The Present Dialogue between Nature and Society or the Mutuality of Nature Preservation and Society Protection

скачать Автор: Kiss, Endre - подписаться на статьи автора
Журнал: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 11, Number 1 / May 2020 - подписаться на статьи журнала


Globalization has a particular relation to the climate change. These phenomena coexist and still can safely exist independently. The long history of humanity contains numerous memories of natural disasters which manifested particular stages of a secret dialogue between nature and society. In addition to the eternal place of peace and harmony, the nature emerged as always revolting and producing permanent phenomena of exception. Now nature became the global actor and this is in every respect of shaking historical importance, especially in the history of nature itself. Until now, we protected the nature from the society, now we must also protect the society from nature. The decisive change is the transformation of the idea of the nature protection in a practice of the mutual and double protection of nature and society. In the sole mission of this double protection, it is crucial that global actorial freedom consciously concentrates on the sustainable development.

Keywords: globalization, nature, society, climate change, sustainable development.

Endre Kiss, Professor for history of philosophy at the University Eötvös (Budapest) more

The philosopher thinks, the researcher researches.

Globalization has a particular relation to the climate change and, conversely, the climate change also has a particular relation to globalization. These phenomena live and exist together and often they are mentioned together. It is, however, clear that globalization can safely exist without climate changes, and the same can be said about climate change.

Later, this independence will have its importance. However, since these two phenomena are universal and rather extensive, we have a great deal of evidence and interpretation to show that the emergence of globalization and climate change have mixed up relatively early. A particularly important example here is the Chernobyl disaster: on the one hand, it constituted one of the most important stages of the awareness of the new endangerment of a new type of the nature, and on the other hand, the same disaster, together with its processing by Gorbachev, was also an important stage on the way of the ultimate start of globalization (we mean the year 1989).

The long history of humanity contains numerous memories of natural disasters. As a rule, they appear as gods' clear acts of revenge, of superhuman forces, because the sins of the humanity have so cried against the sky. Thus, these disasters manifested particular stages of a secret dialogue between nature and society. In this dialogue, the nature has always been seen as the side that stands, which is eternal, and in this eternity faces the society, the human nature and the human destiny moving in many different ways but remaining unsteady after all. So the nature becomes contrast to the society, to the human nature and to human destiny.

Modern societies gradually become conscious of their fierce dynamics; they experience a constant transformation in the political, economic and intellectual spheres. The same also refers to the human nature, whose variability alone already becomes a permanent shock, and also a permanent experience; and again the same refers to the human destiny, happiness, death and life in that ever quicker modern dynamics, which gradually emerges from the god-hidden universalism.

At this background, the nature remains eternal and immutable, its laws are also immutable, the permanence is then also confirmed by Newton, so that Newton's mechanics and the divine omnipotence can even come to a long and far from marginal or peripheral isomorphic relation.

The nature is a book that one must open and subsequently always learn from it (Rousseau), Rousseau's protagonist is certainly not any special realization of man experiencing the social dynamics, however, our determining contrast is shown most clearly in him, who carries the secret dialogue between society and nature. The book of nature always contains the same text; humans must learn this text by heart, also to escape the social dynamics towards the eternal and immutable nature, however already because the human nature itself already becomes, in constant struggle for the recognition, a place of the permanent unhappiness.

Even the 1755 Lisbon earthquake confirms this picture, which may seem a bit surprising given the relatively late date in the eighteenth century. The concept of permanent coherence of the nature was so strongly integrated that Lisbon earthquake caused a real philosophical turn, a revolution. The revolution was not directed against nature or against any concrete natural forces, it was directed as a new polarization against God himself. It means that even God or the religious attitude had to change when the intention of the nature changed.

This is also an indirect confirmation of our thesis. The eternity of nature always seemed to have been so powerful, that every strong movement of nature was inevitably conceived as a concrete message and quite often even as an anticipated judgment. Thus, the old Teutons (just to name one example) interpreted the sudden onset of darkness as divine judgment. In literary terms, Mark Twain probably immortalized this phenomenon in his novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889).

This was one side of the secret dialogue, which implied that nature is silent, it ‘speaks’ rarely, but then all the more meaningful. The power of the shock in Lisbon was so important that it shook the faith. According to the traditions and the media of that time, one might see that in every skepticism as a spontaneous and sincere event of the forms of the mass psychology of that time, everyone knows Voltaire's Candide (1759), who does not only see this shock as an accomplished fact, but already amuses himself (and the readers)...

