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Progress and Representation: Continuity, Discontinuity, Resolution
Wes Jones
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There is an epistemological “gap” between “appearance and reality” marking the difference between the experience of the world and its representation—between the territory and the map. History records the divergence from the territory and its replacement by the map as a gradual process, labeled “progress.” The present environmental crisis can be understood in these terms as well: the incomplete evolution from territory to map results in an imperfect fit between humanity’s desire and nature’s fulfillment of that desire. This misfit between humanity’s self-interested enhancement or supplementation of what is “natural” and the material order of this “nature,” which forms the unavoidable context for such actions and supplies the resources for such enhancement, leads to the waste, overuse, global warming, and pollution that imperil the planet.
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