Thursday, July 08, 2010

Democracy Now! today. Vandana Shiva is fucking insane...

Democracy Now! just broadcast and you had Vandana Shiva ranting and raving about science and the narrowness of science, in the context of Geoengineering, and saying that global warming and the immediate threat of global warming doesn't matter, in the face of someone who has actual proposals to make the world better. Not that they're necessarily the right proposals, but they're based on empirical facts nonetheless. All this might sound strange coming from someone who just recently criticized scientistic thinking and advocated going back to a more holistic viewpoint such as that believed in by the people of the Renaissance. But the problem isn't the scientific method or science as an abstract pursuit, the problem is the cultural context in which science exists, which draws on philosophy from the 18th century that doesn't necessarily have real validity. When you talk about 'science' in the United States there's a lot of cultural baggage that comes with it that doesn't have to be there, in other words. What Vandana Shiva was doing was using the cultural context that science exists in to shoot down the actual objective work that people have been engaged in, suggesting that no science whatsoever is valid if it appears to violate Shiva's pet ideology.

The last interchange between Gwynne Dyer and Vandana Shiva was interesting. In the face of an immediate threat to human life caused by climate change, that will intensify over a tipping point in the next decades if something isn't done about it, Shiva questioned the ideology of immediacy, just as she questioned the importance of global warming because mother earth would adapt, and suggested that if all farming worldwide changed to organic farming it could be done in three years. Yeah. If all the farming in the entire world changed to organic farming. Think about that for a second. Here you have objective proposals about how to stop global warming versus pie in the sky thinking about how something that would likely require a social revolution, or several social revolutions globally, in order to take place. And Dyer ended by suggesting that if Vandana Shiva was the dictator of the world and could change land ownership in a second she could do it, which Shiva responded to by sputtering about "The Young! The young people!" that they'll do it.

I don't particularly have any feelings about Geoengineering, but there's nothing in Shiva's critique of it that couldn't be applied to almost any large scale science based attempt to stop climate change, no matter how well considered, and I think that that's pretty unreasonable to say the least. In fact, I'm restraining myself from saying what I really think about it.

To go on, there's quite a difference between science as a pursuit, what might be part of the culture of doing science, and the effect of classical scientific ideology on society as a whole. Science itself can go against the sort of deterministic mindset that came out of the 18th century. The culture that science exists in can similarly change to be more accommodating of critical views of the deterministic model. What's the most hard to change is the effect of this cultural ideology on the greater society at large. It appears, though, that in some circles of science, particularly those dealing with the environment, the critique of deterministic thinking is gradually getting more of a hearing, which demonstrates that not all science and large scale projects dependent on science are therefore by definition bad.

57 comments:

Julian Real said...

You really go out of your way to inaccurately misrepresent, in rather sexist ways, what Dr. Shiva, a scientist, philosopher, and author of a book you obviously haven't even read the back cover of, said on Democracy Now.

What you recall her saying vs. what she says tells me a whole lot more about you than it tells me about what she said. It's sexist of you to only refer to her as raving, ranting, and sputtering. Your misogyny is showing.

To actually deal with what she did say, which isn't anti-science at all, and offers many solutions, not one very culturally biased one that is pie in the sky like Dyer's, see here:

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/7/8/a_debate_on_geoengineering_vandana_shiva

Next, you might try posting in response to her actual words, but please read her book first.

Your commentary here demonstrates a glaringly Western patriarchal bias in favor of subjective and highly problematic concepts like "objectivity" and being "reasonable". You might want to learn more about that bias of yours, so you know when its operative in your written work.

John Madziarczyk said...

Wow, so I can't say that someone was acting insane if they're female? Have you listened to the interview? She was shouting at him, going at a mile a minute, wouldn't let him get a word in edge wise. She was literally screaming at him. Yes, she was acting insane. Western patriarchal bias doesn't exactly cut it when someone is fucking up so bad that it's apparent to anyone but the most dedicated believer that there's a problem. I don't need to read her book to react to the interview she gave. That should be able to stand on its own. Otherwise, you're just engaged in special pleading for her. Please save your comments about my bias unless you have something to say besides things based on your own ideology and not on objective facts.
- Show quoted text -

Julian Real said...

And when do we get to the part where you quote her and respond to her words?

Or do you just want to skip over that part, so you can come across as a sexist jerk, calling a woman ranting, raving, and sputtering?

What do you HEAR in her upset? What do you hear it in? When a woman is angry with a man, what do you HEAR in that anger?

That's partly what I'm asking you. And, I'm asking you to write responsibly, in response to what someone says, not in reaction to how they sound to you. Why can't you respond to what she says by quoting her directly?

Would that be so difficult to do? Wouldn't your case be made stronger by you doing that?

John Madziarczyk said...

Yeah, okay, I did quote some of what Vandana Shiva said. The guy said that we need action for climate change now and that we can't wait, Vandana Shiva said that we could potentially switch the entire world to organic agriculture in three years, after which, when the guy tried to object that while this was maybe nice theoretically it was absurdly unlikely to happen she started screaming at him again, and quite frankly not making much sense since she started talking about how the kids, the kids would do it.

This doesn't make much sense because the kids that are doing organic agriculture are unlikely to switch the entire world's agricultural system to organic in three years, to say the least. The guy, Gwynne Dyer, was pointing to a time frame with 2040 being it, at which point there's nothing we can do to change it. He made the point that if Vandana Shiva was the dictator of the world she could do it, to which Shiva said very loudly "But I wouldn't be the dictator!", which kind of misses the point. Unless we can organize a world wide revolution in thirty years, that totally and completely alters land distribution and the power structures associated with it the scenario of moving to totally organic agriculture is sort of distant.

A lot was made about the hubris of science, and that he was promoting disruption of the natural world, but, from a public speaking standpoint, she clearly failed and failed severely, which casts doubt on the arguments that she uses, even though in another context and in another presentation they might seem less completely out of the box impossible to live up to.

But, then, I'm being objective, which I shouldn't be.

Julian Real said...

And what ELSE did she say, John. You've summarised about one minute (or less)--the last moment of the rushed-to-end show.

I'm curious why you don't quote the REST of what she said, which was far more sophisticated, complex, radically critical, grounded in REALITY, than the geoengineering nonsense he was talking about. She called him on it and he had no good rebuttal--at all.

Why don't you quote THE REST of her statements. Why not post the whole transcript, also found here, and let the readers make up their own minds, rather than seeing things through your ignorant eyes? Because you leave out the BULK of what she says--why is that??

