27 October 2010


To continue thoughts on the experience of Earth from the ground in "War in Peace" and from extra-earth space of the astronaut experience: the feminist theory of "agential realism" breaks up the ordinary, Cartesian dichotomy between subject and object and posits that material entities in a relationship are not discrete and do not exist ontologically prior to the relation. Thus Prince Andrei and Schweikert experience Earth not as an object but as only constituted in relation. They are in "Earth-relation."

This is a theory of reality that I use in theorizing spatial cognition: We are constituted as in relation to the space (the places and landscapes) we "observe" and in which we live. We are embodied, embedded, and cognize place/space as inseparable knower and known. This is the experience of Prince Andrei literally embracing Earth, and Schweikert who feels he must embrace Earth to bridge the subject/object gap.

But, this does not seem to be the condition of postmodernity, in which people experience profound dichotomous relations of subject and object, in which the world is "pictured" (Heidegger) as "out there," separate from the observer. Therein lies much of the malaise of the current human condition and concomitantly that of the planet. Existentially we live as separate, discrete beings who observe and relate to matter and ourselves as beings rather than as "becomings" in embodied/embedded "intra-relation" to the Universe.

To use the words of the Beatles, we must get back to where we once belonged--the place which we only thought we left.

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