Ecopoetics, Heidegger and Dwelling
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
Full of merit, yet poetically, man Dwells on this earth.
This paper discusses the notion of ecopoetics in relation to the work of
Martin Heidegger and his concept of dwelling. Our aim, broadly stated, is to
respond to the question: “What frame of mind could bring about
sustainability—and how might we develop it?” In the first part of the paper,
we comment on Jonathan Bate’s
notion of ecopoetics and his discussion of Heidegger. Crucial here is the
question of whether we can ever approach Nature in an non-ideological way or
are all attempts to capture Nature, theoretically or poetically or
narratively, nothing more than our own peculiar appropriation of it?
Ecopoetics might be conceived as a response to this question, although we
dispute Bate’s view. In the second part of the paper, following Micheal
Haar’s perceptive reading, we elaborate the four senses that Heidegger gives
to Nature, and in the third section, we make some concluding comments about
the notion of sustainability that might be explicated in relation to
Heidegger’s four senses of Nature.
Is it Sustainable?
The Song of the Earth,
as he says, is a book about, “why poetry continues to matter as we enter a
new millennium that will be ruled by technology.” He elaborates further: “It
is a book about modern Western man’s alienation from nature. It is about the
capacity of the writer to restore us to the earth which is our home.”
Restoring us to the earth is what good ecopoetry can do and ecopoetics
(rather than ecocriticism) is not just the pastoral theme, which Bates
asserts, following de Man, may be “in fact, the only poetic theme,” it is
poetry itself .
Ecopoetics is more phenomenological than political and while its force does
not depend upon versification or metrical form, it constitutes the most
direct return to the place of dwelling. Bate
Ecopoetics asks in what respects a poem may be a making (Greek
poiesis) of the dwelling place – the prefix eco- is derived from the
Greek oikos, “the home or place of dwelling.”
And as he says elsewhere:
I think of this book as an “experiment in ecopoetics”. The
experiment is this: to see what happens when we regard poems as imaginary
parks in which we may breath[e] an air that is not toxic and accommodate
ourselves to a mode of dwelling that is not alienated.
When Bate uses the concept “dwelling” he is self-consciously drawing on his
earlier understanding of Wordsworth
—for Wordsworth “remains the founding father for a thinking of poetry in
relation to place, to our dwelling on the earth”
—and running this sense of place together with the special sense that
gives the term in two essays based on lectures delivered in the early 1950s
(“Building Dwelling Thinking,” 1950 and “…Poetically Man Dwells …,” 1951).
Indeed, there is a peculiar set of relationships between place, poetry, and
bioregion. At school, many New Zealand children found Wordsworth fanciful,
though they were forced to read and rote memorize his poetry as part of the
curriculum. They did not understand his poetry because they did not
appreciate the local topography and landscape of the Lake District, which is
much more manicured, man-made over many generations, and “tame” compared to
the relatively wild and uninhabited New Zealand land and seascapes. Clearly,
the set of relationships between place, poetry, and region generates a
further set of questions about the construction of the canon and the
curriculum, the role and representation of Nature in the formation of
national and cultural identity—in defining a people through representing
their relationship to the (home)land—and pedagogy.
Within this set of relationships it is easy to see how a particular
representation of Nature became mainstream. Romanticism depends upon the
assumption in the west of the separation of nature and culture, for before
it can contemplate any spiritual union or sacred reunification, separation
is required. Thus, Romanticism, developed through a series of
associations—intuition over rationality, feelings over beliefs, with a sense
of mysticism and oneness with Nature—as though it was possible to overcome
the alienation and reification that had emerged with capitalism,
industrialization, and urbanization. Nature was often pictured by the
Romantics as the garden, the landscape, the village, or the earth that
conjured up an idealized pastoral space—a paradisical Eden—which constituted
the natural habitat for the soul. In the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads,
Wordsworth suggests that poetry is “spontaneous overflow of powerful
but also “emotion recollected in tranquillity” leading to the creation of a
new emotion in the mind.
The creative nature of poetic act is said to be the ability to be affected
by “absent things as if they were present” and to express “thoughts and
feelings” that arise “without immediate external excitement.”
