental ism, in general, "questions whether expansion beyond a reasonable level is a net benefit at a l l regardless of how those benefits are distributed." (Paehlke 1989, 7) In fact, E.J. Mishan is convinced that "further growth within highly developed economies wil l probably do more harm than good." (Paehlke 1989, 251) In contrast, Barry Commoner argues that further economic growth is possible as long as "more effective technological choices are made along the way." (Paehlke 1989, 251) Inextricably linked to the idea of progress is society's reliance on the sc ient i f i c paradigm which regards the natural world as a resource to be exploited. This idea had i ts roots in the mechanistic view of the world f i r s t advanced by the philo- sophers of the Enlightenment already discussed. The sc ient i f i c revolution and the Enlightenment, thus, la id the basis for a 62 world view that g lor i f ied , and continues to g lor i fy the concept of continuous progress and material wealth. Since economic expansion depends "on advances in sc ient i f i c and technological knowledge, the control and manipulation of nature is given fu l l legitimacy." (Jones 1987, 19) Furthermore, technological deve- lopment actually creates new needs and the system maintains i t s e l f by making people associate the 'good l i f e ' with "an ever increasing supply of the goods and services produced by the institutions of society." (Jones 1987, 31) Thus, society's standard of l iv ing is defined in material terms making consumption an end, "rather than a means, and ties consumers not just to their possessions, but more particularly to the v i r tua l ly unconscious adoption of the ideology of consumerism." Jones 1987, 32) Rousseau, thus, is quite clearly a central figure for the debate on progress and the values i t has spawned. He rejected the idea of unregulated progress arguing that history has unfolded in such a way as to reveal "a process of decline, a decay of morals, c iv ic virtue, naturalness, community." (Featherstone 1978, 182) Rousseau's passionate yearning for solitude, his search for his true self , and his deif ication of the natural world discussed in the last chapter are direct ly related to his sense of alienation from society. According to Saunders, Rousseau "rebelled against the rules, conventions and ar t i f i ces of a s t i l ted and pompous society whose atmosphere choked and poisoned him." (Halsted 1965, 2) 63 Rousseau was the f i r s t great countermodern inte l lectua l . . . ( to argue that)...(p)eople's sense of themselves and their sense of values were social creations, products of the 'empire of opinion,' not the promptings of their own nature and their own impulses. (Featherstone 1978, 167-9) He believed that society i t se l f created false needs and desires and "that conscious thought and action must offset the imbalances of modernity by restoring a proper balance between nature and human nature." (1978, 171) According to Judith Sklar, Rousseau offered "two possible and quite dist inct Utopian alternatives for moderns to behold— and possibly act upon." (Featherstone 1978, 185) The f i r s t Utopia rested on an ideal of individual autonomy and i t stresses the need for a countercultural education, private family l i f e , and countermodern institutions to protect the individual from the modern world's empire of opinion, error, oppression, inequality, and greed ( La Nouvelle Heloise , Emile ) (Featherstone 1978, 185) The second Utopia was c i v i c , po l i t i ca l and col lect ive: i t is to be found in works l ike Contrat social and its underlying image is that of the c ity-state, where the individual finds unity by merging himself with the c iv ic un i t— la ter the nation, the party, the movement. (Featherstone 1978, 185) This chapter wil l focus primarily on Rousseau's concepts regarding the f i r s t of Sklar's two alternatives. Rousseau, Human Nature and the Fall of Man The f i r s t work that revealed Rousseau's contempt or the direction society had taken was the Discours sur les sciences et 64 les arts. According to F.C. Green i t was in this work that Rousseau f i r s t "set out to prove on historical evidence that cultural progress always results in a corresponding decline in morality." (Green 1950, 7) From the f i r s t Discours Rousseau argues that "our souls have been corrupted in proportion to the advancement of our sciences and arts toward perfection." (Masters 1968, 101) He would go on to develop this idea further in the Discours sur l 'or iq ine et les fondements de V ineqa l i te in which he proclaims that, after the epoch of 'savage society' "a l l subsequent progress has been in appearance so many steps towards perfection of the individual and in fact towards the decrepitude of the species." (Masters 1968, 102) Roger Masters has called the f i r s t Discours "the one which speaks most direct ly to the crises of our time " (1968, 443) According to Green, i t was here that Rousseau expressed his deep concern that "the cult of intel lectual progress (was) incompatible with man's true nature, and he feared that i t would ultimately destroy what is spec i f ica l ly human in our species." (1950, 3) Rousseau went on to argue that "culture rots the moral fabric of a nation and makes i ts po l i t i ca l decay inevitable" (1950, 8) by glorifying those in the arts and sciences who worship "luxury, social inequality, serv i l i t y , and that urbanity which counterfeits v irtue." (1950, 8) Rousseau fe l t that the arts and sciences encouraged the pursuit of luxury, creating false needs. According to Masters 65 (w)hatever the causal process involved, an objective consideration of our own era confirms Rousseau's claim that the pursuit of luxury and wealth based on sc ient i f i c and technical progress coincides with grave social and moral problems. (Masters 1968, 441) Rousseau fe l t that the idea of freedom and citizenship had been lost and that the only standards were financial and commercial--standards devoid of morals. As Masters puts i t : Given the unquestioned acceptance of the pursuit of wealth and material well-being in modern industrial society, Rousseau's insistent challenge commands attention: 'what wil l become of virtue when one must get rich at any price? (1968, 440) One of Rousseau's primary aims, thus, was to encourage people to see through society's a r t i f i c i a l social mores and get back in touch with their true selves. In order to accomplish this, he wrote, much as Hobbes and Locke had done before him, about the the idea of a natural state of man. In the f i r s t Pi scours he wrote that ...before art had fashioned our manners and taught our passions to speak an affected language, our mores were rustic but natural, and differences in behavior heralded, at f i r s t glance, differences of character. At base, human nature was no better, but men found their safety in the ease with which they saw through each other, and that advantage, which we no longer value, spared them many vices. (Cress 1987, 4) This ab i l i ty to 'see through each other' or transparency is what Jean Starobinski believes Rousseau was emphasizing as being obstructed by manmade art i f ices of c i v i l i za t ion that blurred the dist inction between appearance and rea l i ty . "Unwittingly 66 and against our wil l we are embroiled in e v i l . I l lusion does not merely cloud our understanding; i t vei ls the truth, distorts a l l our actions, and perverts our l i ves . " (Starobinski 1988, 4-5) For Rousseau: (o)ne no longer dares to seem what one real ly i s ; and in this perpetual constraint, the men who make up this herb we cal l society w i l l , i f placed in the same circumstances, do a l l the same things unless stronger motives deter them. Thus no one wil l ever real ly know those with whom he is dealing. Hence in order to know one's friend, i t would be necessary to wait for c r i t i c a l occasions, that i s , to wait until i t is too late, since i t is for these very occasions that i t would have been essential to know him. What a retinue of vices must attend this incertitude! No more sincere friendships, no more real esteem, no more well-founded confidence. Suspicions, offences, fears, coldness, reserve, hatred, betrayal wil l unceasingly hide under that uniform and deceitful veil of politeness, under that much vaunted urbanity that we owe to the enlightenment of our century. (Cress 1987, 4-5) For Rousseau, man had been happy when his inventive powers were balanced with his innate desires. Society, on the other hand, promoted false desires through sc ient i f i c progress which destroyed this "inner harmony or equilibrium by multiplying our a r t i f i ca l needs." (Green 1950, 19) Thus, Rousseau argued that instead of fostering men's pride in his sc ient i f i c progress we ought teach him to be prouder s t i l l of 'the more precious faculties which...make man real ly sociable and kind, which make him prize order, just ice and innocence above al l other goods. (Green 1950, 19) Essential ly, Rousseau argued against historical development in favour of timeless human nature. He believed that the only way to restore man's natural goodness was to revolt against the 67 social conventions of his day. Rousseau would go on to develop these arguments in the second Discours refining his view that man was naturally good and had only become corrupted as a result of his entrance into society. In order to do this, Rousseau constructed a hypothetical state of nature and used this construct to speculate on what were the natural, or elementary tendancies of man. In his version of the traditional 'state of nature' Rousseau agreed with Hobbes on one essential point: "primitive man was a creature of feeling and sensit iv i ty to whom rational moral principles are quite unknown." (Grimsley 1973, 26) In the state of nature man was essentially driven by two principles prior to the dvelopment of reason: "one of them inter- ests us deeply in our own preservation and welfare, the other inspires us with a natural aversion to seeing any other being... suffer or perish." (Crocker 1967, 171) From these two assumptions Rousseau concluded that man was naturally good. It has been argued, however, that Rousseau should have included a third principle of nature "consisting of such impulses as aggression, acquisitiveness, jealousy, sensuality" (R.D. Mi l ler 1983, 1) following what Schi l ler called the 'crude aspect' of man's nature. Rousseau, however, attributes these tra i t s to c i v i l i z a t i on , implying that human beings, through society, have been forced to act "in a manner that is not in accordance with their own nature." (1983, 3) Thus, "(i)nstead of attempting to derive modern aggression and oppression from their supposed roots in a primitive state of nature...(Rousseau argued that) . . . 68 we must learn to detect the source of decay in c i v i l i za t i on i t s e l f . " (1983, 2) According to Rousseau, previous thinkers l ike Hobbes and Locke had confused characteristics of social man with those of man in the state of nature, speci f ica l ly that "they were over-hasty in concluding that man is naturally cruel . " (1983, 2) This conclusion led Rousseau to be highly c r i t i c a l of the depths to which man had fal len as a result of his move from the mythical state of nature into society. He fe l t that man's l i f e in the state of nature was characterized by independence, indifference, and a healthy concern with self-preservation, limited to the fulf i l lment of basic needs--a condition he referred to as 'amour de so i . ' However, according to R.D. Mi l ler in order for Rousseau to support his thesis that there was no such thing as a crude element in human nature he had to assume that man's existence was sol itary, that he did not experience love, and that he had no possessions. The sol itary l i f e Rousseau depicted in the state of nature was necessary to prove that man was not innately aggressive, but by including the motivation to self-preservation Rousseau was forced to admit, albeit inadvertently, that aggression was present in the state of nature, "though he pleads that cases of aggression were not always sanguinary." (1983, 5) Cr i t ics of Rousseau, however, have maintained that his descriptions of the state of nature in the Discours sur 1'inegalite simply "sang the praises of the noble savage." (Hinsley 1963, 46) Voltaire, in fact, wrote to Rousseau saying: 69 (n)ever has so much talent been used to want to make us into animals; you make one want to walk on a l l fours However, as i t is more than sixty years since I lost the habit, I feel unfortunately that i t wil l be impossible for me to regain i t (J.H. Mason 1979, 68) In response Rousseau wrote back denying Voltaire 's allegation arguing: "I do not aspire to re-establish us in our animality, although I greatly regret, for my part, the l i t t l e that I have l o s t . . . . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 69) For Rousseau, what forced man to leave his sol itary existence in the state of nature was related to his goodness-- his innate desire for per fect ib i l i ty : He does not tarry in his original condition but strives beyond i t ; he is not content with the range and kind of existence which are the original g i f ts of nature nor does he stop until he has devised for himself a new form of existence that is his own. (Cassirer 1989, 105) Unfortunately, by renouncing nature's guidance, man also gives "nature's protection and a l l the benefits i t had or ig inal ly conferred upon him." (Cassirer 1989, 105) This move exposes man to a l l the evi ls of society that Rousseau believed were created by an unequal distribution of the fru i ts of man's labour. This led to the poor becoming dependent on the rich for their existence creating a state of perpetual conf l ic t . "The ambition of the principled men induced them to take advantage of these circumstances to perpetuate the hitherto temporary off ices in their families " (Crocker 1967, 238) Rousseau argued, thus, that government was instituted by the rich as a form of 'pro- 70 tect ion ' for the poor while at the same time safeguarding their possessions: By pursuing the progress of inequality in these different revolutions...the establishment of laws and of the right of property was the f i r s t term of i t ; the inst itution of magistrates the second; and the third and last the changing of legal into arbitrary power (Crocker 1967, 238) Social inequality, thus, was established for the benefit of the privileged classes and mankind was forever condemned to permanent s t r i f e . What Rousseau favoured was a form of social organization (to be discussed in chapter five) in which the differences between rich and poor simply reflected their natural physical and mental capacities which he hoped would deter social inequality. While Rousseau was correct in distinguishing between natural inequality and social inequality, according to R.D. Mi l ler he was "mistaken in thinking that social or conventional inequality (differences of privi lege, wealth, honour, and power) does not arise from human nature." (1983, 4) Thus, i t is important to keep in mind that Rousseau's natural man was a theoretical construct on which he based his conclusion that man was naturally good. How far we are ready to agree with him may be more a matter of sentiment than reason. For Rousseau, once man entered society "a division within man's soul (was created) resulting from man's bodily and spir i tual dependence on other men which ruptures his original unity or wholeness." (Bloom 1984, 4) This he referred to as 'amour propre.' In the state of nature 'amour de so i ' or sel f - 71 preservation was natural, while 'amour propre' or self-esteem only exists in society. It was i l lustrated by a "certain low human type which Rousseau was the f i r s t to isolate and name: the bourgeois. " (1984, 4) This type of individual places his own good ahead of a l l else and is primiari ly concerned with sel f - preservation; thus, he exploits others a l l the while relying on them. "(H)e is the man who, when dealing with others, thinks only of himself, and on the other hand, in his understanding of himself, thinks only of others." (1984, 5) For Rousseau, social inequality which fostered 'amour propre' was a necessary evil i f mankind were ever to perfect i t se l f . While he "deplored the advent of po l i t i ca l society...the opinion from which he never wavered...was that po l i t i ca l society was the 'moralizing agent' as well as the degrading force in men's l i ves . " (Hinsley 1963, 46) Rousseau regarded as ' e v i l ' things such as desires for prestige, appearances, and the possession of material goods. "Evi l is veil and obfuscation, i t is mask, i t is intimately bound up with f i c t i on , and i t would not exist i f man had not the dangerous freedom to deny, by means of a r t i f i ce , what is given by nature." (Starobinski 1988, 21) Thus, he fe l t that man could find "his salvation by turning inward." (Starobinski 1988, 20) Man's inner natural state could be resurrected since i t was permanent and endured beneath the surface, despite the movement of history. This innate drive for moral development, or per fec t ib i l i t y , was man's primary driving force. Despite the negatives of society Rousseau believed that i t was in society that man's 72 " facult ies are exercised and developed; his ideas are expanded; his feelings are ennobled; his whole soul is exalted " (Crocker 1967, 22) In the state of nature man was unable to achieve this higher moral development; thus, despite i ts defects, Rousseau regarded society as a necessary development, and he certainly never advocated a return to man's natural state despite Voltaire 's comments to the contrary. (M)an is the state of nature is non-social, amoral, and makes no use of his reasoning powers...(but) he possesses an undeveloped capacity for morality and reason which is brought into action as a result of l i f e in society. (Cobban 1934, 62) In order to f ac i l i t a te this process Rousseau set out to devise a natural form of education, which he believed would counteract the negative influences of society, or at least protect the individual from them as he struggled to survive. This system was outlined in the Emile. a system that would create cit izens guided by 'amour de so i ' which would bring them back to their true natural state. This would ensure that they would not see themselves in opposition to society, but instead would identify their good with the common good of a l l . According to Kant, thus, Rousseau attempted the noble goal of reconciling "nature with history, man's self ish nature with the demands of c i v i l society, hence inclination with duty." (Bloom 1979, 3) Rousseau's purpose was not simply an exercise in soc ia l - ization leading to the creation of productive c it izens. If this was the only goal of education, then i t would only serve to reproduce the social system with al l of i ts blemishes. In other 73 words, i f society was corrupt, the education system would be corrupt, as well. This is exactly the situation Rousseau believed was in force in the po l i t i ca l orders of his time. (N)ature has made man with a propensity to morality, but man had made defective environments which have corrupted him in principle. What we have made we can remake once we recognize the defects in our inst itutions. (Cook 1975, 110) As mentioned, this was exactly the purpose of the educational system Rousseau devised in the Emile --to produce cit izens that were effect ively shielded from the negative influences of society. In order to do this, however, Rousseau recognized that more than simply changing the system of education would be necessary; thus, he attached to the Emile another work designed to f u l f i l l this purpose--the Contrat social which outlined a different form of po l i t i ca l organization designed to complement the education system he advocated. This argument wil l be discussed in the next chapter. As should be quite evident from the forgoing discussion, Rousseau fe l t extremely alienated from the society of his time leading many to conclude that he was a misanthrope. This cr i t ic i sm was strenuously denied by Rousseau who fe l t that i t was society that had abandoned him, not the other way around: "I would have loved men in spite of themselves. Only by ceasing to be humane, have they been able to s l ip away from my affect ion." (J.H. Mason 1979, 306) According to Harvey, however, there was " l i t t l e doubt that Rousseau's revolt against the mores of his generation was founded in (his) youthful fa i lure to adapt." 74 (1980, 14) Nevertheless, as his thought progressed i t became clear that he fe l t very strongly that mankind had lost i ts sou l - - i t sense of true identity. For Harvey, Rousseau's alienation "from the 'mores' of his day and his personal alienation were the conditions for his moves to discover a new identity, an authentic self" (1980, 14) and that the f i r s t book of the Confessions "could have been written as a case-study of alienation " (1980, 223) Society, according to Rousseau, had unfortunately created barriers to discovery of the true self and had created false needs/desires which he revi led. To be sure, his own l i f e experiences (the hostile response he received upon publication of the Contrat social is a prime example) contributed to his sense of alienation. In fact, towards the end of his l i f e he began to suspect 'phantom conspiracies' amongst 'former' friends and society in general which contributed to his alleged misanthropy. As stated, however, Rousseau always maintained that while society, such as i t was, corrupted man, i t also was necessary for man to reach his fu l l potential as an independent, self-regulating being. Progress, thus, had to be carefully guided by a people governed, not by a r t i f i c i a l social mores, but by their own individual consciences that emphasized feelings tempered by reason. According to Featherstone, Rousseau was the " f i r s t major thinker to argue that the pace of change and the psychological consequences of modern dividedness are enemies to inner peace and psychic wholeness." (Masters., 185) In summary, Rousseau argued that the way society had evolved was characterized by 75 individuals who sensed their own self-worth by comparing themselves to others with an emphasis on appearance, manner, and material possessions. This attitude only served to set individuals against each other in a competitive spiral which produced winners and losers. Social inequality, thus, was perpetuated and aggravated as individuals scurried to col lect as much as they possibly could, regardless of the consequences to others. This sentiment is c learly present in the following passage from the Nouvelle Heloise: This atmosphere--of agitation and turbulence, psychic dizziness and drunkeness, expansion of experientical poss ib i l i t ies and destruction of moral boundaries and personal bonds, self-enlargement and self-derangement, phantoms in the street and in the soul-- is the atmosphere in which modern sens ib i l i ty is born. (Berman 1988, 17) What Rousseau c r i t i c i zed was the way that "change, inequality, the division of labour in an unequal society, and the pathology of the restless imagination...eroded the poss ib i l i ty of either decent family l i f e or c iv ic part icipation." (Masters 1968, 183) Combined with a dominant scientific/mechanistic paradigm that encouraged the exploitation of the natural world, Rousseau's bourgeois society had no reason to consider the accumulation of wealth and the promotion of modernization problematic. Of course, in Rousseau's time wilderness was abundant. It is only now that we are beginning to real ize the downside to this type of mindset. In essence, we have an environment that is steadily and quicky losing i ts capacity to support a materialist society based on continued progress. For Rousseau, thus, the solution was to "set up a middle landscape, halfway between savage nature 76 and a corrupt and overrefined society, to modernize in some realms and to protect others from the extremes of modernization." (Masters 1968, 186) It can be argued that this approach has direct paral lels to modern environmental philosophy that advocates sustainable development. Thoreau and Modernity Like Rousseau, Henry David Thoreau's approach to modernization and i ts effects was one of skepticism, even downright host i l i ty . According to Nash, Thoreau was one of the f i r s t Americans "to perceive inexhaustibil ity as a myth," (Nash 1989, 36) an idea that was antithetical to the frontier sp i r i t unfolding on the continent as people pushed ever further westward. The idea of inexhaustibil ity was particularly appealing in the United States of the 19th century since the nation had been born out of a revolutionary sp i r i t that ennobled the concepts of individualism and sel f -re l iance. Thoreau, however, decried the intrusion of mankind into the untouched wilderness: I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world were a l l man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose al l hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this. None of the joys she supplies is subject to his rules and definit ions. What he touches he taints. In thought he moralizes. One would think that no free, joyful labour was possible to him. (Thoreau quoted in Allen 1962, 445) 77 For Thoreau, l ike Rousseau before him, individuals were far too narrowly concerned with their own appearances and material wealth, and he had l i t t l e faith "of ever getting anything quite simple and honest done in this world by the help of men." (Moller 1980, 3) Furthermore, he questioned "the effectiveness of 'mere p i ty ' and of the l i t t l e ' char i t ies ' practised by com- placent people, in which he suggests that much of our 'sympathy' is mere self-indulgence." (Moller 1980, 9) This idea paral lels Rousseau's argument that ' p i ty ' was natural to man but that in feeling ' p i t y ' man is comforted by the knowledge of his own moral worthiness. In similar fashion to Rousseau, there is strong evidence to support the allegation that Thoreau was decidedly misanthropic. Essentially, Thoreau argued that "society is always diseased, and the best is the sickest." (Moller 1980, 2) He agreed with Rousseau that society and social mores degraded the individual sp i r i t . This sentiment is prevalent throughout Thoreau's work such as this passage from Book IV of his Journals: What men cal l social virtues, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a l i t t e r , which l i e close together to keep each other warm. It brings men together in crowds and mobs in barrooms and else- where, but i t does not deserve the name of virtue. (Thoreau as quoted in Moller 1980, 12) Furthermore, he stated that even after having l ived over thirty years on the planet he had "yet to hear the f i r s t syl lable of valuable or even earnest advice from (his) seniors...