Advertisement

Relational Ecologists Facing “the End of a World”: Inner Transition, Ecospirituality, and the Ontological Debate

  • Jean Chamel
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability book series (PSAS)

Abstract

Ecologists are often depicted as prophets of doom and ridiculed for their apocalyptic views. The study of a French and Swiss network of engaged intellectuals of “relational ecology” gives a more complex picture. Expecting the end of a world, rather than the end of the world, and inspired by the Transition Towns movement they are advocating for a metamorphosis that requires radical political changes and personal transformation. Closely related to deep ecology and to ecopsychology, such ecospirituality links the fate of Gaia, viewed as a living entity, to an “Inner Transition.” Organicism, the experience of transmutation, and the idea of universal correspondences throughout the “web of life” are elements of this ecospirituality that can be related to esotericism. This cosmovision echoes the “ontology of analogy” of Philippe Descola. Promoting a “continuity of interiorities” beyond the “continuity of physicalities” of modern naturalism, relational ecology may disclose an analogism that challenges Descola’s ontological framework.

References

  1. Albert, Jean-Pierre. 2009. “Les animaux, les hommes et l’Alliance”. L’Homme 189: 81–114.  https://doi.org/10.4000/lhomme.21997.
  2. Argyrou, Vassos. 2005. The Logic of Environmentalism: Anthropology, Ecology and Postcoloniality. Studies in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology. New York  and Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bird-David, Nurit. 1999. “‘Animism’ Revisited: Personhood, Environment, and Relational Epistemology”. Current Anthropology 40 (S1): S67–91.  https://doi.org/10.1086/200061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bisson, David. 2013. “Esotérisme, nature et spiritualité: Variations autour de la notion d’‘écologie spirituelle’”. In Nature et religions, ed. Ludovic Bertina, Romain Carnac, Aurélien Fauches, and Mathieu Gervais, 163–72. Paris: CNRS Editions.Google Scholar
  5. Brightman, Marc, and Jerome Lewis, eds. 2017. The Anthropology of Sustainability. Beyond Development and Progress. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. www.palgrave.com/de/book/9781137566355.
  6. Bruckner, Pascal. 2011. Le fanatisme de l’apocalypse: sauver la Terre, punir l’Homme. Paris: Grasset.Google Scholar
  7. Capra, Fritjof. 1997. The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York and London: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  8. Chamel, Jean. 2016. “Visions du monde des écologistes catastrophistes: entre attente de la fin d’un monde et retrait hors du monde”. In Processus de légitimation entre politique et religion: Approches historico-culturelles et analyses de cas dans les mondes européen et extra-européen, ed. Silvia Mancini and Raphaël Rousseleau, 281–298. Paris: Editions Beauchesne.Google Scholar
  9. Chamel, Jean. 2017. “« On est tous des composts ». Discours et pratiques écologistes autour des déchets organiques et des toilettes sèches”. Tsantsa 22: 89–94.Google Scholar
  10. Chamel, Jean. 2018. “« Tout est lié ». Ethnographie d’un réseau d’intellectuels engagés de l’écologie (France-Suisse): de l’effondrement systémique à l’écospiritualité holiste et moniste”. Doctoral thesis, Université de Lausanne.Google Scholar
  11. Choné, Aurélie. 2016. “Écospiritualité”. In Guide des humanités environnementales, ed. Aurélie Choné, Isabelle Hajek, and Philippe Hamman, 59–71. Environnement et société. Villeneuve-d’Ascq: Presses universitaires du Septentrion.Google Scholar
  12. Cohn, Norman. 1957. The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation Europe and Its Bearing on Modern Totalitarian Movements. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  13. Descola, Philippe. 2005. Par-delà nature et culture. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  14. Descola, Philippe. 2013. Beyond Nature and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  15. Descola, Philippe. 2014a. La composition des mondes: entretiens avec Pierre Charbonnier. Documents et essais. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
  16. Descola, Philippe. 2014b. “The Difficult Art of Composing Worlds (and of Replying to Objections)”. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4 (3): 431–443.  https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.3.030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diamond, Jared M. 2005. Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed. New York: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  18. Dupuy, Jean Pierre. 2002. Pour un catastrophisme éclairé: quand l’impossible est certain. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  19. Faivre, Antoine. 2007. L’ésotérisme. Que sais-je? 1031. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  20. Feuchtwang, Stephan. 2014. “Too Ontological, Too Rigid, Too Ahistorical but Magnificent”. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4 (3): 383–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hanegraaff, Wouter J. 1998. New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hartog, François. 2014. “L’apocalypse, une philosophie de l’histoire?” Esprit (6): 22–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kervasdoué, Jean de. 2007. Les prêcheurs de l’apocalypse: pour en finir avec les délires écologiques et sanitaires. Paris: Plon.Google Scholar