Yet what really distinguished Wordsworth from other poets belonging to the
Romantic Movement was his “view of nature as having palpable moral
Yet, as David S. Miall
argues, historicist readings of “Tintern Abbey” focusing on the precise
locations of the poem, reveal that Wordsworth strategically suppressed an
awareness of aspects of the Wye Valley that contaminated his idealized view
of Nature, including scenes of industrial activity (iron furnaces), the busy
river traffic, and the beggars lurking in the ruins. These historicist
readings confirm our postmodern sensibilities of the social and ideological
construction of our own representations. Miall quotes Anthony Easthope
“Nature exists as we appropriate it.” As Maill himself argues, “Nature can
never be known directly” and “Thus Wordsworth is deceiving himself (and his
readers) in claiming that here he felt a spirit that rolls through
everything.” Maill himself goes on to argue that the precise location for
the poem is central to Wordsworth’s intentions and makes a specific
contribution to Wordsworth’s view of our community with nature.
as a latter-day green Romantic, explains that what he calls the “greening of
culture” has lagged behind the other cultural revolutions that occurred
since the late 1960s, including the growth of feminism and of women’s, gay
and ethnic rights. While we have feminist history, philosophy, and literary
theory, there is no equivalence promoting environmentalism, no ecocriticism
or ecopoetics. In the 1970s and 1980s there was no text of ecological
literary criticism and certainly nothing resembling a tradition. And he
argues the case for theory (against activism alone) by suggesting that,
“Before you can change policies, you must changes attitudes.”
He writes: “a green reading of history—and literary history and philosophy
and every other humanistic field—is a necessary precondition for a deeper
understanding of our environmental crisis.”
Green cultural studies were slow to develop because “environmentalism does
not conform to the model of “identity politics.” In other words, “The
ecocritical project always involves speaking for its subject rather
than speaking as its subject: a critic may speak as a woman or as a
person of colour, but cannot speak as a tree.”
Environmentalists must speak on behalf of the non-human Other, of which we
are part. While Bate
criticises the “postmodern self-indulgence of the Parisian gurus” against
the grounded work of Raymond Williams and others, nevertheless, he turns to
Heidegger (we might say, one of the forefathers of poststructuralism) to
explicate the claim that “Poetry is the song of the earth.”
In this regard he traces the interconnections between three questions that
occupied Heidegger in his later years: What are poets for? What does it mean
to dwell upon the earth? and, What is the essence of technology?
Bate proceeds to give an account, somewhat truncated but largely accurate,
of Heidegger’s view of technology as a mode of revealing and the distinctive
form it takes in the modern era, where “enframing” conceals the truth of
things. Referring to Heidegger’s discussion of original Greek sense of
techne, and poiesis as a bringing-forth of the true into the
beautiful, Bate arrives at the proposition that “poetry is our way of
stepping outside the frame of the technological, of reawakening the
momentary wonder of unconcealment.”
Poetry, when we allow it to act on us, can “conjure up conditions such as
dwelling and alienation in their very essence, not just in their
Thus, “Poetry is the original admission of dwelling”
and dwelling is an authentic form of being, which avoids Cartesian dualism
and subjective idealism. These are the conceptual connections that Bate
makes in order to arrive at his conception of ecopoetics.
In Bate’s terms, ecopoetics is experiential rather than descriptive, based
as it is on the poet’s articulation of the relations between the environment
and humankind. A green poem is a revelation of dwelling rather than a
narrative of dwelling; it is “phenomenological before it is political.”
Ecopoetics is pre-political in the sense that it is “a Rousseauesque story
about imagining a state of nature prior to the fall into property, into
inequality and into the city.”
For this reason, “ecopoetics must concern itself with consciousness,” and
when it comes to politics or practice we have to speak in other discourses.
Bate argues, “The dilemma of Green reading is that it must, yet it cannot,
separate ecopoetics from ecopolitics”—the very problem that besets Martin
Heidegger himself, and typifies the connections between deep ecology and
fascism. One cannot consistently derive a Green politics from ecopoetics,
just as one cannot derive a Green politics from scientific ecology. Bate
consolidates this position by arguing: “Green has no place in the
traditional political spectrum …”
and, “Nature is so various that no consistent political principles can be
derived from it.”
Thus, for Bate: “the very conception of a ‘politics of nature’ is
self-contradictory: politics is what you get when you fall from nature. That
is the point of Rousseau’s second Discourse.”
He allegedly avoids “Heidegger’s dilemma” (if we can use this shorthand to
stand for the problem of whether Heidegger’s Nazism arises out of his
philosophy) by insisting on the radical separation of
discourses—theoretical/practical, poetic/political—and by suggesting that
while “[h]istories, theories, political systems are all enframings,”
“[e]copoetics renounces the mastery of enframing knowledge and listens
instead to the voice of art.”
