Does the concept of diversity, in particular, as found in the discourse of ecological thought, its protection and legitimacy, apply to areas other than biology and the physical sciences? If, as Arne Naess argues, deep ecology is a broader civilization concept, one with implications into all realms of our culture, we might argue that urbanists might be well advised to examine the urban-bound implications of diversity, in particular, the more ethically challenging spatial implications the concept of diversity assumes when applied to the realm of urban society. "Deep Ecology" is a concept coined by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess. It refers to the belief that the fundamental roots of the ecological problems we face, lie not merely in particular development practices or inadequate technologies, (the strictly environmental paradigm) but rather essentially, in the structure of society and in the cultures that support it. Deep ecology, as a movement, sets out to define specific policy proposals for the treatment of "nature." As a critique of culture, ecological theory attempts to pierce through the shallow layers of our civilization and delve deep into the roots of humanity’s fundamental ethical attitudes towards life in the cosmos. There is no easy definition of the concept of deep ecology or Ecosophy, but one may attempt to define it as a philosophy seeking to understand and prescribe a relationship towards nature predicated upon the ethical model of dialogue. Ecology cherishes diversity for its own sake, its protection and encouragement are values in themselves. The term "Nature" as used by Naess in his interpretation of Spinoza refers to the whole of existence; not only to what in common parlance is referred to as the "country-side." In addition to Spinoza, deep ecology’s principles are rooted in the ethical visions of philosophers as disparate as Kant and Buber. The term dialogue will be defined in accordance to Buber’s definitions.
The issue then is diversity, diversity at the macro level of the cosmos or nature, and diversity at the micro level of pluralistic cities and social institutions.
I will attempt to build an argument based on Naesse’s premise that diversity is a broad cultural construct. I will argue that if the concept of diversity represents a civilization concept, it must be tested for its pragmatic applications in urban policy. I argue that in the field of social policy, the concept of diversity begets the issue of the social equivalents to natural habitats, namely, cultural-spatial enclaves. I will introduce the concept of the continuum culture-ethnicity-territory, and argue that for the sake of the preservation of cultural diversity, urban theory must either acquiesce or straightforwardly encourage the establishment of carved-out-enclave territories assigned to particular ethnic-cultural groupings within the cities. Furthermore, I argue that an enclave, in order to constitute true territorial space, must exhibit an urban morphology of residential housing and a minimum of economic self-gestion. All this presents us with serious ethical dilemmas. I will argue however, that the concept of diversity, as found in ecological discourse, and when modified by some key concepts found in social philosophy, can successfully offer a model that partially resolves those ethical dilemmas by offering a positive urban vision of diversity within unity.
In short, the concept of diversity has spatial and housing policy implications in the realm of the urban sphere. With the aid of concepts extracted form Naess and others I will attempt to show that the vision of urban communitas is not merely an utopia, but to the contrary, as much of utopia has always been, its structures and foundations are already in place to be found in the modern multi-and-poli-everything-western cities.
We can distinguish two dimensions of diversity: Physical and human. The physical dimension is clearly preoccupied with the protection of vital physical conditions for the preservation of animal and vegetation species. Ecological thought seems to have successfully articulated two key issues concerning physical diversity: what it is we need to protect? and what are appropriate policy goals to accomplish that. We generally agree that physical diversity implies the protection of the integrity of habitats. The non disturbing of geographically marked territories, with all their existing natural resources and systems, is one key proposal of environmental policy. When switching the focus onto the human dimension of diversity however, the key conceptual analysis becomes a bit more blurry, and substantially less clear cut. For instance: what kind of human diversity do we wish to protect, and what specific policies should we pursue to accomplish that goal. Are racial, ethnic or national traits legitimate components of a diverse system in human society? If so, how do we preserve the racial integrity of a human group? National implications of diversity seems less problematic: we protect national rights of self determination and oppose colonialism and imperialism. However, can those same concepts extend to race, and suggest that in order to protect racial diversity, we must oppose their physical and/or residential mixing? Should urban policy, in order to confront colonial penetration, assign controlled areas to each race separately? The right to protect and preserve a culture seems acceptable to the core of environmental advocates. Wouldn’t we then be compelled to accept that the preservation of cultures requires also the assignment of spatial territories of their own?
Cultures have historically emerged form the interaction of particular ethnic groups within territories over which they exercised some modicum of sovereign control. We can argue that disturbing a culture form its ethnic and territorial basis, risks the dismantling and abolition of that culture. Ethical dilemmas boldly emerge from this analysis. Where do we draw the line between diversity and segregation, between particularism and racialism?
To understand this question better, let’s examine the perceived uses of human habitats. What are territorial enclaves needed for? Generally speaking we can identify four distinct but interrelated uses for territories in social policy. 1. A territory offers the ruler (whoever and whatever that may be) the ability to control culturally meaningful behavior. 2. A territory, in the past, offered the rulers the ability to control cultural policy, that is, the flow of information and semiotic values. 3. A territory offers the ruler the ability to control the physical assets of the land and population. 4. A territory offers the community (away from the ruler now) the ability to create intentional societies based on spatial propinquity. (The Hasidics for instance.) As mentioned above, for a territory to become an enclave, it must have a housing-residential component of strong demographic density. Without housing, the territory is emptied of a clear cultural-ethnic majority, and the cultural preservation task is non-accomplishable. Later in this paper we will look at some particular examples.
To broaden the meaningfulness of the concept of diversity, Naess utilizes various concepts extracted form Spinoza. This combination of Naess and Spinoza is particularly fascinating. Spinoza has always held interest for environmental oriented thinkers. His God or Nature (Deus sive Nature) intrigued those who believed in the biblical mandate to tend and protect the earth. As Naess writes in Spinoza And The deep Ecology Movement, "The deterioration of life conditions on earth has motivated many people to take up the philosophical and religious basis for their action in favor of the preservation of the richness and diversity of life on earth" (pg.2) The confluence of theology, ethics and ecology has been called Theological Ecology. In my view, one earlier version of ecological theology can be found in the work of the Jewish theologian, A. J. Heschel. Heschel, in his book The Sabbath, renders a poetic description of the spiritual and the political meaning of the category of the "holy" when ascribed to "time" (the day of the Sabbath) as opposed to space. Spinoza, however, brings a different dimension to the concept of religiosity and Godness, one that Naess finds particularly satisfying for a philosophy of deep ecology.
In Spinoza And The Deep Ecology Movement, Naess claims that one of the inspiring aspects of Spinoza’s Ethics is that "it outlines a total view. It outlines the ultimate premises in our thinking about ourselves and the greater reality we are part of" (pg. 1) In this paragraph, Naess underlines two different themes. The first is the totalizing perspective of Spinoza’s philosophy. This is consonant with our previous claim that for Naess, diversity, represents a broader cultural construct. The second theme is Spinoza’s view that places humans within a greater reality, a more encompassing cosmos within which ultimate meaning obtains. In a sense all religiously oriented thinkers have always claimed that man belongs in a greater scheme of reality. Spinoza’s innovation however lies in the fact that for Spinoza, that greater scheme of reality lies not in the transcendent realm of non-mater, but in the immanent realm of nature. For Spinoza all of reality is one single substance, it is God and it is Nature. Spinoza then called for the beatific vision of an all encompassing love of God-Nature.
When Spinoza utilizes the concept of love of God, the intuitive response of the reader is to translate that into love of nature, God and nature being one and the same thing. It is obvious thought that a term such as "love" is wide open to alternative interpretations. For instance, in traditional religions, the love of God was defined through pre-established religious cannons. Prayer, good deeds and devotional rituals where normally associated with behavior invested with the love of God. It seems rather difficult to simply transpose that kind of religious attitude towards nature. We can’t, for instance, according to Spinoza, pray to nature. Spinoza, deeply steeped in the critique of paganism of his Jewish background, ridiculed teleological beliefs and insisted that we should expect no retribution other than the love of nature itself. Like Naess writes, "When I contemplate the life of Spinoza I have a suspicion that he never completely gave up his Jewish faith, the transcendent God he loved in his youth" (pg. 4) The closest thing to devotional behavior in Spinoza is his intellectual contemplation of divinity in nature. Good deeds is a different thing altogether: what sort of behavior is then appropriate for those who believe in God-Nature and proclaim a system leading man to the ultimate realization of true love of God?
According to Naess, an intimation of ecological thought appears in Spinoza’s concept that the identity of God with Nature is expressed in the affirmation that God is actually present in, and expresses "himself" through each existing being. God is not present as an outside entity entering the inside being of a separate entity, but as a constitutive part of that thing itself. In other words, the identity of god and nature is not merely an abstract intellectual construct but a practical systemic assumption of the Spinozistic system of love. Naess writes "The Ethics furnishes no basis for assuming that the immanent God expresses its nature, essence or power (all key Spinozian concepts) in any other way other than through each existing being" (pg. 5) The implications of this are very important. For Spinoza, the practical implications of loving God are manifested in a relational attitude towards nature, not just in a devotional, heavens-bound religiosity. For Spinoza nature is a Thou, not an It. (See below) In Naesse’s words: "Therefore, Amor Intellectualis Dei must somehow be a love of these existing particular beings of our everyday life-parts of the total richness and diversity of life forms on earth." (Pg. 5) Later "Love of the immanent God, is love of God’s expression. If a being expresses God’s nature or essence, love of God cannot be different form love of such a being" (pg. 6) But is that love of God, for Spinoza, also a call for preservation and protection of diversity for its own sake? Did Spinoza carry his argument to that political conclusion? The answer is not clear.
Naess makes the point that for Spinoza, the immanent presence of God in nature is actually the presence of God’s power, essence or nature in that being. Power and essence are the forms by which God expresses itself. In mystical kabalah, God is also said to be present in nature, but the form of that presence is more abstract and "spiritual." In Kabalah, God is present in the form of "seeds of Holiness" that must actually be released from their natural encapsulation. In Spinoza, God is present thorough its own nature and therefore is not apart from, but is a part of, and the same as nature. As Naess puts it " God is not apart from God’s expressions" (pg. 6) Naess again states the conclusion that "In light of the above argumentation, the Intellectualis Amor Dei may be interpreted as Loving understanding of particular beings." Without dwelling on the meaning of the term "loving understanding," but rather focusing on the "particular beings" issue, we can discern here the foundations upon which to build a review of the implications of Spinoza’s philosophy for deep ecology and, as discussed above, by extension, for urban policy as well.
For Spinoza, the highest virtue is the intellectual love of God. Love in accordance to reason. Reason is the antidote to natural impulse. Natural inclinations are beyond man’s efficient control, therefore, man cannot be truly and deeply free unless it lives its life in accordance to the dictates and rules of a well developed reason. Reason breaks man free from the chains of natural causation. For Spinoza, his Ethics provided the programme capable of achieving the elevation of reason above impulse.
Can we then stake the claim that the goals of Naesse’s deep ecology are in accordance with Spinoza’s premises? Naess writes "The philosophical aim of the deep ecology movement, as I see it, may be formulated in a way no different from that of Spinoza when he speaks about God or nature and the role of particulars" Again the issue of particulars, the quandary of diversity. Spinoza was not, to our knowledge a vegetarian, nor he opposed the industrial use of nature. Naess recognized that Spinoza’s Ethics cannot be easily translated into concrete policy formulations, such as the ones we are trying to elucidate. Naess writes "The Ethics does not go into politics, but does express views on community." (Pg11) It is important that Naess sees Spinoza as establishing views on the issue of community. This is particularly so because I argue that are precisely those views on community that render Spinoza valuable for our analysis of diversity and urbanism. To be more specific, Spinoza’s views on community, when modified and contrasted with key concepts from other philosophers of community such as Martin Buber, constitute a good basis upon which to resolve the ethical dilemmas of diversity in urban space. (See below)
This divergence between specific policies, such as those advocated by Naess and the deep ecology movement, and philosophical formulations found in Spinoza, might actually be the difference in the way in which we, in our time, and under the environmental circumstances we came to know, might wish to interpret Spinoza’s premises. We may want to make the intellectual jump and assume that Spinoza himself, under these same conditions, and knowing what we know today, would have interpreted his own philosophy in the specific policy terms of deep ecology. How could he have not we may ask? The love of particulars after all implies their preservation and care. Had Spinoza known the dangers poised to nature by uncontrolled industrial growth he might have concluded as Naess has, and interpreted his principles in a similar vein. As Naess rightly states "I mention this (Spinoza’s concepts) only as an example of how one may, if one has a special liking and respect for Spinoza, enjoy even remote relatedness of conceptions" (pg. 11) In short, Spinoza serves the deep ecology movement as a heuristic tool. But herein lies his greatness. A great philosopher is one that provides premises that while not being immutable, are nonetheless eternal. We can, with some modifications, base an ecological philosophy and an urban policy on Spinoza. Like Naess wrote "Which philosopher of the past deserves to be called great?.. One indicator is that of being rediscovered and highly appreciated by successive generations of philosophers. Another indicator is the persistent richness and diversity of interpretations of their texts. Spinoza scores brilliantly in both ways". (Pg1)
As I stated above, I will attempt to combine some of Naesse’s Spinoza with other philosophers of community and outline a philosophical basis for the understanding of the issue of diversity in urbanism. Following this I will provide some concrete samples of ethical dilemmas raised by the issue of spatial policy in the national and urban spheres and as a conclusion I will suggest one sample of relative communal success in the application of the rules of spatial propinquity in the modern western city.
As I have mentioned in the previous chapter, Naesse’s interpretation of Spinoza becomes the more relevant and meaningful when modified through a combination of philosophical theories. In this chapter I will attempt to show how Spinoza can be interpreted and justified through a reading of Buber and other philosophers of encounter and community.
The philosophical dimensions of ecological theory, in particular, ethics, offer fascinating policy implications in the areas of urbanism, cultural policy, ethnic and race relations, class analysis and environmentalism. In particular, some aspects of ecological ethics, can help us re-evaluate the validity and legitimacy of what I refer to as the "continuum territory-ethnicity-culture." Ultimately, ethics is the study of inter-relationships, that is, behavior towards the "other" and the principles that inform it. Ecological ethics deals with interactions at two levels: Interpersonal and Environmental.
Briefly stated, there are three ethical paradigms of relevance in the context of Spinoza, Buber and ecological ethics. These paradigms are identified in accordance with what’s perceived to be their central grounding, or the main justificatory principle animating the ethical perspective. The three paradigms I identify are Monism, Dualism and Utilitarianism.
The importance of Monism in the context of this analysis is that Spinoza was considered a Monist. A monist perspective tends to identify self with nature. For a monist, the whole of being is one. The one being is encompassed within the realm of one single substance. There are various degrees of exactness to this. For some monists, the unity of being is manifested not necessarily in ontological terms, but mainly in ecological, or mutual dependency terms. In monism, the ethical treatment of nature is not a separate category from the ethical treatment of man and vice-versa. Whatever ethical principles apply to man, apply to nature as well. It is in this sense that Naess finds Spinoza, the philosopher of the love of nature, to be particularly relevant to the deep ecology movement. I will argue later that Buber’s realm of "the between", offers a novel approach to the dilemma of monism versus dualism. One realm which is neither, but which encompasses and transcends both.
In contrast, a dualist posits a clear categorical distinction between the substance of nature, within which man’s corporeality falls, and the nature of the soul, or the immaterial essence of man. As with monism, dualism varies in degrees of exactness. If Spinoza is the principal monist, Descartes is the main figure representing the dualist perspective. As the soul is for a dualist, hierarchically speaking, above nature, the ethical concerns of man do not coincide with those of nature. The interesting part is that from a dualist perspective one may arrive at the same ethical implications as those of monism, though from the opposite end: A dualist may espouse an ethic of detachment from nature, which in practical terms may result in the same policy implications vis a vis nature and the environment as that of monism. The entire ethical implications of monism need to be properly worked out. Spinoza’s monism included a functional distinction between matters of soul and matters of matter, despite there being both different attributes of the one, single, all encompassing substance.
Utilitarianism is a more conventional view of ethics, and in it, the major concern is with the maximization of benefits from the utilization, or the lack of utilization of nature. Utilitarians, depending on their view of the material capacities of nature and sustainable development, may find themselves in any policy end of the debate. Oftentimes, the ethical structure of ecological thought is casted in terms of anthropocentrism versus biocentrism. This distinction is very important because its deep seated meaning collapses in front of Spinoza’s monistic conceptualizations. It is my contention that anthropocentrists and biocentrists are found in each of the previous three models. In other words, anthropocentrism and biocentrism are not sufficient grounding categories for a consistent ethical theory.
The term "Dialogue" as used in this paper, resembles Buber’s conceptualizations. Buber’s categories of I-Thou and I-It can assume, in my view, a central role in deep ecology ethics, particularly, when mediated through Naesse’s Spinoza. Ecological ethics is the ethics of dialogue. (Dialogical principles in the practice of city planning have also been explored by John Friedmann. In particular, Friedmann deals with issues of planning processes, and the negotiated decision making procedures between government and clients.) In Buber’s terms, there are two basic attitudinal categories with regards to the other: I-Thou and I-It. The first set is the I-It attitude. An It is generally an object serving a specified utilitarian goal or purpose of the user. In contrast, a Thou refers to a fully open, non-manipulative, and reciprocal relationship. According to Buber, both the isolated I and the massified-We, are illusory categories of identity. There is only the I of the I-Thou or I-It pair. In Buber’s terms, the I of the I-Thou continuum constitutes the higher level of ethical relationships. In practical terms, no human society can survive without the "It", but it is only within the I-Thou dyad that the I emerges as genuine person. Personhood, or identity, emerges only from within the context of relational-behavior. In ecological ethics, identity is defined in terms of the relation and attitude towards nature, that is, the ethical confirmation of nature constitutes identity, and there can be no "selfhood" outside of dialogue with nature. Dialogue is the categorical opposite of reification, manipulation, exploitation.
In Buber’s terms there are three levels for dialogue and two basic inter-relational attitudes: The levels of dialogue are between man and nature, between man and man, and between man and God. The two relational postures are I-Thou and I-It. All dialogue centers around man’s attitude towards the "other". Dialogue requires a form of paradoxical intentionality and reciprocity. This issue goes to the core of Spinoza’s contention that love of nature does not imply reciprocal love from nature. We can draw a parallel between Buber’s Thou and Spinoza’s love of nature.
Non-humans do posses a capacity to reciprocate (in their own way), but lack the ability of conscious dialogical intentionality in the rational sense of the term. It is man’s duty then, as is his vocation and reward, to be called upon to assume the entire responsibility for that relationship. In this model, responsibility connotes not only the duty to protect and preserve, but in essence, it is a general attitude, or borrowing Dewey’s term, an "orientation" towards nature that holds the promise of what in deep ecology is referred to as "self realization." From Buber’s perspective, self realization can only be attained through self-transcendence. That is, to the extent that the self is oriented, not inwards, but dialogically towards the other, it becomes possible for the I to attain true ontological identity. The I, apart form the I of the I-Thou dyad (or of the I-It dyad, but in a different sense) can not be said to posses ontological reality. This represents the deep meaning of the concept of dialogue. This argument strongly supports the claims of deep ecology with respect to man’s attitude towards nature. In Victor Frankl’s terms, "human existence -at least as long as it has not been neurotically distorted- is always directed to something, or someone other than itself-be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter lovingly...What is called "self-actualization" is ultimately an effect, the unintentional by-product, of "self transcendence." Some criticisms to the concept of self-realization in ecological ethics have been raised. Particularly, deep ecology’s emphasis on the isolated "self," a predicate which does not account for the fact that "selves" are constructions in the wider context of cultural practices. Deep ecology seems at times to be working out of a Cartesian notion of autonomous selves. Some have also raised the issue of identity in the context of urban form and the subconscious paradigms that underlie much of city form and design. Martin Buber proposed a different paradigm of personhood. For Buber, both the I and the We are illusory constructs. The I can only emerge in the context of a dyadic relationship. For Buber, there is no meaning to the term I outside of the dyadic relationship. This derivation of identity from within relational situations, provides a more adequate model for the ecological model of identity. In this same vein, A. J. Heschel, in the Sabbath, writes that while in the western world the task has been to know oneself, the Biblical call was to know God first. (Contrast for instance the title of one of Rollo May’s books "Man’s Search for Himself" with one of Heschel’s "Man in Search of God.") V. Frankl refers to this when he remarks that the derivation of self identity results from an act of self-transcendence. In general, we can say that the intellectual task for deep ecology is to incorporate an ethics of self realization through dialogue.
There is a sense, however, in which dialogue is fully realizable without conscious intentionality. Buber speaks of the act of "grace", or more precisely, the fact that intentionality in the approach to the other bears the danger of suspending the non-utilitarian requirement of the genuine-dialogical encounter. One of deep ecology’s main tenets is also the rejection of strict utilitarian views of nature. Buber is attempting to establish the conditions under which non-utilitarianism is possible. From this perspective Buber contributes to the general principles of deep ecology. Genuine dialogue, writes Buber, cannot be generated if preceded by willful intention. In Naess’s words, "Intentions are objectivations of purposes before they are realized" It is precisely the elimination of objectivations, or reification that Buber sees as the hallmark of the dialogical encounter. The act, or the moment of dialogue, cannot be pre-planned or sought after. It is an event of grace. From this discussion we can say that the reference to intentionality in the context of dialogue, must be understood to allude to the overall-life-orientation of man towards others. Life must be lived in such a manner, perennially oriented and opened towards the other, so as to merit and be ready for the receipt of the grace that is dialogue. Dialogue, like Spinoza’s love of nature, is its own reward. In this regard, Frankl added, "We have said that religion is genuine only where it is existential...now, we have seen that the existentiality of religiousness has to be matched by its spontaneity...Intentionality would thwart the effect.." It is in this sense that the relationship man-nature is the more profoundly open to dialogical realization. It is also this aspect of dialogue that is at the center of ecological thought. The issue then is to reassess the relationship towards nature as constituting a radically more profound dialogue between man and nature, beyond the mere recreational, observational or even preservationist stands.
When Naess attempts to derive an ecological politics out of Spinoza, he refers specifically to the way in which Spinoza derives his conception of love of nature. The ethics that derives from identifying God with Nature, coupled with the imperative to, above all, seek knowledge of Nature-God, a knowledge which in turns is identified with the act of loving, implied, for Spinoza, an excruciatingly set of specific behavioral and political imperatives, most noticeably in the areas of community imperatives. (Particularly parts IV and V of the Ethics, and Spinoza’s earlier works, which derived it’s political principles, partially, from his underlying metaphysics.) In Spinoza’s terms, God and Nature are one and the same (Deus sive Natura). For Spinoza, there are three kinds of knowledge: Opinions, Rationality and Intuition. According to Naess, Intuition represents the highest kind of knowledge. Intuition is equated with love of God-Nature. Naess writes "One may say that the understanding love of God, and the third (intuitive) way of cognition, concentrates on the content of reality, not its abstract structure" (pg.6) What that means is that love of nature implies a concrete existential relationship towards nature, one that flows from a deeper realm of intellectual consciousness. Furthermore, Nature is described as possessing two intrinsic and parallel qualities: Natura-Naturans, which is the creative flow operating within the essence of nature, and Natura-Naturata, that is, nature as begotten or created. As Naess writes, these two aspects are not temporally apart. Creation and created are one and the same event. For Spinoza, knowledge is the act of love "sub species Aeternitatis," from the perspective of eternity. The kind of knowledge that obtains from the act of love is a clear, distinct and immediate intuitive apprehension of the meaning of reality. When placed within the context of ecological ethics, Spinoza’s Love is the equivalent of Buber’s Thou. The Love of God is the love of and within nature.
For Buber too, the Dialogical attitude translated into political formulations. Buber, influenced by the anarchist Landauer, developed a clear political programme also derived from his metaphysics. The dialogical aspects of ecological theory find a basis in Kant’s imperative to treat each individual always as an end, never as a means or as a tool. This Kantian principle was later modified and developed by Martin Buber in his theory of Dialogue.
An interesting connection can be made here between some of the concepts developed above and Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein wrote that Ethics and Aesthetics are one and the same thing. Inasmuch as both concepts refer to a certain form of intentional relationship towards the "other," it is fitting to say that both are but different aspects of the same reality. Without engaging in a thorough discussion on the Tractatus, some commentators have argued that what Wittgenstein actually meant was that ethics and aesthetics are the same in that they both belong to the realm of the silent. Silence can also be viewed as a form of non-active-intentionality in the same vein as Buber’s dialogue. Different readings of the early Wittgenstein have been offered in this regards. The reading I follow is that Wittgenstein’s views were not only related to philosophy of language but had a metaphysical component as well. Particularly, Wittgenstein’s use of Spinoza’s term Sub Species Aeternitatis in connection with the sameness of aesthetics and ethics reinforces the view that for Wittgenstein, the connection between the two was Spinozian in essence.
Buber worked through a category that Spinoza rejects: the Transcendent. Buber’s Thou is only an intermediate step. Beyond the Thou there is the "Eternal Thou", that is God. Spinoza placed God not beyond, but within nature. This distinction between immanence and transcendence represents the major philosophical point of departure between Spinoza and Buber. However, It can be argued, that it is only within the framework of the ethical attitudes of ecology that their philosophies merge in a commonality of political implications.
Although theology can contribute to the concept of deep ecology, the ecological model at play is not theology but Spinoza’s monism. Spinoza’s monism is a profoundly secular (non-theistic)-spirituality where God and Nature are identified as one and the same substance. It is precisely within this secular context that, following Arne Naess, a strong foundation for ecological ethics can be established in the philosophy of Spinoza. Spinoza’s monism represents the first and most thorough attempt to theorize the relationship between a monistic conception of nature and the ethical imperatives derived thereof. I will further argue that it is in this particular field of ethical-ecology that other philosophies of the "other" (beside philosophies of dialogue, such as Buber’s) find full political expression. In particular, I’m referring to the philosophies of Levinas as well as elements of Whitehead’s Process philosophy. As mentioned above, it is within the realm of ecology that a "unified field" gets established and the manifold contributions of Spinoza and Buber, Levinas and Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Frankl and Kant, meet, interact, and bear fruit in the form of critical approaches to ecological policy.
The implications of diversity in the social realm are various. I will argue in this chapter that the concept of diversity, when applied to the broad ethnic and national realms, results in very difficult ethical dilemmas. For a study of ethnic rights two basic ecological-ethical concepts are particularly useful: inherent rights and pragmatism. An ecological ethics based on the concepts of inherent rights is the extension of the concept of ethnic-primordiality. The concept of inherent rights creates a whole set of urban planning-ethical problems, in particular when dealing with the continuum of culture-territory and ethnicity. The ecological ethics based on the concept of pragmatism offers a more useful paradigm in that the focus shifts from group politics per-se to a meta discourse of rights anteceding the politics of group rights.
The rights referred to above are those attached to claims of cultural primordiality. There are two ways to understand the concept of culture: the restricted one identifies culture mainly with the arts and crafts (painting, music, theater and other forms of belle arts.) The more encompassing view of culture views it as a form of collective, deeply ingrained, generalized psychological attitude towards life, something akin to a way of life, a weltanschaung. The later, more anthropological sense of the term, views culture as a group phenomena.. Culture therefore is imbued with group rights. Aesthetics, broadly defined, refers to the construction and derivation of meanings from objects and activities. From the perspective of cultural theory, the differences in socialized-aesthetic practice, the type of objects selected, and the collective manner of meaning derivation, all represent that which constitutes the defining character of particularized, i.e., national cultures.
The intentional relationship to objects (aesthetics) acquires political significance when contextualized within the framework of a theory of culture. In a sense, aesthetics is a deeply ethical event, for it ascribes intentional value-categories to behavior between persons and objects broadly defined (form territory, to crafts, music, etc.) Cultural policy, that is, official state policy towards cultural institutions and practices, as well as unofficial or private cultural policy, play a significant role within ecological theory. From this discussion it becomes apparent how the issue of diversity and the preservation of particularities is one of the major challenges faced by planners of cultural policy.
We can argue that ethical discourse is embedded within cultural contexts from which it derives its meaning. This isn’t full blown relativism yet. To understand this particular aspect
of the connection between culture and ethics, we should consider what I call the continuum between Territory, Ethnicity and Culture. According to this paradigm, cultures have historically emerged from the interaction between a certain ethnic grouping and a specific bounded territory over which the ethnic polity exercised some form of sovereign control. The political status of the bounded territory, its actual borders and ethnic composition evolved through history, its character shifted, changed and churned through several historical transformations arriving at what is today the modern nation-state. Ethnic groups, like spaces, have also shifted and turned. The debate whether ethnicities are primordial or constructed seems to be settling on the constructed hypothesis.
To produce a culture, a three dimensional intentional relationship must operate between the group members as a whole, the space they inhabit, and their evolved ethnicity. This is referred to as national or ethnic culture. Spaces are essential constituents of culture. Urban planning must answer whether it can or it should work out separate spaces for separate cultures.
The reconstitution, reshuffling and mixing of ethnicities, territories and cultures occurring in some of the major cities in the Western world renders this traditional continuum paradigm questionable. Cyberspace, telematics, super-fast transfer of information, globalized ecological problems, the migratory patterns of peoples, technologies and objects, the mixing of ethnicities, the carving out in the urban realm of ethnic-cultural enclaves, enclaves which happen to coincide with demarcations along class lines, and other sociological phenomena taking place in these new poly-cultural, poly-ethnic cities, hold the potential (or to some, the threat) to break-down the "biological" foundations of group culture. This breakdown will also occur indirectly through the weakening of the racial element in the composition of ethnicities that is presently taking place in the pluralistic urban realm. Ethnicity in the urban realm is adopting more a cultural and class status, and less of a racial meaning. In positive terms, the potential and the promise are to be found in a new culture based on principles other than blood, spatial-statism and exclusionary-narrow traditions.
To tackle the territorial dimensions of the ethics of diversity in more depth, we should consider the following two issues related to ethnicity and multi-culturalism: Deep ecology argues that all collective forms of cultural differentiation are imbued with inherent value and must be preserved against global homogenization. Granted this, and in light of the continuum territory-ethnicity-culture, must it then follow, that each culture ought to demand the right to demarcate exclusive spatial realms of their own? Obviously, the implications of these issues for urbanism are very important. For instance, if political discourse obtains meaning only within the context of the particular culture within which it operates, multi-cultural cities would be advised, as Young suggests, to provide for spatial and legal recognition to self conscious groups within the framework of a federalist and regionalist administrative scheme. According to this, this spatial arrangement only will be able to provide for a unified, efficient and profoundly democratic political system of governance (Young, 1984.) If democracy requires a free discursive process, how can differing conceptions of freedom, both explicit and implicit, and contrasting models of discourse, equally function, and operate with equality in a democracy?
A similar analysis as the above can be applied to the more restricted realm of the urban. The urban is a microcosm where similar social phenomena manifests itself. The consequences of diversity in the urban arena are, in a sense, and within its smaller scale, all the more pronounced. There are many spatial and political considerations as to how territorial enclaves can be properly incorporated into the physical planning of cities. It is essential to prevent spatial policies from becoming tools for the segregation and exclusion of groups on the basis of race or ethnicity. The demand to preserve cultural differences, when connected to spatial policies, bears conspicuous dangers for democratic theory and practice.
One example of a public policy approach to poly-ethnic cities was Mayor David Dinkins likening New York City to a gorgeous mosaic. What the mayor had in mind was something quite benign: a pluralistic city of multiple colors, creeds, sounds, smells and choices, a city that, when beholden as a whole, inspires a sense of beauty and awe to those with sympathetic, and aesthetically trained eyes. The mosaic image was deemed a more realistic metaphor to the old ethnic melting pot vision. What the mosaic image also conveys however, is that each single piece, to preserve the integrity of the whole, must be restrained firmly glued to its own pre-determined place in the mosaic, never mixing, nor cracking, never compromising its unique character, lest the shape of the composite as a whole be compromised. Sticking with metaphors, what the modern poly-and-multi-everything western city resembles better than a mosaic, is one of those multi-color, camel drawn sand bottles one buys in the suq. Inside the bottle, over time and movement, the sand will mix, colors and figures will change, and the overall design will evolve into multifarious shape-cocktails. However, despite it’s ever-changing inner shapes and forms, the sand’s physical make up and its outer-limits of expansion remain constant and bounded within the confines of the glass-bottle. Confining as it might be, the bounding bottle is made out of glass, clear and transparent to the outside and the inside. The image is this: The city needs to simultaneously evolve and preserve, to confine and remain open, to create community and staunchly protect the individual, to offer spatial enclaves and remain united.
Multi-ethnic and multi-cultural cities therefore must make hard choices regarding the territorial rights and prerogatives afforded to citizens claiming the right to preserve their particular group-cultural content. Culture, apart from territory and ethnicity, in and by itself, constitutes a major category of differentiation. Potentially, culture can also serve as a tool for segregation and oppression. But if the case is that culture emerges from within the context of specified territories and identified ethnicities, it seems then fully justified for self-conscious groups to segregate themselves, territorially, culturally, and socially form the rest of overall society. On the one hand we fear segregationist outcomes, on the other unfair colonialism.
The issue of difference is very important. Iris Young argues for a politics of difference where group interests and rights be granted antecedent privileges over that of either atomized individuals or the amorphous homogeneous collective. The dilemmas resulting from that politics of difference are various. On the one hand, allowing for functional cultural diversity can easily result in substantial negative differences between groups, differences which might influence the future outcomes of their respective social and economic status in society. However, to affirmatively promote equality by denying the rights to active particularity, might also be viewed as constituting a form of neo-colonialism instituted by dominant groups demanding assimilation of the "lower" cultures into the "higher" ones in power.
When culture is intentionally bonded to ethnicity, it is easy to see how cultural differences may evolve into ethnic or racial segregation. In the same vein, when culture and ethnicity are bonded with territoriality, proto-apartheid spatial arrangements might potentially emerge. But when culture is associated with new non-racial ethnicities, group differences may be spared some of the negativity accompanying the politics of difference. The emergence of new ethnicities, ethnicities not based on traditional components of common ancestral land, blood or culture, provide a window of opportunity for the implementation of the positive sides of the politics of difference. Difference with equality is the vision of a proper harmonious ecological system.
In this context, and on the basis of the creation of new ethnicities and new identities in new territories, we can argue that urban-ethnic enclaves, hold a promise and a danger. Cities that are spatially separated along ethnic-cultural lines, are also divided along class lines which roughly correspond. This may be by design or spontaneously. In fact, segregationist spatial arrangements can be official state policy or "natural" occurrences, that is, market responses to prevalent social conditions in the city. How can we then justify ethnic enclavization while simultaneously expecting a unified, operationally effective city, a city that minimizes oppressive type differences? How can we accomplish a measure of economic justice (if such is defined as equality of outcome vs. equality of resources) while at the same time, respecting and encouraging the diversity of constituent groups? In light of this, an issue for urban policy is whether ethnic enclaves, that is, ethnic cultures in ethnic territories, should be tolerated, encouraged or dismantled through affirmative housing policies. The ecological view seem to side with preservation of diversity not with its dismantling. It bears stating that diversity based on injustice is not the type of diversity that deep ecology cherishes or tolerates.
Urban housing policy here is key. As culture and territory go hand in hand, housing policy becomes an arena for the struggles, dilemmas, promises and implementation of cultural policy. Demographic density guarantees a cultural (and ethnic) majority. Without a majority the local culture is in peril (see Tibet’s claims against the importation of ethnic Chinese into their territory)
The case of the Hasidic community, both in New York Jerusalem offer fascinating insights into the issues and the problematic of urban ethnic-cultural territorial enclaves.
All the contradictions, promises and dangers of spatial policies come clearly to the fore in the case of Hasidics. Hasidics thrive in the framework of societies that are open, democratic and pluralistic, all the while their internal societal structure is essentially totalitarian. Hasidics need a pluralistic society that tolerates non-pluralistic communities in their midst. In fact, pluralistic societies are more prone to grant full civic rights and tolerate the clustering of ethnic groups along identifiable demarcated spaces.
On the one hand, Hasidics are arguably the victims of exclusionary policies aimed at keeping them apart. In spatially segregated New York City, Hasidics are excluded from many spaces and social contexts. However, thanks to the fact that spatial-exclusion represents the norm of the housing market in New York, Hasidics have succeeded in turning separateness around to their own benefit. Hasidics claim the need for spatial propinquity and recognize the right of all other groups to carve out a space of their own. They vehemently oppose any attempt, especially by the state, to forcibly intrude upon each other’s territories through fair housing and other affirmative housing policies. This last point is particularly poignant because Hasidics actively seek government funding for their housing developments. Hasidics clearly understand that the success of their attempt to establish territorial enclaves lies in their ability to build sufficient quantities of housing units within their neighborhoods for the exclusive benefit of their own adherents. Government funding though comes with strings attached. A government funded housing project must, by statute, be open to all needy persons regardless of race. Hasidic housing projects are built and designed for Hasidics only. The issues of fair housing policies and regulations however are more complex than that. Hasidics exemplify the case of a community that under one reading represents a clear case of an oppressed group, culturally different and spatially apart, but under a different reading, and by virtue of spatial policies, a group that becomes also a segregating society on their own right.
To help further clarify these issues, a distinction must be made between what I call exclusionary and oppressive differences and between non-oppressive (though not necessarily inclusionary) differences.
A free society may allow for the proliferation and free expression of ethnic and other differences, and yet, affirmatively, promote and legislate inclusive policies. This occurs when groups, despite their ethnic, cultural or other differences, equally participate in a higher level structural unity. By this I don’t mean the "nation." Nationality is another problematic category within the scheme of urbanism. In fact, the concept of "nation" can adopt a positive, communitarian oriented meaning or a negative, nationalistic connotation. In ecology we find a distinction between nation and state. While the state is primarily an instrument of oppression and suppression, a nation can become the locus for culture and the spirit of communitarianism. This is important for an ecological ethics addressing the issue of how to accommodate exclusivity with integration, territory with freedom, and ethnicity with humanity.
The higher unity encompassing diversity can materialize through the institutionalization of processes for open and reciprocal dialogue across groups. When dialogue across groups occurs, new common goals emerge, reinforcing unity by becoming new focal locuses or targets for dialogue. As Hilary Putnam once wrote, "The challenge of modern, multi-cultural society is to preserve diversity while preserving communication" By focusing on the communicative process as the tool for the preservation of diversity within unity, it is useful to incorporate elements of Habermas’s analysis as it applies to democratic planning processes. It is the communicative features of process, that is, the process of dialogue, which breaks down the exclusionary features of nationality and ethnic identity.
To clarify these matter even further, we can introduce an additional notional distinction. there are two types of political divisions: Spatial and Social (in its wider meaning.) There are three types of social separation: intentional separations, voluntary separations, and involuntary exclusions. One theory concerning the positive aspect of non-oppressive separation is shared by both, deep ecology and anarchist theory. Colin Ward wrote, "The anarchist alternative is that of fragmentation, fission rather than fusion, diversity rather than unity, a mass of societies rather than a mass society" Following this description, an intentional society is a group of people who voluntarily chooses to demarcate a shared spatial realm in which to communally reside and/or work. This spatial separation is usually intended for the purpose of advancing a "spiritual" or ideological goal, a goal that in the view of its members, requires the shared ownership of land, means of production, products, and other common functions and institutions. These societies, despite their spatial dimensions, are, within reason and practical ability, open to all who share their views, regardless of biological (race) or other non-ideological determinants. In contrast to intentionality, voluntary societies, are those established for the purpose of spatially joining groups who actively wish to exclude non-desirable others from their areas of residence and/or work. Voluntary society’s exclusionary policies may not necessarily be racial in content. For the most part, class separations constitutes the major divide in this category. Religion, nationality, culture or any other category will do as well. Some categories, by definition, can never be fully inclusive, other, such as religion, or class, at least theoretically, could be. The last category, Involuntary separations, occur through exclusionary policies consciously designed to prevent others from joining a certain space, class or social group. While the excluding group is acting voluntarily, the excluded group is not. This last type is segregation and results in oppression and exploitation.
To begin to answer the question concerning the application of the concept of ecological diversity to the urban realm, we might say that with the aid of anarchist and Buberian principles, the diversity that ecological theory can support is the first kind: intentional separations
What would then be the task of the ecologically minded multi-culturalist? Can we have territorial-cultural-ethnic diversity, allow for spatial policies of difference, and still guard against the dangers of apartheid? Can this be accomplished, and still not loose the communicative processes underlying democratic systems? The answer is not clear. Perhaps, the definition of race, taken as a social construct, will undergo mutations sufficient to accommodate, transform itself, and emerge re-designed in the mold of the new multi-poly-everything cities of today’s western world.
The issue of multi-culturalism, and to some extent the spatial consequences of ethnic diversity, have been explored in many disciplines of inquiry (sociology, anthropology, etc.) In the introduction to "Culture, Globalization and the World System," A. King writes that "Appadurai...asks how people are drawn into world cultures and how, through technology and people, cultures become separated form territories." This is the process I refer to before as the creation of new ethnicities and the emergence of culture independent from their traditional molding frameworks. King continues, "Hannerz’s attention to the spatial ordering of cultures prompts important questions about the inherent social and spatial units through which culture is organized: ethnicity, race, gender and class on one side, and the neighborhood, city, region, nation and the world on the other." The point of departure for traditional urbanism was the ethnic enclave. Ethnic enclaves were conceived as mostly intermediate economic and social structures of mutual support in the way to full assimilation within the larger society. (Portes, etc.) The new urbanism recognizes the role of territory and ethnicity in the creation and reproduction of culture. In a sense, we can propose the following model of ethnicity in the urban realm: In the beginning a foreign group in a foreign city constitutes a national group. Over time they become an ethnicity. At the later stages of development they become an heritage group. National groups demand national rights, ethnic groups civil rights, heritage groups, cultural rights. As national rights cannot be implemented within the scope of a foreign nation, the immediate focus shifts to civic rights, the right to vote, the right to equality and equal treatment under the law. Heritage rights are more soft and find expression in collective endeavors such as ethnic social clubs, parades and other cultural affairs.
This clearly brings the topic of the relationship between territory and cultures to the point where the issue of nationalism comes squarely to the fore. On page 151, King adds, "Boundaries are constantly being drawn round cultures and sub-cultures in terms of power, economic, political and social, territorial markers establish specific domains.." King raises here the issue of the political uses of spatiality. Political uses, valid as they are in the context of this analysis, do not, by themselves, exhaust the issue of the relationship between the construction of cultures and the need for spatial boundaries. Immanuel Wallerstein, in the same volume, (Pg. 94) writes, "My basic reason for an initial skepticism about the concept of a world culture stems from the sense that defining a culture is a question of defining boundaries that are essentially political, boundaries of oppression and of defense against oppression." That is precisely the point: boundaries are essentially political, but the implication of the abolition of boundaries is not only political but cultural as well. The ecological demand to remain aware of and to preserve all natural and cultural diversity, has additional concrete effects on the ethnic, social and physical planning of cities.
Ecological thought must deal directly with these issues, because its basic intuition is to propose the abolition of the state, while simultaneously preserving national diversity.
The function and the role of space, in all its philosophical and cultural meanings, is undergoing such transformations that the creation of national cultures will need to rest on principles other than territory and ethnicity. Changes in the concept of space should be noted by ecological thought, especially when working out of Spinoza’s conception of space or extended res. When borders are no longer defined by strictly physical markers, the role of the state, by necessity, must also be reassessed. This new independence of culture from territory will potentially render the state all but immaterial. The traditional role of the state as promoter, defender and regulator of culture will dissipate. The state as a whole becomes progressively irrelevant as more culture, and with it, group and personal identity, is created independently of state-institutional structures. In the long run, it is the anarchist vision embedded in deep-ecology that appears poised to carry the day.
To be fully relevant, policy proposals of interest to deep-ecology must be divided into two primary areas of concern: Nature and Humans. In contrast to the more circumscribed scope of the environmental or "Green" movements, deep ecology must seek to ascertain a role for ecology within human affairs. Arne Naess wrote: "There is a tendency in the deep-ecology movement to say, "Earth first" in the sense that we are more fond of nature than of people." The very essence of the ecological movement is that the distinction between human and natural concerns is mostly a matter of semantics, admitting to no programmatic distinctions. (The emphasis here is on the abolition of distinctions as per pragmatic concerns only, not as regards to ontological distinctions. Deep ecology is not a "mystical system".) The intrinsic interconnectedness and relationship between human society and natural elements must be recognized and cherished.
For instance, not only cultural-ethnic-enclaves, but also the need to limit the built environment’s encroachments on green areas are urban policy consequences of the call to respect diversity. Many cities feel that limitation on growth results in their relegation to slower levels of economic development. Some cities claim that development is necessary to expand their tax base, to retain the young populations returning from college, and to attract new industries and businesses to their jurisdictions. The whole issue of environmental justice (Gelobter, 1988) in the urban settings, the arbitration between competing claims and the prioritization of urban policy is key to any effective ecological policy. Ecological policy, as it regards to the concern for people and nature, must deal with these issues to demonstrate that it is fully compatible with "sustainable" economic growth.
To some extent, and to move away from the more constricted urban scope, a similar analysis concerning diversity and territories can be extended to the issue of nationality and national rights.
The national rights for Native Americans across the American continent, the claims of Tibetans vis a vis China, Catalans and Basques with regards to Spain, the Jewish national movement prior to 1948, Palestinians towards Israel, and other such national and/or ethnic claims represent the "foreign affairs" dimension of the poly-ethnic city dilemma.
There is a distinction to be made between national and ethnic rights, and a further distinction between ethnic minorities residing within the territory of their own nation and those residing within the territorial boundaries of a foreign nation. (Yiftachel, 1993)
The case of Native Americans is perhaps the only pure case, as I see it, of a group which is entitled, by virtue of nationality, culture and history, to territory and full national rights but, is instead granted only the rights which are normally accorded to a national minority in a "host" country: that is, autonomous territorial reservations. Native American’s rights do not fall under the ethnic rights category because they constitute a nation in their own right. Their status however, remains ambiguous: Native Americans should certainly not be considered one more amongst the many ethnic groups comprising the United States, for they are "more" than just that. They are often referred to as "nations" but not accorded the rights of territorial sovereignty commonly accepted for all nations. In a sense, Native Americans constitute a national minority in the land that is their own. Not only were their national rights were obliterated, but the land, the space upon which they constituted a nation has largely been confiscated. In the case of Native Americans, their land has been pulled away from under their feet, and their national status rendered undefined and weak.
Native-American land reservations are crossovers between ethnic enclaves and autonomous regions. The virtual demise of Native American culture, in all its traditional and political forms, went hand in hand with their loss of territory, the loss of their national home in their sovereign land.
As mentioned above, deep ecology is an ethical philosophy. Within deep ecology, ethics is political philosophy. This is so due to the pragmatist nature of the discipline and its vocation-logos. What then, might constitute a possible ecological answer to the problematic of multi-culturalism and diversity? For one thing, as mentioned above, ecological ethics recognizes no political boundaries. The concept of "planet" takes precedent. Deep ecology is well poised to contribute to the creation of a paradigm of globality with difference. The concepts of dialogue towards nature, political anarchism and communitarianism, are powerful enough to constitute the desired ethical paradigm. What rests to be done is elaborate these concepts into specific policy proposals.
There are eight policy components to the principles of deep ecology: 1) the inherent (non-utilitarian) value of nature; 2) the inherent value in the diversity of natural and cultural forms; 3) humans attitude toward diversity; 4) slow population growth; 5) slower urban development; 6) political, social, technological, economic and ideological changes; 7) ecologically sustainable development; and 8) the duty to implement ecological policies.
Finally, we might argue, that the concept of deep ecology is a contemporary variation on the totalizing systems of philosophy of the past. Naess saw totalizing as the key to Spinoza’s philosophy. Ecology’s advantage over its predecessors is that its point of departure is the direct interaction between ideas and praxis, not between ideas and other ideas within the systems of logic. Inasmuch as it offers a holistic view of nature and a radical formulation of ethical behavior, ecology remains a powerful programme for the future of the planet and for the political transformation of society as a whole.
There are strong thematic and logical connections between deep ecology and anarchistic thought. As we have seen, the issue of the abolition of the state is a primary concern of ecological ethics. In particular, many different philosophers arrive at similar end-positions despite emanating from seemingly dissimilar points of departure. Murray Bookchin and Colin Ward are two exponents of current anarchist thought dealing with urbanism. In the case of Bookchin in particular, his central positions are directly concerned with environmental issues. According to May, (Pg. 51,n) "Bookchin is the foremost example of an ecologically oriented anarchist." Bookchin and Heyward proposed a variant of the anarchist concept of free-federated-voluntary associations called "municipal federations." These federations will replace the state as an entity and take over its global functions in a non-coercive, but rather consensual manner. Bookchin deals with the issue of environmental scarcity and the need to reformulate our economic goals in light of that. In my view, issues in ecology concerning the role of the nation-state, ethics as political philosophy, (that is, ethics as a political program for public policy,) dialogue, and the connective threads running through Spinoza and Buber, render deep ecology a focused variant of propositions echoed throughout the Anarchist tradition. It is interesting to see how Young arrives at the similar political program of federations of regional municipalities out of an analysis of difference and the politics of group rights. This shows the deep connections between anarchism and various variants of post-modern political thought.
Anarchist thinkers, in particular Gustav Landauer, espoused the pacifist, socialist, and humanistic brand of left-libertarianism. Landauer advocated the restructuring of society into a federation of smaller, cooperative-communal societies. These federated, spatially bounded and socialist communities will be established inside and apart from the existing state and will gradually replace it. Spatial communities in the urban realm are difficult to implement. Most intentional communities have re-emerged in the outskirts of urban limits. The Hasidics, I argue, are a singular case of intentionality within the limitations and opportunities offered by urban space.
While Marx advocated the overthrow of the state by violent means, as a precondition for the establishment of the revolutionary society, Landauer (as did Kropotkin, Bakunin and Proudhon) advocated the establishment of revolutionary societies in the here and now as the precondition for the overthrow of the state. These societies will be organized to operate from within the structure of the state and empowered to systematically dismantle the configuration of political power. Power, being a tactical, horizontal and diffuse operation, not only a state organized structure, will be extricated through a changing of tactical relationships at all levels of communitarian affairs (May.) This was Landauer’s position. In Landauer’s views, anarchism was that system of relationships between persons. The anarchist society cannot be established by political means, because the deeper meaning of anarchism is the redesign of ethics. In Landauer’s words "The state is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behavior, we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently." We can see here the deep connection between this brand of anarchism and deep ecology. Deep ecology argues for a non-power relationship towards nature and humans. Martin Buber borrowed immensely from Landauer’s thought. For Buber and Landauer, the state represents the external, political embodiment of a certain tactical, internal ethics, the replacement of which requires the inner-acceptance of a different ethical praxis. This ethical approach was opposed by the more political positions in anarchism, particularly Bakunin, who saw the state primarily as a set of economic relationships. The state, for Bakunin, as was the case for Marx, represents a political-class tool for the oppression of the proletariat. As such, the state must be abolished through political action. Once abolished however, a classless society will need no state to enforce relations of oppression. Bakunin strongly objected to the Bolshevik’s state driven revolution. For Bakunin, the first revolutionary step would be the abolition of the state, allowing the proletarians the precondition of liberty necessary to overthrow the state and take control of the regime of society.
Another exponent of ecological anarchism was the early Zionist leader, A. D. Gordon. Gordon was one of the founders of the Kibbutz movement in Palestine-Israel. He is especially important for he was one of the few thinkers in this school to actually implement the political programme of the ecological-anarchist movement. Gordon’s Kibbutz, espoused strong anarcho-socialist and ecological principles. For Gordon, the connection between man and land, and particularly, the labor of agriculture, constituted the center for the spiritual and political reawakening of humanity. In this he was close to Spinoza. This man-land connection, for Gordon, must also be accompanied by concomitant changes in the social arrangement of society. Gordon’s socialism was of the utopian-libertarian type. He was close to Buber in his espousal of anarcho-socialist-communitarianism, and he was close to Spinoza in his secular spirituality. Current ecological thought will be best served by re-examining Gordon’s basic positions.
In this chapter, I will attempt to show a particular experiment in diversity that offers glimpses into possible successful solutions to the quandaries of diversity and ethics. In order to make the argument clear, I will need to rehash concepts introduced before and show their particular application in this specific case. The main subject of my research in urbanism is the Hasidic polity, that is, the organized communal patterns, the institutions and the spatial culture of Hasidic society. My central focus is the spatial culture of the Hasidic polity, and in particular, the relationships between the institutional structure of Hasidics and their intentional spatial configurations. Within the variety of intentional experience, the Hasidics represent the urban variant of what traditionally had been rural-based intentional societies. Due to the observed inherent relationship between territory and culture in the Hasidic community, I argue that intentionality constitutes an adequate theoretical framework for the interpretation of the Hasidic polity. In the case of the Hasidics, intentionality is the foundation of their territorial claims. As I have argued above, intentionality represents the non-oppressive form of spatial enclavization.
Within the context of our discussion of ecology and diversity, it is my aim to demonstrate that the Hasidic polity provides an adequate model for a program aimed at the recovery and reemergence of communitas, and in particular, the recovery of community in the realm of urban society. To analyze the issue of community recovery, it is necessary to assess the relationship between spatial policies, community intentionality and the ethical implications of spatial policy in the urban realm.
At the very onset, the primordial spatial trait of the Hasidic community is spatial propinquity. There are several theoretical explanations, both internal and external, for the Hasidic quest for propinquity. To some extent, Hasidic spatial culture mirrors that of other intentional communities with one major difference, namely, that Hasidics remain an urban intentional community. Besides the issue of community-intentionality, Hasidic spatial arrangements are also tied to the issue of ethnic relations within society at large. Because the focus is on Hasidics, the issue of ethnicity and its role in community formation becomes central as well. The Hasidic community in metropolitan New York represents an historical instanciation of the relationship between ethnicity, territory and culture.
The principal interest in the Hasidic polity centers on the issue of the recovery or re-emergence of community as a function of territory (or territory as a factor in community recovery). The issues of community, inter-subjective relations, the nature of individuality, group identity, ethnic, national and other group rights, etc., all emerge as central themes in this context. These issues emerge in many different scholarly contexts as well, particularly in ethics, political philosophy, geography, anthropology and sociology.
I argue that to understand the issue of recovery of community, we must examine the uses of spatial propinquity. I identify two distinct uses of propinquity: segregational and communitarian-intentional. Through a study of the Hasidic community, we can explore the various meanings of propinquity and discover the test conditions under which propinquity evolves into either one of its two variants.
I argue that the paradigm that best interprets the modern western poly-everything city, the city within which the Hasidic polity is located, is that of the continuum territory-ethnicity-culture. A study of the attributes of the interrelations among these three elements shows the dual nature of spatial propinquity. The case of the Hasidics shows how a certain modified form of spatial enclavization results in intentional communitarianism and not segregation. The Hasidic polity is a modified form of enclave that works well within the urban realm. It preserves propinquity, allows intentional urban residence, and minimizes the dangers of exclusivism.
At its core, the issue of ethnicity is the issue of Otherness. We can view the other in two ways: The other as the alien, or the other as the I in the context of We. Otherness is either the individual I seeking protection against the We, or the We’s rejecting the non-we. The basic issue then for ethnic policy thus is to determine what political implications, and in particular, what urban-spatial policies, logically derive from different conceptions of otherness. Spatial policies aimed at the other as alien, are diametrically opposed to those dealing with the other when conceived as a legitimate bearer of subjectivity. The former leads to segregation and apartheid, the later to communal intentionality. The other, when viewed within its own cultural context becomes the bearer of rights. Aliens in contrast, are regarded as threats.
I argue that the danger of spatial (and social) segregation is minimized, once the relationship between culture and territory, as derived from the continuum territory-culture-ethnicity, is mediated through the ethics of intentionality. Intentionality constitutes the ethical modifier that transforms the relationship between space and culture from a potential form of segregation into an actual form of intentional communitarianism. Without the ethics of intentionality, territorial propinquity degenerates into spatial segregation. I call the ethics of intentionality, ecological ethics, and argue that Deep Ecology offer adequate models for ethical interpretation. The Hasidics fit the spatial patterns of intentional communitarian propinquity modified to account for the urban variant of its spatial character.
Through a study of the Hasidic polity, one might examine the issue of whether it is possible for communal intentionality to emerge and operate within the framework of the urban realm. The perspective assumed by this question is that of urbanism. Urbanism refers to the study of spatially bounded areas comprised of a multiplicity of institutions and social groupings. Group differences are roughly defined by categories such as, ethnicity, class, religion, race, gender, the multiple mixing of all those, etc. Urbanism studies the complex dynamics of the inter and intra-relationships occurring at all levels of the urban realm: top-down, bottom-up and horizontally; the conflicts, competitions, coalitions and possibilities for community formation emerging as a result of these dynamics.
In response to the pluralistic and diverse formation of the urban society, urbanism adopts an approach akin to ecology. The modern western poly-city, exhibits the diverse, plural, balancing morphology of ecological systems. For a diverse city, the ethics that apply is that dealing with ecological diversity.
Furthermore, observing the Hasidic community as a case study, I argue that some forms of politics of difference, when mediated into the urban realm, and in light of the continuum territory-ethnicity-culture, present significant ethical, cultural, philosophical and political challenges. I will argue then, that the resolution of these dilemmas is essential for the recovery of community intentionality and its re-placement in the culture of urban life.
In my view, a new perspective on the Hasidic polity, one that results in a more accurate interpretation of the processes and dynamics underlying the communal structure of Hasidism, provides the opportunity to ascertain the legitimacy of attempts at intentionality in the realm of urban communities. Taking the Hasidics as a case study, we want to explore issues of intentionality in urban communities, the role of ethnicity in the advent of community, models of state-ethnic groups dynamics in the urban areas, and issues of ethical significance for the formulation of urban public policy vis a vis ethnicity.
Within this analysis, the issue of ethnicity becomes central. The continuum territory-ethnicity-culture shows that national cultures emerge from within the framework of territories over which ethnicities exercise some form of sovereign control. The sustenance of culture, national, ethnic culture, is intractably tied to the sustenance of the three linkages within the continuum. In addition, it is a fact that in America, most historical intentional communities were initially established along ethnic-religious lines. I argue that this fact is of no mere historiographic interest, but underscores the role of ethnicity in creating, preserving and reproducing intentionality. On the other hand, it also underscores the pitfalls and dangers of ethnicity-based intentionality. The Hasidics as a religious-ethnic group also fit the intentional match but with all the peculiarities that attach to the urban substance of the Hasidic intentionality.
There are four steps to fully conceptualize the Hasidic community in the context I propose. The first is by providing a geographic description of the Hasidic spatial dispersion. Hasidic communities are divided into four distinct types: urban neighborhoods (exclusive and inclusive): Williamsburg, Boro Park and Crown Heights within the borough of Brooklyn in the city if New York, suburban hamlets: Monsey, in Rockland County, Yorktown in Westchester County; suburban settlements: Mount Kisco in Westchester County, Kiamesha Lake in Sullivan County; and incorporated municipalities: Kyrias Joel in Orange County, Kaser and New Square in Monsey. There are several internal and external social factors behind each type, as well as an internal Hasidic rationale for their particularistic spatial culture.
The second step is to introduce what I regard to as the useful categorization of Hasidics as intentional communities. When comparing the Hasidics with other intentional communities, we find that in the structure of the Hasidic polity, lies a model of community tailor-made for the urban realm. From this model, we can derive implications for general urban community development. By comparing Hasidics with intentional communities we can also raise in bold relief the inner structure of the Hasidic community, and, more importantly, ascertain the extent to which this structure can serve as a paradigm of urban-intentional communitarianism. The other side of this analysis underscores the sui-generis aspect of the Hasidic polity, and the line of demarcation between centered and diffused communities.
I argue that Hasidics differ from intentional communities in five respects, and that this is mainly due to the urbanity of the Hasidic polity. (And hence their relevance to the field of urbanism.) The five areas of divergence are: Space, governance, welfare, economics and architecture.
Spatially, Hasidics favor enclaves but not seclusion. In governance, Hasidics favor autonomy but not independence. In social policy, Hasidics practice social welfare but not communism. In economic life, the Hasidics participate (by and large) in the economic mainstream (as opposed to economic enclavization) but not in the sociological mainstream. In architecture, both, the symbolic meaning, and the communal process of development that characterize rural intentional communities, is largely absent. Hasidics compromised and adopted urban in-fill methods instead of mystic-symbolic architecture. The issue of economic participation raises other interesting questions concerning the non-value-neutral character of economic activities, and the intentional communities needs and desire to remain socially, and thus spatially, enclavized.
The third step in the conceptualization of the Hasidic polity is to offer a model of ethnic dynamics borrowed from a sub-field of ecology: epidemiology. By epidemiology I refer to the study of the interrelationships between a constituted social body, and the penetration of foreign organisms in its midst. The effects caused by this interaction to both, the organism and the body constitute the research fields of epidemiology. I likened the presence of ethnic minorities in the city to an epidemiological model.
The epidemiological model operates at three levels: state-group, group-state and group-group. These dynamics can be modeled after epidemiology in the following senses: Intentional societies, (self conscious identifiable communities) might be likened to a foreign organism or "virus" penetrating the confines of the social body. The question arises as to how does the virus affect the body and viceversa? This determination strongly depends on what are the dominating concepts of what the social "body" is and what constitutes the conditions for organic health. In this context, it is crucial to determine who does the defining, self or foreign, and what role does the foreign organism itself play in the process of defining. In turn, all this depends on the predominant conceptions as per the nature of the virus. The virus, that is, the ethnic group, can be conceived of as either primordial, constructed or embedded, and again, who’s the definer.
Three basic epidemiological approaches to state-group dynamics come to mind: Laissez-faire, ecological and reactionary. The reactionary aspect is further divided into negative top-down, in the form of segregation, or positive bottom up in the form of cultures of resistance. The laissez faire approach tolerates the existence of different groups to the extent that no major breakdown occurs in the orderly function of society at large. Laissez fairers may believe that when left to their own devices, diverse groups will eventually assimilate into the pre-existing constituted body. The ecological approach seeks the harmonious balancing of diversity. According to this view, all diversity is inherently justified. One of the implications of the ecological approach is for the city to provide the spatial means and the targeted social programs by which the many diverse societies will be preserved, protected and encouraged. It is also expected that each group will respects the rights and privileges of all others. This mutual respect will provide the balancing act needed to preserve harmony in diversity. The reactionary approach in contrast, reacts to the existence of diverse groups with policies of seclusion and segregation. Segregated groups often react back through their own version of ethnic separatism. These are cultures of resistance. Ethnic pride, dress codes, ancestral languages and other cultural symbolisms all are part of the program of cultural resistance.
For the purposes of public policy, the focus cannot be on the virus itself, for its structure is constantly mutating through interaction with the body and other viruses, and it does not affect all parts of the body equally. The focus should be on the epidemiology, that is, on the process of dynamics between the group and the wider body politics: the reaction, counteractions, the mutual affects and effects between the social body and the foreign organism, the general temporal measures applied to countenance the effects of the virus, and the virus’s own mechanisms of defense.
The fourth and final issue concerns the question of ecological ethics. Intentionality is the ethics that mediates between culture and territory. By intentionality I refer to the desire of individuals and families to live in close spatial proximity and to conduct their social affairs under the guidance of some shared spiritual, political or social value. Spatial propinquity is a condition sine qua non of intentionality. Intentionality removes the negativity of segregation and replaces it with the positivity of a politics of difference. I argue that in likening the poly-ethnic city to an ecological system of diversity, (harmony, balance, integration, splitting and chaos) public policy must come to grips with the ethical issues related to the politics of diversity. In fact, the poly ethnic city can only survive providing it searches and applies a coherent set of polices that can be justified in the context of ecological ethics. The field of ecology has produced good theoretical work in the field of the ethics of diversity. Some of these insights, when translated from the field of nature and into human society, can be rendered useful for the debate concerning urban policies towards ethnic groupings.© Hune E. Margulies
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