And nature for a long time was still the other face of the society, for only after Rousseau that direction came, which one generally call romanticism. In romanticism, the landscape often appeared as a place of peace and tranquility as it appears today as a place of natural disaster today. Romanticism is also a direction and a way of thinking that has survived far beyond its given historical period of time, and as, amongst others, we can aptly know from Hermann Broch's Kitsch theory, goes on living in the near future in the articulations of the mass culture, the fine arts, everyday poetry, the kitsch, and in thousand forms of entertainment culture.

It also means that – intentionally or unintentionally – the nature of the place of peace and self-reflection, the place of forests and flowers, the place of deer and gracious berries goes on living intensely up today. Romanticism never dies, and with it the harmonious nature.

The life of society may be even faster and more intense and it is proverbially the case. Not only but mainly in the context of the world-historical turn of 1989, this speed also engraved in the consciousness of broader classes of population. Here became publicly known the experience like that an old man lived in six states during his lifetime and gave always the answer to the question about this particular situation: ‘I lived in the same city, even in the same apartment, except that my city changing six times the state to which it just belonged’.

This experience remained pending, even if the parasitic ideology of the permanent change of the digital technology also constantly looks for appropriating these lightning-like changes. Instead of Napoleon, Steve Jobs now tries to pose as incarnated spirit of the world, with his unique idea of the design-oriented equipment of information technology devices.

The great change came now in the domain of nature. In addition to the eternal place of peace and harmony, the nature emerged as always revolting and producing permanent phenomena of exception. In the last decades, this nature ever took a larger space.

The nature of the peace and wonderful sunsets was banished to the territorial sovereignty of well-visited tourist destinations, the nature sets in motion. It will be difficult to say, then where this movement now precisely stops, we are inclined to the fact, that the nature has already taken power. It seems to us that it is about a real takeover.

In this first thematization of the takeover of nature, we are immediately confronted with the following question: Put the case that the nature has taken power, what about the society? Has the relation turned symmetrical?

Was it until now that the society changed dynamically and quickly and the nature remained forever (if something happened, it was the voice of the supreme powers), and now did the symmetrical turn result? Has the nature takeover of power over society through permanent and ever quicker, until now unexplored rage, while the society has begun to stagnate?

This assumption has certain plausibility and probability. It is no irony at this point, but quite an adequate rapprochement for this process, if we remember that after 1989 everyone believed that it is the best world of all worlds. We are not concerned here with the interpretation of Fukuyama's thesis of the end of the history and its acceptation or rejection, at this point, it is our task about showing this conviction in the everyday consciousness and in the public opinion. This conviction exists and claims that there are no longer any social alternatives, even if social life is full of tensions, crisis, conflicts and contradictions. Moreover, the public opinion (and not this or that interpretation of Fukuyama's thesis of 1989) has suspicions against appearance against the conviction with spontaneous and deliberate suspicion.

However, the positions have visibly changed.

The unsteady and always unstable nature emerged out of the eternal nature of tranquility and peace. The ever-rapidly developing society became the stagnant society, which neither can nor may be changed; it can at the most be modified by social techniques and by changing index numbers of technocratic (or populist) interventions.

The nature has taken power, this approach is for us heuristically most valuable. This goes also together with what comes finally in question as an option. In the deepest approaches, one should not proceed from such arbitrary natural event, one should assume, mostly heuristically still, as unrecognized the conceived concatenation of numerous natural phenomena, whose whole chain of mediation should be examined in detail.

With this, the nature again touches globalization from another angle. Nature became the global actor, probably the most powerful actor in the world. This turn is in every respect of shaking historical importance, especially in the history of nature itself.

The climate change can be defined within the frameworks of several logics. One of these logics works with a nominalist and a realistic determination. In doing so, we adhere to the terminology of the philosophical tradition, which, above all in the case of the ‘realistic’ definition, can cause considerable difficulties.

The realistic dimension (which proceeds from a real existence of concepts or categories) argues in one of its variations that: ‘Climate is a scientific construction, created through the collation of a series of measurements and observations of atmospheric values – primarily temperature, precipitation and wind speed’ (Stehr, Machin 2018: 19). And: ‘Climate is a matter of average conditions that do not exist in reality’ (Ibid.). As Otto Friedrich Gruppe, the German language philosopher (1804–1876) said, the phenomenon of ‘wind’ does not exist – it is just the air… (Kiss 1981: 292–302).

