When Things Take Time

The immensity of the effort that must be made, the necessity of again putting into question all of the values to which we are attached, of returning to a new barbarity in order to break with the polite and camouflaged barbarity that serves as our civilisation, the unknown toward which we direct ourselves—for we absolutely do not know what man could be—the terrible violence that the inequality in the satisfaction of needs provokes, the enslavement to things, the governance of things, as well as the dialectic proper to technology, the inertia, finally, the fatigue: everything would contribute to putting off the realization of such a movement to the time of reckoning of a dream (or of blood), if the pressure of needs did not represent a force, a reserve of great duration. One could say that the speed of the movement’s progression is surprising, but in any case, time is required for it…[1]

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Technology at the Service of Environmental Ethics: Hypertext and Multicentrism

Technology is often perceived as an antithesis to nature and as such is incorporated into the cultural side of the nature-culture dichotomy. The various environmental movements often tend to simplify this binary and perceive it in moral terms, assigning nature the role of the good, the fragile, while labelling culture (and thus technology) as the bad, the destructive. However, various media and technologies have always been used either to promote the environmental movement or to make changes in diverse industries to make them more ecologically friendly; hence to make a real difference in the ongoing ecological crisis. This paper focuses on cases where technology was, and possibly is, at the service of environmental ethics, a branch of ethics concerned “with human beings’ ethical relationship with the natural environment.”[1] Using an example of the role of photography at the beginning of the modern environmental movement, this paper discusses the connections between hypertext theory and contemporary ecological thinking, specifically Anthony Weston’s concept of multicentrism.

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Washington, 25 August 2019. Scenario: A lunatic is in the White House. Like a slow-motion car crash, the US administration embarks on a catastrophic trade war with China, the systematic sabotaging of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a series of proxy wars with Iran, & nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea. At the point of maximum tension, the President directs the Joint Chiefs of Staff to deploy atomic weapons against a hurricane tracking westward across the Caribbean threatening landfall at the President’s golf resort in Florida. Were this a film, it could only be the worst type of science fiction & few would believe it. But what if it were real?

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