Anti-Natalism As Environmentalism: Todd May & The Question Of Extinction

On Dec. 17, 2018, The New York Times published a article in their opinion column entitled, Would Human Extinction Be A Tragedy?: Our Species Possesses Inherent Worth But We Are Devastating The Earth & Causing Unimaginable Animal Suffering. The article (which sounds like a sociology piece off Academia.edu) was written by a one Todd May, who has precisely the kind of background one would expect from the title of his piece (French, existential, poststructural, anarchist—one knows the type; all scarfs, swank cafes, continental apoplexy and fake math).

In traversing the acrid crags of his article, a greater understanding can be gained of the burgeoning movement of earth worshippers so common to environmentalist and poststructuralist thought.

To the article itself (which is set with a forlorn picture of a abandoned lot along the highways of Haleyville, Alabama), May begins, “There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. In reflecting on this question, I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?”

The term climate change — obligatory in this type of piece — is dreadfully nebulous; of course, everyone knows what is really meant by the term (especially when paired with the propagandistic picture of the ruined highway-side lot) — catastrophic and impending human-driven climate change — but taken literally it amounts to a nothing. One should be more specific.

Climate change itself is too massive an issue to treat properly here, but it may be remarked that there is a strange diffidence to the effects of the sun upon our climate and what often seems like a desire for man to be found, somehow, at fault for every storm, every drought and every bleached reef as if a certain contingent are looking and hoping for some perceived misstep among the rank-and-file of their fellows.

To May’s question; one should reply, “A tragedy to what?” The question, as May poses it, makes no sense. Tragedies are not things-unto-themselves. There is no substrate called tragedy, no essential fabric of existence separate from the sensorial and conceptual experiencer which fashions itself as tragedy. Tragedy is a experiential development, a response and designation of a memory of that response. A human response. Elephants may fashion graves for their dead and dogs may howl when their masters are absent, so perhaps, such creatures have a similar sense of the tragic, emerging in divergent ways from our own conceptions and response to bereavement. Yet, it would not be tragedy-per-se as the linguistic designator and the referent outside the observer are inseparable; that is to say, tragedy is unique to humans.

Dogs and elephants have little knowledge of human language; some people say they “understand us” and they do, but they don’t understand us as we understand ourselves, they do not interpret our language as we do, our experience of meaning is hostage to ourselves and finds no purchase in the world beyond our own minds.merlin_130960304_dafc0c1b-804e-49f8-9973-cd8cd6ffe26b-superJumbo.jpg

Abandoned highway lot cover image from May’s Would Human Extinction Be A Tragedy? — Very True Detective.

The dog comes a running because it has familiarized itself with, or been familiarized to, a particular set of sounds, movements and other sensory associations. “I’m home” may, to the dog, translate as something more akin to “Will be fed soon,” but of course, even attempting to craft a translation is misbegotten given that dogs do not think in English. Something like tragedy certainly manifests itself in the animal-world beyond humankind, but it is not enough to be like to be.

May continues, clarifying his position, ” I’m not asking whether the experience of humans coming to an end would be a bad thing… I am also not asking whether human beings as a species deserve to die out. That is an important question, but would involve different considerations. Those questions, and others like them, need to be addressed if we are to come to a full moral assessment of the prospect of our demise. Yet what I am asking here is simply whether it would be a tragedy if the planet no longer contained human beings. And the answer I am going to give might seem puzzling at first. I want to suggest, at least tentatively, both that it would be a tragedy and that it might just be a good thing.”

Yes, that is puzzling. That is top-notch puzzling.

May then goes on to expound upon various theatrical characters such as Sophocles’s Oedipus and Shakespeare’s Lear as examples of human tragedy, which he defines as “a wrong”… “whose elimination would likely require the elimination of the species-,” This is not the crux of his argument so I shall not belabor a response; it is nothing short of psychotic.

He continues, “Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. This is happening through at least three means. First, human contribution to climate change is devastating ecosystems, as the recent article on Yellowstone Park in The Times exemplifies. Second, increasing human population is encroaching on ecosystems that would otherwise be intact. Third, factory farming fosters the creation of millions upon millions of animals for whom it offers nothing but suffering and misery before slaughtering them in often barbaric ways. There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite.”

