My eternal temptation, when faced with the various shades of the idea of the “man as thinking nature”, is to ask as to the significance of human auto-destructive affects and capacities and the dizzying dark potencies lashed to their attendant operational cognitive schemas. The question of “how do we redeem that flesh after we’ve abandoned all transcendent realms” would seem to be the perfect phraseology for the project of a post-nihilist praxis. And yet the very movement to speak of redemption and the all too quick elision of suicide betokens the maintenance in theory of that existential panic that lurks and dictates the development of all such transcendent realms. So to veer on the metaphysically appalling side of speculation, and the unashamedly darker side of the “post-nihilist” tenor, if we are to conceive of humanity in all its vicissitudes as nature that thinks itself then we must always accept with open eyes that more often than we’d care to admit the thinking being thought is that of horror, self-loathing and is attended by a desire for escape, mutilation-modification, and cessation.
To be blunt, crude, and decidedly pessimistic in such speculating, we can say that beneath or within every project of redemption and reconciliation is the stifled possibility that humanity is natures psychopathological thinking. A possible and partisan axiom emerges:
humanity is nature dreaming of its own demise. And given what we see of climate change, it is perhaps more than mere dreaming.
Perhaps, for us, the question is how to continue thinking, philosophizing, creating art, creating literature, dancing, and, above all, doing politics, when we are the walking dead. How can we carry on when we know we are already dead? As in the film Melancholia or These Final Hours, we are dead yet, for a time, continue to walk. Some of us walk as dead without realizing that we are already dead. Others walk with the knowledge that we are dead. That death approaches us in a variety of ways. Perhaps it is the ineluctable destiny of climate change that will to be addressed because it won’t even be acknowledged. Or perhaps it’s the simple inevitability of the death of our sun which, when combined with the infinite reaches of space– the closest earth-like planet is about 1400 light years away –makes this planet our tomb unless we become silicon…
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