(99) Marx on Pollution

The “essence” of the fish is its “being,” water – to go no further than this one proposition. The “essence” of the freshwater fish is the water of a river. But the latter ceases to be the “essence” of the fish and is no longer a suitable medium of existence as soon as the river is made to serve industry, as soon as it is polluted by dyes and other waste products and navigated by steamboats, or as soon as its water is diverted into canals where simple drainage can deprive the fish of its medium of existence.
Karl Marx
The German Ideology

Part I: Feuerbach.
Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook

B. The Illusion of the Epoch

(This makes me wonder if it could be the source for the famous McLuhan quote about meida which he may or may not have said : “no one knows who discovered water, but we know it wasn’t a fish.”) Although maybe a poisoned fish could as and because it feels its medium of existence degrade … perhaps poison is a form of consciousness raising

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1 Comment»

  cindypound wrote @

interesting stuff. both profound and sort of sad that in western thought/minds/consciousness it takes a crisis to bring awareness. the native americans, for example, were highly aware and respectful of their environment even before the europeans began to ruin it. i guess i should be less quick to blame “the west” in general; i guess it more like industry.


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