As he suggests: “To read ecopoetically is … to find ‘clearings’ or ‘unconcealments.’”
This enables him the Heideggerian parting conclusion:
If mortals dwell in that they save the earth and if poetry is the
original admission of dwelling, then poetry is the place where we save the
To read Heidegger this way (non-ecopoetically!) is to seal off what
Heidegger had to say about poetry and technology from the expression of his
Nazi politics; it is also, from Bate’s viewpoint, to be able [to] borrow
Heidegger’s ecophilosophy without his ecopolitics. Yet, clearly, this will
not do. It will not do for a variety of reasons to which we now turn
briefly. First, Bate’s account is dependent on a theory of language as
discourse that neatly and exclusively seals off one language-game from
another, for example, poetry from politics and from narrative. Yet there is
no logic prescribing genres or literary forms or discourses; they are simply
contingent developments which are open to change and individual forms may
yet come into existence, mutate, or disappear. Is there no politics of
ecopoetics or poetics of ecopolitics? Second, to insist on the separation,
especially in relation to Heidegger, is to ignore the organicity (a good
ecological concept) of his thought and its relationship to its environment.
In particular, it is to ignore the “ideas environment” that accounts for
Heidegger’s politics and the reactionary side of his ecology and to
misunderstand the sources of his anti-modernism.
Third, Bate’s account misunderstands the nature of politics and the politics
of nature: he bases a spurious separation on Rousseau and the essence of the
polis (of the city). Yet we may talk of “first nature,” “second
nature,” and “third nature” (see Mackenzie Wark), and, clearly, there is a
sense wherein we can talk unambiguously of a politics of nature that comes
into being at the point when human beings become aware, simultaneously, of
the adverse ecoeffects of industrial and capitalist practices and,
collectively, of their power to reverse these effects. Fourth, it is to take
Heidegger on trust, so to speak, accepting his ontology and the postulations
of essences, rather than say, with Foucault, naturalizing or, better,
historicizing questions of ontology.
There is a sense that we are already moving on from the question of
sustainability. Arguably, it has already become integral to the enframing of
technology, and is no longer a notion on the fringe of politics and radical
The question of how to change people’s consciousness in regard to
sustainability is almost an historical issue. It has always had an element
of historical reckoning. The question invoked by Heidegger and his Earthsong
commentators—Bate and Haar—is whether there has been, or can be, any agency
involved, or if the change in public awareness arises “of its own accord.”?
In any regard, the projection of sustainability into the future may have
some surprizing directions. Obviously, sustainability has been made an issue
of consumerism and a topic that capitalism must address. Many people have
relied rather lazily upon the possibility of the technological fix to
environmental problems. Indeed technology may fix sustainability, not heal
it, but rather fix in the sense of make static, retain, position, conserve,
regenerate, and nourish the resource base of capitalism. This is the
eschatological trajectory of technological enframing. The “end of history”
with the calculable technicity of supreme rationality and the relegation of
Earth to a recyclable, renewable, and, ultimately, replaceable resource. It
is no longer an issue of how to convince people to accept and promote
sustainability, but of whether human control, often in the guise of liberal
rationalism, will ever again ascertain an earthly wonder last promoted by
the Romantics. Or, if the demise of romanticism in the proliferation of
corny paintings and films of the last frontier, will only be refound in new
frontiers, new planets, new solar systems to terra-form in exchange for the
homely, if exhausted, ground of this one.
The Earth has been traditionally associated with the physiological source or
substructure of the human animal; biology as the substratum upon which human
animals build a superstructure of social relations, knowledges, politics,
In Heidegger’s text, Being and Time, the substrata of Nature is not
exactly inverted, but his concept of being in-the-world places primary
emphasis on equipment rather than physiology. The initial relationship
between humanity and environment is in relationships of utility and
potential resource. Nature is instrumentalized. The forest is a place to
exercise and a reserve of building materials and paper, rather than an
autonomous sublime landscape.
In fact, he argues that the presence of “pure nature” is derived as an
abstraction from the ready-at-hand (Zuhandenheit) of the relational
field of equipment. Present-at-hand (Vorhandenheit) is a secondary
concept rather than a metaphysical ground.
