Living in a Living World

By Chris Fields and Davor Džalto

What happens when we drop our pretense of specialness and think of ourselves as organisms interacting with other organisms?

Current events offer us an opportunity to reflect on the fact that we are organisms. Our differences from other organisms make us different, but not special. For corona virus, we are habitat. We are dangerous, unstable habitat. We are, for corona virus, what the planetary environment is for us. It bears thinking about.

We are in the "world" but the "world" we are in is also a representation for us, that our brain creates for us. How does this affect our perception of our "special" or "not special" place in the world (and vis-a-vis other organisms)? Is there something special about the way in which "living" beings are present in the world, as opposed to "non-living" things? What are the challenges of "dehumanizing" the world (treating everything, including ourselves as "objects" of some kind) as opposed to "humanizing" the world (treating "objects/beings" in the world we way we expect humans to be treated)?

Are we a virus (destroying the planet)? Is there a connection between our visions/representations of disasters (as in, for instance, dystopian movies) and present/future crises and disasters (caused by human and non-human factors)?

This talk is hosted by Jeanric Meller.

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