Take, for example, this:

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, three thoughts. The first is, it is the idea of being able to engineer our lives on this very fragile and complex and interrelated and interconnected planet that’s created the mess we are in. It’s an engineering paradigm that created the fossil fuel age that gave us climate change. And Einstein warned us and said you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. Geo-engineering is trying to solve the problems of the same, old mindset of controlling nature. And the phrase that was used, of cheating, let’s cheat—you can’t cheat nature. That’s something people should recognize by now. There is no cheating possible. Eventually the laws of Gaia determine the final outcome. But I think the second thing about geo-engineering is, we’ve just had the volcano in Iceland, yes it was Iceland. And look at the collapse of the economy. And here are scientists thinking that’s a solution? Because they are thinking in a one dimensional way. Linear issue of global warming, anything to do with global cooling. I work on ecological agriculture. We need that sun light for photosynthesis. The geoengineers don’t realize sunshine is not a curse on the planet. The sun is not the problem, the problem is the mess of pollution we are creating. So again we can’t cheat.

And the final issue is, that these shortcuts that are attempted from places of power, and I would add places of ignorance, of the ecological web of life, are then creating the war solution because geo-engineering becomes war on a planetary scale with ignorance and blind spots, instead of taking the real path, which is helping communities adapt and become resilient. That’s the work we do in India. We save the seeds that will be able to deal with sea level rise or cyclones so that we have soil tolerant varieties; we distributed them after the tsunami. Last year we had a monsoon failure. But instead of sending armies out, we distributed seeds. And the farmers who had seeds of millets had a crop. The farmers who were waiting for the green revolution chemical cultivation had a crop failure. So building resilience and building adaptation is the human response, it’s the ecological response. And we don’t have to panic. The panic and fear is coming out of ignorance.

Julian Real said...

And what ELSE did she say, John. You've summarised about one minute (or less)--the last moment of the rushed-to-end show.

I'm curious why you don't quote the REST of what she said, which was far more sophisticated, complex, radically critical, grounded in REALITY, pro-democracy, sustainable, and sensible than the geoengineering nonsense he was talking about. She called him on it and he had no good rebuttal--at all.

Why don't you quote THE REST of her statements. Why not post the whole transcript, also found here, and let the readers make up their own minds, rather than seeing things through your ignorant eyes? Because you leave out the BULK of what she says--why is that??

Take, for example, this:

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, three thoughts. The first is, it is the idea of being able to engineer our lives on this very fragile and complex and interrelated and interconnected planet that’s created the mess we are in. It’s an engineering paradigm that created the fossil fuel age that gave us climate change. And Einstein warned us and said you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. Geo-engineering is trying to solve the problems of the same, old mindset of controlling nature. And the phrase that was used, of cheating, let’s cheat—you can’t cheat nature. That’s something people should recognize by now. There is no cheating possible. Eventually the laws of Gaia determine the final outcome. But I think the second thing about geo-engineering is, we’ve just had the volcano in Iceland, yes it was Iceland. And look at the collapse of the economy. And here are scientists thinking that’s a solution? Because they are thinking in a one dimensional way. Linear issue of global warming, anything to do with global cooling. I work on ecological agriculture. We need that sun light for photosynthesis. The geoengineers don’t realize sunshine is not a curse on the planet. The sun is not the problem, the problem is the mess of pollution we are creating. So again we can’t cheat.

And the final issue is, that these shortcuts that are attempted from places of power, and I would add places of ignorance, of the ecological web of life, are then creating the war solution because geo-engineering becomes war on a planetary scale with ignorance and blind spots, instead of taking the real path, which is helping communities adapt and become resilient. That’s the work we do in India. We save the seeds that will be able to deal with sea level rise or cyclones so that we have soil tolerant varieties; we distributed them after the tsunami. Last year we had a monsoon failure. But instead of sending armies out, we distributed seeds. And the farmers who had seeds of millets had a crop. The farmers who were waiting for the green revolution chemical cultivation had a crop failure. So building resilience and building adaptation is the human response, it’s the ecological response. And we don’t have to panic. The panic and fear is coming out of ignorance.

Julian Real said...

And what ELSE did she say, John. You've summarised about one minute (or less)--the last moment of the rushed-to-end show.

I'm curious why you don't quote the REST of what she said, which was far more sophisticated, complex, radically critical, grounded in REALITY, than the geoengineering nonsense he was talking about. She called him on it and he had no good rebuttal--at all.

Why don't you quote THE REST of her statements. Why not post the whole transcript, also found here, and let the readers make up their own minds, rather than seeing things through your ignorant eyes? Because you leave out the BULK of what she says--why is that??

Take, for example, this:

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, three thoughts. The first is, it is the idea of being able to engineer our lives on this very fragile and complex and interrelated and interconnected planet that’s created the mess we are in. It’s an engineering paradigm that created the fossil fuel age that gave us climate change. And Einstein warned us and said you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. Geo-engineering is trying to solve the problems of the same, old mindset of controlling nature. And the phrase that was used, of cheating, let’s cheat—you can’t cheat nature. That’s something people should recognize by now. There is no cheating possible. Eventually the laws of Gaia determine the final outcome. But I think the second thing about geo-engineering is, we’ve just had the volcano in Iceland, yes it was Iceland. And look at the collapse of the economy. And here are scientists thinking that’s a solution? Because they are thinking in a one dimensional way. Linear issue of global warming, anything to do with global cooling. I work on ecological agriculture. We need that sun light for photosynthesis. The geoengineers don’t realize sunshine is not a curse on the planet. The sun is not the problem, the problem is the mess of pollution we are creating. So again we can’t cheat.

And the final issue is, that these shortcuts that are attempted from places of power, and I would add places of ignorance, of the ecological web of life, are then creating the war solution because geo-engineering becomes war on a planetary scale with ignorance and blind spots, instead of taking the real path, which is helping communities adapt and become resilient. That’s the work we do in India. We save the seeds that will be able to deal with sea level rise or cyclones so that we have soil tolerant varieties; we distributed them after the tsunami. Last year we had a monsoon failure. But instead of sending armies out, we distributed seeds. And the farmers who had seeds of millets had a crop. The farmers who were waiting for the green revolution chemical cultivation had a crop failure. So building resilience and building adaptation is the human response, it’s the ecological response. And we don’t have to panic. The panic and fear is coming out of ignorance.

Julian Real said...

And what ELSE did she say, John. You've summarised about one minute (or less)--the last moment of the rushed-to-end show.

I'm curious why you don't quote the REST of what she said, which was far more sophisticated, complex, radically critical, grounded in REALITY, than the geoengineering nonsense he was talking about. She called him on it and he had no good rebuttal--at all.

Why don't you quote THE REST of her statements. Why not post the whole transcript, also found here, and let the readers make up their own minds, rather than seeing things through your ignorant eyes? Because you leave out the BULK of what she says--why is that??

