|Working with the reference point of Nietzsche’s ‘be true to the earth’ I wonder whether whether Nietzsche’s injunction is sufficient in the current context of environmental degradation? With the need for an ethics of responsibility I turn to very disparate texts from philosophy, ecology and indigenous thought. They range from Luce Irigaray’s Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche, to Callum Coats’ Living Energies , and a poem from Aotearoa-New Zealand in the Hone Tuwhare collection Deep River Talk, ‘The River is an Island.’ |
In Marine Lover Irigaray takes up the complex position of engaging with Nietzsche in the intimate dialogue of lovers, while also taking a position of critique, because she detects, in Nietzsche’s symbolism of the earth and high mountains in Zarathustra, the ressentiment which he so ardently refutes and seeks to transcend.
The desire to ‘overcome man’, that is to overcome the paradigm of mastery which is necessary to become true to the earth, springs from the need to move from the framework of binary opposition to a mode of relationality. In Irigaray’s view Nietzsche’s respect for the earth is embedded in the solitary mode of Zarathustra, the overman, and the ‘hard’ ‘solid’ structures of patriarchal mastery. Zarathustra lacks relationship with woman, which is, metaphorically, a condition for human creativity and regeneration. He also lacks qualities of fluidity which she attributes to feminine qualities, the movement and flow of water and the tidal rhythms of the ocean which is governed by the moon.
With reference to Irigaray’s symbolism of water, this paper will explore the relational qualities that ‘becoming true to the earth’ invites. The exploration will be informed by thoughts on Responsibility and philosophy of ecology. It will include engagement with indigenous approaches to the earth. Hone Tuwhare’s poem has the enchantment of an indigenous eye for symbolism and personification of the natural world.
(22-pages word document, available below)