(Palgrave Mcmillan, 2019)
Luce Irigaray, Mahon O’Brien, Christos Hadjioannou eds.
With my own introduction and epilogue, Towards a New Human Being gathers original essays by early career researchers and established academic figures in response to To Be Born, my most recent book. The contributors approach key issues of this book from their own scientific fields and perspectives – through calls for a different way of bringing up and educating children, the constitution of a new environmental and sociocultural milieu or the criticism of past metaphysics and the introduction of new themes into the philosophical horizon. However, all the essays which compose the volume correspond to proposals for the advent of a new human being – so answering the subtitle of To Be Born: Genesis of a New Human Being. To Be Born thus acts as a background from which each author had the opportunity to develop and think in their own way. As such Towards a New Human Being is part of a longer-term undertaking in which I engaged together and in dialogue with more or less confirmed thinkers with a view to giving birth to a new human being and building a new world.
The contributors will be happy to know that 1104 chapters of the book have been sold in 2019 – which situates the book among the 25% of the top sales. And as the year, for us, began in March and for all finished in October, perhaps the rank is still better. Hopefully we will be ranked among the firsts in 2020!
In this book, Luce Irigaray – philosopher, linguist, psychologist and psychoanalyst – proposes nothing less than a new conception of being as well as a means to ensure its individual and relational development from birth.
Unveiling the mystery of our origin is probably what most motivates our quests and plans. Now such a disclosure proves to be impossible. Indeed we were born of a union between two, and we are forever deprived of an origin of our own. Hence our ceaseless search for roots: in our genealogy, in the place where we were born, in our culture, religion or language. But a human being cannot develop starting from roots as a tree does, it must take on responsibility for its own being and existence without continuity with its origin and background.
How can we succeed in doing that? First by cultivating our breathing, which is not only the means thanks to which we come into the world, but which also allows us to transcend mere survival towards a spiritual becoming. Taking on our sexuate belonging is the second element which makes us able to assume our natural existence. Indeed this determination at once brings us energy and provides us with a structure which contributes to our individuation and our relations with other living beings and the world. Our sexuation can also compensate for our absence of roots by compelling us to unite with the other sex so that we freely approach the copulative conjunction from which we were born; that is, the mystery of our origin. This does not occur through a mere sexual instinct or drive, but requires us to cultivate desire and love with respect for our mutual difference(s). In this way we become able to give rise to a new human being, not only at a natural but also at an ontological level.
Building a New World. Luce Irigaray: Teaching II. Edited by Luce Irigaray, Michael Marder. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015.
In this book young researchers endeavour to build a new world. They neither confine themselves to criticism, resentment and disenchantment nor submit to traditional conceptions of truth, past moral imperatives and suprasensitive ideals alone. Here, young researchers invent another way of thinking, believing, making art, or being political players. They inaugurate an epoch when the cultivation of nature as an environment encompassing natural belonging allows for a world-wide coexistence respectful of differences between sexes, generations, cultures and traditions. The seminar that Luce Irigaray has been holding for 12 years for researchers doing their PhDs on her thought is the place where they gathered and began constructing a culture based on the growing and sharing of life, but also on desire and love in mutual respect. Their contributions are accompanied by three texts of Luce Irigaray and an Afterword by Michael Marder, underlining some conditions for a cultivation of nature.