After investigating the story of stuff, we are now considering our relationship with materials in the world. This lecture started to define the difference in meaning between materialism and new materialism, and the facets of a variety of thinkers. Generally, materialism is a theory whereby everything is explained as physical matter, making it the only reality. On the contrary, New materialism explores a range of contemporary perspectives in the arts, humanities and social sciences, focusing upon social production rather than a social construction.
This is the first of a 3 episode series on thoughts and ideas by the great Terence McKenna! First up is Mr McKenna speaking to a group on avoiding consumerism and materialism.
I am particularly interested in Jane Bennett’s work as she shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. It can be challenging to identify oneself in physical material but perhaps it can help us as humans, to develop and enrich our understanding of the way we approach the environment. For Example, Primo Levi wrote ‘The Story of a Carbon Atom’, here he describes the lifecycle and adventure of carbon. The atom had been immobile for many years but then starts to travel around. From the air, it enters animals and human bodies. This story offers an imaginative description of a material’s lifecycle and it could be an approach that we should all consider in order to better understand strong and weak morality as materials. It is my personal belief that through creating our own stories of materials, we can really start to improve all the existing entanglements for a more sustainable environment.