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Alienation and the Siren Song of Nature
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Ethical Perspectives: Journal of the European Ethics Network vol. 14 no. 4 (Dec. 2007)
Dialectic of Enlightenment
Perpustakaan Pusat (Semanggi)
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In this article we discuss Adorno's and Horkheimer's hermeneutical interpretation of Odysseus' encounter with Circe in their Dialectic of Enlightenment. This encounter is futher interpret-via the ecofeminist homology between women and nature - as an answer to "the siren song of nature," in which the elements of attraction and threat to human subjectivity are deeply intertwined. Whereas his crew gives int o the siren song and expreiences the pleasure of being swine, enlightened Odysseus himself reisists the temptation by forcing Circe to establish a contract with him, the prototypical marriage that leads to the schizophreinc mythification of housewife and prostitute. It will be argued that there exists towards nature in late-modernity a homologous stance - that of environment and wilderness. Based on these assumptions, we are able to draw a few conclusions that are relevant for the wilderness-debate in general and the plea for widerness restoration in particular. First of all, I accept the social-constructivist arguemnt of the inaccessibility of pristine,w ild nature, as I argue there is an ontological alienation from nature that cannot be overcome. Indeed, it appears that the Marxist distinction between first nature and second (humanized) nature affiliates with social-constructivist assumptions. Nevertheless, I seek to avoid the moral indifference often implied by social-consturcitivsm by employing Adorno and Horkheimer's eudaemonist critique of enlightenment, and argue that another, historically determined form of alienation from nature operates in the background. Although Adorno and Horkheimer do nto provide us with practical measures to effect a reconciliation of humanity and nature, they do provide us with a conceptual instrument to critique certain tendencies within our society's ecological policy.
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