A wounded ecological reading of the microbiome is not inevitable.. Without diminishing in any way the urgency of the larger conservationist movement or the startling irresponsibility of its dismissal, it should be noted that there are differences between these two types of environments. Unlike rainforests or coral reefs, my body is just over thirty years old and is mine to steward alone. Microbes connect us vertically across generations and horizontally with every handshake, but the world inside me–however balanced, diverse, or protected–is fated to collapse whenever I do.
The main claim that the microbiome homology “provides [an Anthropogenic] mode of expressing an old distress, transforming the unease with which we regard our effects on the natural world into a literally visceral phenomenon” is just a really cool one.
The exact nature of the “analogy”—human “habit of mapping our bodies to the wider world”—in this instance between “the microcosm [the body] contains and the macrocosm it inhabits” is illusive to me. My gut (don’t) says its just fact, truth, as much as any truth is metaphoric essentially.
But in the quoted passage above doesn’t he just take the same rote liberal disposition to nature with all its pathologies and take it toward the microbiome/body.
The homology of the microbiome is how we see that your body never has been and never will be “[yours] to steward alone”. There is no such thing as independence, just types of dependence. You’re born yes but the vertical and horizontal connections (with pets, family, coworkers, commuters, soil, air etc) mean throughout life you’re enmeshed.