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Wildhood is kinship of the wild in all people, places, and things.

Serviceability

Workshop

Welcome the wild.

Serviceability

Mark Douglas

Ecosystem services are all the rage these days. The tendency is to go to the market with a "what's it worth to you" question to tally up the value of the environment. The US Forest Service has a decent summary document here

I absolutely buy the argument that we need better ways of understanding and tracing how our environment matters. I am on board with ECOSYSTEM SERVICES. Values; that's another question. Let's see what we can get out of an ontological discussion of serviceability so that we can measure the next steps toward values.  

When somebody gets involved with the landscape we can say they have an involvement. The way we get involved is usually with some kind of gear. Foresters have forestry tools. Recreation managers have recreation tools. Recreationists surely have a whole world of gear they're involved with. Other folks are involved with the landscape too. Consider the involvement a shop keeper selling anything from raspberry milk shakes to the rental service of gear like canoes, tents, and such. They are involved. The point is that people play all kinds of roles in their landscape involvements. An interesting way to explore those involvements would be to try and understand how all that gear is interrelated with those people and that place. First, let's get down what we precisely mean by involvement. 

When people are skillfully dealing with their gear they often aren't considering all the aesthetic qualities of that gear. What they're likely paying attention to is the solicitations and slight signals they receive that subtly attune them to their embodied ways of reacting.  If you're familiar at all with "flow theory" then you're on your way to getting the gist of this. However, flow is a bit too mental for my thinking. What is doing the soliciting? What is setting the tune of attunement? In a word, assignment. "An entity is discovered when it has been assigned or referred to something, and referred as that entity which it is. With any such entity there is an involvement which it has in  something" (BT, p. 115). These are the paths we've scouted with referentiality and involvement. What Heidegger is saying is that when somebody clears the way for gear to let it play a role in the world they are openly resonating with their understanding of what it means for that gear to take a role. Somebody realizes that with  that gear, there is a turn to be taken in the on-hand matter. Somebody has the implicit realization of the referential whole and the roles of their own body in relation to the gear they're dealing with in-the-world. Take sunglasses as gear. We're going about our everyday lives being-in-the-world when we get a hint of glint in our circumspection. We realize that this is the time and place to bring our sunglasses onto our face to deal with the glint. The gear plays an accustomed role and we go on our way.

Dr. Brule  takes the hint that his sunglass gear has a real deal role to play in his day-to-day existence. 

Dr. Brule takes the hint that his sunglass gear has a real deal role to play in his day-to-day existence. 

"When an entity within-the-world has already been proximally freed for its being, that being is its "involvement" " (BT, p. 116). To be an entity is to play an involved role in a referential whole. The role is not attributable to the entity. It is its being. It is ontological. "The fact that it has such an involvement is ontologically definitive for the being of such an entity, and is not an ontical assertion about it. That in which it is involved is the "towards-which" ["wozu"] of serviceability, and the "for-which" ["wofur"] of usability" (BT, p. 16).

The next section in Being and Time  is tricky because Heidegger, despite his realization about handiness and mere ontic presence, gets bogged down in anthropocentricism claiming that all for-which is grounded in a for-the-sake-of-which which in turn is grounded in the existential dwelling of human Dasein. This is first-order systems thinking because it takes only the internal perspective of the roles being played within the system. A second-order removal (like Luhmann in social systems thinking) takes an external perspective and sees things from the stance of the entities in the system and from the outside of the system itself by noting the boundaries. But, how in the world does this relate to ecosystem service values?

Ecosystem service values are first order systems thinking when market values are the ends. This is anthropocentric logic that takes account only in the towards-which of serviceability and the for-which of usability that ultimately grounds out in the world bank. What get's ignored is nonhuman or posthuman significance. Next time we'll go further by taking on Heidegger's development of Dasein in relation to significance.