The Triple Bottom Lie: Nietzsche and Environmental Sustainability
Humanity has become disconnected from the biosphere that sustains it. How significantly has human ecology been altered by our interface with modern technology? How does the resultant disconnection with our natural environment contribute to the crisis of the technosomatic subject and our increasingly unsustainable behaviour? What can this understanding teach us, if anything, about the failed projects in sustainability theory? This paper will explore the above questions with reference to post-Hiroshima literature and Nietzsche's 'The Gay Science', specifically Chapter 3 and 'The Four Errors' of knowledge. We live in an era dominated by the rationalisms of science, technology, economics, commerce and their common ground. Sustaining the human, both ecologically and culturally, will require new ways of representing, perceiving and articulating the human. Literature and the nomadic politics of Nietzsche and the generations of philosophers he inspired, provide insights into potentially new streams of ecological discourse. It is the lie of the triple bottom line that provokes community outrage towards Government environmental initiatives. Economic growth is such a pillar in public policy that it is seen as an eternal and unconditional good (Nietzsche's 'Fourth Error'). When urban sprawl digitalises what remains of our rural landscape, when in pursuit of growth we have destroyed the last remnant of indigenous culture within a 50-kilometre radius of Melbourne, how meaningful is the term triple bottom line then? When the single economic bottom line has eclipsed the other two?
Keywords: Environmentalism, Ecology, Technology, Arts Practice and Theory, Sustainability, Public Policy, Literature, Inter-disciplinarity, Nietzsche, Technosomatic
Mr Scott Rawlings
PhD candidate, Literary Studies in the School of Communication and Creative Arts, in the Faculty of Arts, Deakin University