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Biogea ; Michel Serres; 2012

Biogea ; Michel Serres; 2012

Biogea ; Michel Serres; 2012; University of Minnesota Press

Water and the oceans are a major theme in the work. Serres’ writing is often very challenging – but as in Guattari – the Three Ecologies  - this French ‘poststructuralist’ philosopher  speaks very powerfully about the ecological destruction of our home planet by modernity. See Serres the Natural Contact for a key work on eco-politics  

“Biogea is a mixture of poetry, philosophy, science, and biography exemplary of the style that has made Michel Serres one of the most extraordinary thinkers of his age. His philosophical and poetic inquiry sings in praise of earth and life, what he names singularly as Biogea. In these times when species are disappearing, when catastrophic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis impale the earth, Serres wonders if anyone “worries about the death pangs of the rivers.” Serres asks the same question of philosophy as the humanities increasingly find themselves in need of defenders. Today, all living organisms discover themselves part of this Biogea. “Today we have other neighbors, constituents of the Biogea: the sea, my lover; our mother, the Earth, becomes our daughter; this beautiful breeze which inspires the spirit, a spiritual mistress; our light friends, the fresh and flowing waters.” Source and more info here 

This quote from a review paper sets out the water background in Serres’ work and life

"Michel Serres’s recently translated book into English, Biogea, is a plea to the world Serres is a lover of language, myth and the world. Biogea appears to be a composite word, invented for us: bio meaning life and gea of the earth. Between bio and gea, Serres explores poetic, mystical, philosophical and scientific accounts of how listen to the world. Who listens like the wind? What stories can make us think with it? What Mysteries? What Loves? For Serres, without this connection to the world we will not survive the onslaught of human violence and malfeasance toward it.

Serres traces stories of the natural world through his own experience as a seafarer and naval officer. His relationship to the sea is a fundamental element of the book as well as his family legacy. For Serres, the sea embraces the most primordial category and experience, for it is the water that flows, and it is the water that carries life—we are made of hard and soft things, he says.

Interconnected by sea stories and influenced by ancient philosophies and myths, the book explores the fundamental elements of the world such as fire, air, water and earth as well as other significant phenomena. Each chapter bears the relation to these elements and the chapters are appropriately titled earth and mountains, three volcanoes, winds and atmospheric phenomena, flora and fauna, and lastly encounters, loves.


Zournazi; Cosmocracy; PORTAL, vol. 9, no. 2, July 2012. 2 here 

The publishe made a short video about the book