As to the nominalist definition of the climate change it can ultimately do without words. The phenomena of warming of oceans, storms, extreme wind phenomena, extreme drought and floods, extremely endangered animal varieties illustrate the endless range of images that testify the takeover of power by the nature and drive the society into the defensive position.

The motto has also turned into its opposite. In the past, society wanted to change the nature, always with whatever success and ideology. As a curiosity, we can give here an example of a humorous (?) drawing from Eastern Europe, where a tree was depicted with hanged men on its branches, the signature read the following: ‘The humanization of the nature’.

Another picture from the fifties of the last century appears to us more relevant in this context: in the picture black smoke from the chimneys of working factories went upwards into the sky, and the factory that was sending the blackest smoke and in the greatest amounts was considered as the best one since the quality of the smoke was the proof of the quantity and quality of production and therefore considered as quite positive.

Nature and society have always been in a secret dialogue with each other, forming visible and invisible oppositions, taking over the role of the other and embodying universal values for the other side. Moreover, they formed an almost infinite series of projections; one side always embodied what the other side was missing. The supernatural forces, myths, and religions integrate these projections into themselves in the same way ensure the exchange between nature and society in their own domains.

In myths and religion, there is no human society independent of nature and no nature independent of the society. Not only the society (with its culture, politics, and science) had to develop out of this symbiosis, but also independent nature had to develop out of the divine supremacy (which process has historically still not been sufficiently worked out).

Modern societies realize, step by step, their fierce political, economic, and intellectual dynamics, and they also gradually made of the process their own Max Weberian disenchantment (from which they again seldom longed to return to an undisturbed nature).

A relevant intellectual, who considered seriously this raging dynamics of the modernity in the second half of the nineteenth century, was Max Nordau. The way he approached the then prevalent difference between society (culture) and nature shows that he changed his name from Südfeld to Nordau. Thus, he proved that he considered nature as an unchanging and solid contrast to the society (culture). For him, the ‘South’ and the ‘North’ meant fixed entities that had their cultural and social equivalents.

Certainly no intellectual would come to a similar idea today, for today neither the South nor the North means a fixed entity, and indeed neither socially (culturally) nor climatically.

It is no longer a privilege of Nietzsche, to require a ‘dangerous life’ for the future creative individuals. The path from Friedrich Nietzsche to Ulrich Beck is the raise of a global risk society and sustainable development. The actorial action radius of the diverse global protagonists remains of high importance. This actorial freedom can promote the framework of an optimal sustainable development, but it also can favor the mutual rivalry within globalization, which generates and accelerates global conflicts. At the same time, nature became a real global actor, probably the most powerful actor of all.

It is not about the fact that this change is historical in the history of nature. This change is historical also in the history of the humanity. Until now, we protected the nature from the society, now we must also protect the society from nature. The decisive change is the transformation of the idea of the nature protection in a practice of the mutual and double protection of nature and society. In the sole mission of this double protection, it is crucial that global actorial freedom consciously concentrates on the sustainable development.


In the age of globalization the specific imperial relationships can be characterized by the principle of competition of individual actors-states. This competition is a part of global cooperation at the highest level. The attribute ‘imperial’ is neither a random nor a traditionally chosen designation. The attribute ‘imperial’ wants to describe processes that are, in the true sense of the word, deploying before our eyes.

This is the broad framework of those processes in which the earth society, in its real structuration, confronts with the enormous challenges of the climate change.

‘Imperial’ increasingly describes the relations and attitudes which in 1993 were represented as anticipations, already more than problematically, in Samuel S. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations. The evident validity, let alone the domination of the imperial discourse, is a striking, if not extraordinary, perspective.

Of course, due to the rapid development, the imperial dimensions can also change. Since the playing fields of the individual protagonists in the global processes playing fields are constantly of importance, this actorial freedom also increases the order of magnitude of the imperial dimension. Thus, a scope emerges immediately in the imperial dimension that is composed of the constant interweaving of objective and subjective action rooms.

In the first years after 1989, the imperial dimension is not at all publicly thematized. The necessary nascent euphoria of the ‘end of the history’ promised a world, in which the traditional imperial relations have become obsolete.