Both of these relationships with nature are oblivious to its raw power or
autonomous force. The (romantic) nature “which overwhelms us and enthrals us
is neither derivative nor reducible to Zuhandenheit or
Vorhandenheit. This hidden aspect of nature is present but unexplored in
Heidegger is interested in where the Idealist separation of subjectivity
from nature is imposed and if, where, and how it is transgressed. The
“world” is a network of interdependent relations at a variety of levels;
equipment, politics, morality, and so forth. The “world” of relations
conceptualized in human terms limits our ability to comprehend natural
earthliness. Or put in Heidegger’s words, “All that we will ever be able to
say, or think or experience of supposedly natural phenomena is necessarily
situated within the world.” Somehow, despite his notion of humans
“being-in-the-world,” dissolving the separation between subject and object
that was posed by Descartes, Heidegger retains a sense of the Idealist
separation between nature and humanity. The “world” is a different
conceptual space to the “earth.”
During the 1930s, Heidegger’s thought took an acclaimed turn when he
developed another approach to nature. In An Introduction to Metaphysics
and The Origin of the Work of Art, he rejuvenated two related Greek
terms, physis and aletheia. This new conceptualization
reinstates the independence of nature, “(What does “physis” mean? It
means that which arises on its own)”
but it also struggles to transgress the rupture posed by idealism. “The
world is founded on the Earth and the Earth thrusts up in the world.
began to stand in sometimes for Earth, sometimes for Nature, and sometimes
for Being. In a variety of texts, Heidegger wrote: “This appearing and
arising itself and on the whole was early on called physis by the
Greeks. In a single stroke, this name clarifies that upon which and in which
man grounds his abode. We name it Earth.”
“Physis is Being itself”
and also “The inaugural arising of what is present in all being, but also
falls askew, even falls into oblivion: Nature (physis).”
There arises a complex set of relations and important distinctions between
Being, aletheia, physis, and Earth. While at times Physis
takes the title of Earth or Nature or Being, each of these is different.
Haar “… if the Earth appears, manifests itself in the world, it must enter
into being. But it does not stem from Being; it does not identify
with Being. If the Earth is neither the appearance of Being nor, as
Heidegger will make clear, the name of its withdrawal, then does not its
proper, autonomous power remain unthought?”
Crucially, physis does not rely on the materiality of the planet, but
rather on its dynamic of obscurity and emergence into the light of truth,
aletheia. Physis is, at once, aspects of the earth coming forth and at
the same time, necessarily, retaining a hidden element. “More precisely,”
Haar explains, “Earth belongs to the dimension of withdrawal, of concealing
(lethe) which holds sway in un-concealment, in a-letheia.”
Earth is not exclusively a secret, or a hiddenness, or even the “unthought.”
It is always both: impenetrable, hiding elements of itself and
allowing aspects of its being to show forth. Dissecting the flower and
mapping its veins, cells, and photo-chemical processes in minute detail
cannot ascertain the texture, delicacy, smell, or imperfections of its
flowerness. The flower is. Heidegger explains, “Earth is the
spontaneous arising of what is continually self-secluding.” To comprehend
the Being of the flower we are better served by poetry than rationality.
Aletheia is the process of physis. The concealing or
revealing is directed towards an audience—they who care, Dasein.
We would be overstating the case to say that aletheia and physis
seals the rupture of idealism. Earth is arising into the world, and this
projection constitutes an upheaval that is never satisfactory. Movement is
not quite the right word, but Haar is on to something when he writes,
because the Earth keeps its own depths hidden, “Being essentially this
movement of again taking up and going back into itself, it makes this
covering rise up and visibly appear in the very midst of the world.”
The Earth exudes with fundamental familiarity, something that is
undiscoverable and incalculable in rational, or even worldly terms. But
Heidegger wants to say something further, and that is that the “Earth cannot
renounce the Open of the world if it is itself to appear as Earth.”
Poetry is one of the best ways that people have to bring the Earthly into
language. This does not occur through an apparent representation but through
a truth factor that is irreducible to the calculus of science or
governmentality. Poetry is not a-political but a principle of politics. This
means it might be held and contested by a variety of political spectrums.
What gets argued is, for example, whether sustaining capitalism is authentic
eco-politics and ultimately true to ecopoesis.
Heidegger puts together nature, truth and human agency in an integral whole:
Earth cannot do without the Open of the world if it is itself to
appear as Earth in the free thrust of its self-concealing. On the other
hand, the world cannot soar above the Earth if, as the prevailing breadth
and course of all that has the essential character of the Geschick,
it is to be grounded on something decisive.
