Environmental Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 2, Fall 2018

Mark Payne
Pages 255-274

Poetry, Vegetality, Relief From Being

In ancient Greek ecological thought, vegetality is the most basic ground of life. It is followed by animality and rationality as increasingly active, self-aware forms of life. An ontology of forms of life need not justify a hierarchy among actual living beings, but in practice it often does. This paper shows how the poetic representation of plants resists this slippage. Poetry offers human beings an ecstasis from their own animality so that they can apprehend their participation in the vegetality of living beings as a whole.