A passage from a book review has been stuck in my head for the past few days
Although he doesn’t talk about ecomodernism as such, a nice feature of McCarraher’s book is that he captures the sense in which future-heralding techno-progress versus present-focused conviviality is not a new debate, its present form going at least as far back as the 19th century and probably much further. And it’s not really about technology, either. It’s more of a religious debate about how you prefer your sacraments – convivially among friends, family and known existing places, in the embrace of small shrines accreted with a weight of local meaning? Or portentously among the heavens, seeking a Promethean unity with the gods that gladly annihilates the solidity of the local and the presently existing?
The book is called The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity and this quotation makes me see very clearly what the author might be arguing. Obviously faith and finance go way back, but what was the crypto crash (like all speculative bubbles) if not the self-annihilation of proseltyzing universalists?
The iconoclastic belief that dematerializing technology will save us is very familiar to me. Conviviality and local shrines are less so–or maybe they aren’t. I’ve always enjoyed local scenes, cuisines, attachements, places. The weird mix of ownership and affectionate resentment that people get when they talk about their bars, bands, buslines. Those can’t be too far off from sacraments, right?
And if they aren’t, then I’m honestly wondering about the relationship between not just design and ecology, but design, ecology and the sacred.