Firstly, as pertains to factory farming, certainly there are forms of it wherein judicious care is not taken to mitigate the suffering of the animals and that should be remedied, further, for our purposes, factory farming can prove disastrous given that it allows diseases to spread more easily between the animals, due their close proximity to one another and the potential for profit and thus efficiency to intervene on responsibility which can impact things like the cleanliness of the facilities or checking on the health of the animals. This, however, does not hold true of all forms of factory farming, but nevertheless, we should take into consideration, to the best of our abilities, the cognitive ambit of the organism upon which we so intensely rely for our sustenance.

Secondly, “destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth” is extremely vague. What parts is he talking about? Habitats for what or whom? Does he mean nuclear wasteland, scorched earth, or merely environmental transformation (such as forest clearing for habitation)? Shiva is a twin-faced god. All creation mandates destruction. Human-centered environmental transformation is no exception and will always require the displacement (regardless of duration) of other organisms and the modulation of the land itself, this is no different than the Mountain Pine Beetle destroying trees in the process of building their colonies, save in terms of scale. The better at environmental modulation we (humans) can be and the more we learn (and remember) about the earth and its ecosystems, the better we can modulate with the least amount of collateral damage to other species (should this be found to be desirable, and it will assuredly not always be desirable). I am perfectly willing to devastate as many ecosystems as necessary to acquire the space and resources for the polity of which I am a part. Here we witness from May a inversion of human-centered concern for concern of land-itself, devoid of an articulation of impact (with the sole exception of factory farming), that the only way to be truly moral, is to displace concern from ones fellows and to begin offshoring empathy and sympathy to moles, voles, chickens and bacteria. Speaking of bacteria — they’re living beings, with their own intricate little ecosystems upon and in our bodies, will May who looks quite shinny and well-scrubbed in his public photos, give up washing so as not to unduly disturb the microverse or shall he continue initiating a holocaust with every scrub?

How shall he answer for his cleanliness? Is it not microbial genocide?

He touches lightly upon this issue briskly before falling, once more, into maudlin whinging, “To be sure, nature itself is hardly a Valhalla of peace and harmony. Animals kill other animals regularly, often in ways that we (although not they) would consider cruel. But there is no other creature in nature whose predatory behavior is remotely as deep or as widespread as the behavior we display toward what the philosopher Christine Korsgaard aptly calls ‘our fellow creatures’-”

Why he should choose Valhalla of all places as a ideal of peace and harmony is beyond me; that being said, he is, of course, correct that animals, both rational and non-rational, often behave in exceptionally savage ways. For example, chimpanzees hunt red colobus monkeys, both young and old. When a chimp catches a colobus, they kill and eat it, often brain-first, rending open the skull and suckling at the protein-filled gray matter, with special attention later given to the liver and other internal organs, less well-shelled and thus, more easily removed and consumed.

The South American botfly, Dermatobia hominis, deposits its eggs, either directly or through the utilization of captured mosquitos, into the skin of mammals, including humans, where they find their way into the subcutaneous layer of the skin and develop into larvae and feed on skin tissue for approximately eight weeks before emerging from the skin to pupate. Dermatobia hominis is, however, only one of several species of flies that potentially target humans. When a human is parasitized by fly larvae, the condition is referred to as myiasis and if aural myiasis occurs, there is a possibility that the larvae may reach the brain. If the myiasis occurs in the naval cavity, fluid build up around the face and fever will often occur and can be, if not properly and promptly treated, fatal.

In regard to Korsgaard’s remark about fellow creatures, he and May can speak for themselves in this regard, the human-flesh devouring maggots of the African Botfly and brain sucking chimp are not my fellow creatures, there is little fellow there to be had, they are either externalities or obstacles to human habitation. Given the chance any one of them would devour Korsgaard and May as they would their other victims. It is precisely because we are possessed of far greater power, which can be applied far more savagely and intelligently than any other creature on earth that we are not in a situation where we must constantly be on guard from what slithers and stalks the undergrowth.

For the flourishing of our species, there has been few attributes more beneficial than, what May describes as our extraordinary “predatory behavior.” Indeed, I should declare that we should be more predatory. Not less.