(and that)...the commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring." (Moller 1980, 2) He argued that 78 " in the street and in society I am almost invariably cheap and dissipated, my l i f e is unspeakably mean...I wish to forget. . .a l l mean, narrow, t r i v i a l men." (Moller 1980, 4) This feeling echoes Rousseau who argued that 'bourgeois man' emphasized his own narrow concerns, regardless of the impact on society and is far too preoccupied with appearance. In similar fashion, Thoreau noted that "the mass of men, just l ike savages strive always after the outside, the clothes and finery of c i v i l i zed l i f e , the blue beads and tinsel and centre tables." (1980, 5) Thoreau, thus, attacked what he believed was social man's infuriating superf ic ia l i ty . He believed that "the vast majority of men...live on the surface; they are interest in the transient and f leet ing; they are l ike driftwood in the flood " (Moller, 1980, 3) Essentially, he argued that "we think that that is which appears to be" (Anderson 1973, 171) much l ike Rousseau pointed out that we tend to see ourselves through the eyes of others, that to bourgeois society appearance is the rea l i ty . In addition, Thoreau likened man to insects: Such is man, to i l ing , heaving, struggling ant-l ike to shoulder some stray unappropriated crumb and deposit i t in his granery; then runs out, complacent, gazes heavenward, earthward...there seen of men, world-seen, deed-delivered, vanishes into all-grasping night. (Thoreau as quoted in Moller 1980, 2) In Walden, in particular, Thoreau questions this seemingly neverending struggle to achieve material security in decidedly Rousseauian fashion: Why i f men are free are they so enslaved? Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his 79 peck of dirt? Why should they begin 'digging their graves as so as they are born?' (Thoreau as quoted in Houde 1980, 193) According to Carl Houde, Thoreau recommends a decidedly Rousseauian solution to this dilemma: "a f l i ght out of society to a state of nature. In the woods motion can be kept to an essential minimum, 'cut ' and 'shaved close' 'reduced to i ts lowerst terms' and thus can be made meaningful." (Thoreau from Houde 1980, 193) For Thoreau, society could only be redeemed i f i t were wi l l ing to simplify the complexities of social interaction. He asked: "why should we l ive with such a hurry and waste of l i fe ? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry." (Thoreau as quoted in Anderson 1973, 169) In his essay "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For" Thoreau declared: "Simplicity, s implicity, s implicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a mil l ion count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail." (Thoreau from Anderson 1973, 168) In this way we are not preoccupied with t r i v i a l i t i e s . According to Thoreau: "When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the rea l i ty . " (Thoreau from Anderson 1973, 171) The primary problem that Thoreau believed had soiled man's integrity was the idea that "people have turned...necessaries into luxuries...and have thus unnecessarily complicated their l i ves . " (Schneider 1987, 56) He favoured an ascetic approach 80 which argued that a l l that was necessary was food, shelter, clothing, and fuel . Thus, he believed that clothing had become more 'fashion than necessity;' that housing was too ornate; that man needed only a simple diet for health and strength; and, that the rich used so much fuel that they "are not simply kept comfortably warm, but unnaturally hot " (1987, 56-57) Rather than emphasizing such dubious material gains, Thoreau urged his readers to consider aiming for true spir itual progress: "'Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me t r u t h . " 1 (1987, 58) According to Schneider, thus, Thoreau believed that "the most practical view of l i f e is the most sp i r i tua l . The problem of l iv ing is to see real i ty accurately, both physically and sp i r i tua l ly . " (1987, 58) In order to accomplish this, Thoreau argued in favour of a simple l i f e , one that is in direct communion with nature and rejects the imposition of a society based on appearances and material wealth. The message of Walden, in particular, is that happiness, virtue and salvation can be achieved i f one l ives in a simple fashion and strives for self-improvement through earnest hard work within a framework that emphasizes the denial of frivolous desires in favour of basic needs and spiritual self-awareness. Both Rousseau and Thoreau recognized that mankind had begun to emphasize material wealth as the benchmark for self-worth; that the institutions of society helped create and perpetuate false needs and desires; that the direction society had taken by emphasizing material over spir itual concerns degraded mankind; and that only by simplifying ones l i f e and fostering a healthy 81 relationship with the natural world could mankind hope for spir itual rebirth. Essentially, both men denied that "a state devolved to the pursuit of individual happiness conceived of in hedonistic 'consumer' terms could ever real ize.. .soc ia l virtue and public happiness." (Harvey 1980, 203) However, while Rousseau condemned society in general for having taken the wrong turn far back in the distant past, Thoreau's crit icisms seem to be directed at specif ic inst itutions, "or specif ic human foibles and not necessarily at mankind generally." (Moller 1980, 7) Some examples include "the timidity and hypocrisy of the Church, po l i t ic ians, the press, and lecture committees which...are surely legitimate objects of indictment and sat ire." (Moller 1980, 7) However, according to Moller, in many instances "Thoreau seems to be gratuitously...attacking, or dismissing, the whole of mankind" (1980, 7) in favour of nature. For Thoreau, i t would seem that "you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and Nature." (1980, 6) Thoreau's arguments, for the most part however, f e l l on deaf ears since the dominant feeling in the America of the 19th century emphasized expansion, modernization and the accumulation of wealth. At that time the idea of inexhaustibil ity was unquestioned; thus, people fe l t l i t t l e need, nor desire, to simplify their existence, to conserve, or to search for the spir itual within nature. Developments over the past thirty years, however, suggest that there is indeed a maximum carrying capacity for the planet and that Thoreau was correct in concluding that inexhaustibil ity 82 i s a myth. Today, across the spectrum of environmental movements, the idea o f progress i s brought i n t o question as well as the m e n t a l i t y o f rampant consumerism and wealth accumulation. Thus, we now to t u r n to an examination of modern thought i n t h i s regard t h a t p a r a l l e l s t h a t of Rousseau: the c r i t i q u e o f progress and m a t e r i a l i s t i n d i v i d u a l i s m . Rousseau. Modern Environmental ism and the C r i t i q u e o f Progress Perhaps the best way to i n t r o d u c e t h i s s e c t i o n would be to o u t l i n e some of modern enviromentalism's c e n t r a l value a s s e r t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y those r e l a t e d to Rousseau. Using the l i s t c r e a t e d by Robert Paehlke those p r i n c i p l e s would i n c l u d e : 1. An a p p r e c i a t i o n of a l l l i f e forms and a view t h a t the c o m p l e x i t i e s of the e c o l o g i c a l web of l i f e are p o l i t i c a l l y s a l i e n t , (conservation) 2. A sense of h u m i l i t y r e g a r d i n g the human s p e c i e s i n r e l a t i o n to other s p e c i e s and to the g l o b a l ecosystem. 3. An a e s t h e t i c a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r season, s e t t i n g , c l i m a t e , and n a t u r a l m a t e r i a l s . 4. A r e v u l s i o n toward waste i n the face of human need ( i n more extreme forms, t h i s may appear as a s c e t i c i s m ) . 5. A l o v e of s i m p l i c i t y , although t h i s does not i n c l u d e r e j e c t i o n o f technology or 'modernity.' 6. A measurement of esteem, i n c l u d i n g s e l f - e s t e e m and s o c i a l m e r i t , i n terms of such nonmaterial values as s k i l l , a r t i s t r y , e f f o r t , or i n t e g r i t y . 7. An a t t r a c t i o n to autonomy and self-management i n human endeavors and, g e n e r a l l y , an i n c l i n a t i o n to more democratic and p a r t i c i p a t o r y p o l i t i c a l processes and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e s . 8. Some pre f e r e n c e f o r p o l i t i c a l and/or p o p u l a t i o n d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n . (1989, 144-5) 83 The f i r s t three concepts have already been discussed, while the last two wi l l be covered in the next chapter. For the moment, we are interested in the environmental movement's revulsion of rampant consumerism fueled by the creation of false needs, i ts emphasis on simplicity, and i ts rejection of material measures of personal success. In addition, we are concerned with ecocentric arguments for steady-state economics, for wealth distr ibution, and for a limited forms of development that mandate safeguarding environmental integrity. As mentioned, Rousseau condemned the scientific/mechanistic paradigm which insisted on man's right to exploit nature and which encouraged the creation of false needs. He also argued, as did Thoreau, for a much greater degree of simplicity in our l ives . He also favoured egalitarian principles which would reduce the inequity between rich and poor to a great extent. F inal ly, Rousseau admonished society for creating cit izens who use material wealth and appearance as benchmarks for self-worth. He, too, believed that man needed to measure success, not in terms of wealth, but in terms of nonmaterial values such as just ice, honesty, innocence, virtue, creativity and integrity. According to Paehlke, these values may be incorporated in a "Post- Material ist" future in which personal growth is regarded as more important than material possessions and "involves an greater emphasis on self-expression and the quality of l i f e . " (1989, 173) Perhaps the one major area in which Rousseau's thought paral lels certain forms of modern environmental thought is his 84 insistence that society corrupted man and that i t had to be completely reformed along the lines of the po l i t i ca l system he advocated in the Contrat social . While modern environmentalists generally do not come out and speci f ica l ly argue that society corrupts man's true nature, they do insist that, in a sense, man is trapped by his own institutions which encourage exploi- tation of the environment as a by-product of our materialist consumption-oriented values. According to Brian Tokar "indus- t r i a l systems have bound people to an entangling web of depen- dencies tota l ly outside their own control." (1987, 80) For Murray Bookchin this unhealthy state of affairs necessi- tates the wholesale replacement of " c i v i l i za t i on ' s ' i n s t i t u - tional and ethical framework" (Nash 1989, 165) in order to over- come the problems of exploitation and inequality. Boockhin was perhaps the f i r s t modern environmental philosopher to argue, much l ike Rousseau, that "the domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human." (Nash 1989, 164) Instead, Bookchin advocates a form of 'social ecology' emphasizing the need for a non-hierarchical and diverse society "as the prerequisite to an ecologically harmonious man-nature relationship." (Pepper 1984, 202) This position has been described as ecoanarchism. (1984, 202) Essentially, he stressed "the equal value of every part of the community and the necessity of maximizing individual freedom so that every component could f u l - f i l l i t s potential." (Nash 1989, 164) He believed that such a community would "approximate a [normal] ecosystem; i t would be 85 divers i f ied, balanced and harmonious." (1989, 164) What Bookchin opposes is the extremism within the environmental movement that argues either humanity must y ie ld to a rel igious, and more