Take, for example, this:

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, three thoughts. The first is, it is the idea of being able to engineer our lives on this very fragile and complex and interrelated and interconnected planet that’s created the mess we are in. It’s an engineering paradigm that created the fossil fuel age that gave us climate change. And Einstein warned us and said you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. Geo-engineering is trying to solve the problems of the same, old mindset of controlling nature. And the phrase that was used, of cheating, let’s cheat—you can’t cheat nature. That’s something people should recognize by now. There is no cheating possible. Eventually the laws of Gaia determine the final outcome. But I think the second thing about geo-engineering is, we’ve just had the volcano in Iceland, yes it was Iceland. And look at the collapse of the economy. And here are scientists thinking that’s a solution? Because they are thinking in a one dimensional way. Linear issue of global warming, anything to do with global cooling. I work on ecological agriculture. We need that sun light for photosynthesis. The geoengineers don’t realize sunshine is not a curse on the planet. The sun is not the problem, the problem is the mess of pollution we are creating. So again we can’t cheat.

Julian Real said...

And the final issue is, that these shortcuts that are attempted from places of power, and I would add places of ignorance, of the ecological web of life, are then creating the war solution because geo-engineering becomes war on a planetary scale with ignorance and blind spots, instead of taking the real path, which is helping communities adapt and become resilient. That’s the work we do in India. We save the seeds that will be able to deal with sea level rise or cyclones so that we have soil tolerant varieties; we distributed them after the tsunami. Last year we had a monsoon failure. But instead of sending armies out, we distributed seeds. And the farmers who had seeds of millets had a crop. The farmers who were waiting for the green revolution chemical cultivation had a crop failure. So building resilience and building adaptation is the human response, it’s the ecological response. And we don’t have to panic. The panic and fear is coming out of ignorance.

OR THIS:

VANDANA SHIVA: You know my last book, “Soil, Not Oil” I talk about the fact that, you know, the oil culture has given us climate change. And if we continue in that same paradigm, the only next step is eco-imperialism. Grab what remains of the resources of the poor and take it to create insularity, and a false defense of security. Because the planet is interconnected, our lives are interconnected. The rich cannot isolate themselves in islands of defense against a planetary instability. The other option is earth democracy, as I talk about it. Now those who have power and money and those who are driven by greed and injustice are now seeking to grab the land of the poor. It’s happening on a very large scale in Africa, it’s happening in India. The World Bank is promoting it because this is a very false idea, that large-scale farms will help us with food security with all the details showing smaller farms produce more food. So if you have to be food secure, you’d better be small. Diversified farms can deal with climate change much better because if one crop doesn’t do well, some other crop will do fine. And the monoculture of large farms will be more vulnerable to climate collapse. And, of course the biggest issue is half the world farms, you can’t rob them of their livelihoods.

Julian Real said...

Forget the running out of water and climate wars related to water wars, you’re going to have, you’re already having in India, as a result of the land grab, in this case more for mining and industry, what we’re seeing is a war within. And Operation Green Hunt has been launched by the government in order to clean out the lands to be able to grab the lands on behalf of corporations. We talked about the Kashmir crisis and the shootouts. But those scenes are taking place in every remote tribal area today. And that issue of war for resources, that as long as you’re powerful you have the right to grab anyone’s resources and you have a right to use all kinds of illegitimate violence, that militarized mindset that I say comes from capitalist patriarchy, is really at the root of so many of our problems which is why we need to feel at home with nature and we need to recognize that the resources of the earth belong to all, have to be shared. In the land rights of the poor defenseless indigenous person is the biggest peace initiative of today and it’s the biggest climate issue of today.

And this:

VANDANA SHIVA:
[T]he problem is that geoengineering is an experiment. It is not a solution. And you cannot experiment in such a violent way without full assessment of the impact. And as I said, just a simple thing a blocking the sun’s rays is a problem for the planet. Its a problem for humanity…

GWYNNE DYER:—You’re talking 1% I mean you are talking one percent-–

VANDANA SHIVA: But iron filings—

GWYNNE DYER:—I don’t like iron filings-–…that is ridiculous.

VANDANA SHIVA: But iron filings in the ocean-–

GWYNNE DYER:—that is ridiculous.

VANDANA SHIVA:—Reflectors in the sky? Or Artificial Volcanoes.. But thats [inaduble]. Everyone of them, if the solution is looked at, all its spinoffs, in a full ecological way, and a full social impact, what does it mean? And the most important thing is its undemocratic. I think the crisis of the climate is so serious that people need to be involved. The problem of geoengineering or genetic engineering is a bunch of experts sitting with a bunch of corporations saying we’ll decide on behalf of the people. That is part of the problem. That is why I really respect Evo Morales, he called the people of the world after the collapse of Copenhagen, and said the people will decide the solution.

And this:
GWYNNE DYER: The people of the world will not decide you know that and I know that. This is not..

VANDANA SHIVA:—But they are deciding.

GWYNNE DYER: I havn’t noticed yet—–.

VANDANA SHIVA: Well there’s a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth that came out of that amazing gathering that we need to shift to an earth centered paradigm—rathter than an arrogant, narrow, reductionist, mechanistic science, expert-based paradigm. [and you fail to note how much he interrupts her constantly, even though he's already had a whole segment to sputter out his "experimental" nonsense].

Source:
here and here.

Why don't you note what an obnoxious fool Gwynne Dyer is and what a jerk he looks like and sounds like? Is it because you think he "makes sense" with all his experimental nonsense?

John Madziarczyk said...

Wow, thanks for posting the transcript. She sounds more rational when the person who had to wade through her talk puts it in order. But the thing is, that besides this:

"[T]he problem is that geoengineering is an experiment. It is not a solution. And you cannot experiment in such a violent way without full assessment of the impact. And as I said, just a simple thing a blocking the sun’s rays is a problem for the planet. Its a problem for humanity…

"Reflectors in the sky? Or Artificial Volcanoes.. But thats [inaduble]. Everyone of them, if the solution is looked at, all its spinoffs, in a full ecological way, and a full social impact, what does it mean? And the most important thing is its undemocratic. I think the crisis of the climate is so serious that people need to be involved. The problem of geoengineering or genetic engineering is a bunch of experts sitting with a bunch of corporations saying we’ll decide on behalf of the people. That is part of the problem. That is why I really respect Evo Morales, he called the people of the world after the collapse of Copenhagen, and said the people will decide the solution."

All of it besides this and a few other short sentences is rhetoric so general that it could be used to defeat any proposal coming out of the scientific community whatsoever. Aren't electric cars the product of a reductionist, mechanistic, science, expert-based paradigm? Isn't the EPA, the thing regulating pollution in the United States, as well as the equivalents in Europe and in the United Nations, then subject to "arrogant, narrow, reductionist, mechanistic science, expert-based paradigm", even though there are people in there who are doing their best to try to come up with solutions to the whole thing based on objective, experimentally verified, science, that shows results---and that doesn't just make us feel good about ourselves by being nice and holistic. Unless you can separate the honest efforts on behalf of the environment being done by people who want to change things from folks who want to do stuff that might have bad unanticipated consequences, you, in my opinion at least, don't have much of a leg to stand on. And you undercut your thesis by then relying (presumably) on the very scientists that you're condemning for data on global warming, information on pollutants, etc..

John Madziarczyk said...

Wow, thanks for posting the transcript. She sounds more rational when the person who had to wade through her talk puts it in order. But the thing is, that besides this:

"[T]he problem is that geoengineering is an experiment. It is not a solution. And you cannot experiment in such a violent way without full assessment of the impact. And as I said, just a simple thing a blocking the sun’s rays is a problem for the planet. Its a problem for humanity…

"Reflectors in the sky? Or Artificial Volcanoes.. But thats [inaduble]. Everyone of them, if the solution is looked at, all its spinoffs, in a full ecological way, and a full social impact, what does it mean? And the most important thing is its undemocratic. I think the crisis of the climate is so serious that people need to be involved. The problem of geoengineering or genetic engineering is a bunch of experts sitting with a bunch of corporations saying we’ll decide on behalf of the people. That is part of the problem. That is why I really respect Evo Morales, he called the people of the world after the collapse of Copenhagen, and said the people will decide the solution."

All of it besides this and a few other short sentences is rhetoric so general that it could be used to defeat any proposal coming out of the scientific community whatsoever. Aren't electric cars the product of a reductionist, mechanistic, science, expert-based paradigm? Isn't the EPA, the thing regulating pollution in the United States, as well as the equivalents in Europe and in the United Nations, then subject to "arrogant, narrow, reductionist, mechanistic science, expert-based paradigm", even though there are people in there who are doing their best to try to come up with solutions to the whole thing based on objective, experimentally verified, science, that shows results---and that doesn't just make us feel good about ourselves by being nice and holistic. Unless you can separate the honest efforts on behalf of the environment being done by people who want to change things from folks who want to do stuff that might have bad unanticipated consequences, you, in my opinion at least, don't have much of a leg to stand on. And you undercut your thesis by then relying (presumably) on the very scientists that you're condemning for data on global warming, pollution, etc..

John Madziarczyk said...

Wow, thanks for posting the transcript. She sounds more rational when the person who had to wade through her talk puts it in order. But the thing is, that besides this:

"[T]he problem is that geoengineering is an experiment. It is not a solution. And you cannot experiment in such a violent way without full assessment of the impact. And as I said, just a simple thing a blocking the sun’s rays is a problem for the planet. Its a problem for humanity…

"Reflectors in the sky? Or Artificial Volcanoes.. But thats [inaduble]. Everyone of them, if the solution is looked at, all its spinoffs, in a full ecological way, and a full social impact, what does it mean? And the most important thing is its undemocratic. I think the crisis of the climate is so serious that people need to be involved. The problem of geoengineering or genetic engineering is a bunch of experts sitting with a bunch of corporations saying we’ll decide on behalf of the people. That is part of the problem. That is why I really respect Evo Morales, he called the people of the world after the collapse of Copenhagen, and said the people will decide the solution."

All of it besides this and a few other short sentences is rhetoric so general that it could be used to defeat any proposal coming out of the scientific community

John Madziarczyk said...

whatsoever. Aren't electric cars the product of a reductionist, mechanistic, science, expert-based paradigm? Isn't the EPA, the thing regulating pollution in the United States, as well as the equivalents in Europe and in the United Nations, then subject to "arrogant, narrow, reductionist, mechanistic science, expert-based paradigm", even though there are people in there who are doing their best to try to come up with solutions to the whole thing based on objective, experimentally verified, science, that shows results---and that doesn't just make us feel good about ourselves by being nice and holistic. Unless you can separate the honest efforts on behalf of the environment being done by people who want to change things from folks who want to do stuff that might have bad unanticipated consequences, you, in my opinion at least, don't have much of a leg to stand on. And you undercut your thesis by then relying (presumably) on the very scientists that you're condemning for data on global warming, information on pollutants, etc..

John Madziarczyk said...

The irony here is that to a certain extent I believe in what Vandana Shiva is saying. I believe that science, not in the sense of honest inquiry but as an ideology that's a product of the 18th century, has in fact had bad consequences both for the world as a whole, with both the cultures of the third world and the cultures that created it both being negatively effected, although in drastically different ways.

The difference seems to be that I myself am careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And I can see how a way of relating to nature that just sees it as a tool that can be exploited could be seen as male or patriarchal, but without wanting to start another front of a fight, I take issue with the idea that simple instrumentalism and domination is necessarily a male characteristic. It's neutral, in my opinion, not having any gender, but men have been the ones in charge and so have been the biggest ones to use it.

Julian Real said...

Hi John,

The irony here is that to a certain extent I believe in what Vandana Shiva is saying. I believe that science, not in the sense of honest inquiry but as an ideology that's a product of the 18th century, has in fact had bad consequences both for the world as a whole, with both the cultures of the third world and the cultures that created it both being negatively effected, although in drastically different ways.

I know that you do agree probably with more she has to say than what he has to say, given your other posts. So that's partly what seemed problematic to me about your post. That, in some sense, you were letting how "upset" someone was get in the way of listening more deeply to what they were saying, not just in one interview--and judging them based on that--but learning where they are coming from, reading their work, and determining a point of view that is based on knowledge of what they are doing--what they've been doing in the world, not "how they act in an interview". And, I was challenging you to check your sexism when it comes to being so quick to react to a woman challenging a man's "rationality" as her being "fucking insane". Given her level of intelligence and knowledge on these issues "fucking insane" is not a very rational conclusion to reach, in my opinion.

She's not someone who ought to be categorised as "sputtering", ranting, and raving, and she's not fucking insane. And I honestly believe you owe her more respect than that, regardless of her race and gender.

Does that make sense? If anyone is doing the kind of pro-sustainability and community empowering work she is doing, so responsibly and respectfully, why don't you show her more respect, John, than by heading up a post about her calling her "fucking insane"?

Julian Real said...

The difference seems to be that I myself am careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I think that's intellectually dishonest of you, as your blog post title does exactly that, effectively, by making anyone who comes upon it begin to read with a huge bias against Dr. Shiva, that she DOES, according to you, fit with all manner of misogynistic stereotypes of being an out of control, crazy lunatic of a person who isn't even capable of arguing "rationally", when, in fact, what she has to say is far more rational and grounded in applied science than what Dyer has to say. And you don't call him anything close to "fucking insane". That's what I'm saying is sexist and white male supremacist in what you did with that title and some of your other descriptions--you mislead your visitors, with loaded up bias against, in this case, an Indian woman who is a philosopher and scientist and activist and someone who does very responsible community empowerment work--all in keeping with your professed values.

And I can see how a way of relating to nature that just sees it as a tool that can be exploited could be seen as male or patriarchal,

There's so much written about this, John. From Susan Griffin's Woman and Nature, to Dr. Marimba Ani's Yurugu. The understanding of the Earth and non-human animals and other life as being "for" men is not, in any way, a transnational, cross-era belief or practice. It is unique to Western Civilisation, in its destructive force, and there are ideological reasons for that based in the philosophies, political interestes, and religious views of the dominating culture. This isn't an abstract matter at all. The amount of murder of life on Earth accomplished by European men, and men of European descent, based on very specific ways of viewing the world and "its uses", is responsible for this destruction.

Dr. Shiva wants that exposed, the whole paradigm exposed of "the Earth being manipulatable, "for" men to tinker with, and something to exploit for "man"'s benefit. She understands humanity as living with the Earth, not existing to dominate and control it, through all kinds of means, including those of Dyers. That's a philosophical/political stance with integrity. Dyer's problem-solving has no such integrity. He doesn't even know how to discuss or critique the worldview it operates out of.

Julian Real said...

but without wanting to start another front of a fight, I take issue with the idea that simple instrumentalism and domination is necessarily a male characteristic.

Domination exists on several fronts, which Dr. Shiva experiences personally, socially, culturally and politically: through Western domination, white supremacy, male supremacy, and Eurocentrism.

I think you'll find that in her work, not Dyer's. Again, I take issue with the ways you disrespect her here. Why do you do that with someone who has such valuable things to offer humanity?

It's neutral, in my opinion, not having any gender, but men have been the ones in charge and so have been the biggest ones to use it.

John, men are in charge not at all accidentally. Men have forced their way into being in charge and white men use great force to maintain it. We are, after all, waging two and a half wars right now to maintain that power: Afghanistan--another Vietnam in terms of waste of lives, committing mass murder, mass rape, and not achieving anything at all of value.

Iraq--an illegally and dishonestly started war, again, with the purpose of imposing Western Christian white male supremacist ways of behaving on lands where people of color who, in large part, are not Christian and Western, live--or once lived, until a million or so were killed over the last eight years.

And Pakistan. And, the white men's wealthy elite in this country still wages war against the poor, who are disproportionately of color and women, not at all by accident, but by use of institutional and interpersonal force. Such as forced sterilisation, forced destruction of communities, genocide, slavery, forced removal of children, mass rape and battery of women by their husbands, forced trafficking and sexual slavery. You can read all about it, if you haven't yet. This isn't a perspective that I'm making up. This is historically verifiable stuff.

Julian Real said...

To obfuscate the fact that there is a verifiable racist and sexist dimension (willfully organised plan and practice--just look at the Roman Catholic Church or the U.S. military as two such institutions) to what's going down is, in my view, to be guilty of being willfully ignorant, and I see you as someone who is determined, for many good reasons, not to be.

It is not an unreasonable position to note that those who don't know what philosophies, ideologies, worldviews, paradigms, and political frameworks they are operating out of--that govern some, if not all, of their actions--ought not be in charge of creating solutions to world problems, especially if done undemocratically.

I'm asking you to be more thoughtful and less reactive in coming up with your assessments of someone who is, rightfully, upset with someone who is demonstrating a kind of ignorance that Dr. Shiva knows kills people--disproportionately people from the Global South, where she lives, where people do not have the same access to Western media that Dyer has--he got that whole other segment on "Democracy Now and Then", after all. And she sees people in peril now, not in a few decades. He has the regional, gender, and race privileges to not know what he's really saying, and those privileges allow him to determine what is an emergency, and who is best qualified to act when there is one.

From an Indigenous point of view, John, the last 500 years have been an emergency of grotesquely dire proportions, of genocidal proportions during which time European men, most of whom have consolidated a multi-ethnic experience into a "white" identity and "culture" of destruction and domination, of a race and gender-based ideology of supremacy and domination, during that time. Those men, and no others, have slaughtered, without mercy of regard for humanity, the lives of hundreds of millions of people globally. There's nothing accidental or "unraced" or "ungendered" about it.

Dr. Shiva in a far better position, intellectually and experientially, to know what's happening around the world than is Dyer, or you, or me.

She deserves more respect from you that what you initially showed her in your blog post. I am asking you to show her that regard and respect, in part by reading her book, Soil Not Oil.

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Julian Real said...

She deserves more respect from you that what you initially showed her in your blog post. I am asking you to show her that regard and respect, in part by reading her book, Soil Not Oil.

From Amazon.com:

With Soil Not Oil, Vandana Shiva connects the dots between industrial agriculture and climate change. Shiva shows that a world beyond dependence on fossil fuels and globalization is both possible and necessary.

Condemning industrial agriculture as a recipe for ecological and economic disaster, Shiva’s champion is the small, independent farm: their greater productivity, their greater potential for social justice as they put more resources into the hands of the poor, and the biodiversity that is inherent to the traditional farming practiced in small-scale agriculture. What we need most in a time of changing climates and millions hungry, she argues, is sustainable, biologically diverse farms that are more resistant to disease, drought, and flood. In her trademark style, she draws solutions to our world’s most pressing problems on the head of a pin: “The solution to climate change,” she observes, “and the solution to poverty are the same.”

Using Shiva’s organization Navdanya—praised by Barbara Kingsolver as “a small, green Eden framed against the startling blue backdrop of the Himalayas”—as a model, Soil Not Oil lays out principles for feeding the planet that are socially just and environmentally sound. Shiva then expands her analysis to broader issues of globalization and climate change, arguing that a healthy environment and a just world go hand in hand. Unwavering and truly visionary, Soil Not Oil proposes a solution based on self-organization, sustainability, and community rather than corporate power and profits.

A world-renowned environmental leader and thinker, Vandana Shiva is the author of many books, including Earth Democracy, Water Wars, and Staying Alive. She is the editor of Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed.

About the Author
A world-renowned environmental leader and recipient of the 1993 Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award), Shiva has authored several bestselling books, most recently Earth Democracy. Activist and scientist, Shiva leads, with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin, the International Forum on Globalization. Before becoming an activist, Shiva was one of India's leading physicists.

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John Madziarczyk said...

You realize that it's going to take some time to respond to your posts, right? There's a lot in there. Yes, we live in a patriarchal society that has expressed itself in the domination of women, which has in turn expressed itself in various ways through personal violence and domination. I would ask you to look a little bit deeper about the connection between the West and the domination of nature and the third world, though, because lots of societies out there have been patriarchal, violently so, and lots of societies out there have been expansionist and willing to dominate other societies, but as you have said they haven't had the same sort of relationship with the rest of the world that totally dehumanizes it and the people in it that the West seems to have had. But possibly some of them have had it, at least partially, like the Mongols, but this is something I don't know enough about to really comment on. By the way, I never said "unraced". Ever.

About the White Male Skygod idea, Christianity shares the same perspective with Judaism and Islam, yet in my mind neither society has taken the idea to the extreme that Western society has, which suggests to me that there's an additional thing going on, which might have to do with how the idea of 'race' itself was formed in the West or might have to do with other factors in the development of Western culture.

When I said that domination is neutral I didn't mean to imply that whenever domination happens it's not colored on all levels by the structure of the society in which it exists, and who is in charge. What I meant was that it seems that domination in and of itself, people exploiting other people in general, isn't necessarily only bound up with patriarchy. Or matriarchy, for that matter. I would challenge the idea that domination is something that's necessarily male by suggesting that notions that a woman centered economy or society would not necessarily have domination are based on essentialist readings of what male and female are.

Before I go on, and this will take up several posts (there's a limit to what blogger lets on in a single post) I will acknowledge that yes, I didn't give Shiva the respect that someone who has contributed to social change is due, and that yes, I see how my response was somewhat sexist. I reject the idea, however, that I responded in this way because she is Indian.

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John Madziarczyk said...

Yes, Gwynne Dyer is arrogant, and doesn't realize the context in which he's speaking. I'm assuming that you read the comment I posted before the comment that said that I agreed with part of what Shiva was saying, where I talked about how, in my opinion, Shiva's critique was so general that it denied both the positive aspects of a science that could be effectual in helping people and those that are negative and come from a standpoint of ignorance. I think that without some nuance the critique becomes formalistic.

"It is not an unreasonable position to note that those who don't know what philosophies, ideologies, worldviews, paradigms, and political frameworks they are operating out of--that govern some, if not all, of their actions--ought not be in charge of creating solutions to world problems, especially if done undemocratically."

Yes, I agree, but would you also say that there are some scientists out there, from the West, who have some awareness of these issues and are in fact trying to find solutions from a less arrogant standpoint?

Part of the problem I had was that it appeared that Shiva's standpoint was that you either agreed with all of her ideas or you were in the same camp as Dyer, when there are a spectrum of possibilities out there. I realize that she's speaking as herself, advocating her own ideas and not someone elses, but it seemed like contrasted with Dyer's that all of the suggestions, taken together, at the same time, were too much of a challenge to the dominant paradigm. I realize that there's bias in this, and I'm not necessarily accepting the dominant paradigm, but in an argument or a debate it's useful to meet the other party halfway. I'm not aware of what traditional views on agriculture are in India, I'm not Indian. I am aware of the western science based paradigm. Although I sympathize, it's hard for me, in a situation where no more information is given, to automatically give credence to something that's radically different that I don't have knowledge about. How do I, or anyone listening to the interview without much of an idea about who Shiva is, know that she's for real if she just presents all this stuff in a take it or leave it format?

Julian Real said...

I would ask you to look a little bit deeper about the connection between the West and the domination of nature and the third world, though, because lots of societies out there have been patriarchal, violently so, and lots of societies out there have been expansionist and willing to dominate other societies, but as you have said they haven't had the same sort of relationship with the rest of the world that totally dehumanizes it and the people in it that the West seems to have had. But possibly some of them have had it, at least partially, like the Mongols, but this is something I don't know enough about to really comment on.

I'll address this later, further down the comments queue. ;)

By the way, I never said "unraced". Ever.

I know that. But you used natural in a way as to make it unclear what you meant.

John, what I'm expressing to you is the fact of what's been done, not to offer up a debate about it. It's factually true that Western white men have committed more atrocity than any other demographic, regionally or otherise, among "civilising forces" on Earth.

No other group has fused genocide to woman-hating and heterosexism and destruction of animals, plants--to the biosphere, as have Western white men. I just don't even think that's debatable, honestly.

Yes, there have been more people to kill in the last few decades, especially in the last few centuries, but surely that doesn't explain why the White Man manages to do it wherever he goes. Yurugu explains it well enough. It's complex, but the fact of it isn't that complex. The fact of it is rather atrociously obvious, if one doesn't want to be in denial and pretend the oppressed have more political power than the privileged and unjustly entitled.

Julian Real said...

About the White Male Skygod idea, Christianity shares the same perspective with Judaism and Islam,

Please be careful here, John. Because while they are all Ibrahimic/Abrahmic religions, with some sense of a monotheistic god, they do not share the same perspective at all, and I recommend you read the work of Karen Armstrong before you make claims like that.

See, for example, this:

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by her.

For one thing, Islam is not primarily a white religion, nor a Western one, predominantly. And Judaism isn't exactly a white religion either, in the sense in which the history of whiteness has developed over time.

Only Christianity rises up as a white and Western religion. It is other things too, like Black, Brown and Asian. But it has been used by whites in a way that Judaism has not been used, and Israel can only function as the pro-Apartheid racist, increasingly white supremacist state it is because of U.S. support--financial, political, and military--from, what is, politically speaking, a very Christian dominated society.

Btw, if you check the stats on the number of Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs, you'll find that globally there are about half as many Jews on Earth as their are Sikhs. I note this only to say that there's no massive human base from which to dominate vast portions of the world, by Jews, much as anti-Semitic Christians love to claim otherwise.

And only white Christian men have positioned themselves militarily and culturally, and in every other conceivable way, to dominate the Earth, and to utterly destroy it.

As a white Western Jew, I'll note one more thing, just for the hell of it. HaShem is one word, among several, for G-d. And it is not gendered as a man.

To be clear: I'm not saying you said anything that warrants all of what I'm noting. I'm following up on your point that those three somewhat monotheistic faith traditions are not the same, even fundamentally, when it comes to matters of race, gender, sexuality, or ideas "dominion" and what behaviors are defended by religious text to constitute a civilisation.

You know the expression about the White Man coming into Africa with a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other. What is less reported is that European white men fuel the conflicts in many countries in Africa, across many regions, by supplying the munitions necessary to do that amount of killing.

Western white male-controlled media would have us believe "those Africans just don't know how to get along", when, in fact, white Christian het men are the savage, barbaric dominators of the world and the genocidal mass murderers, of people based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, and region, with no one even running close for second place.

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WOW: Blogger has really been acting up! Telling me something hasn't been posted when it has, and then I check and there's five posts saying the same damn thing!!! lol

I'm glad I caught it in time.

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Julian Real said...

yet in my mind neither society has taken the idea to the extreme that Western society has, which suggests to me that there's an additional thing going on, which might have to do with how the idea of 'race' itself was formed in the West or might have to do with other factors in the development of Western culture.

These matters have already been written about, John. The political history of whiteness is well-documented from a variety of disciplines, and testimonies. Some seek to make "capitalism" the central force. Others seek to male white supremacy the central force. I seek to note that it is a combination of things, not just one, that makes for the kinds and degrees of atrocity known to humankind in the last 500 to 2000 years.

What white men doing the analysis often leave out of the equation, curiously, is the role of patriarchy, and specifically Western patriarchy. Marxists are notorious for minimising gendered and sexual oppression over "economic" forces, broadly termed.

For an excellent discussion of this please read the first few chapters--the whole of the first section--of the book Toward A Feminist Theory of the State, by Catharine A. MacKinnon.

Julian Real said...

When I said that domination is neutral I didn't mean to imply that whenever domination happens it's not colored on all levels by the structure of the society in which it exists, and who is in charge. What I meant was that it seems that domination in and of itself, people exploiting other people in general, isn't necessarily only bound up with patriarchy. Or matriarchy, for that matter. I would challenge the idea that domination is something that's necessarily male by suggesting that notions that a woman centered economy or society would not necessarily have domination are based on essentialist readings of what male and female are.

I've never said domination is only male. Or only white. Or only Western. I think particular historical expressions of gross and genocidal, gynocidal, or ecocidal domination are a function of many things, none of them "biological" or genetic or in any way a function of the bogus sciences of "sociobiology" and "evolutionary psychology"--and we may well agree on that.

I'm speaking about whole societies, their philosophies, their political viewpoints as they relate to their own ideas of what is and is not "natural" or "god-ordained", not just individual acts. Of course any person, with physical power and will and agency, can be domineering. For me, that goes without say. The issue is: which societies have made it their god-ordained WILL and/or (so they tell themselves) natural purpose, such as through ideas like "Manifest Destiny" and "Aryan Supremacy", to dominate enormous populations, of people, and to kill them and animals and the Earth, because they see it as their right or obligation to do so?

That's a very historical/sociological/political question, not at all one about "nature vs. nurture". That it is "not nature" is a given, as far as I'm concerned. If it were natural, why would only white men in the last 500 years be doing it to those degrees? Surely not because there was some genetic mutation that occurred on the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Before I go on, and this will take up several posts (there's a limit to what blogger lets on in a single post)

I have a blogger blog, A Radical Profeminst, so I know well the limitations.

Julian Real said...

I will acknowledge that yes, I didn't give Shiva the respect that someone who has contributed to social change is due, and that yes, I see how my response was somewhat sexist.

Thank you. In terms of "acts of language" it was very misogynistic, actually, not just sexist, and because you were speaking about a woman of color from the Global South, and because you are a white man from the Global North, it functions to be oppressive, as a speech act, in many ways.

I reject the idea, however, that I responded in this way because she is Indian.

I don't believe you said it because she was Indian, John. I note that you saying it--well, writing it--plays out in ways that reinforce Western, Northern, white, and male supremacist ideology. That tells me nothing about what your intentions were in generating the speech act.

Your lack of care, regard, and respect, in this instance, and your lack of ownership, until now, of how any Western, Global Northern white man's actions impact the larger social-political world in which they exist as "acts of language" once they are print in cyber-space, is what I was concerned about.

I think we have much more overlap in perspective than not, and am glad to see you taking this to heart. That's all I'd ask of anyone, and that's all that anyone who I oppress, structurally or interpersonally, who calls me out on stuff asks of me; well, also to change and stop doing it. ;)

Julian Real said...

Yes, Gwynne Dyer is arrogant, and doesn't realize the context in which he's speaking.

He is, in fact, far more arrogant and presumptuous and ignorant than is Dr. Shiva. To me and many of my colleagues, that was glaringly evident. That's why it was shocking to see you so disregard and disrespect her.

I'm assuming that you read the comment I posted before the comment that said that I agreed with part of what Shiva was saying, where I talked about how, in my opinion, Shiva's critique was so general that it denied both the positive aspects of a science that could be effectual in helping people and those that are negative and come from a standpoint of ignorance. I think that without some nuance the critique becomes formalistic.

John, you can't have it both ways. You want to argue that if she comes off a certain way, what is someone to think?! And, if you blog titling a post "Vandana Shiva is fucking insane" (and ranting, raving, and sputtering) please just do as you did, admit it, and move on. There's no ego to protect here.

The world cannot afford the cost of us white men defending our egos/societies/practices/philosophies/worldviews/values.

Julian Real said...

would you also say that there are some scientists out there, from the West, who have some awareness of these issues and are in fact trying to find solutions from a less arrogant standpoint?

I would ask why we would look to them FIRST. Why not look to the people who LIVE the effects of the white male supremacist West's practices and worldviews, and speak with, and listen to them, not to more white Western male "experts" about what the problems are and the solutions might be.

We live in a society that has as an overarching mythos this idea of the Great White Man. Only "he" is a genius, is brilliant, is the expert, is heroic, in this mythology we live in. You're asking me if it is possible that some white male Western scientist is someone worth listening to?

I'll let you know when I'm done listening to the heroes, the experts, the brilliant people who ought to be considered geniuses, and would, if they were white and male. To answer your question more directly, I don't know of anyone more qualified to speak on this issue than Indigenous activists, globally, and other experts from the Global South specifically. And here I am saying something very specific: I have been reading and listening to what Indigenous people and oppressed people from the Global South have been saying for years, and I hear no one who is a white man saying what they are saying. John Perkins' work is useful to me, as a white man who fesses up about what globalisation is and does, from the perspective of one of the men who did it, professionally.

And the work of Derrick Jensen is useful to me, as someone who has made it his practice to listen to women of all colors, and to hold himself accountable to them, to be careful and responsible and respectful with his "acts of language".

So those are two white Western men I admire, but they don't hold a candle to Dr. Shiva on the matters we're discussing here most centrally.

Julian Real said...

Part of the problem I had was that it appeared that Shiva's standpoint was that you either agreed with all of her ideas or you were in the same camp as Dyer, when there are a spectrum of possibilities out there. I realize that she's speaking as herself, advocating her own ideas and not someone elses, but it seemed like contrasted with Dyer's that all of the suggestions, taken together, at the same time, were too much of a challenge to the dominant paradigm. I realize that there's bias in this, and I'm not necessarily accepting the dominant paradigm, but in an argument or a debate it's useful to meet the other party halfway.

I'd love to discuss this one portion with you more, John, on your blog or mine, as I think it's a fascinating point and I'm really glad you articulated it so succinctly.

I'd argue, for now, that the ways that people who are dying because of our actions--white Western men's actions--ought not be in a position to dictate to those who are dying "how to deliver the message". We ought to be, as writer Pearl Cleage says, "in a posture of listening" not "in a posture of defence." And what I hear you noting, very effectively, is what happens in the white man's mind and to his ego, when the fundaments of his worldview are called into question as "not good" and "not helpful".

Again, this warrants a much longer conversation, and I'd welcome having it with you.

Julian Real said...

I'm not aware of what traditional views on agriculture are in India, I'm not Indian.

But Dr. Shiva has to know both what our traditional views are, as well as her own. She speaks more than one language. She has expertise in more areas than Dyer, you, or me, combined. So why would it even occur to us to write her off as "fucking insane"? I think that's a central issue and warrants more attention. Not apologies from you--you've owned that what you did was sexist and perhaps unintentionally racist? I'll let you phrase that however you'd like to. This is beyond you and me.

The issues are too great, the consequences too dire for you and I to take up too much time debating. That's why my blog is an activist blog, not a discussion blog. Because, quite literally, while you and I debate, many societies are facing genocide, and many species are disappearing off the Earth, and many women are being raped and battered, and millions of children are being sexually trafficked, right now.

So, I'm willing to steer you towards some writings I've found helpful, and am willing to discuss matters that, once discussed, can be posted and read by others so that not every two white men have to have the discussion over and over and over again, hopefully.

I am aware of the western science based paradigm. Although I sympathize, it's hard for me, in a situation where no more information is given, to automatically give credence to something that's radically different that I don't have knowledge about.

I find that to be a very honest and brave thing to say, John. I know of VERY few white men who would state this publicly, and I knew I was drawn to your post, and to reply at length, for a reason.

I encounter many white men daily online, and most aren't worth typing one word to. Clearly, I'm typing more than one word to you!!! lol

Julian Real said...

How do I, or anyone listening to the interview without much of an idea about who Shiva is, know that she's for real if she just presents all this stuff in a take it or leave it format?

I think that's a practice of decentering our own worldviews and egos. A political practice, as in "daily" and on-going. And, again, I think it's an excellent question you raise.

Yurugu lays out a comprehensive critique of exactly what was different in the developments, post-Plato, particularly, of Western Civilisation that dovetailed in horrendous ways with patriarchal, and later, Christian, philosophies and ways of being and behaving, to cause such enormous devastation.

It is written outside of a dominant paradigm or ethos of centering the religions of the West, of being deferential to white men, also to whites generally, and to men in some ways, and she has been rejected by most white men as being [fill in the racist-misogynistic expletives]. She is a Western woman, however. And she is well-versed in Western philosophy and politics. Her book is among my top five favorite books of all time.

And, because some white men who are not willing to relax their egos or put down their domineering defences (read: offences), know that about me, they refuse to engage with me in conversation. "Stigma" by association, I suppose.

So why do white men tune her out so quickly? Again, this gets to the heart of where you go in your own thinking. I applaud you. But I can tell you this: I think you and I heard quite different things when listening to that interview. I heard one hell of an arrogant white man being condescendingly "respectful"--except when calling her ridiculous--of someone he ought to have just shut up and listened to, given that he'd just had his own segment on the damn program. I heard her being appropriately irritated with his arrogance and lack of willingness to engage with her from "a posture of listening". And, he's got a book or articles to sell, and so if someone notes how his work is basically a load of shite, he's likely to be protective and defensive. But, as someone who is allegedly "caring about the Third World", as he stated, he'd do well to shut up and listen far more carefully, and to adjust his own beliefs and practices and scientific propositions according to what he learns from her.

I'd like to cross post any future discussions to both our blogs, if you wish to have them here, that is!!

Thanks for being willing to engage in a thorough manner, John. I deeply and sincerely appreciate it.

John Madziarczyk said...

Thank you,

I think you give me too much credit though.

It would be all right if you posted the conversations to your blog.

I think that part of the problem was that in any situation where a person goes second after another person has had a chance to fully articulate their views, and has less time to rebut, that there will be a bias against that person. If that person has a lot to say in a small period of time, and tries to get it all in, it could sound forced.

Now, there's also the issue of Gwynne Dyer being from the dominant culture, a man, white, scientific, and from the words he used and the way he talked a member of the American upper class. I can see how this, what is presented to folks as being the standard of who you should trust, could bias a person against someone from India, who is a woman, who has something to say that doesn't fit into the dominant paradigm.

He does represent the establishment, and Juan Gonzalez even questioned him twice about the possible role of social action in bringing about change in the environment, as opposed to just scientific solutions, to which he gave evasive answers.

Although Gwynne Dyer is probably wrong I don't know if that means that Vandana Shiva is necessarily right. This isn't coming solely from a perspective of Western privilege judging people from the third world. There are diverse voices with different solutions within India itself, for instance that advocated by the CPI(M), the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has had great success in the state of Kerala.

The reference to Yurugu is intriguing. Doing a Google search it turned up "Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior" by Marimba Ani, which I'm assuming is the book you're referring to. It looks interesting, like a densely argued philosophical treatise, based on the few pages that Amazon.com lets users see. I'm all for critiques of European civilization in light of non-European worldviews, and think that it's in general useful in the process of decentering that you talked about.

Julian Real said...

Hi John,

I don't think I'm giving you too much credit. Really. I see how your mind works to own its own biases, its own "location" in social-geopolitical space and honestly, that's rare in my experience, among Western white men.

So, I appreciate it anyway! And I like the questions you're coming up with, and the reasons for you coming up with them.

I agree with you: there are no doubt as many differing opinions and viewpoints on "what to do about global warming" within India as there are within any other very populated major industrialised country. I just think that if we know of someone who has written a very well-regarded book on the subject, Soil Not Oil, there's no reason to dismiss her or even marginalise her voice and views based on how she came off in a minute or two of the end of a radio program, that's all.

And, you're sense of Yurugu is right on. Honestly, I think you'll really like it, as you seem to welcome that sort of challenge, the exposure to oneself of the worldviews, practices, and values we each have grown up with, assuming they are, more or less, "the best", or, at least, normative and "appropriate".

The more I read perspectives from outside the one we were raised with, the more I realise how in service to corporate capitalism, Western patriarchy, and white supremacy those perspectives are.

Simple things, like hearing Bill Clinton in Haiti speaking about his wishes for their economy. I just posted about that, actually, on my blog and would be interested to know your views on that.

Here's the link...

The Dangers of Colonial Cancer and the Politics of NOT HELPING: (ex-)President Bill Clinton Is Trying to Slip "the business" to Haitian poor people

Sorry for bombarding you with so many responses in such a short time.

I'm looking forward to discussing this stuff more, as I said, on either or both blogs.

Cheers.