Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology

By William Ophuls

In this provocative demand a brand new ecological politics, William Ophuls begins from an intensive premise: "sustainability" is most unlikely. we're on an commercial Titanic, fueled via swiftly depleting shares of fossil hydrocarbons. Making the deck chairs from recyclable fabrics and feeding the boilers with biofuels is futile. in spite of everything, the send is doomed by way of the legislation of thermodynamics and via the implacable organic and geological limits which are already commencing to pinch. Ophuls warns us that we're headed for a postindustrial destiny that, despite the fact that technologically subtle, will resemble the preindustrial earlier in lots of vital respects. With Plato's Revenge, Ophuls, writer of Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity, envisions political and social modifications that might result in a brand new natural-law politics in line with the realities of ecology, physics, and psychology.

In a dialogue that levels generally -- from ecology to quantum physics to Jungian psychology to jap faith to Western political philosophy -- Ophuls argues for an primarily Platonic politics of cognizance devoted to internal cultivation instead of outward growth and the pursuit of perpetual progress. we'd then in attaining a lifestyle that's materially and institutionally uncomplicated yet culturally and spiritually wealthy, one within which humanity thrives in concord with nature.

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Their conventional procedure used to be no longer destroyed or forgotten in the course of their short flirtation with the hot faith, and reconversion used to be as a result effortless. Others haven't been so lucky. probably the main tragic example of well-meaning intervention long past awry comes from the arid African Sahel, the place automatically minded specialists, confident that growth used to be being impeded via the “obvious” loss of water, drilled artesian wells for the neighborhood pastoralists. however the enlargement of flocks and herds made attainable via considerable water proved to be a deadly development.

The sages, prophets, poets, and philosophers who've long gone opposed to the grain of civilization by way of urging women and men to pursue knowledge and advantage rather than wealth and gear have normally agreed at the capability essential to this finish. all of them predicted a fashion of residing that's materially and institutionally uncomplicated yet culturally and spiritually wealthy— and hence extra in general loose, egalitarian, and fraternal than lifestyles in advanced societies dedicated to non-stop accumulation and enlargement. The case for fabric and institutional simplicity takes numerous varieties.

50 hence, even supposing he used to be usually contemptuous of collectivities, Jung however sided with Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor: Psychology ninety three Collective identities are crutches for the lame, shields for the timid, beds for the lazy, nurseries for the irresponsible; yet they're both shelters for the bad and vulnerable, a house port for the shipwrecked, the bosom of a family members for orphans, a land of promise for disenchanted vagrants and weary pilgrims, a herd and a secure fold for misplaced sheep, and a mom delivering nourishment and development.

25 past rational clarification lies an enormous realm of silence—“Whereof one can't communicate, thereof one has to be silent,” stated Wittgenstein—that includes all that's 80 bankruptcy four most vital to us as people. 26 briefly, with no an emotionally gratifying tale, the common human being easily has no solution to the riddle of lifestyles and dying and is consequently susceptible to lapse right into a country of non secular vertigo. This explains why ideology has any such tenacious grip at the sleek brain. missing a coherent delusion through which to reside, humans have desperately solid approximately for a alternative.

Final yet no longer least, simply because God is useless and purely instrumental cause counts, all authority and orientation were overthrown—so women and men have misplaced not just their highbrow and religious bearings yet even the skill in which to take them. The five nice ills of civilization consequently became evils that threaten the continuing life of human society. Ecological exploitation has degenerated into the systematic and 4 Prologue ruthless abuse of nature, inflicting an sped up degradation and depletion of our traditional milieu.

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