The decision—this is the point of interest to educators! The decision is the
principle of action. It is the guide and reference point to all our
interactions, both with each other and in relation to nature. The decision
is what political activism is motivated by, and what it works to change. It
is what teaching is aimed at. Green consciousness is a decision.
The concepts of physis and aletheia radically challenge
metaphysics and the guiding principles of modernity and the Enlightenment.
Truth and knowledge are not a superlative add-on to the fundamental
structure of material physiology but are essential to nature itself.
Understanding Nature via a first premise such as equipment or
instrumentality is no longer the initial focus.
the Status of Humanity
and aletheia integrate the human need to seek truth in the ground of
Being. Poetry is a potent force for surmounting the Idealist principles that
have separated human society from Nature. Earthsongs promoted by Bate and
Haar lead to a post-modern principle that dissolves modern and Enlightenment
distinctions between subject and object and should democratize the Great
Chain of Being. But when it comes to the status of humanity in relation to
other forms of life, Heidegger retains the prejudices of his times. Although
nobody wants to associate with his politics, this prejudice based on the
Christian hierarchy is accepted by most Heideggerians, including Bate and
Haar. Humans are superior because they are capable of poetic insights.
Animals on the other hand, are restricted to unreflective absorption in
Animals are unable to discern beings as beings. They are totally
engrossed in their form of environment.
One might say—although Heidegger never would—that animals are completely
engrossed in their world of equipment “only as non-isolable elements of its
Heidegger is happy to acknowledge that humanity has little insight into the
essence of life itself. It “does not mean that life is of less value or of
an inferior degree compared to human existence. Rather, life is a domain
which possesses a rich openness (Offensein) the likes of which the
human world perhaps knows nothing.”
Animals are not seen in honourable terms of alternative worlds, which we
have little access to, but in terms of an impoverished world.
Furthermore, to envisage a rich animal world is anthropocentric. Haar agrees
with Heidegger’s stance, “We much too quickly shift animals into a genuine
world, forgetting that an animal lives in the limited space of an
Animals are firstly organisms, from which the root word organ, which
describes the physiological means of carrying out the will of the faculties,
that is, a tool.
Heidegger also makes a distinction between animal behaviour and human
conduct. Behaviour is limited to operating in an environment in an
absorbed and self-referential manner. The utter absorption in the lived
environment (often called instinct) is a compulsion that excludes awareness
and agency. Heidegger regards it as closed and captured by existence.
Conduct, on the other hand, is the openness to the manifest experience of
things in the “Open of the world.” Although, of course, on a larger scale
Heidegger’s notion of the epoch and the Enframing of technology is just such
a finite and totalizing system and subsumes agency in a similar manner.
The third vital difference that Heidegger wants to posit between humans and
animals is their differing attitudes towards death. Anxiety towards death is
a crucial part of Heidegger’s philosophy in Being and Time. It forms the
framework for his concept of time and history. Humans always conceive of
their lives as finite and thus it is possible for the blink of the present
moment to contain the entirety of the past and a projection in the knowledge
of this inevitable future endpoint. Holding this entirety together lends a
perspective on the life we lead that is, he would argue, unavailable to
animals. He writes:
And thus, just as it remains questionable to speak of an organism
as a historical (geschlichtlich) or even historiological being, it is
questionable whether death for man and death for an animal are the same,
even though physio-chemical, physiological correlations can be ascertained.
Again harking back to the tradition of philosophy which assumes that a
teleological process guides history, Heidegger posits that there are
underlying laws and a telos or destiny to history. Haar regards Heidegger’s
theory as an inversion of the telos of Hegelianism. Although Haar is not
arguing that the destiny of Being is in any way a dialectical process.
Destiny (Geschick) holds within it all the potential possibilities of
history. Resonating, not with Hegel we would argue, but with Aristotle’s
notion of the essence as a seed that defines the potential pattern of
growth. This is why the “commencement” is so important to Heidegger. The
sending of destiny (Geschick) is held in its commencement. We merely
note aspects of the essence that has already unfolded.
Heidegger’s teleology does not reach towards a heavenly otherworldliness, or
a technological and social utopia. He pessimistically characterises the
evolution of the world as an ever-increasing fall from grace. “The History
of Being is the history of the increasing oblivion of Being.”