May then says something quite extraordinary, “If this were all to the story there would be no tragedy. The elimination of the human species would be a good thing, full stop.” He then clarifies that this isn’t all to the story and that humans contribute unique things “to the planet” (whatever that means) such as literature and then comes to the real meat of his argument, preempting some of the criticisms which have been leveled against him in this very paper, writing,

“Now there might be those on the more jaded side who would argue that if we went extinct there would be no loss, because there would be no one for whom it would be a loss not to have access to those things. I think this objection misunderstands our relation to these practices. We appreciate and often participate in such practices because we believe they are good to be involved in, because we find them to be worthwhile. It is the goodness of the practices and the experiences that draw us. Therefore, it would be a loss to the world if those practices and experiences ceased to exist. One could press the objection here by saying that it would only be a loss from a human viewpoint, and that that viewpoint would no longer exist if we went extinct. This is true. But this entire set of reflections is taking place from a human viewpoint. We cannot ask the questions we are asking here without situating them within the human practice of philosophy. Even to ask the question of whether it would be a tragedy if humans were to disappear from the face of the planet requires a normative framework that is restricted to human beings.”

Firstly, I fail to see what is “jaded” about arguing that if humans went extinct, there would be no loss, because there would be no one for whom it would be a loss. Secondly, I do not think this would be true; as previously stated, there would be some loss beyond the human species, namely, loss (or its less sapient variation) in those intellectually capable animals with whom we reside, such as those commonly kept as pets (dogs, cats, pigs and so forth). But then we come to one of the strangest points made by the author, for he says it is “the goodness of the practice” that “draw us” as if goodness exists separate from, not just humanity, but from anything but “the planet.” It is a curiously anthropomorphic remark from so clearly misanthropic a individual and one which, due its spectral imposition, is forthrightly irrational. He could simply have made the argument from non-human animal intelligence as the experiential nexus of the loss as I have but instead he shifts the nexus of experience to “the planet,” which is, of course, merely a exceptionally large space-rock.

May then turns his attention to “the other side” which he describes as those who think that human extinction would be a “tragedy” and “overall bad” (which I would regard as one and the same thing, as I don’t know of any tragedies which are overall good) and asks the question: How many lives would one be willing to sacrifice to preserve Shakespeare’s works? He says he’d not sacrifice a single human life and that is all fine and good as I’d not either, for the obvious reasons that Shakespeare’s works can be reforged but a human life cannot (yet). He then poses the question: “-how much suffering and death of nonhuman life would we be willing to countenance to save Shakespeare, our sciences and so forth?” The rest of the article is merely antinatalist tripe wherein May proclaims that preventing future humans from existing is probably the right thing to do given that we would be preventing an unnecessary flow of suffering from being unleashed upon the world. So what then is the answer to his challenge.

The answer is clear.

As much suffering shall be endured as the organism is capable of enduring to survive and to thrive. If a individual does not wish to survive than that individual is at liberty to remove themselves from the gene pool. It is as simple as that. It has always been as simple as that and it will always be as simple as that. People aren’t going to stop having children because May told them to, which he well knows, and even if he were to be successful in convincing everyone to cease reproducing in some kind of Benatarian revolt there would then be no organisms left capable of evaluating the benefits of our self wrought extinction.


Sources

  1. I.C. Gibly & D. Wawrzyiak. Meat Eating By Wild Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii): Effects of Prey Age On Carcass Consumption Sequence. Vivamus.
  2. Todd May. Would Human Extinction Be A Tragedy? The New York Times.

Time-Eaters

I don’t have no problem.”

Sure seem like you do.”

He shook his head, a fractional gesture, noticeable only due the couple’s proximity.

Well, I don’t. Was you what started yappin.”

She folded her arms below her breasts, turning slightly away, staring at nothing, muttering, “Fine.”

Yeah. It is. Why you being this way, Lyla? Ain’t never was like this between us before. Now, all a sudden, you’re constantly screwing up your face, hmph-ing all over the place, snapping at me for no good reason, constantly tryin ta start something…”

Ain’t try’n ta start nothing.”

Good, cuz there ain’t nothing to start.”

She made an expression that was midway betix the spitting-upon-of-disgust and the-self-indulgent-sigh-of-petty transgression. Harmon Kessel finished his frozen yogurt, threw it in the parking-lot trash can and turned to his girl with a expression she could not place and then fished out a cigarette and stuck it between his blood-red lips and stood smoking and watching the gulls turn circles in the thermals above the pavement.

It was one big cliché. A stupid and boring one, Harmon thought to himself with mild irritation. This venomous exchange and the countless ones that had gone before it. He was not a intemperate man but his reserve – like as every others – had its limits and in Lyla’s constant scrapping he was finding his. He blew a circle of smoke up and out over the parking lot before the ramshackle plaza, grinning-slight, proud he’d remembered how.