  24. Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Latour, Bruno. 2017. “Why Gaia Is Not a God of Totality”. Theory, Culture & Society 34 (2–3): 61–81.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276416652700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lovejoy, Arthur O. 1936. The Great Chain of Being. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Lovelock, James E. 1986. La Terre est un être vivant: l’hypothèse Gaïa. L’esprit et la matière. Monaco: Le Rocher.Google Scholar
  28. Lovelock, James E. 1988. The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth. Commonwealth Fund Books. New York  and London: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  29. Lovelock, James E., and Lynn Margulis. 1974a. “Homeostatic Tendencies of the Earth’s Atmosphere”. Origins of Life 5 (1–2): 93–103.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00927016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lovelock, James E., and Lynn Margulis. 1974b. “Atmospheric Homeostasis by and for the Biosphere: The Gaia Hypothesis”. Tellus 26 (1–2): 2–10.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2153-3490.1974.tb01946.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meadows, Donella Hager, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens. 1972. The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. London: Earth Island.Google Scholar
  32. Moore, Henrietta L. 2017. “What Can Sustainability Do for Anthropology?”. In The Anthropology of Sustainability, ed. Marc Brightman and Jerome Lewis, Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability, 67–80. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.  https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56636-2_4. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morin, Edgar. 2008. On Complexity. New York: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  34. Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. 2014. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rosnay, Joël de. 2014. Le macroscope: vers une vision globale. Points, 80. Essais. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  36. Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner, eds. 1995. Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco: Counterpoint.Google Scholar
  37. Sahlins, Marshall. 2014. “On the Ontological Scheme of Beyond Nature and Culture”. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4 (1): 281–290.  https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.1.013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Servigne, Pablo, and Raphaël Stevens. 2015. Comment tout peut s’effondrer: petit manuel de collapsologie à l’usage des générations présentes. Anthropocène. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  39. Stuckrad, Kocku von. 2005. “Western Esotericism: Towards an Integrative Model of Interpretation”. Religion 35 (2): 78–97.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.religion.2005.07.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tainter, Joseph. 1990. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Tan, Gillian G. 2012. “Re-examining Human-Nonhuman Relations Among Nomads of Eastern Tibet”. Working Papers Series Two No. 38. Geelong, VIC: Deakin University. http://dro.deakin.edu.au/view/DU:30049195.
  42. Tertrais, Bruno. 2011. L’Apocalypse n’est pas pour demain: pour en finir avec le catastrophisme, Médiations. Paris: Denoël.Google Scholar
  43. Vullierme, Jean-Louis. 1989. Le concept de système politique, Politique d’aujourd’hui. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  44. Worsley, Peter. 1957. The Trumpet Shall Sound: A Study of “Cargo” Cult in Melanesia. London: Macgibbon & Kee.Google Scholar
  45. Yates-Doerr, Emily, and Annemarie Mol. 2012. “Cuts of Meat: Disentangling Western Natures-Cultures”. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 30 (2): 48–64.  https://doi.org/10.3167/ca.2012.300204.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Chamel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Département Homme et Environnement, Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance
  2. 2.Institut d’Histoire et Anthropologie des Religions, Université de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations