The hegemonic ontology that considers the absolute separation between society and nature can show in a practical way spectacular advances in terms of material achievements.
However, it also shows great problems that are putting human life on the planet in question, so in the end the balance is negative. This forces us to seek an ontological turn that allows us to rediscover our essence and recover the close collaborative relationships between society and nature.
Although solutions aimed at development or even sustainable development are still very strong, they show their exhaustion because deep down they have not been able to overcome an economic paradigm, no matter how much they appeal to the incorporation of social and environmental considerations. For that reason, from the thinking of the south, alternatives to development are being sought. Within this plethora of options appear good living and Biodevelopment, among others. What is proposed then is to turn from market-centered societies to biocentric societies in which the fundamental axis is life itself, beyond its utilitarian value for the human being.
If we want to put life at the center of civilizing action, then we have to understand what life means, even if at first glance it seems that it is a simple task. There is nothing more complex than life itself and for this reason we are preparing to carry out a brief characterization of life, even with the risk of extreme simplification. It is a way of incorporating the philosophy of biology in discussions about Biodevelopment.
In that purpose we present some of the main characteristics of life in general:
· Life is something very difficult to define and what is done is to generate attributes that characterize life but the task is always incomplete and unsatisfactory.
· One of the main characteristics of life refers to the capacity for self-organization (autopoiesis).
· We are the product of a permanent game between entropy and negentropy (systems far from equilibrium).
· For life to exist requires water, energy and organic matter.
All living beings have a common origin and the differences between humans and non-humans (plants and animals) are only of degree because many of the qualities that we thought were exclusively human are not so much because they also exist in plants and animals although with different intensities and Product manifestations of the different evolutionary routes undertaken.
· The divisions between humans, plants and animals are not always clear and clear, since there are many cases of duality of nature and behaviors, and other cases in which our conventional classifications have problems.
· Walking somosecosystems as we are the product of a symbiosis between humans and bacteria. There are even more bacteria than human cells in our bodies. Life is made possible by the microbiome. Under this perspective, there can be no exacerbated anthropocentrism because we are holobionts.
· Viruses play an important role in global biogeochemical cycles and have played an important role in the evolution of life. Viruses are part of our genome.
· Life and death go together and every day we die a little precisely to make life possible.
· Not everything is harmony in nature and does not necessarily correspond to an idyllic vision. In nature there is also pain and suffering but it corresponds to the non-linear dynamics of life itself. This is clearly visible in trophic chains.
· Life is very persistent because it can be present under conditions that would be unthinkable in terms of temperature, light, radiation, among other factors (Extremophiles).
There are incredible latency conditions in which life can be suspended for long periods of time and recover when the right conditions return.
To say therefore that we are nature is not a lyrical, philosophical or political statement. It is a blunt reality that questions our anthropocentrism and the disjunction we make between society and nature. The recognition that we are nature has profound scientific, economic, social, political, psychological, and spiritual implications and invites us to restructure our civilizational framework. We cannot continue with the logic of treating nature solely as an inexhaustible source of resources or as a repository for our waste. Nor can we feel superior to those ontologies or worldviews that have always been considered part of nature. It is not a question of returning to animistic beliefs in a kind of neo-paganism, but rather of reencountering our deepest essence.
For a long time we have put the economy, the market, the State at the center and we have invented fictions about it. Recognizing that we need to put life at the center of society-nature relationships is to appeal to new paradigms, new ways of thinking, feeling and expressing ourselves.
We invite biologists, philosophers of biology and foresters to participate in the great debate on Biodevelopment so that they collaborate in this search for alternatives to development. We invite the wise men and women of the communities to share their knowledge and worldviews. We invite women, youth, girls and boys to be part of these new communities of collective thought and action. The language of development that we have invented has shown its limits and we need new narratives, rationalities and sensibilities that better express our communion with nature.
By Rodrigo Arce Rojas