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Spectral Depth

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Deep ecology holds that profound inner transformation is a necessary part of entering an ecological age and building a society that includes nonhuman lifeforms in meaningful ways. I am going to argue that this is definitely the case, and that the shock of realizing the truth of the Anthropocene amounts to a first step on a pathway that one might accurately see as ‘spiritual,’ if only for its profundity—though certainly not for any disengagement with the political.What this transformation amounts to in part is a new way of experiencing ‘selfhood’ or the ‘inner self’ (or whatever we want to call it). This new mode sees existence to contain a necessarily spectral dimension. While it obviously makes reductionist forms of materialism untenable, such a dimension also troubles some of the ideas we might have about spirituality. I seek to show how the spectral is a vital element of being an ecological being, and argue that this spectrality affects how we conceptualize all kinds of other domains, such as ethics, politics and art.

Affiliations: 1: Rice University


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