Skip to content
February 27, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

How to answer one of the more abusive and vague alternatives to anthropocentrism.

Also, in my opinion, several parts of the card are very good at anticipating potential affirmative objections to the Kritik.[/quote]
Yeah….I would definitely take issue with some of these issues:
1. Letting be is paralysis. Letting be with respect to the aff specifically is tantamount to paralysis. The so-called balance can’t solve that back.
2. The balance is vague & is tantamount to 2ac or 2NC re-planning–and even 2Nr and 2AR re-planning which kills debatability. Vagueness allows the alternative to be coopted, because we don’t know what it is or what it isn’t–which creates a race to the bottom due to radical indeterminacy.
3. Perm-perms solves the balance.
4. Letting be as a precedent is roll-back–or as an ethical principle is roll-back. Roll-back hurts the environment & the biosphere. (or some impact to rollback)

Avoiding roll back & paralysis = net benefit to the perm & the aff.

Kind of a double-bind…..mostly between 1 and 2. But 2 is certainly independently problematic for the K.


Beyond Anthropocentrism
John Seed

But the time is not a strong prison either.
A little scraping of the walls of dishonest contractor’s
Through a shower of chips and sand makes freedom.
Shake the dust from your hair. This mountain sea-coast
is real
For it reaches out far into the past and future;
It is part of the great and timeless excellence of things.1

“Anthropocentrism” or “homocentrism” means human chauvinism. Similar to sexism, but substitute “human race” for “man” and “all other species” for “woman.” Human chauvinism, the idea that humans are the crown of creation, the source of all value, the measure of all things, is deeply embedded in our culture and consciousness.
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all that moveth on the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hands they are delivered.2
When humans investigate and see through their layers of anthropocentric self-cherishing, a most profound change in consciousness begins to take place. Alienation subsides. The human is no longer an outsider, apart. Your humanness is then recognized as being merely the most recent stage of your existence, and as you stop identifying exclusively with this chapter, you start to get in touch with yourself as mammal, as vertebrate, as a species only recently emerged from the rainforest. As the fog of amnesia disperses, there is a transformation in your relationship to other species, and in your commitment to them.

What is described here should not be seen as merely intellectual. The intellect is one entry point to the process outlined, and the easiest one to communicate. For some people however, this change of perspective follows from actions on behalf of Mother Earth. “I am protecting the rainforest” develops to “I am part of the rainforest protecting myself. I am that part of the rainforest recently emerged into thinking.” What a relief then! The thousands of years of imagined separation are over and we begin to recall our true nature. That is, the change is a spiritual one, thinking like a mountain,3 sometimes referred to as “deep ecology.”

I am that part of the rainforest recently emerged into thinking.

As your memory improves, as the implications of evolution and ecology are internalized and replace the outmoded anthropocentric structures in your mind, there is an identification with all life. Then follows the realization that the distinction between “life” and “lifeless” is a human construct. Every atom in this body existed before organic life emerged 4000 million years ago. Remember our childhood as minerals, as lava, as rocks? Rocks contain the potentiality to weave themselves into such stuff as this. We are the rocks dancing. Why do we look down on them with such a condescending air? It is they that are the immortal part of us.4

If we embark upon such an inner voyage, we may find, upon returning to present day consensus reality, that our actions on behalf of the environment are purified and strengthened by the experience.

We have found a level of our being that moth, rust, nuclear holocaust or destruction of the rainforest gene pool do not corrupt. The commitment to save the world is not decreased by the new perspective, although the fear and anxiety which were part of our motivation start to dissipate and are replaced by a certain disinterestedness. We act because life is the only game in town, and actions from a disinterested, less attached consciousness may be more effective. Activists often don’t have much time for meditation. The disinterested space we find here may be similar to meditation. Some teachers of meditation are embracing deep ecology5 and vice versa.6 Of all the species that have existed, it is estimated that less than one in a hundred exist today. The rest are extinct.

We are the rocks dancing.

As the environment changes, any species that is unable to adapt, to change, to evolve, is extinguished. All evolution takes place in this fashion. In this way an oxygen-starved fish, ancestor of yours and mine, commenced to colonize the land.

The human species is one of millions threatened by imminent extinction through nuclear war and other environmental changes. And while it is true that the “human nature” revealed by 12,000 years of written history does not offer much hope that we can change our warlike, greedy, ignorant ways, the vastly longer fossil history assures us that we can change. We are the fish, and the myriad other death-defying feats of flexibility which a study of evolution reveals to us. A certain confidence (in spite of our recent “humanity”) is warranted. From this point of view, the threat of extinction appears as the invitation to change, to evolve. After a brief respite from the potter’s hand, here we are back on the wheel again. The change that is required of us is not some new resistance to radiation, but a change in consciousness. Deep ecology is the search for a viable consciousness. Surely consciousness emerged and evolved according to the same laws as everything else. Molded by environmental pressures, the mind of our ancestors must time and again have been forced to transcend itself.

