How did all living beings even come about, you may wonder? Soup … Primordial soup. The Big Bang theory of life formation through cooking. According to biochemist Alexander Oparin, and scientist J.B.S. Haldane, it all started with a mixture of non-living, organic substances (circulated water, sugar, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen) intermingling in an oxygen-deprived pool of hot water. While going through a loop of oxygen, vapor, and electric charges, organic compounds were formed. Rather than looking at heredity, this theory relies on metabolism for the spontaneous origin of life.
I could be dreaming of a utopian world of peace and reconciliation between beings, but we are too deep in the urban shit. Unstirring the cream from the coffee is not a task to undertake. The rift is there, and the damage has been done. Frightfully noticeable since the Industrial Revolution of the 1950’s, which left its permanent ashes as a layer on the planet, aided by the belief that any human transformation over nature is acceptable as long as it is economically profitable. The fissure between species began long before the mechanization of typically hand-driven production methods. Perhaps in less destructive ways, but all leading to the point we are at now.
To begin with, all entities are inextricably linked through a succession of events, no matter if that is in a housing compound or a swamp. Thinking about the human as separate from nature was never on Marx's agenda (contrary to popular belief stemming from ex-communist states disregard for the environment). [we] live from nature … nature is [our] body, he writes, followed by his proposition that … [we] must maintain a continuing dialogue with it if [we are] not to die.
Animate and inanimate beings have been deconstructed and divided into constructed bowls in order to form what is now the social soup. With the advent of urban life, vital connections have been broken. The communal recipe has changed. Now the ingredients are plastered with layers of development and separation. The primordial liquid has lost its power in connecting animate with inanimate in a symbiotic dialogue. It's the reign of the (a)social, and it is on the verge of boiling over. Through exclusively social contracts, a rift has formed between the offspring of the primordial liquid. The thread that enables communication with mute, passive, obscure things has turned into a system of dualities. Separating law from nature, human from animal, us from them, etc… The theory of the primordial soup should serve as a guideline towards a more connected consciousness. In Staying with the Trouble, Donna Haraway defines kin as something other/more than entities tied by ancestry or genealogy. Kin as further than familial, blood ties. In the panic of the metabolic cracks, we have turned into paralyzed rabbits waiting for the car to hit. During this dreadful waiting, a certain competitive game is being played. A species versus the other species and their respectful environment. Human vs nature. Human vs human. Looking for the best way to create an island of comfort and pride. We are numb. When we eat nowadays, we no longer commune with a higher spirit or nature, on the contrary, we only affirm our distance from it. We commune with capitalism, without being able to distance ourselves from it, since it appears on both sides of the equation. Eating is in its core a transcendental act. It utilizes the internal senses, making it a very intimate process of consumption, ingestion and digestion, a display of metabolic forces. Food is something that we, conscious humans, experience through multiple senses. As a tool to explore the reconnecting of beings, it can act as a catalyst of emotional sensation between animate and inanimate entities. How can we consider the thought that food is more than just an energy source when fast and slow metabolism is the only thing we are concerned with? We are food, food is us, food is more-than us, food is being-with. A thorough principle on existence intertwined food exists from a 6th century Sanskrit text, Taittiriya Upanishad. It narrates a cycle of events in which food and living organisms have an active interplay:
from the self (brahman) sprang ether (akasa, that through which we hear); from ether – air (that through which we hear and feel); from air fire (that through which we hear, feel, and see); from fire – water (that through which we hear, feel, see, and taste); from water – earth (that through which we hear, feel, see, taste, and smell). from earth – herbs, from herbs – food, from food – seed, from seed – man.
Nature provided this food, which gave rise to living creatures, while the food also grew with the life and death of those organisms. Consumer and producer are not visible in this theory. Benefits are widespread, creating a chain of interdependent growth. But there is something rotting in the system, disturbing the connection. In his political critique of the capitalist system, as presented in Capital Vol. 111, Karl Marx brought in the concept of Stoffwechsel— metabolism, to define the labor process as a process between man and nature, a process by which man, through his own actions, mediates, regulates and controls the metabolism between himself and nature. Yet an irreparable rift as John Bellamy Foster further developed, had emerged in this metabolism as a result of capitalist modes of production and the antagonistic separation of town and country. One benefit to the concept of metabolic rift is that it neatly preserves a distinction between human and non-human nature while also asserting their unity within one metabolic system. How can food, as an actor in this social system, become the healing bridge between spoiled relationships?← previous next →