This is extreme
In what way are plants still our allies, as many of the radical botanists we study suggest? How can they be engaged as such?
Going from a post about humor and seriousness to this… It’s funny to me, and at the same time I do think we should be serious about plants. They’re living beings, and they’re forgotten. Go back to the Greeks for genealogy? Why settle for humans at all?
We’re so far away from them it isn’t easy to relate. They are alive. You might even say that we’ve carelessly “exploited” them throughout history without thinking much of it.
This is radical botany, in which plants are not just objects of manipulation but participants in the effort to imagine new worlds and to envision new futures.
Real inclusion has never been tried. What a bunch of fascists honestly. Zero empathy. It’s possibly the truest form of xenophobia there is.
Let the plants speak
These texts and images do not or do not just anthropomorphize or zoomorphize plants in order to explore their ways of living otherwise.
Would it be possible to say that plants have a vulgar form of being? Even some animals it doesn’t seem wrong to apply the term “crude” to. Filthy animals. Are plants even filthier? What kind of form of life is that, what are you doing, you live in the ground? Whatever, I’m trying to understand you as a cousin right now. Maybe it’s better to live in the ground? Hunting and gathering, that can be stressful. Did plants all of a sudden decide to pull their roots up and start walking on them? “Haha I’m gathering my distant family now and using them for nourishment instead of light.”
There does seem to be a nobility and beauty to plants, relative to the dirt they grow in.
If you ask a shaman they’ll tell you plants have spirits. I genuinely wonder- “What is that like?” They’re a cross between matter and consciousness. So is everyone, all the way up to someone like Badiou who tells us we don’t know what we’re talking about when we use the word “infinity”. Am I a plant to even say that word in scare-quotes?
The history of humanity could be seen as a revolt against plants. It was a revolution, we guillotined the king who was forcing us to be immobile in the earth. More than animals, we do not want to be like plants. We think society is defined by not being animal-like, and we can go one step further. Plants live such humble, humiliating lives we don’t think about them at all.
we argue that it is only by acknowledging plants’ participation in the modern period (from early to late) that we can open up speculative possibilities to reject their mere instrumentalization.
“I know what you’re trying to imply, that I’m no different from a plant!” I never said that. You can walk, can’t you? Okay, you probably have anxiety too, that’s probably a post-plant thing. What is anxiety really? I’d say it’s the feeling we have when we don’t think we’re doing enough. Plants do, humans do- what do humans do? It seems like they’re anxious about doing something meaningful. When I think about “what’s meaningful?” I remember what someone said about what Finnegans Wake attempts “doing”
to restructure the world, reinvent religion, and recreate God
That’s the far end of the continuum. Humans that can’t do that might as well be plants. They mostly have anxiety about being accepted into the pre-restructured world’s religion. So there are different types of “meaning”. When I try to empathize with a plant I imagine “numbness” and I get a similar sense when I try to empathize with “the garden of humanity”. The light of society is meaningful to them I guess, it keeps them green. Cheap entertainment keeps them green, that’s just their way of life. I don’t care about being green, I want to be a human. “Being part of society IS being human.” You can’t admit there’s something plant-like about it? Might as well still be immobile and bound to the earth.
This is how many in society find meaning today
Either the plant is regarded as primarily an object of knowledge and thus objectifed remains inaccessible in its alterity, or the plant is granted the capacities that are shared by animals and humans, which results in a kind of misrecognition of its “true” nature, destined to be formulated in human terms that are foreign to it.
This is what the ones who believe themselves to be the “most advanced plants on earth” think their form of “growing in soil” is about- affirming the nature of the lesser plants and even appropriating that nature. That IS a pretty fancy plant that can do that.
This maps so well onto the prog worldview
How is it possible to understand the plant without deliberately or inadvertently likening it to humans
It’s a movement toward “animate matter”. Beings of unthinking impulse- one could describe a plant that way, no?
Humor, seriousness, the seriousness of humor. A new level of dehumanization unlocked. “It’s a plant! And they want to be more like plants!” Spot the lie, because I’m not joking.
Plants are undeniably lively and animate— they move, nourish themselves, reproduce, engage in marvelously complex chemical signaling, sense, relate to an external world, and even, as some claim, display intelligence—yet they cannot be said to possess a point of view or a consciousness that we recognize and that recognizes us in return.
“Save the plants, save the plants!” Progs can be seen to be somewhat sentient in that at least. That’s about as far as their subjectivity goes unfortunately, and we can only expect them to seem more plant-like as time goes on.