Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Is Happening?

The Cabot-Koppers Superfund site in my city is just one of many such polluted sites in America and the world. Until recently the Koppers plant supplied the utility poles for the Gainesville Regional Utility (GRU), the entity also responsible for the well-field threatened by creosote used in treating the wood. The treatment makes the wood resistant to the wear of weather and insects. Florida was one of three states where most wood treatment was done, dating back to the colonial period. At one time treated wood was used in shipbuilding.

My bicycle route to campus takes me along roads lined with trees and utility poles, the wooden ones supplied locally until a month ago. GRU now gets its poles from Georgia. My house is connected to this grid by wires supported by these poles, and my swimming pool was recently refilled using city water. It took two days to fill the 20 x 40 pool at a rate of 35 gallons/min.

I am thinking my circumstances as a subject, a self, signed by my proper name. We are constructing a concept capable in principle of thinking what is happening from a different position, as event. Our concept (event, persona, problem) is to philosophy what "partial observer" is to science. Through science we grasp the state of affairs. The instruments monitoring the well-field, put in place by the Corps of Engineers, the corporation, the city, produce a measure from within the state of affairs, indicating the rate of seepage at which the pollutant is approaching the well-field in the acquifer that supplies our drinking water. What is the thought of the human measure, by means of which collectively we could think from our participation in these intersecting forces and processes (electricity, drinking water)?

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