Gaia no Antropoceno – Bruno Latour em “Uma Antropologia dos Modernos”



“Geologists are beginning to use the term ANTHROPOCENE to designate the era of Earth’s history that extends from the scientific and industrial revolutions to the present day. These geologists see humanity as a force of the same amplitude as volcanoes or even plate tectonics. It is now before GAIA that we are summoned to appear: Gaia, the odd, doubly composite figure made up of science and mythology, used by certain specialists to designate the Earth that surrounds us and that we surround, the truly global Globe that threatens us even as we threaten it.

If I wanted to dramatize – perhaps overdramatize – the ambiance of my investigative project, I would say that it seeks to register the aftershocks of the MODERNIZATION FRONT just as the confrontation with Gaia appears imminent.

At all events, we shall not cure the Moderns of their attachment to their cherished theme, the modernization front, if we do not offer them an alternate narrative… After all, the Moderns have cities who are often quite beautiful; they are city-dwellers, citizens, they call themselves (and are sometimes called) “civilized”.

Why would we not have the right to propose to them a form of habitation that is more comfortable and convenient and that takes into account both their past and their future – a more sustainable habitat, in a way? Why would they not be at ease there? Why would they wander in the permanent utopia that has for so long made them beings without hearth or home – and has driven them for that very reason to inflict fire and bloodshed on the planet?

After all these years of wandering in the desert, do they have hope of reaching not the Promised Land but Earth itself, quite simply, the only one they have, at once underfoot and all around them, the aptly named Gaia?”

“An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns”
Harvard University Press, 2013. Translated by Catherine Porter.
Download e-book at Library Genesis.


Adam and Eve (Art by Alex Grey)

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The Affects of Capitalism (full lecture)
(If you wanna skip the intro, Latour actually starts speaking at 12 min and 45 seconds.)

O Redemoinho da Existência: Palavras de Jean-Marie Guyau, Pintura de K. Hokusai, Música de Claude Debussy…

Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)

“The Great Wave”, by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)

“Perhaps there is nothing which offers to the eye and the mind a more complete and more sorrowful representation of the world than the sea. In the first place, it is a picture of force in its wildest and most unconquerable form; it is a display, a luxury of power, of which nothing else can give an idea; and it lives, moves, tosses, everlastingly without aim. Sometimes we might say that the sea is animated, that it palpitates and breathes, that it is an immense heart, whose powerful and tumultuous heaving we see; but what makes us despair here is that all this effort, this ardent life, is spent to no purpose. This heart of the world beats without hope; from all this rocking, all this collision of the waves, there results only a little foam stripped off by the wind.

I remember that, sitting on the beach once, I watched the serried waves rolling towards me. They came without interruption from the expanse of the sea, roaring and white. Behind the one dying at my feet I noticed another; and further behind that one, another; and further still, another and another – a multitude. At last, as far as I could see, the whole horizon seemed to rise and roll on towards me. There was a reservoir of infinite, inexhaustible forces there. How deeply I felt the impotency of man to arrest the effort of that whole ocean in movement! A dike might break one of these waves; it could break hundreds and thousands of them; but would not the immense and indefatigable ocean gain the victory?

The ocean neither works nor produces; it moves. It does not give life; it contains it, or rather it gives and takes it with the same indifference. It is the grand, eternal cradle rocking its creatures. If we look down into its fathoms, we see its swarming life. There is not one of its drops of water which does not hold living creatures, and all fight one another, persecute one another, avoid and devour one another… The ocean itself gives us the spectacle of a war, a struggle without truce… And yet this tempest of the water is but the continuation, the consequence, of the tempest of the air; is it not the shudder of the winds which communicates itself to the sea?

There is nothing which is not carried away by the whirlpool of cosmic existence. Earth itself, man, human intelligence, nothing can offer us anything fixed to which it would be possible to hold on – all these are swept away in slower, but not less irresistible, undulations…

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Let us imagine a ship in a storm, rising and falling by a series of curves… If at one moment of the passage the descending curve bears the ship down, and she does not rise again, it would be a sign that she is sinking deeper and deeper, and beginning to founder. Even so is it with life, tossed about on waves of pleasure and of pain: if one marks these undulations with lines, and if the line of pain lengthens more than the other, it means that we are going down. Life, in order to exist, needs to be a perpetual victory of pleasure over pain.”


JEAN-MARIE GUYAU (1854-1888)
French philosopher and poet
Esquisse d’une morale
sans obligation ni sanction

Originally published in 1884.
Quoted from the English translation,
by Gertrude Kapteyn. London, 1898.
Chapter I. Pgs. 42 – 35.

Download e-book in French or English.

“La Mer”, by Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

só se sabe que são coisas que são

Tô numa onda de assistir Life e Human Planet, séries natureba e alta-produça da BBC britânica e que são repletas de imagens bonitas de estontear. A pátria nativa de Charles Darwin (e Richard Dawkins) parece bem mais… evoluída do que outras culturas, ainda presas a caduquices teológicas/supersticiosas/criacionistas, no sentido de divulgar massivamente, utilizando os meios cinematográficos e fotográficos de ultimíssima geração, as evidências às toneladas que corroboram como verdades o cerne do evolucionismo. Acima, uma pequena seletinha de screenshots das séries, tão competentes em pintar um mosaico da complexidade e diversidade febricitantes da vida: paisagens, flores, jellyfishs, estrelas-do-mar, ocelots, abelhas mamando néctar em girassóis, macacaquinhos… e gente. Tudo junto e misturado como é nisto que é. São imagens que, dentre muitas outras, me fascinam, me deixam boquiaberto ou me despertam o lado bucólico-idílico-kitsch. Mas que, sobretudo, chamam a atenção para o quão estarrecedor e infinitamente complexo é o processo de Evolução das Espécies [by the means of natural selection…], que como uma clareza completa revela-se não como uma mera teoria, mas uma força concreta, uma realidade natural, em ação há centenas de milhões de anos, e do qual somos apenas um dentre milhões de outros resultados.