This process is not a logical inevitability, nor does it follow a law of
causality that, to some extent following Nietzsche, Heidegger rejects. He
explains that, “Between the epochal metamorphoses of being & the withdrawal
one can perceive a relation, which nevertheless has nothing to do with a
relation of causality. One can say that the further away one is from the
dawn of western thinking and from aletheia, the greater is the
oblivion into which it falls, the clearer is the manner in which knowledge
and consciousness break into the open, and the manner in which being thus
Heidegger believes each epochal manifestation of Being has a finitude that
excludes it from being able to comprehend dimensions other than its own
disclosure. The destiny of Being has reached its closure with the
technological apprehension of everything as resource. But Haar says:
Final totalization does not mean that History is a total unveiling.
What could the term Geschick mean if not that being gives itself, “sends
itself” (schicken), gathers itself at each moment into a domain of
unity (Ge-)? This unity is that of an epoch. But each epoch is
completely closed and blind to what does not enter into it. There is a
radical finitude to an epoch and to all epochs. Every epoch of History is
epoché, which means a “holding itself back,” “self-suspension,” or
“withdrawal,” of being which goes hand in hand with its manifestation. The
epochal or historical as such is deployed on the basis of a free emergence
closed in itself.
The (unlooked for) defining principles make an enclosed, finite epochal
period, and the inhabitants of any epoch are not in the position to be able
to activate pathways or even see outside it. The enclosure or Enframing; in
our case of Technology, limits the field of agency.
Openness to beings as Being, the role of agency, creative conscience,
and responsibility seem to form the critical differences between animals and
humans, between existence and Dasein. Our world of equipment is more
encompassing, and has with it a greater responsibility for damage control.
The epoch, though, is a peculiarly human example of worldliness, and while
we imagine that it is superior to the worlds of other animals or beings, we
will be incapable of calling forth, in poetry or otherwise, a decision to
care (which is the very motif of Dasein) in a manner that will guide
politics and science from mere calculative rationality to a honouring and
revealing of Being in its primary form.
Associated with his epistemic turn in the 1930s, Heidegger began to think
that technology was both the danger in terms of human obliviousness to Being
and also the saving power. The destiny of Being has metamorphosed into an
epoch inescapably enframed by technology. The spark of life that is humanity
is beginning to envisage itself more positively than as the polluter of the
Earth. In Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, terraforming other
planets was both the possibility and the result of the political and
ecological mess produced by consumer capitalism and technology. In Sam
Neil’s televised series on astronomy, terra-forming is imagined because the
solar system will age and gradually heat up, making Earth unearthly.
Technological creativity makes it possible to take all life elsewhere
in a fast forward version of evolution. The spark of life, Neil states,
quite possibly only exists on this planet, in the billions of stars and
solar systems of the universe. Safe-guarding, nurturing, and regenerating it
is the potential and responsibility of technology and humanity.
Bate , J. 2000. The Song of
the Earth. London: Picador.
2001. “Out of the Twilight.”
New Statesman. Vol. 14, No. 665, pp. 25–27.
Haar, Michael. 1993. The Song
of the Earth: Heidegger and the Grounds of the History of Being.
Reginald Lilly, trans. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Heidegger, M. 1962. Being and
Time. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, trans. Oxford:
1975. Poetry, Language,
Thought. Albert Hofstadter, trans. New York: Harper & Row.
Miall, D. 2000. “Locating
Wordsworth: ‘Tintern Abbey’ and the community with nature.”
Romanticism On the Net, 20, November 2000. (accessed July 20,
Peters, M. 2001a. “Introduction:
Heidegger, Education and Modernity.” in M. Peters, ed. Heidegger,
Education and Modernity. Boulder and New York: Rowman &
2001b. “Anti-Globalisation and
Guattari’s The Three Ecologies.” Unpublished paper.
Till, A. 1994. “Introduction.”
The Works of William Wordsworth. Hertfordshire, UK: The
Wordswoth Poetry Library. Pp. v–viii.
Wordsworth, W. and S. T.
Coleridge. 1798. Lyrical Ballads. W.J.B. Owen, ed. (2 nd
ed. 1969.) London: Oxford University Press.
Wordsworth, W. 1994. The Works
of William Wordsworth. Hertfordshire, UK: The Wordswoth Poetry
Peters is Research Professor of Education at the University of
Glasgow and holds a personal chair in Education at the University of
Auckland. He is the author of many books exploring the relations
between philosophy and education, including work on Nietzsche,
Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and contemporary French and German thought.