recently, 'ecological ' humility to the dicta of 'natural law' and take i ts abject place side by side with the lowly ant on which i t 'arrogantly treads,' or i t must 'conquer' nature with i ts technological and rational astuteness " (Bookchin 1990, 99) Bookchin instead argues that we must emphasize development, not change, and strive towards the real ization of an 'ecological society' that balances both man's interests and those of the biosphere. This, of course, would require a radical restruc- turing of our ethics to move away from material ist ic goals towards more environment-centered value system. That this can be accomplished, at the very least, debatable. Another philosopher, not generally recognized as an environmentalist, who has c r i t i c i zed the material ist ic values of modern culture is Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse argued that modern capita l i s t society "reduced both nature and people to raw materials with s t r i c t l y u t i l i t a r ian value." (Nash 1989, 166) Thus he created the idea of "One-dimensional men:" The masses have no egos, no ids, their souls are devoid of inner tension or dynamism: their ideas, their needs, 'even their dreams' are 'not their own'; their inner l ives are ' to ta l l y enslaved,' programmed to produce exactly those desires that the social system can satisfy and no more. The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobiles, h i - f i sets, sp l i t - leve l homes, kitchen equipment (Marcuse as quoted in Berman 1988, 28-29) 86 Much l ike Rousseau, Marcuse condemned society for creating cit izens that identify themselves and their own self-worth through their possessions. For Marcuse, 'consumer' man existed in a state of anarchic competition for resources that are becoming more and more scarce, and that the environment could not be protected unless there were a revolution against these economic and po l i t i ca l tradit ions. (Nash 1989, 11) In essence, Marcuse argued in favour of a new relationship between man and nature' that would lead to the reduction of man's impact on the natural world. Marcuse argued "that everything existed f i r s t and foremost for i ts own sake" (Nash 1989, 166) and he advocated l iberating nature by rejecting the hierarchical, exploitative values and institutions of modern capita l i s t society. He regarded nature as another oppressed minority "deserving a place in the sun of the American l iberal t radit ion." (Nash 1989, 212) Over the past 30 or so years numerous volumes have been produced that document the deterioration of the environment. In general these varied studies have concluded that the primary dynamics of the problem are centered on "chronic imbalances in population/resource rat ios...ecological ly damaging technology... (and)...wasteful consumption patterns." (Pepper 1984, 3) According to Pepper, the principle ideas for modern environmen- tal ism can be found in three landmark publications: The Limits to Growth (sponsored by the Club of Rome), Blueprint for Survival, and Small is Beautiful. (Pepper 1984, 22) Using a computer to simulate the planetary economic and resource future, The Limits to Growth study, sponsored by the 87 Club of Rome, concluded that ' i n the not-so-distant future' humanity would "face a series of integrated cr i ses. . .of over- population, pollution, nonrenewable resurce depletion, capital stock maintenance, and/or food shortage." (Paehlke 1989, 50) In brief, the earth was reaching i ts carrying capacity and i t concluded that " industrial society was both undesirable in the excess i t had attained and unsustainable in anything l ike i t present form." (Paehlke 1989, 53) In addition, i t advocated a redistribution of wealth in order to eliminate the gross economic disparit ies between rich and poor both domestically and on the international stage. Although the Limits study has i ts c r i t i c s i t did influence the debate over continued economic expansion. Despite i ts anthropocentric flavour, however, the study's main theme emphasized a steady-state world economy essentially dis- carding the idea of continued growth. Limits, thus, would question the idea of sustainable development advocated by the recently published Bruntland Commission report Our Common Future. One could argue, thus, that the idea of a ' s tabi l ized world model' paral lels those environmental philosophies advocating a balance between man and nature. Leopold's 'land e th ic ' , Bookchin's 'ecological society' or Rousseau's rejection of bourgeoise values and his concept of wholeness or unity with nature come to mind. It must be remembered, however, that Rousseau's ethic was not primarily based on a concern for environmental degradation, in and of i t se l f , but on the negative affects on man himself of treating the natural world as something to be 'defeated.' Owing 88 to the romantic elements within his thought, Rousseau is decidedly preoccupied with individual self-discovery and spir itual growth rather than any a l t ru i s t i c concerns for the enviroment, per se. The second major influence on modern environmental ism was The Blueprint for Survival. This study posited a model of a future Brit ish society based on sound ecological principles. It la id down "fundamental goals in which human act iv i ty should involve minimum ecological disruption and the maximum conser- vation of energy and materials." (Pepper 1984, 24) In addition, while material standards would be dropped, education would be used to reorient values systems "to place spir itual and emotional aspects of l i f e in high esteem." (Pepper 1984, 24) The study further advocated de-centralization, an emphasis on ' less dele- terious technology', and a 'rejection of impersonal large-scale production techniques. The study also favoured a society based on small communities — another Rousseauian concept to be discussed in the next chapter. The ecotopia envisioned by the Blueprint rejected the scientific/mechanistic paradigm that encouraged nature's exploitation and instead, l ike Rousseau, sought a balance between man and the natural world. The starting point for this reorientation represents another Rousseauian concept, that of restructuring the education system. E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful. meanwhile, echoed previous works that called for a change in society's value struc- tures. Schumacher advocated emphasizing what he called "Buddhist economics" which rejected material ist ic values that encourage 89 exploitation of the environment: Buddhist economics must be very different from the economicis of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of c i v i l i za t ion not in a mult ipl ica- tion of wants but in the purif ication of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man's work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, pleases those who do i t and equally their products. Consump- tion is less important than creative act iv i ty, and conspicuious consumption is openly offensive. (Paehlke 1989, 173) Thus, the basis for judging oneself " is bound up more and more with personal dignity, restraint and real personal achievement. Grandiosity and price are no longer a measure of uniqueness and beauty." (Paehlke 1989, 174) In similar fashion to Rousseau, Schumacher attempted to "expose the nature and deficiences of the current philosophies which govern our relationship with nature." (Pepper 1984, 25) Though he did not go so far as Rousseau, who concluding society corrupted man, he did argue that "values shape economics...and he drove us towards a solution to the environmental ' c r i s i s ' which hinged upon the need for a changed value system in the West." (Pepper 1984, 25) Schumacher believed the system's goal was not to maximize profits but to foster happy, productive c i t izens. By emphasizing the values of 'Buddhist economics,' he mirrored Rousseau's cal l for a move away from the material towards the spiritual whereby people identify themselves not with their material wealth but with their dedication to concepts such as just ice, creativity and integrity. The preceeding arguments are presented as just a sampling of the modern environmental l i terature that has a Rousseauian 90 c o l o u r i n g : the idea o f modern c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y ' s c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e on i n d i v i d u a l s ; i t s d e n i g r a t i o n o f s p i r i t u a l g o a l s and i t s emphasis on m a t e r i a l i s t i c c o m petition; modern s o c i e t y ' s preoccupation with appearance; i t s d i s r e g a r d f o r environmental i n t e g r i t y ; and u l t i m a t e l y the need f o r a complete r e s t r u c t u r i n g of c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y ' s core v a l u e s . How t h i s r e s t r u c t u r i n g c o u l d be accomplished i s a question o f c e n t r a l importance. For Rousseau, the only way to break down the d e l e t e r i o u s e f f e c t s o f s e l f i s h m a t e r i a l i s m was through education and a r e s t r u c t u r i n g o f the i n s t i t u t i o n s o f p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n . The f o l l o w i n g chapter, thus, presents Rousseau's views on p a r t i c i p a t o r y democracy, d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and the concept o f small communities which w i l l be compared to contemporary p o l i t i c a l environmental ism, with p a r t i c u l a r r e f e r e n c e to 'green' philosophy and Green p a r t y p o l i t i c s . 91 CHAPTER FIVE; ROUSSEAU AND THE POLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM I n t r o d u c t i o n I t seems almost a c l i c h e to say t h a t Rousseau's p o l i t i c a l p h i l o s o p h y i s f r a u g h t with c o n t r a d i c t i o n s . C r i t i c s throughout h i s t o r y have debated h i s p o l i t i c a l thought, but there has been l i t t l e agreement on how to c l a s s i f y and i n t e r p r e t i t s d i s t i n c - t i v e f e a t u r e s . While James M i l l e r sees Rousseau as 'the g r e a t Democrat o f the 18th century, Talmon has equated h i s p h i l o s o p h y with t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m . ( J . M i l l e r 1984, 165) S i m i l a r to Talmon, Benjamin Constant "saw i n Rousseau's e g a l i t a r i a n i s m nothing but an e q u a l i t y o f mistreatment." (Horowitz 1987, 13) Marshall Berman, however, argued t h a t Rousseau was "a r a d i c a l i n d i v i d u a l i s t , s t r u g g l i n g with the problem o f a u t h e n t i c i t y . " (Horowitz 1987, 26) Horowitz, meanwhile, equivocates on the question by a s s e r t i n g t h a t Rousseau " i s n e i t h e r s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d l y an i n d i v i d u a l i s t nor a c o l l e c t i v i s t . " (1987, 8) He argues t h a t Rousseau i s a c t u a l l y both a l i b e r a l and a t o t a l i t a r i a n "corresponding to two human types: c i t i z e n s and men, s o c i a l beings and autonomous i n d i v i d u a l s . " (1987, 15) In the end, however, Horowitz b e l i e v e s t h a t Rousseau's s o l u t i o n to s o c i e t y ' s problems, the concept o f the 'general w i l l , ' i s "a d e n i a l o f s e l f - h o o d i n submission to a t o t a l i t a r i a n a u t h o r i t y . " (1987, 26) Whichever i n t e r p r e t a t i o n one choses to emphasize, i t i s l i k e l y t h a t i t w i l l be wrong iN some r e s p e c t s , because Rousseau i s a ph i l o s o p h e r whose p o l i t i c a l themes defy c a t e g o r i z a t i o n . There are, however, outstanding f e a t u r e s to h i s thought which 92 are unmistakable, features that have a direct bearing on any discussion of environmental philosophy. Rousseau, Democracy and the 'General W i l l ' The core of Rousseau's po l i t i ca l philosophy is found in his seminal work: the Contrat socia l , although certain facets of this area of his thought can be found throughout his writings— part icularly Emile, Considerations sur le gouvernment de Poloqne, and Pro.iet de Constitution pour la Corse. In the Contrat social Rousseau advocated a form of social organization in which a l l men were considered equal under the law, and i t was assumed by Rousseau that i f a l l cit izens were educated as outlined in Emile his system would be the most perfect form of social organization — a system which would regard the law as outlined by his idea of the 'general w i l l ' as sacred. According to Rousseau: " i t is to the law alone that men owe justice and freedom; i t is this (beneficial) organ of the wil l of a l l which re-establishes natural equality among men in the legal order." (Cassirer 1989, 58) But in order to institute such a system, individuals had to submit to the unbending rule of law dictated by the 'general w i l l ' which was determined through a process of voting in which each member indicates his preference for recommended laws drawn up by elected legis lators. This 'general w i l l ' presupposes, however, "a deliberate attitude of mind and a firm determination to