The problem of human beingness, declared Sartre and Lacan, is the problem of what to do with one’s slime (one’s shit):
“The slimy is myself.” Ultimately, is sliminess not the sacred, the taboo substance of life itself? One word for this is Kristeva’s abject, the qualities of the world we slough off in order to maintain subjects and objects. Ecological politics is bound up with what to do with pollution, miasma, slime: things that glisten, schlup and decay. Should radioactive waste from the nuclear bomb factory at Rocky Flats be swept under the Nevada carpet of an objectified world, a salt deposit that was declared in the 1950s to be safe, but in the 1990s had been found to leak (the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, or WIPP)? How about the planned destination for spent fuel rods from reactors, Yucca Mountain in New Mexico? What does one do with the leakiness of the world? Deep green notions such as Nuclear Guardianship (advocated by Joanna Macy) assert the substances like the plutonium whose release of poisoned light takes tens of thousands of years to cease, should be stored above ground in monitored retrievable storage; moreover, that a culture, indeed a spirituality, would have to grow up around the tending of this abject substance.