Rather than my continuing to clutter my notes within file folders and binders, I will share these preliminary notes in WordPress. I must publish the unfinished notes to provide links. I appreciate your patience.
Note the title of my first entry below: 200705N, the encoded date = July 5, 2020, a Sunday. The entries accumulate in reverse chronological sequence, newest entries first. Like you, everydaynes encumbers me, so I acknowledge the distractions such as food prep, shopping, bookkeeping, cleaning, etc. to provide context only and to apologize for gaps. I inherited my clutter gene from my mother. Sorry, Kathy.
The themes presented here attempt to disclose the nascent order molting within the decay of the old. Capitalism fails to function tolerably. The nature-devouring, despicable crony capitalism masquerading as neoliberalism must pass into oblivion, soon. My candidate for its successor is Integral Ecology, or its secular manifestation: Social Ecology. The Anthropocene, as I see this neologism, cannot yet carry the load.
The inevitable break with the past started in 1945, the advent of the Post World War II period (PWWII). The Age of Acceleration, as the Anthropocene dubs this period of humanity’s inhabitation of the Earth. I was born just as the Atomic bombs incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I am a deist, carrying around a theology of sorts, shards of my now lapsed Roman Catholic heritage. The notion of Creation, the precious gift of hylomorphism, came to me through my study of Aristotle’s magnificent de Anime with Aquinas’s brilliant commentary. I must raise in this Journal what Aristotle’s students called Metaphysics: Ontology (the study of Being itself) and Theology, with the help of Epistemology: What do we know and how do we know it? The task at hand demands a solid foundation.
As my fortunate biography unfolded, I shared much with a dear friend, Murray Bookchin. Yup, the anarchist anti-Marxist revolutionary who coined Social Ecology in our shared retreat on the 4th floor of the G-Building at Ramapo College. Long story, but we strolled into each other’s classes in progress, carpooled to Hoboken and Jersey City, where I was born and humbly raised, and often closed down the Brass Rail in Hoboken with boilermakers, straight whiskey with a beer chaser. Much brushed off on me from Murray and from the streets of Jersey City — to be explained elsewhere.
Many will reject the radical vision of Social Ecology, which derives from Louis Mumford, Karl Polanyi, Fernand Braudel, Prince Kropotkin, Mickhal Bukhinin, and even Marx (whom Murray and I both emphatically renounce). Our grouchy but brilliant late colleague, Trent Schroyer, carried Jurgen Habermas into the intellectual ferment and deepened the contribution of Karl Polanyi. For me, my colleagues and buddies Larry Susskind, Michael Edelstein, and Ashwani Vasishth still add much.
I have been granted the rank of Professor Emeritus of Sustainability by the Board of Trustees of Ramapo College and its charming President, Peter Mercer, my friend. As far as I can tell, I am the very first professor emeritus with the explicit title of sustainability, so this blog partially fulfills that commitment. I retired officially on July 1, 2015.
This became a sacred trust when just as I retired: Pope Francis published Laudato Si’, the engine of which is Integral Ecology, a close cousin of Social Ecology but anchored not in worldliness but in the spirituality of Creation (the Jewish Bible) and Christianity (the Catholic Bible). Such a metamorphosis raises the horizon:
The first Latin use is in the plural form Metamorphōsēs as the title of a poem by Ovid in the classical tradition of tales about transformations of gods or humans into the shapes of animals, plants, or inanimate objects.OED.
This lays the groundwork for this personal Journal, revealing who I am and where I hope to journey in the short time left to me. My personal goal anticipates my maintaining my wits to see the year 2030 with my beloved Kathy. More, I wish to raise my voice, define a vision, and fulfill my privilege as an engaged citizen, following the dicta of the Classical Greeks and Aristotle, to shape that future.
I cannot ignore that as I write the Covid-19 pandemic rages, the Black Lives Matter movement demands reparation, that the 45th president masterfully excites a cultural uprising before an election ripe for mischief, and 45 million American are officially unemployed. I hope to have ten years to make my final contribution. The historical times demand strategic sustainability founded on political economics. Here goes.
Kathy, I will get to the stuff we share. I promise.