Landscapes of Terminal Capitalism

“Aporias of Responsibility: Lifeworlds Inherited, Inhabited and Bequeathed”

The ‘Anthropocene’ captures an emerging recognition, and interest in, the specificity of human geo-social formations; that is, the simultaneous operation of human-created infrastructures and global politico-economic practices characteristic of industrial capitalism, and geological processes stretching back through deep time.
Whether in the form of mining, nuclear, industrial, hazardous, sewage or municipal, and whether it is dumped, landfilled, incinerated or buried deep underground, waste constitutes perhaps the most abundant and enduring ‘trace’ of the human for epochs to come. But we are not so much leaving behind our waste for some imagined future humanity to deciper our history, as we are bequeathing a particular futurity through a projected responsibility.
Myra J. Hird’s research considers waste as a form of what she calls “terminal capitalism; a state whereby our only solution for dealing with the toxicity our relentless consumption and planetary depletion generates is by producing permanently temporary waste deposits for imagined futures to resolve.
Through a compendium of field notes, participant observation, interviews, and archival research, this talk examines three Canadian waste landscapes from what might be called an inhuman feminist perspective that invite questions about what is and is not meant to be seen, uncovered, dealt with, admired, entrusted, and forgotten. This address reflects upon what it means to be interested in and curious about our waste legacy: how to prepare for, represent, and participate in waste landscapes, attending as much to geo-biological processes as human political-economic practices.

3 responses to “Landscapes of Terminal Capitalism

  1. I think a real good solution was put all of our resources as much as we can into colonizing another planet and then use earth strictly as a resource basin.

    But I think this is a little bit unethical. I think one of the problems of humanity is coming to terms with is human beings as resources, as opposed to essentially segregate and special divine beings.

    I think this is the hard problem of consciousness: how do we maintain the special sense of the privileged self amidst and increasingly obvious mass production of universal items that we call human beings ?

    Because I think what we’re finding is that one. There is no harness seeing this ideal of special privilege, And two. That we generate Excessivewaste because of this privilege, Three. The more people that there are, that population continues to grow, the more we have various individual arguments of why someone should be allowed this special privilege but also how this special privilege takes precedent over everything else three. The more people that there are, that population continues to grow, the more we have various individual arguments of why someone should be allowed this special privilege but also how this special privilege takes precedent over everything else.

    It’s a nonsensical cyclical presence of not caring and forgetting that I don’t think we will ever be able to teach people to overcome or be different.

    I think the issue is not that this kind of human self centeredness will destroy the planet and humanity will kill itself, but more that the problem becomes a logistical problem of pure numbers of human beings and the value or the extension of value to every last human being.

    • … I mean in our ultra liberal ethical western world we tend to place the ancient aristocracies of cast aside as a primitive social system.

      But indeed it may be that ancient societies had already come up with a solution to the problem that has already occurred, but has been forgotten.

      When we come to terms with that ethics is really a logistical category instead of some sort of divinely inspired or biologically mandated truth, that’s when we really start understanding what it is to be human. I think.

      Personally my solution to this logistical problem is to cut off the philosophical conflation between the two irreconcilable realities of consciousness.

      My strategy is this one of Care and responsibility to relationships of human beings on a small scale, rather than the idealize the love of the world and all of humanity in the ideological sense.

      Hence I’m going to be a counselor rather than a philosophical activist☺️🤔

  2. Pingback: Landscapes of Terminal Capitalism – The Philosophical Hack·

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