[Vision2020] Book Review: The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sat Nov 13 13:41:03 PST 2021

WOW!  One of the most insightful examinations of the implications of
catastrophic global warming as this reveals the absurdities of the human
condition... Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit" is referenced below...
Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett


All text below from website above:

*In *The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable*, acclaimed
novelist *Amitav Ghosh *offers a new non-fiction work that aims to confront
this urgent issue by reflecting on our ‘deranged’ modes of political and
socio-economic organisation via three themes: literature, history and
politics. This is an admirable book that both examines and manifests the
limits of human thought when it comes to the spectre of environmental
catastrophe, writes *Alexandre Leskanich.

*The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable*. Amitav Ghosh.
University of Chicago Press. 2016.

It is difficult to confront the spectre of climate change without a sense
of incipient doom. At times this existential malady seems best personified
in Jean-Paul Sartre’s play *Huis Clos* (*No Exit*), in which three
condemned characters, incarcerated in hell, face an eternity in which to
contemplate their sins. Ghastly looms an infinity without purpose.
Loathsome indeed are the spiteful goads and self-righteous pontifications
of their fellow inmates. But no less intolerable are their
self-incriminating recollections of deeds forever done, of opportunities
forever lost. Their penitentiary is a space plagued by the anomie of
self-disgust and the inescapable evaporation of meaning. All that is left
is the anticipation of an endless absence:

Yet this waiting for something to happen is itself symptomatic of
absurdity. Ejected out of temporal schemes that provide coordinates for
human existence, they are left teleologically and epistemologically
bankrupt. There remains only empty and identical ‘tomorrows’. Trapped in
time’s abyss, they are reduced to waiting for nothing.

In* The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable*, Amitav
Ghosh addresses our similarly uncanny predicament under delinquent,
‘deranged’ modes of political and socio-economic organisation. Known as an
acclaimed author whose fiction has addressed climatic rupture, Ghosh here
takes up the role of analyst and storyteller. Climate change, as his title
recognises, only too clearly demonstrates the systemic lunacy inherent in
our present world arrangements. As in *Huis Clos*, we are compelled to
become the wardens of our own prison, guardians of an empty future. Devoid
of ethical purpose, the future is forfeited to the whims of the market,
ceded to the nihilism of economic growth. Instead of exhibiting an
unfolding sequence of delimited events that function in the service of a
progressive ‘universal history’, the planet is the stage on which the
spectacle of human incoherence is playing out.
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