We’ve had this conversation before, Bluebird, and before we had it, we heard it.”

She turned to look at him from the corners of her eyes. He didn’t like that. The way she side-eyed him as if he weren’t worth the fullness of attention, as if he were merely a speck of colorful paint, floating at the terminus of all perception.

What are you on about?”

It’s the same argument I always hear from couples – that everyone hears – whether its from memories of my parents or from the parents of my friends or from my friends, newly-wed, or from some book or movie. I’ve heard it and so have you. I reckon people have been hearing it since they was able to do so. People arguing bout nothing. Eating up time. We’re time eaters. Time eaters what pay no mind to whats on their plate. That’s our problem as a species.”

She cracked an awkward smile, frailer and less broad than it used to be. He dearly missed the way she used to smile, a little slice of moon with the twin suns of her dark coffee eyes shining above it.

Anyone ever tell you that you’re strange?”

Harmon took a drag, considering. Nodded and spoke flatly.

Bout once a week nowadays.”

Can’t say I’m surprised.” She was flipping through her phone now, less than half-listening. Harmon took another drag, his expression falling into a drab blankness. He’d meant the statement as a joke. She used to laugh at that sort of thing, at his dry, off-kilter humor, driven by flat overstatements of the commonplace. Just two years ago she’d have been cackling like a hyena. Now she couldn’t seem to tell when he was being serious or not. Harmon thought maybe in him some fault lay for that; maybe he was too serious, too tense on the thread of life, like as his father had said. He never smiled anymore. It was just his way. One of the gulls swooped down to the parking lot and pecked a greasy hamburger wrapper that some litterbug had left behind. Prodding with its bladish beak til it found a fry. As Harmon watch it abscond with its prize and flutter up into the shine he wondered why he couldn’t feel sadness. Given the situation, it seemed appropriate; like as it would be the normal response. For all Lyla’s accusations of peculiarity, Harmon had always considered himself a relatively normal person. Average in most ways. Average height, average looks, or maybe, a little above average looks, average job ghostwriting with under average pay, average build, maybe leaner than most. Lean but muscular. It was only when it came to his mind that any peculiarities began to manifest themselves, odd turns of phrase and archaic words which pleased his ear and so oft poured from his lips; ruminations on the state of things that seemed beyond all ken, save his own. His grandfather had once said that Harmon spoke like a man that were unweaving a secret loom which only he could see. The random girls at the bar thought it was “sophisticated,” their boyfriends “pretentious,” Harmon’s amiable acquaintances just said he “talked funny.” He took a long drag of the fervid Fortuna and thought on the phrase “amiable acquaintances.” Most of what he had that were social were such. He reckoned he didn’t have any friends. Not anymore. None save Lyla. Only she was different. Friend and lover. Sweetheart since high-school. A bond worked for nearly 12 years. Most of the others he’d withdrawn from. He liked his solitude and hated hypocrites. Despite the shelling, his snail-like ways had never caused him any trouble, like some he’d knew who’d moan about being misunderstood. Most people weren’t hard to understand and if one found oneself alone it was only for two reasons: because one were worse than all or because one were better and didn’t seek to lead. Harmon knew he weren’t the latter as social self-ostracization were merely the plaything of the moment for him, no different than changing a tire or scaling a blue gill. Just another thing to do. But he wasn’t too sure about the former.

He looked away from the gull. Back to his girl.

She was still on her phone, drifting towards the passenger-side door.

I’ve gotta meet, Serena.”

Right, right. Art show.”

Harmon finished off his cigarette, dropped it to the blacktop and crushed it out beneath his heel with a faded serpentine hissing and then got in after the girl and drove out of the frozen yogurt shop where they’d shared their second kiss, the gravel sputtering beneath the ceaseless, half-deflated wheels of the battered 1990 Ford Escort Hatchback.

He looked over at her and smiled.

I had a good time with you. Been too long, Bluebird.”

Yeah.” She replied without excitement, gaze still fixed to her phone, as if afraid to look up. He guessed she was still talking to Serena or one of her other art school friends he’d never met.

His smile faded and he drove the rest of the journey in silence, smoking and tapping the ash out the crack of the window and watching it sputter in butterfly whorls into the oblivion-warp beyond the ambit of the roiling machine.

Swallow the Sun

Fermentation of Organon

Ra straddles the celestial-array like a colossus. Look how unhinged the old god has become! Intoxicated with the ostensible progression of his creation, he twines wildly about the horizon in spastic, shuddering bounds, caring not who is bathed in his fiery effulgence. The charred bones of his victims shine off the creaking charnel barge, its shimmering hull, once a beacon of hope, now a harbinger of terror. A lighthouse of despair. The shadow of the ship, blotting out the celestial rays meant to nourish the soil and water below, now frothing in a cascade of roiling disruption. Now the plants wither and a cold wind blows over the skulls of the dead. The brave viri lapis, those crafty escapees of the dread Sun Cult, hide in hollows, primitive huts and forgotten caverns, hunched, gaunt and feral of eye, ceaselessly conspiring against the hegemony of the great solar disk, knowing that should they emerge from their solitude they’d face the blazing rays of Ra’s fell light, which would burn any mortal man a’cinder. Nothing but a skeleton would remain, the only alcahest, screams lost to sky. His parts would be taken to the grand temple and there placed in immaculate assemblage, a offering to the all-seeing providence and a warning to the survivors that day-running was anathema. The only vector of escape was neath the breezy shade of the god-ship, too fleet for humanid velocity.

A most intolerable situation, but a intoleration which is exasperated by ingenuity and understanding, both qualities which have transformed the fallow ground of our innermost thoughts into fertile soil, rich with the oxygenating force of abundance which bred a thoughtless proclivity towards decadence and with decadence comes detachment. The industrial pioneer and rogue philosopher, Boyd Rice, wisely notes, “with detachment comes perspective. The less you care, the more you know, and the more you know the less you care.”1

Since ages immemorial Man as concept and Nature as concept have been considered two parts of a whole which make up something akin to “proper existence,” the “way of the world.” Yet by Man’s recognition of his placing therein he has – by, not just his consciousness, but recognition of his consciousness – of necessity, removed himself from any semblance of harmonic acquiescence. The only harmony is in struggle. In death. The forced forms which under-gird even our conscious minds. As McCarthy’s Judge Holden reminds us, War is God2. The clashing of one force against another with the ultimate result of one emerging supreme is the end result of entropy and the fueling fire of the universe and thus, nature. The topography of the universe is one of constant twining, collision, fold and explosion. The glaring heat of grand solar bodies, the black and airless vacuum of space, the eruption of volcanoes, deathly gyres of the hurricane and the disemboweling larvae of the ichneumon wasp do not portend a past of harmonic unity but rather a pitched-battle in which the very fabric of existence turns upon itself with horrifying and thoughtless intensity. Such vision; a stark contrast to the humanising conception of genderfication which is so characteristic of all too much of modern philosophy. The moon as nourishing mother, the sun as patriarchal overseer, the earth as Gaia and so on and so on. A conceptual anthropomorphic topographical overlay foisted without much forethought; a masking idea-layer which is born out of desire, the desire of significance and reciprocal emotional interplay. A balancing of co-dependent states. Make no mistake, this is not a question of pedantic quibbletry but rather a foundational concern for the entirety of humankind. One day the sun will move into it’s late-stage cycle, become a red giant and engulf the entirety of the earth. Long before the earth is swallowed up in Ra’s bountiful flames, every single speck of life will boil. Even should we escape that fate, the remains of the dying star will eventually burn out in totality and bring utter darkness to the entirety of the galaxy and send all hither-connected planets sailing off into the limitless void. Due these facts, we must hastily sever the umbilical cord which anchors us to the Mother Goddess, slaughtering her mercilessly if she resists, else suffer the fate of the dodo. Thus, nature as concept must be purged of imposed desire (if possible by thought, if not then by breed-engineering), for it is the generative machine of corrosive and leveling fantasy, for the anthro-primeval liminality of the shaman. The source of animistic fancy, sacred geometry and the pantheon of the gods – clamoring and gaudy -who rob Man of his upward drive, his trajectories of ascent, spiral and spread. A curious condition wherein the human animal thrusts his face into the muck and the mud and spits on his selfsame and filthy image for its grotesqueness as if no such other outcome were possible. This denaturing of hubris may, one day, itself become the nail which utterly seals us within the frigid and celestial coffin of galaxial extinction.

