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we accept this possibility—that the world may be largely white, completely Western construction— nothing—do we prepare the ground for new acts the progress myth wrapped up in human ecology of creation. Damn the (S)tate, damn god, damn trappings and no more capable today of demoncapitalism and the home and the family and all strable epistemological success than it ever was. those other things that are not natural facts but Moreover, positing human ecology as the grandideological constructs: things that real people— est narrative is nothing less than the typically you and me—have made and therefore can Western desire to, as Jane Flax argues, “master the change. The world is the way it is because we have world once and for all by enclosing it within an made it that way. And because we have made it, we illusory but absolute system” that dissolves the can change it. This of course is the great lesson of complex heterogeneity of the world into a totalMarx. But don’t look to another meta-narrative of izing vision of commonality. No thank you! truth to provide transcendent justification for Totalizing visions have given us about as much such an act—just live your lives every day as if terror as we can take. you’re engaged in an insurrection; live your lives What are the consequences for us when we as if something actually depends on your actions. come to repeat or represent our mantras as objects of a truthful narrative? “The self-assured realism Well, for one thing a human ecology whose claim to legitof modernism, with its imacy is founded on the possibilaccompanying grand ity of representing true dramas Rich Borden sums it up: and believing in them runs the narratives and notions of It is fitting that Bill grounds his risk of becoming nothing more truth, ignores the fact that reflections on human ecology than a spontaneous simulator of we have no access to reality with a story from a faculty discusthe very relations of power and sion. In the early years, there was desire and authority it seeks to apart from . . . our own a lot of debate about the college’s change. How long will it be linguistic and conceptual mission. There needed to be. before we feel compelled to COA was a brand-new institution mimic the very things we seek constructions. It is only in delivering an untested challenge so desperately to change? Moreterms of some worldview that to higher education. The mandate over, now that we are aware of a was to invent an entirely new human ecology worldview as a we experience the world.” philosophy—not only to guide worldview, of its particularity, ~ Dave Camp interdisciplinary education, but subjectivity and limitations, of its to embrace all of life. As Roc socially constructed character, Caivano’s “ultimate circle” symbolized, the aim we are left with nothing. An arbitrarily chosen was all-inclusive. The whole of humanity and worldview can scarcely function as a worldview nature lay within the orbit of ecology—from the anymore. first spark of life billions of years ago, down to the ailing environments and educational landscapes What’s left? In the words of Johnny Rotten: of the modern world. From there its gaze leveled NO FUTURE . . . NO FUTURE unflinchingly to the future. For it was the future of NO FUTURE FOR YOU the world that posed the most urgent of all probNO FUTURE FOR ME lems. Philosophical discussions in those days were I know that’s glum, but if the postmodern turn often led by Dick Davis and Dan Kane. Dick was leads to nihilism (as many of its critics claim), then COA’s first philosopher. At about the time that Ed perhaps that self-consuming impulse will make it Kaelber stepped down as the college’s founding self-evident that the world is not as it seems, that president, Dick was appointed academic vicenothing is true except our conviction that the president. Dan was an environmental lawyer with world we are asked to accept is false. Only when 44 | COA

Profile for College of the Atlantic

COA Magazine: Vol 1. No 1. Winter 2005  

COA Magazine: Vol 1. No 1. Winter 2005