Ecological transition: the rhetorical puzzle - PC Trends Business

Big continent and new world – Trends-Tendances sur PC

In “Collection de sable”, a collection of chronicles published in 1984, the Italian writer Italo Calvino recalls how discovering the New World had been a very difficult undertaking. But according to him, the most difficult thing was still, once the New World was discovered, to see it as such: to grasp how it was new. This question then comes to him: “If a new New World were discovered today, would we be able to see it? Would we be able to remove from our minds all the images that we are used to associating with the expectation of a different world to grasp the real difference that would present itself to our eyes?

In “Collection de sable”, a collection of chronicles published in 1984, the Italian writer Italo Calvino recalls how discovering the New World had been a very difficult undertaking. But according to him, the most difficult thing was still, once the New World was discovered, to see it as such: to grasp how it was new. This question then comes to him: “If a new New World were discovered today, would we be able to see it? Would we be able to remove from our minds all the images that we are used to associating with the expectation of a different world to grasp the real difference that would present itself to our eyes? Question more than ever topical at a time when we are more than ever stretched towards our future. And a book that came out recently can help us approach it with fresh eyes. This is a geopolitical book entitled Politics of the interregnum – China, Pandemic, Climate (Gallimard, 2022) offering contributions signed by some twenty writers, researchers, historians or political scientists under the leadership of Grand Continent, the online journal launched with great success in 2019 by three young researchers from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris: Gilles Gressani, Mathéo Malik and Ramona Bloj. As its subtitle indicates, the book plunges us into the heart of the three major themes that structure our news: the geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States, the pandemic and the global ecological crisis. But how can we do something new in the face of these subjects which have become so familiar and so discussed? There is of course the strength of the contributions which in turn disorient us, surprise us, frighten us, make us dizzy or upset us by drawing the vertiginous New World of the 2020s with its specters such as conflict, land, sovereignty, family, state, debt. But also the relevance of the vision carried by Grand Continent and which irrigates all the contents of the magazine (readable on www.legrandcontinent.eu). A vision freed from two trompe-l’oeil. The first consists of tracing our vision of the future in pre-established patterns that overdetermine it, as we have seen for example with the stories of the “end of history” or the “clash of civilizations”. The second postulates on the contrary that everything that happens is necessarily new and specific. Because at a time when we see the new everywhere, in the smallest start-up or new application, the risk is great that the real novelty escapes us. An approach that avoids the abuse of the prefix “post” – as in the “post-truth era” – holding both comfortable (post) rationalization and conceptual catch-all. This is why “Grand Continent” prefers to display from its title the concept of “interregnum”, better able to describe the situation we are experiencing, namely not a succession of before and after but continuous redeployments between the past that is dying out and the future that is emerging. By articulating “the time of the tweet to that of the book” by adopting a multitude of perspectives, focal points, languages ​​and talents, Grand Continent succeeds in settling us in the 2020s, those that we must finally decide to live in fully. The panorama to come will no less seem chaotic – chaos is the very essence of the future – but it suddenly becomes more exciting and less anxiety-provoking because it is traversed by arcs of intelligibility like so many lightning bolts. intelligence allowing us to step over it. In this sense, Interregnum Politics is essential reading for your summer interregnum.

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