This paper explores how Pope Francis’ critique of “the technocratic paradigm” in Laudato Si’ can contribute to an environmental ethics governed by asymmetries of power and agency. The technocratic paradigm is here theorized as linked to forms of anthropocentrism that together engender a dangerous alliance between the powers of technology and technologies of power. The meaning and import of this view become clearer when the background of these ideas gets excavated in the works of Romano Guardini. The contemporary manifestation of Guardini’s warnings appears in the form of myriad environmental injustices wrought by structures of power linked to technology. To counter such injustices, we must discern which types of technologies to develop and how to limit technocratic approaches for the sake of other values. The integral ecological outlook favored by Francis may be interpreted as a kind of eco-politics, or even, controversially, an eco-technology, with the cultivation of technologies of contemplation. Applying Peter Sloterdijk’s conceptions of anthropotechnics and monogeism to the Ignatian Exercises animating the Jesuit Francis’ work, we can see how such technologies hold potential for Catholicism to collaborate better with secular strategies in relating to Earth’s agency in a new eco-politics. Such an eco-politics could furnish an alternative to bio-politics, especially if governed by aspects of the Franciscan form-of-life identified by Giorgio Agamben. Such a project ultimately moves us beyond Laudato Si’ and the work of Romano Guardini, pointing up the limitations of Laudato Si’ in engaging the agency of the Earth.
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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