In The Great Derangement, the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh examines the present inability to understand and represent the scale and violence of the environmental crisis. The book is a passionate awakening call for collective action to drive change, with Ghosh clearly identifying the limits of the present framework of values, which inhibits politicians, industrialists and economists from moving towards a truly sustainable civilization. In the Anthropocene, non-human and post-human factors are raising questions about the concept of a silent Nature that can be domesticated for human advantage and the perspective of continuous progress – both of which have dominated the modern age. Nevertheless, the detailed scientific analysis of the violation of the planet’s limited capacities continues to be refuted, triggering irrational, short-term utilitarian behaviours which are preventing the fundamental changes required for the transition to sustainable development. Artists, philosophers and writers can play an invaluable role in reframing our ways of thinking, filling the gap between scientific knowledge and emotional perception. Pioneering artistic experiments are appearing all over the world, from both well-established and emerging artists, and through collective processes, and this cultural movement is setting the scene for a new wave of eco-entrepreneurs driven by the altruistic mission of saving the planet. As has happened in many previous crises, it is again in the hands of artists to redefine how we perceive ourselves and so to support the emergence of new ideas, new learning, and finally to shape society and the economy around a renewed sense of the future for humankind on Earth.
This work was supported by Consorzio ARCA, a public–private institution promoting local sustainable development through entrepreneurship. I wish to thank Prof. Georgios Artopoulos and Prof. Federico Butera for the stimulating discussions and suggestions, which have expanded my view and enriched the manuscript.
Montagnino, F. (2020), "Beyond the ‘Great Derangement’: Will the Humanities Lead Ecological Transition?", Formica, P. and Edmondson, J. (Ed.) Innovation and the Arts: The Value of Humanities Studies for Business, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 111-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78973-885-820201007Download as .RIS
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