The profiling of individual, real or potential, global actors also contributes to this unexpected reversal of the promising initial situation. In the mutual competition of the global ‘empires’, it is about a competition that deploys as secondary phenomenon behind the first line of a primary global cooperation. As a competition of all against all, this phenomenon reveals however as quite complex and multiple.

But this secondary competition is quite a new phenomenon. At first we focus, apparently selectively, on the question of the costs brought by this particular struggle.

Taking the global universal cooperation as the starting point (‘first line’), it becomes clear why the competition in the ‘second’ line can also be conceived as a new type of war. This battle is not fought by fighting troops or frontal clashes. This fight is rather guided by the idea of weakening the opponent (some opponents, all opponents) physically or symbolically and virtually.

The secondary confrontations in the second line are largely directed against the hinterland of the competitors. The actors do not attack the elites or the ruling class of the opponents, but rather their ‘hinterland’, or the everyday life and the conditions of reproduction of the global ‘imperial’ participants. This phenomenon must be regarded, precisely through the fact of globalization and of the universal cooperation (the ‘first’ line) as a new phenomenon, if many of many of its forms of phenomena remind of similar phenomena of the world history.

It is difficult to discuss the factuality of these confrontations. Economic success, changed prices of raw materials, movements of the stock market and other markets can improve the positions of one actor at the expense of the other. These confrontations generally do not disturb the global communication and global cooperation (the ‘first line’). Often they are not even experienced as conflicts, although they cause tangible damages, because the phenomenon of the permanent cooperation determines so much the social perception.

So, an always asymmetrical but at the same time a mute war starts. The victims or the injured often do not always know (because of the differently set perception) whom they have just fallen victim to.

In this everyday reality, the Wiki-Leaks affairs and, most recently, the Snowden's case, are likely to be anything but exceptional phenomena or even surprises. On the contrary, that would be a surprise if the individual actors involved were not listening to each other. What makes the utterances following these scandals so disappointing is not the evident and self-legitimizing information on the state of the business as usual, but the extremely undemanding banality of the arguments accompanying the statements, which we would like to express in our work with our terminology, do not associate the confrontation in the second line with those of the first member of the cooperation.

What we can only see is the characteristics of the potential war of all against all, which have scenarios from the pre-global world, for which the global cooperation of utmost importance was not characteristic. The Snowden's case does not illustrate only the “normality” of mutual listening. In it, the ‘mute’ war is also manifested, the secondary competition in its true order of magnitude. One assumed however, that Snowden could be kidnapped in Moscow.

The hypothesis of the rivalry of ‘imperial’ actors can also be extended to the arms production and trade. For precisely the arms trade (in its double rooting in the political and the economical spheres) must be interpreted such as a classical moment of this competition in the second line. The appearing victim role of the hinterland comes true in this context also in a double way: if the purchased rifles are needed, the victim role is clear (for no part of the population can be omitted from these confrontations). If the arms are not needed, the sacrifice will also be made, for the costs of the transaction will fall on the shoulders of the population (and as it is very relevant: ‘of the hinterland’).

It is similar with the competition for the occupation of symbolic representations! Certainly, the events like an Olympiad in China, a winter Olympics in Russia or a football World Cup in Brazil are considered as rational decisions in the rivalry of global actors of the so-called second line in the age of the globalization. Equally clear is that the costs of these mega-events of the global symbolic representations are also borne by the population.

These examples also show that the competition of the second line reveals to be a medium which can also admit and instrumentalize events that arise from it completely independently. In such a comprehensive situation, every event, every message can become a part of this permanent war in the second line. When, for example, the dissatisfaction of the civilian population grows in Kuwait and manifests itself in public demonstrations, this event is generally integrated in the struggle of the global actors of imperial rank.

With the problem of energy and energy supply, one cannot act without immediately having any effect on other actors. Reinforced by digitization and the not yet mature approaches of a global information society, this problem also suggests the impression of the predominance of the global rivalry to the detriment of the primary global cooperation.

In this struggle (in which cooperation and competition deploy simultaneously), the individual actors set certain standards, which they define as the pain threshold of others in the permanent confrontation. One should avoid dron attacks, for example, to violate the airspace of China, because China would not tolerate this. Civil, female and other social movements are supported in the national territory of other imperial actors, although they are also given a certain limit. The fact that one thinks of such a demarcation might also be regarded as an indirect confirmation of our thesis.