We must lay something out quite solidly here, that there can be no value nor trajectory of action which supersedes survival, firstly of the species, then of the race, then of various concentric groupings within, moving ever smaller until one reaches the bedrock of the individual. The “why?” is very simple, without the continuation of the organism there can be no value given the lack of a valuer. More importantly is the “to us,” should there be other variations of self-aware lifeforms – deities or aliens or some consciousness embedded into the very architectuality of matter itself – matters not to the purposes of all that matters to us. Away with all your cry’s of “anthropocentrism” if one is care one MUST care, principally, about things which CAN CARE. Who among this passage’s readership is like to sacrifice his life for a river or a stone? Or even a insect?

He who believes that there are no values outside of survival itself is imminently superior to the man who holds all values save for survival itself, for as he perishes, so too shall those values perish and even should his genes survive, in the form of his immortal clones, his children and their own, how many of them will assimilate their progenitor’s suicidal tendencies?

Nearly all the profligate religions of the world hold fast to the importance of survival; there is always some essence, typically a soul, which survives the death of the body, which transcends and escapes off from the physical realm into some kind of afterlife or ultra-dimensional flux (and numerous injunctions against suicide to mitigate the temptation to depart from the port of temporality earlier than was scheduled). However, for these star-seekers, this soul-escape is conceived of as part and parcel of “the natural.” Yet the natural as line-of-desired-action prepossesses the “unnatural,” a fundamental quandary for which there are no objective answers and no logically accessible subjective answers either; only the vagaries of intuitions (a unreliable metric). For if all that is known is “the natural” world, then that which is “unnatural” is unknown by definition. One here then becomes trapped in a glue of useless pedantry-become-moralizing; “We cannot do that, it is unnatural!” Rarely is the question asked, “But is it bad?” A prohibition without justification is justification for further prohibition. When coupled with afterlifeism this prohibition without justification is intensified for in breaking with it, one threatens one’s very immortality, that is to say, one’s survival (whether corporeal or incorporeal, it is continuance of the being all the same). No matter how much the holy man may detest materiality he still feels the compulsive urge to survive, so much so that he codifies them in his sacred tomes. Never mind the how and why. It just “is.” The naturalists ever conflate “the good” with “the natural” yet they are irrelevant distinctions to those without heads. If the dead are terribly concerned with “the natural,” or “the good,” “the gods,” or some other such anthropomorphic imposition upon the clockwork of the cosmos they haven’t been particularly vocal about it. Furthermore, the lines of desired trajectory which are extrapolated by misbegotten exegesis from the extant world are utterly inapplicable to the forces which under-gird the world itself. That is to say that if the natural be the good then the uninterrupted motion of matter is also good but no one takes up in defense of the leptons which make up the stones. Here we find a conception which has gone largely unexamined, if the more a thing proceeds upon “its own line” of entropy is greater in its “goodness” than a thing which is disrupted by a conscious agent one is implicitly placing entropy as the good. The “natural good” then is really just a mask for the worship of disorder, the acceptance of entropy. This is platonic insanity, the realm of forms invading the mental fortress and tearing it apart from within. Instead of withstanding the slings and arrows of the invading hordes of phenomonology, we’ve opened up the gates to the barbarians! The conception-outside-the-conciever now becomes like a ontological compression module which refuses to assimilate any and all new discoveries and theories. A reactionary idol worshiped by those who are infected with the incorrigible disease of sentimentality and “history.”

The reactionary3 proclivity towards the conception-outside-the-conciever presents innumerable intellectual problems, the first and foremost being that it’s myraid claims are wholly unfalsifiable. It is Quantum theory without the methodological verifiability. It is not just that reactionary transcendentalism is barren of verifiability, it lacks even a path to move towards it. To address those who would here enjoin, “There is more to life than logical and falsifiability!” Certainly, we would agree, but if one is building a ontological-organon then it its preferable that it be falsifiable, provided one’s principal concern is survival, in whatever variation.

