Praxis for Lost Worlds?

The following excerpts are taken from Woodbine’s NOMOS OF THE EARTH (2014), and offers most of what we deem essential to the spirit of a post-nihilist praxis for deeply adapting and politicking in the Anthropocene.
There is something profoundly useful about continually asking ourselves what comes after the collapses of dominant ecological, social and psycho-spiritual regimes? And what practical and existential resources can be gathered beyond the fashionable misanthropy of contemporary theory and the learned helplessness posthumanist complicity?
Another vision and iteration of ‘the human’ is possible through humility, diligence, and negative capability. Take this for what you will.


Every vision of the future is one of catastrophe, of climate apocalypse or zombie hordes, of the digitalization of all life or the total breakdown of the self. These fantasies obsess us because they are not phenomenon to come, the great awaiting of melancholia; they are part and parcel of the devastation that we already inhabit, that muffled catastrophe we already feel, that already touches us so intimately
We are living through a catastrophe unprecedented in human history in which what we’ve lost is the world. We have to face that, but we have to face up to the reality that we have also been set free by this devastation that, with a thousand voices, declares itself an expired way of life, “the abandoned ruin of a dead civilization.” There is nothing to cry for anymore. There is no use clinging to a future we were promised, which will never come anyway. There is, equally, nothing left to critique, to be outraged or indig- nant about. It is just our time, our epoch, and there is only us, here, and now.
Politics is the crystallization of this formula, the alienated meeting place of eviscerated bodies, and its various solutions always take the form of some rule, law, or idea of the ‘good’ applied onto our lives. As if life itself, in its own living and elaboration, was not always already its own end, its own law. As if we were incapable of determining for ourselves how to live. In reality, living as if we were not in the world is the disaster.
That we have lost the world is attested to most painfully by the actions of those who, in their desperate search or ways of fighting and of organizing themselves, only end up reproducing the same devastation they seek to overcome: splitting reality into discrete thoughts and actions, removing themselves from every situation to stand aside ‘objectively,’ denying our various determinations as if the world and our lives were a flat, equiva- lent space to be ordered, redistributed, whatever. It is a delirium.
For us the first revolutionary measure is a return to the world, regaining our ability to be here. This does not mean going back in time, or recovering some kind of ‘authentic.’ It means to start from what is right before our eyes, right in front of our faces, not from some fantastical projection.
Having a strategic outlook is a constant source of determination and intelligence. This must be sustained, in the same way we kindle a fire, nurture a relationship, or replant a forest. Patience and confidence help us maintain our pres- ence of mind and not lose sight of what we are doing, whether amidst the turmoil of events or the general dulling distrac- tion of the everyday. Our strategies will be enormously complex, but remember they are not those of the military or advertising. They are an attempt at bottom to get back the world and put an end to a civilization that is beyond exhaustion. Everything is to be reinvented, everything is to be gained.
From pickling workshops and biointensive farms to hack spaces and reoccupied native territories, we have opened a vast wave of experimentation with skills and techniques… Finding ourselves tethered to a civilization that is on its way out only adds to the urgency of our experimentation. Inhabiting our epoch requires facing up to two simple facts 1) most of us know next to nothing about what it means to actually make up a life, and 2) our power and our autonomy is dependent on our material ability to make another form of life actually live.
Techniques allow us to give form to our lives, and form connects us to the world, to what we are made of. They come from life, they address life, they overturn life, and open up the possibility of a new one. In the same moment that they illuminate the impoverishment of the one we live and the separation it demands. They also tell us something about materiality, how worlds are revealed and built, and how much experimentation is going to be necessary.
Experimenting with techniques immediately and practically elaborates the means and measures of the revolutionary process, our generalized, diffuse, global attempt to break free of the age. As such what is carried in these gestures is not qualitatively different from what happens to us in an insurrection, but perhaps there is a certain slowness to them, which tells us much about the different revolutionary cadences it is possible to inhabit. Our taking up of the question of how –no longer the question of what or who— speaks to our threshold moment wherein what is to be decided is everything; where everything is up for grabs and where everything is at stake.
Autonomy speaks to our becoming powerful through the weaving together of the necessary links between us, building up and in fact becoming the territory. Territory emerges out of a collective acting together, and disappears when that ceases. As such it requires care, attention, creation, and organization. Like love, territory is not a state. It is not something that is just there. Territory is an act, it is to be built.
Our starting point is clear. This is the end of a world, and if we are to raise ourselves up to the height of the disaster, to truly confront the devastation in progress, it s up to us, everywhere, to build the new worlds that will replace this one. Not worlds like the old worlds, not worlds like this world, but —beginning from where we are, using all our available means— new, sensible worlds that will take on their own particular shapes…human beings are and have always been capable of so much more than this.

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