seek the common good." (Grimley 1973, 103) According to Cassirer, the 'general w i l l ' was not simply an atomistic aggregate of individual wi l l s , but was instead supposed 93 to include an ethical underpinning which served as the basis for the decisions made as reflected in the law. For Rousseau, the law was not regarded as an external bond forcing individuals to conform, but was, instead, the constituent principle behind particular wi l l s that confirmed and jus t i f ied them sp i r i tua l ly . "It wishes to rule subjects only inasmuch as, in its every act, i t also makes and educates them into c i t izens. " (Cassirer 1989, 63) Rousseau was primarily concerned with promoting "the dignity of man and with the means of securing and real izing i t " (Cassirer 1989, 71) through the application of the law. For Rousseau, thus, dignity could only be secured under a system in which special privileges for specif ic individuals or classes were eradicated by ensuring the equality of a l l cit izens before the law. (Cassirer 1989, 59) Rousseau believed that the law was not an opponent to freedom, but was its only true guarantor. The 'general w i l l ' was intended to distinguish between the "responsible social attitude of the c it izen concerned with the common good and the particular wil l of the individual who seeks merely his own advantage." (Grimsley 1973, 103) As should be clear, this concept f l i e s in the face of modern capitalism's emphasis on the free market, material wealth, and individual choice. In order to foster the 'general w i l l ' Rousseau insisted that there be no discussion before the voting process, so that each c i t izen was protected from the influence of other people. Thus, the primary purpose of the voting process was 94 to obtain the total participation and the total commitment of a l l to the general w i l l , and thus to achieve a unanimous, cooperative society in which individuals wil l think of themselves as part of the whole rather than as self-centered units. (Crocker 1967, xix) By this submission, each member of society was guaranteed never again to be subject to the particular wil l of any one individual or group. Thus, Rosseau advocated a society in which cit izens were each economically equal (relative to natural ab i l i t ies ) and independent. "Ideally, there should be a situation where 'no c i t izen shall be rich enough to buy another and none so poor as to be forced to sel l himself. '" (Pateman 1970, 22-23) The v i ta l requirement, thus, was that each individual had his own property, because this gave him security and independence that was necessary to ensure po l i t i ca l equality and independence. (1970, 23) According to Alfred Cobban the Contrat social was an "attempt to put into po l i t i ca l terms the concept of freedom in society." (Cobban 1934, 61) Freedom and equality were, thus, reconciled for Rousseau in a community marked by effective participation for a l l members, a community Rousseau fe l t was the most natural of social orders and one that allowed the greatest form of freedom for man to perfect himself. Clearly, this goal is one shared by modern environmentalists, particularly those cal l ing for greater participation by the public in the job of governing as a means of reversing the dangerous trends that threaten the integrity, indeed the very survival, of the planet. Central to the concept of direct democracy are two main thrusts: effective participation and the decentralization of 95 authority. Specif ica l ly, direct democracy eliminates representatives; therefore, i t is a self-governing form of po l i t i ca l organization in which a l l cit izens assemble together to vote on the pressing issues of the day. Examples might include the Paris Commune of 1871, the Russian Soviets of 1905, Hungary in 1956, and the traditional New England town meeting. One could argue, however, that to be truly effective direct democracy could only work in very small communities that are self-supporting. It is not surprising, thus, that i t has been described by some as the "most obscure current of modern democratic practice." (J. Mi l ler 1984, 205) It has been argued that i t was Rousseau who popularized the concept of direct democracy in the Contrat socia l . According to Mi l ler "no one before him had been so obviously driven by an overriding vision of direct se l f -rule by an entire people." (J. Mi l ler 1984, 142) The Contrat social , thus, emphasized the concept of the inalieanable sovereignty of the people. As as result, Rousseau was a staunch opponent of the idea of repre- sentative democracy which he concluded was a sham. He fe l t quite strongly that any law that had not been authorized by the people d irect ly was not a reflection of the general w i l l . "Every law which the people in person have not rat i f ied is inval id, i t is not a law," he argued. (Crocker 1967, 99) In fact, he c r i t i c i zed representative democracy as i t was practiced in England by saying that "(t)he English nation thinks that i t is free, but is greatly mistaken, for i t is so only during the election of members of Parliament; as soon as they are elected, 96 i t is enslaved and counts for nothing." (1967, 99) Rousseau's faith in the idea of direct participation was not entirely based on his rejection of representative democracy. He also believed in direct democracy's positive benefits for people. He fe l t that "only through law-making could their horizons be broadened, their capacity for virtue developed." (J. Mi l ler 1984, 143) He argued that "(p)articipation broadens the mind. It makes you see the other person's point of view. It makes you understand the value of compromise and tolerance." (Held 1986, 142) He also believed that by allowing the cit izens of the state to actively participate in the making of laws they would be effect ively protected against the resurgence of any form of despotism. He fe l t that participation would "increase the value of his freedom to the individual by enabling him to be (and remain) his own master." (Pateman 1970, 26) In other words, i t would be extremely d i f f i c u l t for anyone to win support for a return to a less participatory form of government. In addition, Rousseau fe l t that participation would foster a sense of community in which individuals would come to identify the public good with their own. Thus, the participatory process is educative as individuals learn to feel " l i t t l e or no conf l ict between the demands of the public and private spheres." (Pateman 1970, 25) In essence,"(i)mbued with a greater sense of community, the individual may begin to consider interests that transcend his crude personal advantage." (R. Mason 1982, 39) Also, " ( i ) f you have helped to make a decision yourself...you may feel better even i f i t was a worse decision." (Held 1986, 142) This has been 97 borne out by modern social scientists who have discovered that "enforcement is fac i l i ta ted by participation in the decision- making process." (R. Mason 1982, 38) In fact, Rousseau believed that by the effective comprehensive participation of a l l members of society the common good of a l l would always be real ized--his conception of the 'general w i l l ' . He believed that given any matter to be decided by a group or community, there is always one (and only one) just decision, one decision in the common interest, which they would a l l recognize for such, i f they had the relevant information and reasoned correctly. (Plamenatz 1973, 96) Rousseau was given the opportunity to apply these ideas to a real setting when he received a request from the leaders of the island of Corsica to draw up a new constitution. While the work was not completed, Projet de Constitution pour la Corse provides a practical example of how Rousseau believed direct democracy could work. F i rs t , Rousseau argued that i t was crucial that the island remain agrarian, l imit the growth of industry, and avoid introducing commerce. "Commerce and luxury went together and the results of both were disastrous. They promoted sel f - interest in the individual and inequality in society." (J.H. Mason 1979, 268) Second, with respect to industry, Rousseau fe l t that the island's mineral resources had to be carefully managed so as not to be overexploited. In addition, industries had to be carefully sited, away from good agricultural land and away from any centres of population: only that (would) keep them in balance with agriculture and 98 prevent the imbalances that otherwise arises, to the harm of the latter. (J.H. Mason 1979, 268) Rousseau did not want to keep the island poor, necessarily, wanted to ensure that the freedom of a l l cit izens would be maintained. "Everyone sould make a l iv ing and no one should grow r ich ; that is the fundamental principle of the prosperity of the nat ion.. . . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 271) Third, Rousseau advocated that the state own the property and resources and that each individual share in the common property in proportion to his imput. (J.H. Mason 1979, 273) This concept would have later paral lels to what Pepper describes as ecosocialist thought, although Rousseau stipulated that no property already owned was to be expropriated. He said that "(n)o law can despoil any private c it izen of any part of his property; the law can merely prevent him from acquiring more " (J.H. Mason 1979, 273) Indeed, he argued that his idea was not to do away with private property "absolutely...but to confine i t within the narrowest l imits ; to give i t a measure, a rule, a rein which wil l contain, direct and subjugate i t , and keep i t ever subordinate to the public good." (J.H. Mason 1979, 273) Corsica was somewhat unique, however, in being a small island cut off from the direct influence of other communities. In Considerations sur le gouvernment de Pologne Rousseau offered the idea of a federal structure that would unite the various regions under one central government. Clearly, Rousseau realized that he was creating a potential conf l ict between the particular 99 wil ls of the provinces and the general wi l l of the nation. What he feared was that the inalienable sovereignty of the people would be undermined since authority would have to be delegated to representatives of the regions whenever the central government was convened. There was the potential, thus, that the concept of direct democracy would fa l l apart the larger and more ethnically diverse the country was. Practical ly speaking, however, Rousseau fe l t quite strongly that Poland had to reduce her frontiers in order to maintain control. His solution, thus, was to combine "the outward strength of a great nation with the easy disc ipl ine and the good order of a small State " (Vaughan 1962, 385) His solution was a confederation. He conditioned this proposal, however, by urging that " i f there must be 'part ia l societ ies ' there should be 'as many as possible' which are as equal...as possible." (Dent 1988, 227) Rouseau fe l t that i t was possible, though not ideal, for a confederal structure to be reconciled with the 'general w i l l ' as long as size and numbers were stressed. Rousseau's ideal society governed by the 'general w i l l ' has inspired a great deal of useful debate regarding the ways in which self-centered growth, as epitomized by the capita l i s t system, can be overcome fac i l i ta t ing a move to a more ecologically-minded socio-economic system. Rousseau's concept of the 'general w i l l , ' however, assumes a society with values that already equate private interests with public ones. It must be remembered that Rousseau believed this could only come about as a result of fundamental changes in society's value structures, which would primarily be fostered through education (Emile). At 100 any rate, Rousseau insisted on small, self-contained, primarily agrarian states for his system to be most effective. Needless to say, this type of socio-pol i t ical structure is unlikely in today's highly complex, predominantly urban society. In addition, i t is doubtful "that many people would wish to l ive in such a society, even i f they could." (Resnick 1990, 105) Nevertheless, the aspiration to greater po l i t i ca l participation remains a rea l i ty in many modern pol i t ies that cannot be denied. Essentially Rousseau's po l i t i ca l philosophy provides a grand unified theory of po l i t i ca l organization which many modern environmentalists have supported in varying degrees. His idea of the 'general w i l l ' has dist inct co l lec t iv i s t overtones, especially in the context of 'forcing men to be free' i f they disagree with its dictates. There are indications, however, in his writings that he believed that societies governed by the 'general w i l l ' would have few laws and would meet to create new laws infrequently. In this sense, one might argue that he and Thoreau would have been in agreement, that a harmonious society would require few laws and that only the people themselves have a right to leg is late. Thoreau, however, seems to have been a