To survive our current environmental pressures, we must consciously remember our evolutionary and ecological inheritance. We must learn to “think like a mountain.”

Threat of extinction is the potter’s hand that molds all forms of life.

If we are to be open to evolving a new consciousness, we must fully face up to our impending extinction (the ultimate environmental pressure). This means acknowledging that part of us which shies away from the truth, hides in intoxication or busyness from the despair of the human, whose 4000-million-year race is run, whose organic life is a mere hair’s breadth from finished.7 A biocentric perspective, the realization that rocks will dance, and that roots go deeper than 4000 million years, may give us the courage to face despair and break through to a more viable consciousness, one that is sustainable and in harmony with life again.

Protecting something as wide as this planet is still an abstraction for many. Yet I see the day in our own lifetime that reverence for the natural systems — the oceans, the rainforests, the soil, the grasslands, and all other living things — will be so strong that no narrow ideology based upon politics or economics will overcome it.8

As Arne Naess, the “father” of deep ecology notes “The essence of deep ecology is to ask deeper questions. . . . We ask which society, which education, which form of religion is beneficial for all life on the planet as a whole.”9


Vote negative to let being be – this is a direct negation of the willful and violent power of machination that understands power and violence as intrinsic characteristics of being. Releasement from the violence of will allows the earth to disclose itself to us in a totally new ontological context.
Joronen 2011
, Mikko, “Dwelling in the Sites of Finitude: Resisting the Violence of the Metaphysical Globe,” Antipode Vol. 00 No. 0, online
According to the first sense …; de Beistegui 2007:8, 16; ˇ Ziˇzek 2006:282–283)

According to the first sense of rejecting, letting-be indicates a radical negation of the domain of the power of machination, a negation that interrupts its total and perfectly functioning unfolding (cf. Davis 2007:303). In its first sense, then, Gelassenheit means a leap that breaks open in the midst of the planetary power of machination through negation, by rejecting. It happens as a breaking open into the primordial freedom of abyssal being, into the openness prior to the freedoms and acts of a subject. Thus, this comportment of rejecting eventually brings out the abyssal groundlessness of being, which according to Heidegger works as an abundant reservoir that “grants us the possibility of dwelling […] in a totally different way” (1966a:55). In its second sense, then, Gelassenheit intimates a possibility of a mode of being radically other than willing, a release from the grasp of limitless power- and profit-seeking, a futural force of transformation that eventually offers what Heidegger calls the “other beginning” based on abyssal “time-space-play” of the Event of being (see Heidegger 1958:188, 2000:4, 60–61, 181, 2006:84–86).

It is the other beginning of being that signifies a radical revolution against the prevailing rule of the manipulative power of planetary machination. The other beginning is a power-free revolution that comes from a play of being, from a sudden turning (Kehre) in being, and thus is in its essence something that is not achieved by the revolutionary and utopian acts of will (Caputo 1970:39). The human “letting”, the lassen of Gelassenheit, therefore presents no acceptance of plain fate, but a middle way beyond the distinction between passivity and activity (Heidegger 1966b:61). It points out that we, human beings, can let being transform: even though the transformation comes from the turning of being, being cannot transform by itself without the letting-be of human being. Hence, as a relation between being and human being, power-free letting-be does not lead to the opposition of power, to powerlessness, since it always has the force of letting-be, a force that is beyond the violent power and its absence, powerlessness (Heidegger 2006:165–167). Letting-be then has a force of fundamental transformation that does not measure anything on a scale of power, because power and violence (and thus their absence) merely indicate the deletion of the original non-violent and power-free openness of the abyssal earth-site. It is this inaugural openness that requires us “to let” being transform, that is to say, it requires letting that takes place as a play over the abyssal ground, as a play that allows the primordial mechanism being begins the unfolding through its happening. This play does not encounter power just by changing power relations, balances, dispositions or power forms; it lets being unfold out of the groundless openness without restoring it into power. As Ziarek (2002:180) points out, with a notion about fundamental power-free openness Heidegger does not just avoid Nietzschean but also Hobbesian emphasis on violence and power as constitutive conditions of being: power and violence are just particular metaphysical determinations of being, which hide the fundamental abyssal openness and thus the possibility of a power-free other beginning. Moreover, such non-violent letting also differs fundamentally from violent modes of resistance supported, for instance, by Žižek: instead of constituting violent counter-powers, power-free letting-be opens up a non-violent mode of resistance, an “an-archic” thinking based on groundless and abyssal being that lets things on earth emerge on their own (see Armstrong 2008; de Beistegui 2007:8, 16; Žižek 2006:282–283).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: