Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Brutal truth

The early liberal attitude to nature is most famously summarized in the words of the Englishman Francis Bacon, a seventeenth-century philosopher, scientist, and statesman. Bacon not only objectified nature but saw nature as an object to be brutally interrogated and raped. So the scientist “must force the apparent facts of nature into forms different to those in which they familiarly present themselves; and thus make them tell the truth about themselves, as torture may compel an unwilling witness to reveal what he has been concealing.” Another line, with which feminists have had a field day, advised that “man” should “make no scruple” of “penetrating into [nature’s] holes and corners, when the inquisition of truth is his sole object.” As Sheldon Wolin encapsulates it, nature for Bacon was “an object of organized assault.”— Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age, 148

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