dedicated anarchist, and therefore any parallels between his thought and Rousseu's in this regard is tenuous. Thoreau, the State and C iv i l Disobedience As mentioned, Thoreau philosophy has decidedly anarchistic overtones and, thus, d i f fers in many respects from the approach Rousseau took. Thoreau argued that "government is best which 101 governs l e a s t . . . ( a n d that)...government i s at best but an expedient." (Thomas 1966, 224) With r e s p e c t t o v o t i n g , Thoreau s a i d : I c a s t my vote, perchance, as I t h i n k r i g h t ; but I am not v i t a l l y concerned t h a t r i g h t should p r e v a i l . I am w i l l i n g t o leave i t to the m a j o r i t y . I t s o b l i g a t i o n , t h e r e f o r e , never exceeds t h a t of expediency. (Thoreau as quoted i n Thomas 1966, 228) For Thoreau, the m a j o r i t y held on to power, not because they were r i g h t or even f a i r , but "because they are p h y s i c a l l y the s t r o n g e r . " (Thomas 1966, 225) He f o r c e f u l l y argued a g a i n s t people r e s i g n i n g themselves to the a c t i o n s o f l e g i s l a t o r s , and i n s i s t e d t h a t "we should be men f i r s t , and s u b j e c t s afterwards." (Thomas 1966, 225) According t o Thoreau, God gave us a conscience; t h e r e f o r e , i t would be wrong to t u r n t h a t conscience over to a l e g i s l a t o r . T h e r e f o r e , i f an i n d i v i d u a l p e r c e i v e s a law as 'unjust,' Thoreau b e l i e v e d i t was t h a t person's duty to disobey the law. He f e l t t h a t "under a government which imprisons any u n j u s t l y , the t r u e p l a c e f o r a j u s t man i s a l s o a p r i s o n . " (Thomas 1966, 233) Of course, the idea o f ' i n j u s t i c e ' can become h i g h l y s u b j e c t i v e . Rousseau would l i k e l y have had none of t h i s , because under the 'general w i l l ' there c o u l d be no unjust laws i n terms o f what i s r i g h t f o r a p r o p e r l y c o n s t i t u t e d community as a whole. In a d d i t i o n , Rousseau argued t h a t "only the g r e a t e s t dangers can outweigh t h a t o f changing the p u b l i c order, and the sacred power o f the laws should never be i n t e r f e r r e d with except when the s a f e t y o f the country i s at stake." (Crocker 1967, 130) One cou l d argue, o f course, t h a t environmental c a t a s t r o p h e c o n s t i t u t e s 102 a danger to the s a f e t y of the country. In f a i r n e s s to Thoreau, i t seems l i k e l y t h a t he r e c o g n i z e d the compact theory o f p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n which i n s i s t s t h a t once a group o f people have consented to a form o f government, they should obey i t s d i c t a t e s . He s a i d t h a t the a u t h o r i t y o f government i s s t i l l an "impure one: to be s t r i c t l y j u s t i t must have the s a n c t i o n and consent of the governed. I t can have no pure r i g h t over any person and property but what I concede to i t . " (Thomas 1966, 242-3) Thus, i t i s l i k e l y t h a t Thoreau would would not have agreed t h a t an i n d i v i d u a l can consent to be governed, o b t a i n the b e n e f i t s of s o c i e t y but r e f u s e to pay the c o s t s ( i . e . obedience to du l y c o n s t i t u t e d laws). He seems to focus p r i m a r i l y on laws t h a t a reasonable person with a l l a v a i l a b l e f a c t s would agree were u n j u s t . I t should be c l e a r from the preceeding t h a t Thoreau would have supported the concept of c i v i l d i sobedience with regard to p r o t e c t i n g the environment; thus, he l i k e l y would have been sympathetic to both the ends and means o f modern environmental r a d i c a l s . Rousseau, on the other hand, would have attacked the problem o f environmental degradation by i n s i s t i n g t h a t l e g i s l a t i o n t h a t sanctioned e x p l o i t i n g nature d i d not r e f l e c t the general w i l l but the p a r t i c u l a r w i l l o f p a r t i c u l a r c l a s s e s w i t h i n s o c i e t y . In other words, i f the 'general w i l l ' i s a p p l i e d to an ' e c o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y ' then i t i s f a i r to say t h a t the i t would r e f l e c t optimum choices f o r the biosphere as a whole. Thoreau, meanwhile, would have simply argued t h a t a n t i - e c o l o g i c a l l e g i s l a t i o n was un j u s t , and t h a t people c o u l d not simply ignore 103 such e x p l o i t a t i o n . In f a c t , h i s arguments can be seen as l e n d i n g support to what the r a d i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s would l a t e r c a l l ' e c o l o g i c a l sabotage.' (Nash 1989, 166) Rousseau, P a r t i c i p a t i o n and Modern Ecophilosophv As p r e v i o u s l y mentioned, the modern eco p h i l o s o p h e r with d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s to Rousseauian thought and a w r i t e r o f t e n i d e n t i f i e d with a n a r c h i s t i c thought i s Bookchin. His ' s o c i a l ecology' emphasizes the problems a s s o c i a t e d with l a r g e , complex i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t i e s . He argues t h a t : Ordinary people f i n d i t impossible to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a n a t i o n : they can belong to i t but i t never belongs to them. The s i z e of the n a t i o n - s t a t e renders a c t i v e c i t i z e n s h i p impossible...and i t t u r n p o l i t i c s . . . i n t o a form o f s t a t e c r a f t i n which the c i t i z e n i s i n c r e a s i n g l y disempowered by a u t h o r i t a r i a n e x e c u t i v e agencies, t h e i r l e g i s l a t i v e minions, and an al1-encompassing bureaucracy. (Bookchin 1987, 27-28) Instead, Bookchin favours a form o f s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t emphasizes "a n o n - h i e r a r c h i c a l s o c i e t y ( t h a t ) i s based on complementarity r a t h e r than r i v a l r y . . . ( w i t h ) . . . m o d e s of knowing which are p a r t i c i p a t o r y and emancipatory." (Bookchin, 1987, 75) According to Bookchin, the form o f p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n he e n v i s i o n s i s s c a l e d to human dimensions, i s t a i l o r e d to the ecosystem i n which i t i s l o c a t e d , and ( w i l l ) open a new, d e c e n t r a l i z e d , self-managed p u b l i c realm f o r new forms o f s e l f h o o d as well as d i r e c t l y democratic forms o f self-management. (Bookchin 1987, 75-6) The p a r a l l e l s to Rousseau i n t h i s v i s i o n are s e l f - e v i d e n t . In the preceeding chapter, we d i s c u s s e d The B l u e p r i n t f o r 104 S u r v i v a l which pr o f e s s e d to o u t l i n e a program f o r an e c o l o g i c a l l y balanced f u t u r e s o c i e t y - - e c o t o p i a . In terms of i t s p o l i t i c a l recommendations, the r e p o r t focused on the twin i d e a l s of d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and smallness o f s c a l e , two d i s t i n c t l y Rousseauian concepts. Among i t s fundamental goals were minimal e c o l o g i c a l d i s r u p t i o n , c o n s e r v a t i o n of energy and r e s o u r c e s , e x t e n s i v e r e c y c l i n g , and an emphasis on o r g a n i c farming techniques. C e n t r a l to the B l u e p r i n t was the idea o f small communities, which i t was b e l i e v e d would allow people to become d i r e c t l y i n v o l v e d and t h e r e f o r e g i v e them a d i s t i n c t i n f l u e n c e on a, b y - i n - l a r g e , l o c a l i z e d government. "Small communities would a l s o , i t was thought, have a minimal adverse impact on the ' n a t u r a l ' ecosystem." (Pepper 1984, 25) According to Pepper, the emphasis was on e c o l o g i c a l r a t h e r than s p e c i f i c a l l y humanitarian concerns. Although s o c i a l j u s t i c e was a c o n s i d e r a t i o n , there remained the q u e s t i o n of j u s t how r e s t r i c t i v e of i n d i v i d u a l l i b e r t y such a s o c i e t y would be i n order to 'maintain the i r o n laws of ecology.' (1984, 25) By p r o h i b i t i n g a wide v a r i e t y o f p r a c t i c e s , the B l u e p r i n t came dangerously c l o s e to advocating an " e t h i c s o f r e p r e s s i o n and t o t a l i t a r i a n c o n t r o l . " (Pepper 1984, 206) T h i s aspect becomes p a r t i c u l a r l y ominous c o n s i d e r i n g the B l u e p r i n t ' s c o n t e n t i o n t h a t the t r a n s i t i o n to i t s i d e a l s o c i e t y w i l l 'impose a heavy burden on our moral courage; and w i l l ' r e q u i r e g r e a t r e s t r a i n t . ' L e g i s l a t i o n and the o p e r a t i o n o f the p o l i c e f o r c e s and the c o u r t s w i l l be necessary to r e i n f o r c e t h i s r e s t r a i n t . (Pepper 1984, 207) 105 T h i s aspect o f the B l u e p r i n t i s r e m i n i s c e n t o f one o f Rousseau's c o n t e n t i o n s t h a t c i t i z e n s who are not f o l l o w i n g the general w i l l may be f o r c e d through the p a r t i c i p a t o r y process i n t o s o c i a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e a c t i o n s to ensure everyone's freedom, or i n other words 'to be f o r c e d to be f r e e . ' Given the looming c r i s i s i n the environment we are f a c i n g , such a s o c i a l o r d e r i n g may not be as f a r - f e t c h e d as one might t h i n k . Perhaps, though, the groups t h a t most epitomizes the p o l i t i c a l s t r a i n w i t h i n the modern environmental movement are the v a r i o u s Green p a r t i e s , i n p a r t i c u l a r the German Greens. For the Greens, l i k e Thoreau and John Muir before them, "the p r o t e c t i o n o f nature ( i s ) i n t i m a t e l y i n t e r t w i n e d with s o c i a l a c t i v i s m and a c r i t i q u e o f i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . " (Tokar 1987, 40) Rousseau and German Green Party P o l i t i c s A ccording to Kim Holmes, the German Greens are the h e i r s of to the German romantic t r a d i t i o n which began at the end o f the 18th century as a r e v o l t a g a i n s t the French Enlightenment. (Clemens 1983, 15) As mentioned, t h i s romantic t r a d i t i o n " c e l e b r a t e d the uniqueness o f the i n d i v i d u a l . . . a n d i t promised freedom from c o n s t r a i n t and the e x a l t a t i o n o f passion as the i d e a l s o f a new type o f personal s e n s i t i v i t y . " (Clemens 1983, 15) I t r e j e c t e d the t e n e t s of western l i b e r a l i s m "and the emerging c a p i t a l i s t system which underpinned i t . " (Clemens 1983, 16) To romantic s e n s i b i l i t i e s , l i b e r a l i s m was not only the s p i r i t u a l foundation o f modern decadence, i t was a l s o the foremost p o l i t i c a l e x p r ession of the m a t e r i a l i s m and s c i e n t i f i c 106 r a t i o n a l i s m which they b e l i e v e d was e a t i n g away at the soul o f German c u l t u r e . (Clemens 1983, 16) Thus, i n r e j e c t i n g the idea o f progress, there was a sense i n the German romantic movement t h a t m a t e r i a l i s t c i v i l i z a t i o n had reached i t s end. According t o some, the t r a d i t i o n t h a t most resembles the p o l i t i c a l s t y l e o f the Greens i s anarchism, because i t regards the s t a t e as i n h e r e n t l y c o e r c i v e and, t h e r e f o r e , i s an i n s t i t u t i o n to be opposed by organized small grass r o o t s u n i t s grouped tog e t h e r f o r a common purpose. (Clemens 1983, 17) Th i s common purpose was to present a uni t e d f r o n t a g a i n s t l i b e r a l i s m ' s emphasis on " l a i s s e z - f a i r e i n d i v i d u a l i s m and the co m p e t i t i v e s p i r i t o f c a p i t a l i s m " (Clemens 1983, 18) In order t o e f f e c t t h i s o p p o s i t i o n , they put t h e i r f a i t h i n c o l l e c t i v e o r g a n i - z a t i o n " (Clemens 1983, 18) Holmes argues t h a t i t was these ' c o l l e c t i v i s t a n a r c h i s t s ' such as Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin who were the founders o f the concept o f d i r e c t democracy organized at the grass r o o t s l e v e l . (Clemens 1983, 18) I t i s contended i n t h i s t h e s i s , however, t h a t i t was Rousseau, and not the ' c o l l e c t i v i s t a n a r c h i s t s ' who o r i g i n a l l y p o p u l a r i z e d the idea o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y democractic forms. The modern movement, thus, r e f l e c t s t h i s German romantic t r a d i t i o n and i s d e s c r i b e d by Clay demons as i n c l u d i n g a r e j e c t i o n o f the complex r e a l i t i e s o f modern l i f e , above a l l , t e c h n o l o g i c a l progress; the r e l a t e d themes of c u l t u r a l d e s p a i r , with i t s contempt f o r 'u n a e s t h e t i c ' i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y and par l a i m e n t a r y i n s t i t u t i o n s ; the a n a r c h i s t 107 contempt f o r s t a t e a u t h o r i t y ; and the Utopian s o c i a l i s t emphasis on c o l l e c t i v i s m i n s t e a d of i n d i v i d u a l i s m . (demons 1983, v i i ) E s s e n t i a l l y , German Greens a t t r i b u t e s o c i e t y ' s i l l s t o "the 'growth i m p e r a t i v e ' ; consumerism, and the t e c h n o l g i c a l impulse, as well as the a l l e g e d l y o l i g a r c h i c a l c o n t r o l over a l l i n s t i t u t i o n s . " (Clemons 1983, i x ) The modern Green movement i n Germany o r i g i n a t e d i n the l a t e 1960s out o f "the r a d i c a l l y a n t i c a p i t a l i s t , a n t i - p a r i i a m e n t a r y a c t i v i s m o f the...student movement" (Clemons 1983, v i i ) and developed through the 1970s as a response to what they p e r c e i v e d were the e x p l o i t a t i v e and a l i e n a t i v e e f f e c t s o f 'super-complex c a p i t a l i s t i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . ' The primary supporters o f the e a r l y movement, thus, were d i s a f f e c t e d young people and students who were d i s s a t i s f i e d by t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n s o c i e t y , as well as "members o f r u r a l communities who...felt threatened by ambitious h y p e r t e c h n o l o g i c a l p r o j e c t s . " (Papadakis 1984, 2) According to Rudolph Bahro, Greens r e a c t e d to what he d e s c r i b e s as the "markedly s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e , outwardly murderous and inwardly s u i c i d a l c h a r a c t e r o f our i n d u s t r i a l c i v i l i z a t i o n . " (Bahro 1986, 11) They a l s o opposed the dominant p o l i t i c a l paradigm the post-war p e r i o d , "which c e n t e r s around economic and s e c u r i t y i ssues...