An Ontology of Trash: The Disposable and Its Problematic by Greg Kennedy

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By Greg Kennedy

Plastic luggage, newspapers, pizza bins, razors, watches, diapers, toothbrushes … What makes a specific thing disposable? Which of its homes permits us to regard it as though it didn't subject, or as though it really lacked subject? Why achieve this many items seem to us as not anything greater than short flashes among checkout-line and landfill? In An Ontology of Trash, Greg Kennedy inquires into the that means of disposable items and explores the character of our prodigious refuse. he's taking trash as a true ontological challenge due to our unsettled relation to nature. The metaphysical force from immanence to transcendence leaves us in an alien global of gadgets tired of significant actual presence. as a result, they develop into interpreted as beings that in some way primarily lack being, and exist in our technological global purely to vanish. Kennedy explores this frustrating nature and appears for probabilities of salutary switch.

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It will do so by interpreting the bodily situation of modern humanity with a view to its ontological significance. Upon situating the modern body in a technological conurbation devoid of the nourishment of nature, this study will have arrived at a position at which it can show how trash wastes our mortal being through the looming phenomenon of human extinction. CHAPTER TWO The Body What makes the body “the most difficult problem”? More to the point, what does this problem have to do with trash?

This study’s reliance on Heidegger is not for, as the saying goes, lack of options. On the contrary, I appeal to Heidegger’s thought for what it shares with the wisdom of great spiritual traditions. For example, many commentators have noted the affinities between Buddhist and Heideggerean ontologies. Both Heidegger and the Zen master would say that Western humanity’s technological will to power over nature arises from an inadequate understanding of what it means to be human. So long as we regard ourselves as ego-subjects who are the measure of all things, we will plunder the planet in an endless quest for security and control.

This study, however, is not a theological work, but an ontological one. ” The prime reason I must turn to Heidegger and thus engage in philosophy rather than religion is for his historical insight. If acknowledged at all, history typically receives something of a crude interpretation from most religious traditions. 19 If trash is to be properly understood and responded to, it must be approached in its peculiarity, which means in the context of its historical development. It does not help much to say our ancestors neither enjoyed nor suffered today’s mass-produced disposables simply because they lacked the requisite technology.

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