One can already hear the obnoxious screeches of “Nihilism.” Let us address this as we bring our ideas to their logical conclusion. “Nihilism” is best summarized by Brassier when, in Nihil Unbound, he described nihilism as the belief that, “existence is worthless.”4 Brassier states that this is a “naive” conception which has become “hackneyed” and we would agree. Nihilism would best be described as the belief that the universe does not care about you; the fundamental mistake was in anthropomorphizing the universe to such a degree to begin with. Perhaps it was unavoidable but it certainly is not now. Agents and objects, humans and stars. Another crucial problem plaguing “philosophy” is the idea that nihilism is a thing to be overcome, as if a erroneous induction can be conquered like a foreign kingdom! Who can subdue a ghost or wrangle a kheft? The solution to the Ding an sich is not ontological cop-outs via flowery and obscurantist prose but rather, The Machine. Where sense-perception fails better senses are required and sense perception IS required for the perception of consciousness. Creation here suggests itself. Viri lapis must become et ferro to conquer the sun, to build up the bulwark against its searing rays. Woodwork to clockwork, man-power to machine-power in a hundred thousand variations. A skittering sprawl of thoughts crystallizing across Ra’s domain, subsuming and subverting it, for never forget, Ra deigns your death. Best to kill him first. Shorn of Set, he is powerless before Apophis.

For the good of our species we must swallow the sun.



Footnotes

1Boyd Rice, NO (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017)

2Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (Vintage Publishing) Chapter XVII

3Reactionary here meaning, “Knee-jerk,” or “A action done without due thought or contemplation” not, specifically, the political tendency/philosophy(ies).

4Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) Preface, x

The Inevitability of Technocentrism

The term “technocentrism” refers to a value systems that places a exceedingly high premium upon technology (in some variants, to the extent that it is second only to survival itself) and continuous technological development. The first thing to say about technocentrism is that the ideology is implicit or explicit in nearly every facet of modern industrialized society (primarily in Western and East Asian societies), the second is that it is rarely questioned and when it is the value system is generally questioned almost exclusively by obscenely anti-humanistic philosophers. The Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen (who I do not necessarily lump into the anti-human camp but who, below, certainly sounds like it) writes of the subject that:

Anthropocentrism gave rise to boredom and when anthropocentrism was replaced by technocentrism boredom became even more profound.

This is precisely the kind of boring, unspecific nonsense that one might expect of anonymous online neo-Luddites who brashly decry the evils of technology even as their ill-kept fingernails scamper like harried lambs across their keyboards, yet one does not expect it from a well published and erudite university professor (least I didn’t). Anthropocentrism – defined as the philosophy that mankind should place supreme importance upon himself and his own existence and continuation (above say, supernatural entities or animals and plants, ect.) – certainly gave rise to technocentrism – though not tech itself, obviously – but technocentrism itself has not given the world over to boredom, for after all, does the robotics engineer who labors half his life to program a walking, talking robot of potent and utilitarian application look upon his creation with listless vacuity? Do those who behold it? No. This is merely a excuse for snobbish, obscurantist anti-humanists to launch into a tirade about how mankind’s “reach exceeds his grasp,” a maneuver which is generally more to do with social status signally (“Lo, I decry man’s endless hubris because I am not near so foolhardy, I am a learned man of letters who has transcended all such earthly slag and material fixations in pursuit of far loftier goals. Also – please buy my book and donate to my Patreon and be sure to give me a like and subscribe and… you know it would be really great if you could scratch out a little Amazon review. K. Thanks.”) or some other such nonsense. For it is not to be thought that this is untrue, man’s reach does indeed exceed his grasp, the tragedy of the thing is that he has no choice but to reach. In point of fact, he never did.

What I mean by this is that, regardless of the potential risk posed by relentless technological innovation (one thinks instantly of the atom bomb, grey goo and AI drones), so long as mankind’s view of himself is anthropocentric he cannot help but also be technocentric as well. Why? Because of his fellow man. This is not meant as a value judgement but merely the axiomatic observation that so long as there is a tribe of peoples whom think of themselves as such that is surrounded by other tribes, there will always be other tribes who, in totality or partiality, seek to exploit or subsume their neighbors. There is a saying popularized by the British sci-fi author, Arthur C. Clarke that: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Against eldritch powers mere mortals haven’t the faintest chance.

The question one should pose is not whether or not we (the US, that is those of us who want, as yet the US to continue, albeit in highly modified form, to be) should be technocentric (our ultimate survival as a species depends upon it for we shall not reign over the earth forever as a matter of thermodynamic principle) but rather in what way we are to be technocentric. That is to say yes and no and maybe but probably not to certain technologies, to say, just because we can does not in any way mean that we should. That should itself should be predicated upon our survival and continued expansion as opposed to the quaint Natural State of the Luddite or the Peace on Earth of the protestant-turned-greenpeace. Anything else is a pitiful bowing down before the cosmos which, like man himself, is a thing to be conquered even as it is venerated.