Abstract: In Brief Enlightenment thinking is coming to an end. The “Anthropocene” claims to step beyond the dualism of man–nature opposition. Culture is everywhere. This might be an opportunity for sustainable action: saving nature becomes a cultural endeavour. However, the salute to anthropocene stewardship masks the silent enclosure of life within technoculture and bioeconomy. Civilization still operates as if reality is about organizing inert, dead matter in efficient ways. It is impossible to achieve sustainablity with our prevailing “operating system” for economics, politics, and culture if the underlying “bios”—our unconscious assumption about reality—remains tied to an ideology of dead matter. On a profound level, nature is threatened by ignoring the principles of fertile, imaginative interpenetration, which shape existence. The real opportunity of the “Anthropocene” is to create a new bios for our thinking—an “Enlivenment.” This means to understand that man and nature pertain to a reality creating embodied processes of transformative relationships, expressive meaning, and true inwardness in biological subjects. The scope of the Enlivenment perspective is comparable to the shift in modern physics which realized that any observer is entangled with the system being observed. Biological entanglement happens emotionally and experientially through shared aliveness with other living subjects. The according “policy of life” strives for a civilization in which institutions and economic practices follow the maxim that life shall be. A policy of life struggles to liberate subjects from the colonization by the ideology of dead matter, granting them the right to embodied agency and to meaningful experience. This is not easily achieved, as it requires a deep change in our perception of reality. The “bios” of “Enlivenment” will require a long-term commitment comparable to the struggle for universal human rights.
Solutions Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, December 2015, p.58-65.