On the History of Ecology
Nick Minor

Hi there…

I was/am with you pretty well up to your breakdown of what ecology is. Albeit it is possible to speculate on what ecology is and redefine it a hundred different ways, from a holistic point of view nothing is really anything — i.e. the typical ‘parts of the whole’ is actually an illusory perspective.

Nonetheless, we are stuck with the limitations of human abstract thought and so, as things are, I would be more inclined to think of ecology in a more generalised sense — the realisation that we have been headed down an evolutionary cul de sac. Of course, that hubris you mention causes the mind to dress up what is in fact a big mistake in need of urgent correction, as something rather positive.

Not wanting or intending to put a damper on your upbeat tone, I think we nonetheless need to be blunt about the fact that human culture has not as yet made a general acknowledgement of the problematic industrial path you detail. And I should mention here that I am deeply suspicious of the idea that so-called ‘green’ technologies are much more than just another way of grabbing taxes for yet another wave of industrial development.

It’s another essay, but I do feel the problems we face are rooted in evolution’s possibly fatal combination of animal instincts with powerful technologically-enabled human brains. But to end on a high note, if this is seen — however reluctant we may be to look at it — it logically opens the door to transcending our current evolutionary impasse and moving forward as a properly realised species. And never say never. The ability of people to simply follow one another down a promising road is ‘frighteningly hopeful’.

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