Wed, Aug 8, 2007, 4:03am All of Us
Nature » Environment » Philosophy
C
ommunication is a strange business. There is some vague sense of internal collection to the psychology of, in this case, reading and writing. It's something I'll refer to as "we." We are not quite a group of human beings in the biological sense. There is something about what we are up to which escapes being identified just with these creatures that we are closely associated with. Yet we are not something specific in any case. We take on little roles and ride the momentum of the many effects of perception and language. We all nudge the conversation this way and that, but no one's in charge, though there are instigators.

So what am I getting at, in productive terms? In discussing what should be done in the world, we can role-play in many different ways. What "we" are can shift around and can give us some freedom in our discussions if we let ourselves break up the narrative into many roles. We can try to speak more directly for homo sapiens, for instance, or even cells and genes.

When speaking about environmental matters, we can speak directly as the abused health of animals caused by that mass set of activity which we are also intimately involved in. One need not take on just one role here, nor should we claim that if only some subset of us were in charge we could make this world a better place. It's not clear how the reigns of power work, and how one goes from moral and ideological judgments to the many levels of daily activity that in turn create the problems we are faced with.

We need to figure out the mechanisms where communication can leverage the tools at its disposal to get things done which the many levels of organization centered around human activity will fight against (economics, religion, languages, cultures, pleasures, fears, etc).

As a small example, one could say, from the view of human health, that we need to strangle the economic and cultural forces that keep the so-called fast food businesses going so well. As another example, we could speak out that it's not always ok to perpetuate lineages of relatively unfit human animals, despite the cultural, moral and linguistic forces that make this taboo. And we could also speak from the voice of an integral part of the ecosystem that despite how good fish can be for human health, we are over-fishing the oceans at a terrible pace and need to cut way back. Again, it is a sacrifice only from a subset of our perspectives.

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