The tragedy of what we call “sustainable development”

Friedrich Nietzsche

When I visited the information event on the part-time studies philosophy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in May 2006, Prof. Jos de Mul gave a lecture on “The domestication of fate”. I got caught by his lecture and overcame my last (although yet  very minor) doubts to embark on this journey full of adventure called philosophy.

De Mul talked about the tradegy of Prometheus, who brought the fire to men and had to suffer for betraying the gods and giving such a dangerous toy to the naked ape.

In the last trimester of the first study year (2006-2007), we had to write a few mini-essays in a course called “Philosophical challenges of the 21st century”. The title of the class by de Mul was again: “The domestication of fate”, with the subtitle: “Prometheus onbound. The rebirth of tragedy out of the spirit of technology”. At that time, I had already heard and read a little bit about and from Nietzsche and Heidegger, and I had the idea that also our endeavours to save energy (and the planet) may be part of the big tragedy of humanity. I gave it a try: “The tragedy of energy efficient technologies” (in Dutch).

Two weeks later, Dr. Gijs van Oenen lectured on: “The emancipated subject revisited”. His central thesis was “inter-active metal fatigue” in the public domain, and the task was to establish a link between his vision on the development of the public domain, inter-activity and “inter-active metal fatigue” and De Mul’s notion of “tragic technologies”. Also an inspiring task, that resulted in another mini-essay: “Inter-passivity, process thought and the catastrophy of climate change” (also in Dutch).