Chiasmi International

Volume 24, 2022

Thinking the Anthropocene Debate with Merleau-Ponty

Luca Fabbris, Cinzia Orlando
Pages 39-54

Pensare l’intrusione: Merleau-Ponty face à gaia

The expression “ecological threat” refers to a dynamic of double intrusion: the intrusion of geological history in human history (the intrusion of Gaia) and the intrusion of human history in geological history (the Anthropocene). This double intrusion is founded on a series of major partitions (culture/nature; society/environment) that do not allow for the possibility of communication between the terms of these dichotomies unless it is in the form of reciprocal violation. In the article, the ontology of the flesh is used in order to think the intrusion in a different way compared to the great partitions. Within a chiasmatic logic, the terms of each dichotomy are understood as inseparable moments of the same flesh which institutes a difference – inside/outside – through an infinite movement of folding and torsion. By thinking this common element, Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of the flesh enters in dialogue with Amerindian mythocosmologies of the “first Anthropocene.” In these mythocosmologies, a humanity-flesh – understood as a transformative, pre-individual, and metastable potential – gives birth, through differentiation, to the multiple points of view that populate the cosmos. This dialogue allows us to think about the socialization of Gaia and to trace the contours of a general ecology understood as a thought that operates between – or beyond – major partitions.