| Von Glasersfeld's answers - November 2007  |

 
 
 


QUESTION:
 
Dear Prof. von Glasersfeld,

My name is John Campion and I am a poet, an ecotropic poet to be exact.
Ecotropics argues that for human culture to be healthy, it must find an
ecological niche.

I have been reading some Varela and some Matturana. I have tried to work
some autopoeitic concepts into my work, but want to know plainly if you
think the field has something deep to offer ecology (ecotropics).

I'm thinking about putting together a course at Berkeley next Fall in
Ecotropics (through the English dept.) And perhaps do a forum on ecology
and human culture. Do you think someone in Autopoeitcs would be
appropriate. If so, could you recommend someone?

thank you very much,
John Campion

 

ANSWER:

Dear Mr. Campion,

I, too, am worried about the future of human society. I am ninety years old now and that surely is one reason why I am pessimistic. I have little hope that we will find our "ecological niche". Insofar as the cultures of the Western World made such a quest possible they were not egalitarian and they have been demolished by television which reduces everything to the lowest denominator. Unlike the lemmings, we don't have the genetic good sense to migrate into suicide when there are too many of us. The dinosaurs apparently needed a meteor to extinguish them, we'll do it all by ourselves, and we'll take much of the other fauna with us.
 
I don't think autopoiesis or radical constructivism can do anything about it. Both say that we are responsible for our experiential word, but who is listening?

Try Maturana. He may be more encouraging.

 
Best wishes,

 
Ernst von Glasersfeld

 

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