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Week6 – Actants in nature.

This week’s readingVibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things  gave me a brand new perspective to look at the close connection between human and nonhuman things. The things around us are whether enhancing or weakening our human power.

The nonhuman things, when we saw them they remind us of the experience connected to this thing, and how we view them is determined by the experience of our own body. So human, objects, culture the three ecologies are in an extremely close network of nature.

So from reading this book I think the mindset we need to change most is to no longer regard us humans as the rulers of nature, but a participant, actant in the universe. We cannot separate our bodies from objects, because things are part of our human beings, and they even appear before our bodies.

So we have to think of us as a small part of the earth, and other parts are equally important. Although nowadays some people might consider nature as ‘outside’ of us – like the author said, now we live in a technologized world that the pristine nature is less attractive to us.  ‘But even if Latour is correct in his pre-diction that the power of his ideal will dwidle, attracting fewer and fewer human bodies to it, he has not thought through all the normative implications of its desire.’ (Bennett,2010)  When people start not to put people first, human behavior will take more into consideration the impact of these behaviors, because when we hurt a part of nature, we are hurting ourselves. Facts have proved this. Global warming, climate change, and infectious pandemic that have continued till now have proved that it is human beings who pay for human behaviors in the end.

So what Jane Bennett mentioned in the book made me realize when we consider the consequences of everything we do, frugality becomes simple. Because we know that the perspective and even status of human and nonhuman objects are interchangeable.

  1. Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant matter: a political ecology of things: vitality and self-interest. Durham: Duke University Press.
  2. Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant matter: a political ecology of things: the force of things. Durham: Duke University Press.
  3. Figure1. Volunteers try to clear a dam which is filled with discarded plastic bottles and other garbage, blocking Vacha Dam, near the town of Krichim on April 25, 2009. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF
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