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Mutation, the human adventure has only just begun.

The LCI channel headlined this weekend: “MUTATION – The British Prime Minister warned on Saturday that the spread in his country of the Delta variant was ” very worrying “, raising fears of a postponement of the lifting of the last anti-Covid restrictions”. The use of the word “mutation” has a strong impact, in reality and also in our imagination, as science fiction authors have understood: we think of the X-Men film series.

A mutation is a sudden and radical change, more than a gradual transition. It is a rapid and profound transformation whose intensity of impact is felt, without realizing or seeing all that is happening and the scope of its effects.

Obviously, talking about our world in crisis in terms of change and mutation makes sense. But more than a change external to us, isn’t it a question of a metamorphosis and a mutation of each of us?

“Viruses mutate, they adapt and transform to continue living. Why not us ? “. This questioning runs through the book Mutation, the human adventure is just beginning 1 , published a few days ago. We know the author, Nathanaël Wallenhorst, teacher-researcher at UCO, expert in the Anthropocene, this new geological period marked by the dominant impact of human activities on ecosystems and the cause of global warming.

In fact, the question concerns a mutation of humanity immersed in an odyssey 2 of the living .

During the last four centuries of the history of the West, the break between humanity and nature has “gave free rein to all abuses” already underlined, in 1962, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss ( Structural Anthropology , 1962). The change we need to experience is to radically put an end to this break. For this, Nathanaël Wallenhorst proposes “a model capable of thinking about the mutation in the Anthropocene”, a model he calls “the human adventure” and which he draws according to three components. First, it is necessary to control the destructive capacity of which man is capable and which manifests itself in unlimited economic logic. Second, comes the recognition of our common belonging to life which is always “exchange, circulation, sharing”. “The sharing of food that makes life possible” induces a logic of responsibility for all. Third, let’s take note that we coexist before we exist: we must “think together the living being and its environment, the organism and its biotope”, in a logic of hospitality.

This human adventure has the flavor of an odyssey, with journeys and learning experiences This is why the mutation and the ongoing human adventure invite us to think in a radically new way about education at the time of the Anthropocene, educate to think about reality and what we do, educate to learn the language of the earth and the love of the world, love of the world as Hannah Arendt called it.

1- Nathanael Wallenhorst, Mutation. The human adventure has only just begun, Le Pommier, June 2021.
2- François Prouteau, Odyssey for a habitable Earth, Le Pommier, October 2021.

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