Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Annals of Cultural Studies KUL 2/2023

Ecology in culture

At the root of the devastation and destruction of the natural environment lies not only thoughtlessness, but also the pollution and deformation of thinking. If the interpretation of reality is incomplete or deformed, the entire application of science and technology, as well as our relationship to the world of persons as well as to nature as a whole and our actions will be destructive. Here is the source of the devastation of the environment and the dehumanisation of culture.

As J. Ratzinger shows, man's attitude towards reality has changed throughout history - evolving from contemplatio to actio: in antiquity and the Middle Ages, what mattered was the truth about being (being is truth); in modernity, thanks to thinkers such as G. Vico and Descartes, what mattered was the truth about facts (verum est factum), i.e. only what we ourselves do is cognisable. Heidegger distinguished between calculative and deliberative thinking and expressed his concern that in our epoch calculative thinking has triumphed and that man is threatened by thoughtlessness and flight from thinking, from reflection on the meaning of his existence. Descartes' dualism of the soul - a thinking thing (res cogitans) and the body - a tensile thing (res extensa) - directed the attention of science and technology towards matter, abandoning the realm of the spirit. This led to a crisis of morality and philosophy and science treated as tools for processing the world entailed the instrumentalisation of man himself. Although there has always been such a danger, today - as never before - the world, together with man, appears as a material transformed by technology. Utilitarian aims have subordinated the well-being of the world of persons, nature and things to themselves and have led to their devastation.

Instead of teaching people to understand and know the world - science manipulates them. In the words of Heidegger - thinking and knowing have thus ceased to be man's "home of being". Science, technology and culture were supposed to be the liberation of man, but paradoxically, they have subjugated him: "The exploitation of man that is taking place today is already the end, if once again thinking and poeticising do not come to a power that is free of violence. Our human experience here or history [...] shows that all that is essential and great arose only from the fact that man was somewhere settled and rooted in a certain heritage." (M. Heidegger, List o „humanizmie”, w: Budować, mieszkać, myśleć. Eseje wybrane, przeł. J. Tischner, W-wa 1977).

A holistic view and understanding of the world is the basis for responsible action and behaviour. Right thinking is the ecologist's tool in his concern to protect nature, the world of plants, animals and people. The proposal to resolve this crisis is to restore the full truth about man and the world. A man polluted in his interior - is a man without intellectual and moral virtue - and such a man is responsible for the pollution of his environment (oikos). The restoration of a correct understanding of the world of persons and things, plants and animals - and thus the cleansing of the pollution of false ideologies - is the task of humanistic ecology.