His most recent book are Poststructuralism, Marxism and
Neoliberalism: Between Politics and Theory (2001), Richard
Rorty: Education, Philosophy and Politics (Eds.) (2001), and
Heidegger, Education and Modernity (Ed.) (2002).
- Ruth Irwin is
a Bright Futures and Ryoichi Sasakawa Scholar from New
Zealand/Aotearoa. She has contributed chapters in two books and
authored several journal articles. Presently she is completing her
PhD at the University of Glasgow on a philosophical and educational
enquiry into the technological relationship between the environment
composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the Banks of
the Wye during a tour, July, 1798, The Works of William
Wordsworth, Hertfordshire, Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1994: p.
As cited in “…Poetically Man Dwells
…” (Heidegger 1975).
- Of course,
the capitalization of Nature is, in itself, part of this
Bate attributes the phrase “song of the
earth” to Heidegger. Michael Haar (1992) in his book on Heidegger
attributes it to Heraclitus.
- See Bate’s
Romantic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition, 1991.
- We based
this remark on the experience of one of the authors (Michael Peters)
who taught English in New Zealand secondary schools for seven years.
This was also his experience of reading and being forced to read
Wordsworth as a New Zealand pupil, although on his first visit to
the Lake District earlier this year this reading prejudice fell away
after visiting Ryal Mount and Dove Cottage, listening to some of the
recorded poems spoken aloud, reading some of his letters, and
viewing portraits of Wordsworth and his family, and landscapes
paintings of the Lake District. More importantly, walking through
Wordsworth”s gardens and travelling through the Lake District,
motivated him to re-read Wordsworth’s poetry and to appreciate it
for the first time as an effect of place or location. In visiting
the Lake District, he would like to acknowledge the kindness and
hospitality of Professor Maria Slowey.
and Coleridge 1798, 143.
- Till 1994,
vi (our emphasis). The moral significance of nature is evident in
many of Wordsworth’s poems. As he says, condensing his moral
philosophy of Nature into a single stanza:
One impulse from a venal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good
Than all the sages can.
The relationship between humankind and Nature, conceived of as “the
land,” “the trees” or “forests,” “the sea,” and “the sky,” is often
imbued with moral significance in religious mythologies of native
peoples (as it is, for instance, with Maori—native peoples of
Aotearoa/New Zealand) and taken up later by poets and artists (as it
is, for example, by the modernist New Zealand painter, Colin
investigates three representative interpretive issues raised by the
poem (Wordsworth’s style of landscape description, his relation to
the picturesque tradition, and the iconic role of landscape and
human figures in the poem), before suggesting a precise location at
Symonds Yat, where the particular configuration of landscape (“the
river unites both the pastoral farms and the cliffs and cataract”)
forced on Wordsworth “a trope for what is natural in the human
mind.” As he writes: “A green reading of ‘Tintern Abbey’ argues that
the mind is rooted in and shaped by the same underlying processes
that can be identified in nature.”
cited by Bate 2000, 261.
(2001), in a separate paper inspired by the same seminar question,
investigates Guattari’s ecosophical approach as a means to
understand the recent so-called anti-globalization protests.
in Haar, 1993: 11
Holzwege, 1979: 37 in Haar, 1993: 13
Holzwege, 1979: 31 in Haar, 1993: 11
An Introduction to Metaphysics, 1953: 11 in Haar, 1993: 11.
Elucidations of Hölderin's Poetry, 1951: 64-65 in Haar, 1993:
Elucidations of Hölderin's Poetry, 1951: 38 in Haar, 1993:
Elucidations of Hölderin's Poetry, 1951: 38 in Haar, 1993: 8.
- [add] cf. R.
Irwin, 2002, "Nietzsche and Heidegger; Nihilism and the Question of
Value in relation to education" in Heidegger, Modernity and
Education, M.A. Peters (ed.).
The Ground of Metaphysics, 1975: 371-372 in Haar, 1993: 26.
The Ground of Metaphysics, 1975: 274-275 in Haar, 1993: 12.
- Haar 1993,
26. Furthermore, Heidegger believes that there is an abyss between
humans and animals deeper than that between us and the divine. Cf.
“Humaninsmusbrief” from p. 313.
The Ground of Metaphysics, 1975: 388 in Haar, 1993: 8.
- What is
Called Thinking? 1969: 56
in Haar, 1993: 73.