Comparative Perspectives on Utopia - Proceedings of Synapsis: European School of Comparative Studies XI
Edited By Florian Mussgnug and Matthew Reza
Nature as Definitive Utopia, or the End of the Subject
← 130 | 131 → FRANCESCO GIUSTI
Nature has always had a particular status in our culture: compared to any human creation, it has an ontological and epistemological priority, maybe even superiority. However, in order to transcend it people have to participate in the natural order, and the desire for nature is the desire for something not-made, not created by people.1 In this sense it is the essential utopia, a space where people could live naturally without artifice and mediation. But is this really feasible?
The uncertain status of humankind within the created world, both inside nature, as a part of it, and outside, as its interpreter, is an essential part of Western culture. Myths expressing the desire for an ideal harmony between humankind and nature, such as the Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise, the Golden Age and also the modern scientific stories of the boy or girl growing up among wolves or apes, show the extent to which this problematic relation is profoundly felt in Western society which seems to progressively leave nature apart and create a second nature for its own survival. But the survival of this successful creation does not easily coincide with a meaningful existence.
Nature is not a product of human techne, it is something we participate in but as partially external observers who both share its inner biological processes and, at the same time, are called to explore and understand it as an object of knowledge. We must learn how...
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