This confrontation of global empires has a special place in this secondary competition of mass communication and mass culture. The complexity of this domain consists in the quantitative infinity, if not the immensity of this domain, in its boundless complexity, but also in the considerable asymmetry that under this aspect exists among the global actors. Thus, the American mass culture influences the other big empires much more intensively than it can be the other way round. The mass culture in its non-stop work does not simply convey a ‘different world’, it ‘works’ on it, provides interpretation, through this monsoon of mass culture, which, because of its size, almost approaches the category of Kant's sublimity (which in aesthetic terms would precisely mean an absurdity). The reaction to an American movie that has just been filmed on Che Guevara affirms that ‘Others tell our histories.’ It goes without saying that such borrowing also provides their own interpretation; the construction of one's own history can easily be endangered.

The one global ‘empire’ can not only indirectly question, through the detour of the mass communication and mass culture, but also directly call the right of existence of the other in question. It was the case between the US and Europe after September, 11 (e.g., America = Marx, Europe = Venus, as it was the friendly thesis of Robert Kagan after September 11 about the relation of the US and Europe). In this communication, the real dimensions of this secondary competition among individual empires are also mentioned, such as the relationship between Europe and North Africa. Another possibility represents the question of the extent to which the EU, as a single organization, should support individual military interventions in other parts of the world, that stand clearly in the interest of only a few member-States.

If it is also further about the burdens of the ‘hinterland’, it quickly becomes obvious that this phenomenon in Europe means something different in politological and structural terms than it means in all other global regions. In this respect Europe's ‘basis’ consists in the fact that ‘hinterland’ comprise individual nation-states that have partially preserved their sovereignty and partially abandoned it. This circumstance may be relevant in the context of the competition between global empires.

The European politics of education and schooling is certainly a terrain on which the secondary competition of the individual major actors (behind the comprehensive global cooperation) runs intensively. Let us now set aside, for example, whether the European politics in the sphere of universities is well conceived or not. However, the disadvantages and losses are not distributed equally among individual states in this ‘particular hinterland’. The freer traffic among European universities favors individual states and rests on other individual states.

The other crucial question is: which relationship this rivalry can establish in the second line with that phenomenon which is usually called the rivalry of the great world views, religions, and ideologies, and described by Samuel S. Huntington as a ‘Clash of the Civilizations.’

Huntington's concept, as a self-fulfilling prophecy, contributes to the fact that we must today put the question of the relationship between the rivalry, the secondary competition of global powers and the great ideological and thus civilizational struggles. At the beginning of the nineties, many other ways were also offered in the process of globalization! Huntington's concept reduced the complexity, the victory, even the dialectics of the modernity on a reactionary and fundamentalistically seeming basic situation.

Given the rivalry of worldviews, religions and ideologies, the initial impression is that in terms of number, there might be very few ideologies involved in this major competition. This is however not the case. In fact, in the globalized world, there are many more ideologies that fight with each other than we usually perceive. Each of these ideologies also becomes more differentiated in many other currents that, if necessary, also rival one another. This ‘struggle’ has led to the situation when every ideology and worldview has become consistently ‘fundamentalized’. In every individual ideology, there develops its own most fundamentalist variation. From the point of view of the individual great ideologies, the fundamentalist versions of individual ideologies are then always in opposition to each other, as for example the political violence observed in the streets of modern Germany, where the extreme left and the extreme right engage in tremendous clashes.

Thus, fundamentalism itself stepped also in a new phase also a new phase of its history. Thus, it also forces a new sociology and a new sociology of knowledge adequate to it. In numerous cases, the fundamentalist coloring of the way of thinking is no longer recognizable in everyday life. One often uses fundamentalist thinking models to solve existing problems.

It goes without saying that the growing importance of the imperial dimension does not at all mean that even this dimension could or might characterize the globalization with the claim of exclusiveness. Even the phenomenon of the co-existence of the global cooperation and secondary competition of the second line would be perfectly inconceivable without this fact. From the point of view of theoretical generalization, this assertion confirms that globalization, as a universal process, can never be fully described by one of its characteristics. In its turn, the new imperial dimension underlines with a great intensity all that has been generally said about the unique strengths of the actorial dimension, for the imperial activity is in principle equal to an actorial activity. The objective and subjective sides of the actorial activity are also clearly united in the imperial dimension.

The imperial dimension in the foreground of the current global processes is just not evident. In the coming historical review, one will wonder why in 1989, or shortly after, the dimension of the imperial has hardly been directly articulated in the theoretical discussion on globalization. But this absence can be explained by the overwhelming evidences of those years. The euphoria of the historical moment, the generally shared joy of the public consciousness, with a great deal of spontaneity, envisioned a new world that once and for all eliminated the thinking and practice of imperialism from the world having become uniformly liberal and democratic. In this evocation of the general euphoria of that time, we do not forget the otherwise relevant pragmatic fact, that the current and coming global actors should also reorient themselves in a sharply changing situation, what has also contributed to prolonging of this euphoria. After all, we are convinced that a thorough analysis of the relevant international press of those years will hardly reveal the occurrence of direct imperial discussions.


The possibility of the new identity vis-à-vis Chernobyl suggested by Ulrich Beck in the 1980s (of course, in the context of euphoria: the ecological challenge is the last unresolved question!) might have experienced something new in the 2000s. As we have seen, the historical development achieved the period globalization and globalization entered its imperial phase.

Now, the original idea of a new identity for nature, or the potential natural risks seem to have thus disappeared, so the identity for nature seems to have perished in a world of the so-called ‘secondary’ competition.

It seems to us all the more interesting that precisely in this situation the apparently impossible politics of identity (neither in the direction of nature nor in the direction of the society) gained again a new impulse in the past time. This again raises the question of an identity that can also become relevant to the nature.

However, if one looks at the most interesting new phenomenon of identity, he would confront a quite different reality.

One of the most peculiar phenomena just of the recent years is a new politics of identity, which is slowly appearing in the literature.

The identity includes in fact a range of social phenomena, so the politics of identity could also be rather multiple in nature and constitution. A complete description of all possibilities would be an impossible enterprise.

First, we should remark that the politics of identity most often roots its meaning in the context, in which general and universal politics is also genuinely exercised and the politics of identity can get its place in the political life that functions in its totality.

Without aspiring again to completeness, we date the beginning of the new politics of identity to the emergence of the New Left movement in the 1960s and 1970s, in which certain value ideas, forms of life and other forms of identity were associated with anti-fascism and anti-colonialism. It is, of course, a brief representation. Anyway a whole range of other approaches to identity politics has developed. The later development has led to the situation when the power of identity politics became even stronger while the power of the generally society-oriented politics was weakening and already in 1989, some moments point to the possibility that it may approach the phenomenon, that it may become possible for the whole society to generally develop the spiritually and intellectually high values of identity politics, which at that time had already developed into the left-liberalism.

Basically, the identity politics expanded, all the more that it changed its background and supporting movements. Today, the identity politics is characteristic of many political directions, and it is also not always easy to determine whether, in the case of a movement or a party, it is about identity politics of left or right origin.

The current identity politics is a completely different from previous identity politics. It does not go back to the (ideal-typical) right identity politics and articulates the frustration and desperation of the majority, which again finds no general and universal politics of tradition and common good in the coalition of numerous successful identity politics. Simultaneously, it experiences its own emptying lifeworld, its depraved situation. Moreover, the current identity politics also hardly finds new values, for the left liberalism in left liberalism in its coalition of numerous very positive values hardly leaves any free space to new and actual values of the identity politics.

The new politics of identity is one of the new majority reflecting its defeat, it is an expression of naked identity. Therefore, it is far from true, if one associates in the modern literature this politics of identity with the problem of recognition (as if the absence of recognition were the cause of the despair and frustration of this politics). This view is intellectually problematic, politically however clearly euphemistic.

This (ideal-typical) rightist policy in its identity politics has been trying for many years in vain also to secure for itself the privileges, which the (ideal-typical) left identity politics had enjoyed for a long time. It is the identity politics of the majority that can represent the already compromised values, while the left identity politics represents the values of permanent liberation; meanwhile the liberation in the domains of life, that cannot be liberated, represents a clear social self-destruction.

For a long time, the minority dimension has been ignored in the identity politics and a politics of community and common good has for long declined as well. It means that the new identity politics combats an old identity politics and vice versa, for the time being, the (ideal typical) left identity politics succeeds in removing the train of universality of the (ideal typical) right identity politics.

One must again emphasize that the (ideal typical) left identity politics can also work with conservatives and liberals and vice versa, the (ideal typical) right identity politics can make leftist identity politics stronger. The time distance between the 60s / 70s and the 2000s is often forgotten, major modifications and mutations are not perceived, old prejudices prevail. The international environment is also different.

The (ideal typical) left identity politics is internationally well-organized, the international dimension of the (ideal typical) right identity politics is not relevant.

Anyone, who wants to describe the new identity politics with Anerkennung, thymos – recognition in the Hegel-Fukuyamian senses, does not understand the enormous loss of reality, the shattering rejection and depravation that are standing behind the new identity politics.

The new identity politics is a historical product of shattering facts, the end of a historical period. One cannot explain the Brexit by the longing of the English for recognition, the attitude standing behind the Brexit is certainly very complex, probably not all actors are fully conscious of the fact, but there can be no doubt that the extension of the logic of representation of the minorities had ruinous consequences for the general public and the common good.

The extension of the logic of representation of the minorities on the political doctrine affecting society in general means its self-destruction and dissolution of the reality. The new identity politics is quite exactly an answer to this kind of politics.


We started from the question of whether Beck's idea from the 1980s about the possibility of a new identity in the face of natural disasters would be possible today. We came to the conclusion that from a theoretical point of view, the current situation is not favorable for the development of a new global human-ecological identity, which can face the new climate change.

On the one hand, there is the ‘sublime’ (Kantian) world of the climate change; on the other hand, there is the naked identity of many people, who first want to return to the society. It is under these conditions that the world society is confronted with the climate change.

When we called the qualitative turn as a ‘takeover by nature,’ we wanted to emphasize, that this ‘takeover’ is only the ‘reading’ of what is going on, an interpretation that summarizes the numerous different and often unexplored processes into a uniform framework. This might be another chapter in the dialogue between nature and society. It might indeed mean a primitive obstacle, if one follows Margaret Thatcher's advice and accordingly think, that ‘no society exists, only individuals exist.’ This might be a macabre confrontation, if we just emancipate ourselves and imagine free individuals that would fight against the phenomenon of ocean warming.

In the theoretical interpretation of globalization, the great role of the so-called actorial dimension becomes clear. The actorial dimension also forms a bridge toward the problematic of the climate change. Facing the phenomenon of the nature coming in motion, one often observes that in so many concrete situations the necessary actors are absent, and it is not only about actors working on a concrete phenomenon, but also about those who can look into the increasingly complex interactions as result of solid researches.

A symbol for this situation is the situation at the beginning of 2019. At the same time, we have a cold record in North America (Chicago) and a heat record in Australia. It is clear how problematic or adventurous it would be to come up with a hypothesis, which treats both phenomena within a common theory. Nevertheless, facing the interdependencies between nature and society in motion, such a good will and capacity of reaction would be more than necessary. It is clear that we once again arrive to Kant's problematic of the ‘sublime’, in this case the total problem of the ‘sublime’, which solves the total problem, and the possible instruments of science form poles of both the normal-small and the immeasurably-great.

For that is just the one side, that today there is no one who exchanges his name ‘Südfeld’ with another name ‘Nordau.’ This insight is certainly not sufficient today; it would require a disproportionate high increase of consciousness of the human activity.

This necessity would be urgent in two directions at the same time. One would be the rethinking of what man does actively vis-à-vis the nature, and the other – the rethinking of how one can even come to trace what and with which consequences a human has changed in the nature. Here again we remind of the moments of the new identity phenomena (the ‘naked’ identity) and the hypothetically supposed ‘stagnation’ of society (in comparison to the ‘dynamics’ of nature).

Just as the thematization of the risk idea in the eighties of the last century has led to new theoretical insights about the society (it seems to us that the heuristic claims of that time were even too high). As the interpretation of globalization leads to new theoretical insights about the society, the phenomenon of the climate change and its related risk phenomena unavoidably lead also to new theoretical insights about the society. At that time, because of his hypotheses, Ulrich Beck said that the category of risk has become the general socio-theoretical category (Beck 1986). He was right so far that ever since then the future has always appeared as a risk on the horizon of the intellectual community.

It is almost impossible to assert where today the frontier can be drawn between climate change and risk society. Both phenomena are intertwined in an infinite number of channels, without which a fundamental logical difference between the two basic concepts could be eliminated. Practically, the assumption is that the ‘climate change’ environment is seen as a single large, comprehensive risk society, and the detailed analysis must indicate which proportion of a current phenomenon of climate change may have the traditional concept of risk, that is the human intervention in natural processes.

A new analogy comes up at this point. We are not concerned with the exact truth content of this analogy, we only want to signal a heuristic possibility. It can namely easily be the case that the climate research came into a similar situation as the ethnography in the mid-twentieth century when, with dismay, it had to be established with Lévy-Strauss that so something like really ‘wild’, really ‘natural’ communities or societies do not exist anymore! Wherever the explorers always went, they encountered human communities, which had been hit hard by the ‘civilization’ and thus transformed.

Even the view of the climate change as a global risk society (which is also here only understood as a purely pragmatic, that is not really a theoretical option) is by no means identical with a complete theory of the society. It is simplified in the fact that a society, the theoretical description of which we dispose under conditions, is coming, in which the potentially permanent risks are characteristic. When and how this change is expressed in a new theory of society cannot be established today. In the dialogue between nature and society, it can however no longer be said, that man had a considerable share in the birth of this nature.

It is not only the contrast of the normal-small and the infinite-great that determines, however, the investigation of the climate change. In another comparison, the development of climate change reminds that of futurology.

The individual objects of ecology may be quite different and in fact there are questions that can be answered immediately and researches that can be completed in the foreseeable future. When one thinks of the characteristic objects of the climate change, one quickly realizes that they may be found in most processes. From all those methodological problems, that have been briefly mentioned in the work and that we have focused on, we now see that processes are long-term and their relevant results will only be decided in the future.

This is also the contact point with futurology. It seems to be trivial and still it is decisive in its triviality. Futurology also investigates the objects that will only deploy in the future, and this immediately means that they will be able to escape for a long time the verification mechanisms of science.

This situation prepares immediately a double obstacle for the research and also for the activity of the climate change. One of these obstacles consists in the deferred verifiability of every statement, even if the hypotheses and models are already very plausible in the process. This means that – and one can very often observe this phenomenon – no statement can be certain as long as the empirically perceptible result is not ready. The second obstacle is also much more fraught with consequences. It does not come from the scientific research, rather more from the social practice, more generally from the social ontology.

It is an ‘iron law’ that everything that is still going on is also ‘open’, that is it can also start in multiple ways. We do not want to address the multiple documents of the everyday consciousness and of other historical documents, as an example we mention the widespread ideas that ‘we can win the war’ while the enemy was already on the backlines.

The ‘iron law’ of social practice states that a society does not consider a fact as complete until the result is ready. And it is easy to understand what a huge problem it can represent for the elaboration of the strategy against the climate change, as long as a fact is not accomplished, it can consider the society as ‘open’. One should not also underestimate that in the case of a really long-term process, the actorial relations also erode – above all the responsibility for the participation of a process negatively affecting the climate change.

The ‘iron law’ means: a certain degree of long-term reality becomes immediately the collective irresponsibility.

In comparison to the risk problematics of the eighties, it is also noticeable how clearly the singular technical-scientific solutions dominated the domain in resolving the ecological problems. In the majority of cases, this condition also formed the basis of the cooperation between the production and green nature-protecting movements, but the technical, scientific individual actions led to those compromises that have legitimized the green movement and gave the production the opportunity to have a sympathetic appearance to the population.

The technical and scientific individual compromises did not lose their importance today. The difference compared to the 1980s has become enormous, because, on the one hand, the number of such individual compromises became extremely high and, on the other hand (what is much more important) the net amount of positively independent individual compromises does not guarantee more, that the holistic process of the climate change generally disappears or even declines or even more, one cannot even estimate to what extent the assumed total number of positively independent individual compromises influences the process of the climate change. It seems to us that the idea of this historical and factual shift can make it easier to understand the essential trains of the current climate change.

In further comparisons of the risk problematics of the 1980s it is noticeable that the distinction between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ risks in the context of the climate change is losing its importance. The general description can no longer happen with the attribute of the ‘irrational’, for in many complex objects of the global climate change the rational and the irrational moments are mixed together up to the infinity.

The still very sharp boundaries between the ‘technical’ and ‘social’ risks of that time are also blurred, above all due to the extremely complex composition of a new risk phenomenon.


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