(and) i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the predominance of represen- t a t i v e forms o f decision-making " ( K o l i n s k y 1989, 21) The Greens, thus, were i n t e r e s t e d i n s e a r c h i n g f o r a new form o f community, a community which would emphasize " s o c i a l and s e l f - a c t u a l i z a t i o n n e e d s . . . p a r t i c i p a t i o n at the workplace and i n 108 p o l i t i c a l decision-making, freedom o f e x p r e s s i o n , a b e a u t i f u l environment, and the a p p r e c i a t i o n o f c r e a t i v i t y . " ( K o l i n s k y 1989, 20) Furthermore, they supported a form of e c o l o g i c a l p o l i t i c s which opposed n u c l e a r power, favoured a r e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f g l o b a l wealth, demanded an end to the arms race and a guarantee o f some form o f p o l i t i c a l autonomy f o r the grass r o o t s . ( K o l i n s k y 1989, 21-22) At t h e i r foundation congress i n 1980, the Green p a r t y developed a p o l i t i c a l p l a t f o r m t h a t emphasized f o u r b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s : ecology, s o c i a l g o a l s , g r a s s r o o t s democracy, and non-violence. In general terms, they supported the n o t i o n t h a t p r o d u c t i o n would be on a ' s m a l l e r ' more manageable d e c e n t r a l i z e d s c a l e , and t h a t the " i n t r o d u c t i o n o f new technology would be d e m o c r a t i c a l l y administered and monitored c a r e f u l l y to ensure c o m p a t i b i l i t y with the environment " ( K o l i n s k y 1989, 62-3) According to Bahro, the Greens wanted "to get away from c e n t r a l i z e d , b u r e a u c r a t i c s o c i a l a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and b u i l d up s e l f - a d m i n i s t e r e d s o c i a l s e r v i c e s on a community b a s i s . " (Bahro 1986, 38) D i r e c t democracy and d e - c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y were seen as c r u c i a l n e c e s s i t i e s i n order to counter- act "the i n c r e a s i n g monopolization o f economic power...(as well a s ) . . . t h e growing b u r e a c r a t i z a t i o n and c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f govern- ment." (Bahro 1986, 41) According to Spretnak and Capra, the f i r s t p i l l a r o f the German Greens, ecology, r e f l e c t s a concept p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d : "an understanding t h a t we are p a r t o f nature, not above i t , and t h a t a l l our massive s t r u c t u r e of commerce—and l i f e i t s e l f — 109 u l t i m a t e l y depend on wise r e s p e c t f u l i n t e r a c t i o n with our b i o - sphere." (Capra 1986, 29) As mentioned, while Rousseau favoured the idea o f h i e r a r c h y , he a l s o recognized the interconnectedness o f a l l l i f e , and i t i s c l e a r he would have agreed with the Greens i n the sense t h a t we must be c a r e f u l stewards o f the n a t u r a l world. The second p i l l a r , t h a t of s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , focuses on " s o c i a l j u s t i c e and an assurance t h a t the poor and the working c l a s s w i l l not get hurt by programs to r e s t r u c t u r e the economy and our consumer s o c i e t y e c o l o g i c a l l y . " (Capra 1986, 35) Rousseau, too, argued t h a t i n c r e a t i n g a s o c i e t y governed by the 'general w i l l ' the d i s p a r i t i e s between r i c h and poor would have to be, f o r the most pa r t e l i m i n a t e d , and t h a t the s t a t e would own most o f the country's a s s e t s although he d i d i n d i c a t e i n C o r s i c a t h a t personal property a l r e a d y i n someone's posse s s i o n would not be taken away. The t h i r d p i l l a r , t h a t of grass r o o t s democracy, has been the primary focus o f t h i s chapter and i s , to r e i t e r a t e , an emphasis on d e c e n t r a l i z e d , d i r e c t democracy. It g i v e s p r i o r i t y to d e c i s i o n s made at the l o c a l l e v e l and, thus, encourages the d e v o l u t i o n o f a d m i n i s t r a t i v e powers to " d e - c e n t r a l i z e d , manageable grass r o o t s u n i t s . " (Capra 1986, 37) As a r e s u l t , the Greens advocated " s i m p l i f y i n g a d m i n i s t r a t i v e u n i t s with a g r e a t e r share o f government revenues going to s t a t e s , r e g i o n s , c o u n t i e s , towns and neighbourhoods." (Capra 1986, 48) The Greens a l s o p r e f e r r e d p a r t y v o t i n g take p l a c e at l a r g e 110 a s s e m b l i e s where i n d i v i d u a l s would have e a s y a c c e s s t o p a r t y o f f i c i a l s , and t h e y f a v o u r e d t h e i d e a o f c o n s e n s u s . (Langwuth 1986, 75) t h e p r o b l e m w i t h t h e c o n s e n s u s a p p r o a c h , however, i s t h a t i t can become an " i n s t r u m e n t o f e x t o r t i o n d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t t h e m a j o r i t y . . . ( a n d ) . . . i n many c a s e s i t l e a d s t o compromises n o t r e f l e c t i v e o f t h e m a j o r i t y view." (Langwuth 1986, 75) In a d d i t i o n , Greens r e j e c t e d t h e n o t i o n o f h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e s w i t h i n t h e p a r t y whereby p a r t y b r a s s become e n t r e n c h e d i n p o s i t i o n s o f power. I n s t e a d , t h e y put i n t o p r a c t i c e t h e i d e a o f e l e c t i n g s t e e r i n g committees, u s u a l l y w i t h s t a g g e r e d terms o f l e s s t h a n two y e a r s . The p r o b l e m w i t h t h i s form o f o f f i c e r o t a t i o n i s t h a t " i n a c o m p l i c a t e d democracy demanding s p e c i a l i z a t i o n , p o l i t i c i a n s need t i m e t o l e a r n and t o g a i n e x p e r i e n c e and an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f d e t a i l . . . ( i n o r d e r t o e n s u r e ) . . . r e s p o n s i b l e a c t i o n . " (Langwuth 1986, 73) A t any r a t e , t h e t w i n i d e a l s o f d e - c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and d i r e c t democracy, as we have seen, have d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s i n Rousseau's t h o u g h t . T h e r e i s a l s o a d i s t i n c t l y R o u s s e a u i a n c o l o u r i n g t o t h e Greens sense o f a l i e n a t i o n from modern i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . A c c o r d i n g t o Bahro: The p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i m e n s i o n o f t h e problem o f i n d i v i d u a l i t y i n super-complex i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y must be made c o m p l e t e l y c l e a r . The d i f f e r e n t s p h e r e s o f l i f e - - w o r k , e d u c a t i o n , h o u s i n g , r e c r e a t i o n - - a r e so s e p a r a t e d from one a n o t h e r , a l m o s t a l l a c t i v i t i e s a r e so d e p e r s o n a l i z e d and even p r i v a t e t i e s s t r i p p e d o f so many n e c e s s i t i e s , t h a t t h e a l i e n a t i o n o f one p e r s o n from a n o t h e r t h r e a t e n s t o become t h e g e n e r a l f a t e . We f i n d a l o s s o f e m o t i o n a l c o n n e c t i o n even i n t h e i n t i m a t e c o n t a c t s o f t h e n u c l e a r f a m i l y , t h i s l a s t r e s i d u e o f t h e o r i g i n a l community. ( P a p a d a k i s 1984, 23) 111 According t o Eli m Papadakis, the g r e a t e s t concern among Greens i n modern i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y , thus, " i s the f e a r o f i s o l a t i o n and l o s s o f personal and c o l l e c t i v e i d e n t i t y . " (Papadakis 1984, 25) Much l i k e Rousseau, they sensed the n e c e s s i t y f o r completely r e - s t r u c t u r i n g modern s o c i e t y ' s value system so t h a t 'funda- mental needs would no longer be pe r v e r t e d by consumer s o c i e t y ' and i n s t e a d o f m a t e r i a l i s m there would be an emphasis on c r e a t i - v i t y . (Papadakis 1984, 53) E s s e n t i a l l y , they e n v i s i o n e d a s o c i e t y where "people l i v e i n harmony with nature and decison-making processes have been s i m p l i f i e d and d e c e n t r a l i z e d , and people are provided with goods on the b a s i s o f t h e i r needs." (Papadakis 1984, 55) While i t might be too much to expect a b l u e p r i n t f o r an a l t e r n a t i v e s o c i e t y , the primary c r i t i c i s m o f the Greens has been t h a t they do not have a comprehensive a l t e r n a t i v e to the c u r r e n t p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and s t r u c t u r e s . In p a r t , t h i s i s because they may be s t r i v i n g f o r i r r e c o n c i l a b l e aims and simply cannot agree amongst themselves on how to c a r r y out t h i s r e s t r u c - t u r i n g . According to Papadakis the Greens are, at the same time, t r y i n g to i n t r o d u c e g r a s s - r o o t s democracy i n t o a pa r l a i m e n t a r y system; to combat c e r t a i n aspects o f economic growth w h i l s t seeking to s a t i s f y most m a t e r i a l and s o c i a l needs; to uphold the idea o f the charisma o f the group and the community, w h i l s t s t i l l being i n f l u e n c e d by an i n d i v i -d u a l i s t c u l t u r e and forms o f p r o t e s t and a c t i o n . (Papadakis 1984, 61) T h i s might be a r e s u l t o f the f a c t t h a t the Greens are a w i l d l y 'heterogenous movement' and according to Clemons are ' h o p e l e s s l y 112 Utopian' i n t h e i r outlook, (demons, i x ) As Papadakis argues, they may be "trapped by an e x c e s s i v e emphasis on a Utopian view of how to s o l v e s o c i a l and environmental problems...(based on)... an a b s t r a c t a n a l y s i s of s o c i e t y ( t h a t f a i l s to r e c o g n i z e the need f o r ) . . . t a n g i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s . " (Papadakis, 61) I r o n i c a l l y , the same c r i t i c i s m can be l e v e l l e d at Rousseau. 