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A Valentine’s Day meditation from LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

What is love in the anthropocene?

In this book of five linked stories, philosopher Dale Jamieson and novelist Bonnie Nadzam investigate love amid the human despoliation of our planet: love emerges as what defines us, and may well save us.

love in the anthropocene header image

from Love in the Anthropocene, the Coda:

Across cultures, languages and centuries, love has shown itself as a flux of shifting beliefs, feelings, ideas, actions, and cultural meanings rather than as a timeless concept with a universal essence. In its various forms and manifestations, it is the subject of centuries’ worth of painting, music, and poetry, and some of the world’s major religious traditions claim it as their focal point and common ground. It has inspired war, peace, civil and human rights movements, and is the subject of intellectual inquiries ranging from history, philosophy, and sociology to psychology, neuroscience, and biology. Love takes diverse objects including friends, parents, partners, pets, children, places, nature, and countries. Most of us care deeply about having love, losing it, getting more of it, wondering whether we give enough of it, struggling to understand what it is, when it is healthy and appropriate, and on and on and on. For many of us, love is a central preoccupation of our lives. Everything else can seem a waste of time.

Most of us would say that love is constant, whatever else it is; fair weather love is no love at all. And we would insist that the beloved—whether partner, parent, child, or pet—is irreplaceable. We may come to love a second partner, child or pet, but these are distinct loves, each with their own story, not just another installment in our own domestic lives.

Hovering in the background behind these declarations of all-important, constant, irreplaceable love, is the often inchoate recognition that any particular love of ours is radically contingent, even though what love demands seems highly specific to the one we love. . . .

What makes loving so hard to understand and even harder to practice? The novelist-philosopher Iris Murdoch points to an answer when she writes, “Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”

Spend this Valentine’s Day—where else—in the good and constant company of some eco-futurist fiction and philosophy! For a limited time, take 40% off Love in the Anthropocene with coupon code CODA.*

Further Reading

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“The Energy Humanities Podcast” DALE JAMIESON on Cultures of Energy

Friday, August 5th, 2016

“Dale posits love as the antithesis of narcissism and describes why contact with the real is so much more important than enveloping ourselves in fantasy. We talk hierarchy and class and why the Anthropocene will be better for some than for others.”

To hear more, visit CENHS

DALE JAMIESON and Roy Scranton discuss the anthropocene at City Lights

Monday, February 8th, 2016

To listen, visit City Lights.


Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Dale Jamieson explains the ever-present role of nature in interpersonal relationships:

“Part of what the book is really trying to present us with is the idea that the relationship between two people necessary involves a relationship to nature. It’s not accidental or a byproduct. And that’s coming up again in ‘Holiday’ as well. Because nature is never absent. Even a degraded nature is still asserting itself in the relationships of these three women. Both in that fact that they have to actually come to a fantasy place to escape the realties of nature. And also because their imagination of nature is also informing what is they’re experiencing in their fantasy.”

To listen to the rest of the interview, visit KCRW.

Reality Sandwich provides an exclusive excerpt of LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Advertisements for New Harmony had been accurate. Bring your hungry, your traumatized, your bored, your restless, your longing to forget. It was as green and vibrant a city as any of them could have imagined. There were lakes, gardens, schools, restaurants, shops, museums, and yes, an ocean complete with a necklace of islands and a pounding surf of beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-sized waves dissolving in a white lace of clean sea foam on golden sands.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Reality Sandwich.

“From my point of view there is little reason to write if you’re not communicating with someone who in some important way is not like you.” DALE JAMIESON explains why he co-wrote LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

In your forthcoming book Love In The Anthropocene, you use fiction and essays to imagine a future where the environment has been profoundly altered by climate change. What made you want to explore this topic through fiction and essays?

The first climate change paper I wrote in 1988 talked about how bloodless and abstract scientific concepts such as “global mean surface temperature” are, and said that if you want people to understand what it would be like to live in a climate change world you would have to write stories. It took me about 30 years to get to it, but finally the stories are here!

Stories can do many things that my academic writing cannot do nearly as successfully. The two most important to me are these.

First, climate change is happening in a world in which lots of other things are happening, too—technological change, growing inequality, political unrest, and so on. What happens to professors is that we fixate on the particular topic of our own research (e.g., climate change, ethnic conflict, whatever), and then act as if that’s the only thing that’s going on in the world. That’s part of why so many of us are bores at parties (“Enough about me,” says an academic at a party, “what do you think of my book?”). Writing stories forces you to think more holistically.

The second thing I’m especially interested in is what you might call “the banality of climate change.” It was the psychologist Daniel Kahneman who first got me thinking about this. He’s talked and written a lot about why it is that disabled people tend to report higher levels of subjective happiness than non-disabled people would imagine. Part of the answer, according to Danny, is because, disabled or not, most of us think about love, money, jobs, and so on rather than our disabilities or lack of them. Our abilities and disabilities are things that we mostly take for granted—they are part of the baseline from which we judge our happiness. On the other hand, when you ask people to imagine what it would be like to be in some other physical state than they one they are actually in (e.g., paraplegic), they focus laser-like attention on that state, and so exaggerate its importance. I started thinking that something like is true when we think about climate change. For most people climate change will become part of the baseline. In a climate change world, middle class people will think about what they think about in this world—jobs, status, money, and so on, with of course love being at the center. It might be harder to get these things in the world we’re creating—and for people at the bottom the suffering will broaden and intensify—but unless the absolute worst scenarios come true, for many well-off people climate change will just be part of the background of their lives. This is very hard to express outside of fiction in a way that is both compelling, and also conveys how truly horrifying this really is, at least to me.

To read the rest of the interview, visit New York Institute for the Humanities.

“Original and highly creative” LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE praised on Sabotage Reviews

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Overall Love in the Anthropocene is an original and highly creative look at the future we are currently creating for ourselves. Instead of exaggerating the stories into tales of a wild dystopia, the two authors use gentle details that affect the reader on a basic emotional level and are perhaps even more disturbing than a disaster novel.

To read the rest of the review, visit Sabotage Reviews.

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