Extracts from a text penned by philosopher Emanuele Coccia for the Triennale Milano in 2020 reflecting on the concept of ecology and home

by Emanuele Coccia

(…) Sars-Cov-2, this tiny fairy-tale creature (or rather SF creature) has not killed hundreds of thousands of lives, but has also caused the suicide of political life as we have known and practiced it for centuries. It has forced humanity to start a strange experiment in global monasticism: we are all anchorites who have retreated into their private space.

We are left with our homes: it doesn’t matter whether they are small or large or apartments or real houses. Everything has become home. Which is not necessarily good news. Our houses do not protect us. They can kill us. You can die from excess of home.
Home has been our obsession for centuries. We live there, we spend a lot of time there. And above all, we see home and households everywhere, we pretend that all nonhuman creatures have a relationship to space equivalent to what we call home or household.

One of the results and evidence of this obsession with home is ecology. Ecology is not the science that seeks to study the mutual relationship of all living beings with each other, and of these with their environment, but also and above all the ideological projection of this domestic obsession on non-human beings. Already because of its name – ‘ecology’ literally means ‘science of the household’ – all ecology is dominated by this metaphor.

(…) The image of the household proved useful because it immediately expressed the evidence and the need for a reciprocal relationship between all living people: all are part of an enormous house and an immense family. However, it is also problematic. First of all, this image is the heart of all patriarchy. Ecology does not realize this, but it continues to be in essence a patriarchal mythology, regardless of all the efforts made by eco-feminists. In antiquity as today, the house is a space in which a series of objects and individuals respect an order, a disposition that aims at the production of a utility and that is subject to the power of an individual. To say that life on the planet is a great house means that it respects that order and that each element that composes it produces a form of utility by virtue of that order. From this point of view ecology shares the same origin, the same vocabulary and the same conceptual structure with the capitalistic economy. Ecology will never save us from neoliberalism. (…)

So... is this getting serious?

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