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Libidinous ecology

Peak Libido
Forfatter: Dominic Pettman
Forlag: Polity (Storbritannia)
CRISIS: Is nature in its essence erotic? And has capitalism – which will make us desire more of everything – overused our very capacity for desire?

As the third volume in a trilogy on intimacy and ecology, Dominic Pettman's Peak Libido is an attempt to deal with the ecological crisis in a bodily and sensory way. The search for health and balance in the semi-civilized human animal's relationship to itself and its surroundings. This is part of a long story that Pettman points out began long before Freud, but which revolves around his notion of our unruly libido, which must be tamed and controlled – albeit doomed to remain a frustration, a repressed and unfortunate savagery – the discomfort of the culture.

If ecological crises stem from a predation on a nature we have not bothered to understand, it is possible that this reflects another crisis in dealing with ourselves and each other: At the end of the book, Pettman summarizes the diagnosis just like that, with a pronounced reference to a certain climate denier in the White House: “We have lost touch with the world, and as a result we have become grasping, groping monsters. »

The vital pre-modern understanding of nature

In a search for answers on how we can regain contact with ourselves, each other and nature, Pettman resorts to a re-reading of theories about nature and the body from antiquity to our own time – not only to find answers, but in a search for dangerous misleading and misunderstanding.

A mechanistic understanding of nature from Descartes og Newton, which reduces everything and everyone to calculable objects subject to cause and effect, is gradually becoming a well-known target in (deep) ecological thinking. Instead of indulging in this lament, Pettman refreshingly throws himself into the vital understanding of nature that came before the mechanistic thinking of modern science, of which Freud is also a part. This pre-modern legacy is perpetuated in radical philosophers of desire as Wilhelm Reich, Deleuze og Guattari og Battles eroticism.

According to Pettman, there is not so much talk of eroticizing the relationship with nature as understanding that nature in its essence is erotic – if we can only understand it in the right way. Here come the oldest thinkers. . .

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Anders Dunker
Philosopher. Regular literary critic in Ny Tid. Translator.

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