113 CONCLUSIONS Without a doubt the v a r i o u s p r e s c r i p t i o n s o u t l i n e d i n t h i s t h e s i s emphasize s o c i a l reforms and i n s t i t u t i o n a l changes t h a t seem u n a t t a i n a b l e given the inherent d i f f i c u l t i e s i n v o l v e d i n r e - s t r u c t u r i n g s o c i e t y , not to mention the r e s i s t a n c e o f those i n t e r e s t groups and s o c i a l c l a s s e s who b e n e f i t most from the c u r r e n t system. According t o Ensenberger, while the v a r i o u s groups debate about the ' c o r r e c t ' form t h i s r e s t r u c t u r i n g must take, they have f a i l e d to reco g n i z e "that there has been a fundamental quantum leap i n the environmental t h r e a t s which are posed by modern i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . " (Pepper 1984, 203) He argues t h a t i t i s becoming q u i t e c l e a r t h a t "any p o s s i b l e f u t u r e belongs to the realm o f n e c e s s i t y and not t h a t o f freedom, and t h a t every p o l i t i c a l theory and p r a c t i c e . . . ( w i l l be)... c o n f r o n t e d not with the problem o f abundance but s u r v i v a l . " (Pepper 1984, 203) C l e a r l y , with so many p e r s p e c t i v e s on the environment, i t w i l l take time to achieve a working s y n t h e s i s o f i d e a s . I t i s e n t i r e l y p l a u s i b l e t h a t such a sy n t h e s i s w i l l i n c l u d e g r e a t e r p o l i t i c a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n and d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y . J u s t how l i k e l y i t i s t h a t d i r e c t democractic forms w i l l be i n s t i t u t e d and how e f f e c t i v e l y i t would f u n c t i o n i s , o f course, q u e s t i o n a b l e . According t o Resnick "given the s i z e and s c a l e o f modern-nation states...we must...accept the i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . " (Resnick 1990, 37) Furthermore, i n terms o f decision-making the he argues t h a t "we must not expect too much 114 good from human nature, f o r without some o v e r r i d i n g order we may end up,not with a model p u b l i c sphere, but with the chaos o f a Lebanon, i . e . a 'Hobbesian s t a t e o f nature.'" (Resnick 1990, 37) Nev e r t h e l e s s , many groups have advocated g r e a t e r p a r t i c i - p a t i o n as a means of i n s t i t u t i n g changes t h a t w i l l p r o t e c t the environment from f u r t h e r d e g r a d a t i o n . They b e l i e v e t h a t p a r t i - c i p a t i o n w i l l f o s t e r a sense of e f f i c a c y about d e a l i n g with environmental problems, and thus m o b i l i z e a more e f f e c t i v e and e n t h u s i a s t i c f i g h t i n g f o r c e . Greater p a r t i c i p a t i o n might a l s o reduce i n t o l e r e n c e between competing i n t e r e s t s and f o s t e r a g r e a t e r d e s i r e f o r compromise (although i n some sense the s i t u a t i o n i s so s e r i o u s t h a t h a l f - h e a r t e d measures would be c o u n t e r p r o d u c t i v e ) . The second major p o l i t i c a l component o f many contemporary environmental p e r s p e c t i v e s , d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y , i s a l s o p r o b l e m a t i c . T h i s b u c o l i c view of s o c i e t y , as r e f l e c t e d i n the work o f Schumacher and Bookchin, among ot h e r s , sounds wonderful i n theory, but may be dangerous i n p r a c t i c e . In f a c t , i t has been argued t h a t i t i s "not only p o l i t i c a l l y r i s k y but env i r o n m e n t a l l y unsound." (Paehlke 1989, 245) In c o n t r a s t , i t has been argued t h a t i f the pla n e t i s soon to be i n h a b i t e d by ten b i l l i o n people we may have to "accept and even welcome i n c r e a s e s i n both urban d e n s i t y and the p r o p o r t i o n o f p o p u l a t i o n r e s i d e n t i n urban areas." (Paehlke 1989, 246) According to Paehlke such problems as the 'greenhouse e f f e c t ' and a c i d r a i n may a c t u a l l y be aggravated by p o p u l a t i o n d i s p e r s i o n . High d e n s i t y urban cores are a c t u a l l y more energy e f f i c i e n t , and ensure t h a t what 115 remaining t r a c t s o f w i l d e r n e s s s t i l l remain w i l l not be e x p l o i t e d to s et up new communities. (1989, 246) The major problem, thus, i s the d i f f i c u l t y (indeed ' i m p o s s i b i l i t y ' ) o f i n c r e a s i n g p a r t i c i p a t i o n , r e d i s t r i b u t i n g wealth and d e c e n t r a l i z i n g a u t h o r i t y while at the same time ensuring environmental p r o t e c t i o n . C l e a r l y d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y can c r e a t e environmental 'ghettos' i n l e s s wealthy r e g i o n s where i t might be necessary t o s a c r i f i c e the environment i n order t o maintain the economy. C l e a r l y , many environmental problems simply cannot be solved at the l o c a l l e v e l but r e q u i r e c o o r d i n a t e d n a t i o n a l p o l i c i e s and i n t e r n a t i o n a l agreements. Imagine the d i f f i c u l t y i n v o l v e d i n reaching a comprehensive a c i d r a i n agreement when to do so r e q u i r e s agreement from thousands of independent-minded communities. The problem e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s face i s f i n d i n g a e f f e c t i v e process f o r i n s t i t u t i n g the necessary changes, without c r e a t i n g more problems than they s o l v e . Meanwhile, the d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n the environmental movement w i l l continue t o mean t h a t measures designed to p r o t e c t nature w i l l continue to be incremental and h a l f - h e a r t e d . True change w i l l o n ly occur when the c r i s i s reaches a stage whereby we simply have no other c h o i c e but to 'put the brakes on the engines o f growth.' U n t i l we r e a l l y begin t o que s t i o n the s a n i t y o f continued economic expansion and the i d e a l o g y o f consumerism, we w i l l continue to l i v e i n the shadow o f a growing environmental c a t a s t r o p h e . And i t w i l l be our c h i l d r e n who s u f f e r the consequences o f our a v a r i c e . 116 F o r Rousseau, t h e q u e s t i o n o f i n e x h a u s t i b i l i t y n e v e r e n t e r e d h i s mind. A f t e r a l l , i n h i s t i m e t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d seemed abundant, and w i t h t h e d i s c o v e r y o f new c o n t i n e n t s n a t u r e a p p e a r e d e n d l e s s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , s i n c e Rousseau b e l i e v e d n a t u r e was a r e f l e c t i o n o f God's handiwork, he argued t h a t we had a d u t y t o God t o t a k e c a r e o f i t . As a p h i l o s o p h e r who would l a t e r i n s p i r e Romantic w r i t e r s , however, Rousseau was p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e s e a r c h f o r s e l f - a w a r e n e s s , a b a l a n c e between r e a s o n and f e e l i n g t h a t would e n s u r e h a p p i n e s s ; t h e r e f o r e , he was u n d o u b t e d l y a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c , a q u a l i t y t h a t has p r o b a b l y c o n t r i b u t e d t o h i s b e i n g i g n o r e d by modern e c o - p h i l o s o p h e r s . But Rousseau d i d i n i t i a t e d i s c u s s i o n s on such c o n c e p t s as h i e r a r c h y o r t h e ' c h a i n o f b e i n g ' l a t e r a dopted by Darwin, and i n s i s t e d t h a t s e n t i e n t b e i n g s n e v e r be u n n e c e s s a r i l y harmed. Furthemore, he argued a g a i n s t e a t i n g meat ( a l t h o u g h he d i d n o t p r a c t i c e v e g e t a n a r i a n i s m h i m s e l f ) , and he d e d i c a t e d h i m s e l f t o t h e s t u d y o f botany as a means o f b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d o f n a t u r e . In a d d i t i o n , Rousseau's d e s i r e t o e s c a p e from a s o c i a l w o r l d he d e s p i s e d has d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s t o e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism, s i n c e most modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l g r o u p s , t o o , have argued a g a i n s t c a p i t a l i s m ' s emphasis on m a t e r i a l i s t v a l u e s . S i m i l a r l y , Rousseau argued t h a t t h e f a l s e needs c r e a t e d by a s o c i e t y dominated by t h e s c i e n t i f i c / m e c h a n i s t i c paradigm degraded i n d i v i d u a l s . Appearance became t h e r e a l i t y . He argued t h a t t h e o n l y s t a n d a r d s modern s o c i e t y e x a l t e d were f i n a n c i a l and c o m m e r c i a l . Wealth and m a t e r i a l w e l l - b e i n g were t h e o n l y measures o f s u c c e s s t h a t modern s o c i e t y would a c c e p t . In t h i s r e s p e c t , i t i s f o r w a r d e d t h a t Rousseau r e m a i n s r e l e v a n t t o t h e modern e r a . J u s t as Schumacher argued 117 f o r what he c a l l e d ' B u d d h i s t economics' Rousseau b e l i e v e d s o c i e t y had t o be r e - e d u c a t e d so t h a t v a l u e s such as h o n e s t y , j u s t i c e , i n n o c e n c e , i n t e g r i t y and v i r t u e would be r e g a r d e d as t h e most i m p o r t a n t . In t h i s r e g a r d , a g r e e i n g o r d i s a g r e e i n g w i t h Rousseau depends on whether one i s an o p t i m i s t o r a p e s s i m i s t r e g a r d i n g man's t r u e n a t u r e . E x p e c t i n g s o c i e t y t o e f f e c t a w h o l e s a l e change i n i t s t h i n k i n g , however, i s U t o p i a n , t o say t h e l e a s t . More l i k e l y , a 'new age' o r new way o f t h i n k i n g w i l l emerge o n l y a f t e r t h e w o r l d has s u f f e r e d t h r o u g h a s u s t a i n e d p e r i o d o f e n v i r o n m e n t a l c a t a s t o p h e s t h a t f o r c e s o c i e t y t o r e t h i n k i t s c o r e v a l u e s . Rousseau, o f c o u r s e , had a s o l u t i o n t o a l l t h e s e p r o b l e m s , but i t i s a d e c i d e d l y u n s a t i s f a c t o r y one, which i s a n o t h e r r e a s o n why he has been i g n o r e d by modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s . As d i s c u s s e d , a l t h o u g h he was a champion o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y democracy, he a l s o a d v o c a t e d a p o l i t i c a l system w i t h o u t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s n o r p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s . A l l members v o t e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f each o t h e r g u i d e d by t h e u n d e r l y i n g p r i n c i p l e o f t h e ' g e n e r a l w i l l ' which r e p r e s e n t e d t h e r e s p o n s i b l e s o c i a l a t t i t u d e i n d i v i d u a l s were supposed t o p o s s e s s . I f any p e r s o n d i s a g r e e d o r t r i e d t o a f f e c t h i s own p a r t i c u l a r w i l l , he o r she was ' f o r c e d t o be f r e e . ' T h i s l a t t e r c o n c e p t u n d o u b t e d l y unnerves t h o s e i n t h e e n v i r o n m e n t a l movement demanding l e s s p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y from t h e c e n t r a l government; a l t h o u g h , i t does seem t o have been a d v o c a t e d by t h e a u t h o r s o f t h e B l u e p r i n t f o r S u r v i v a l . Rousseau's i d e a l s t a t e , t h u s , was s m a l l , a g r a r i a n , e f f e c t i v e l y s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , and i s o l a t e d . R e s o u r c e s were c o l l e c t i v e l y owned by t h e p e o p l e t h r o u g h t h e government and 1 1 8 protected from 'over-exploitat ion'; thus, subsistence was the operative word. This Utopian state seems impossible in today's highly competitive interdependent world (although Castro's Cuba may be forced to go in this direction i f support from the Soviet Union dries up). The trend, instead, is towards greater interdependence, not less. Also, the idea of returning to a kind of 'pre- industr ia l ' society dominated by bucolic small communities operating at a subsistence level and 'enforcing' cooperation between al l members of the community is simply a 'fantasy' given the complexities and competing interests within modern society. The purpose of this thesis has been to establish a connection between aspects of Rousseau's thought and selected currents within modern environmental ism. The study was not meant to be comprehensive, but simply an analysis of general trends in the hopes that i t wi l l generate further analysis and discussion. In conclusion, i t is forwarded that Rousseau, for the most part ignored by modern ecophilosophers, has a decidedly environmentalist strain running throughout his writings. While modern environmentalist theorists tend to c i te Thoreau, Muir or Leopold as inspiration, i t is contended here that Rousseau, too, deserves recognition, regardless of his anthropocentric leanings. The adoption of Rousseauian concepts related to the man/nature relationship, his crit ique of modernism and bourgeois culture, and his emphasis on direct democracy, decentralization and small communities a l l have direct paral lels in modern environmental philosophy. Although he did not l ive to experience the explosion of the Industrial Revolution, in many 119 respects Rousseau's crit icisms of the way mankind has evolved remain relevant today and perhaps represent a warning that we ignore at our pe r i l . 120 WORKS CITED Abbott, P h i l i p . 1985. "Henry David Thoreau, the S t a t e o f Nature, and the Redemption o f L i b e r l i s m . " The Journal o f  P o l i t i c s . V o l . 47, No. 1. Feb. pp. 182-208. A l l e n , F r a n c i s H and Bradford Torrey, eds. 1962. The Journal o f  Henry David Thoreau. (14 v o l s . , 1906) 2 v o l . r p t . ed. New York: Dover. Anderson, C h a r l e s R., ed. 1973. Thoreau's V i s i o n : The Major  Essays. Englewood C l i f f s , New J e r s e y : P r e n t i c e - H a l l , Inc. Angeles, Peter A. 1981. D i c t i o n a r y o f Philosophy. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. Bahro, Rudolph. 1986. B u i l d i n g the Green Movement. Trans. Mary T y l e r . 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