The Anthropocene Choice

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[Some Big Pic stuff. Maybe time to all get our heads around the notion of the Anthropocene. Widen consciousness, get a bigger perspective than that provided by almost all the media, educational institutions, political movements. Things are hotting up and it might be helpful to know where we are collectively within planetary evolution and what our collective choices might be, especially if we fail to become more conscious of our situation as a species and collectively act on that knowledge…Took the photo of the graffito in a Melbourne laneway…]

Ten Propositions on the Anthropocene Choice for Humanity

1.We are now in the ANTHROPOCENE: a new evolutionary phase of the planet since about 1950 defined primarily by one species, Homo sapiens, largely determining planetary evolution

2.Like all previous evolution, the Anthropocene is proceeding blindly, UNCONSCIOUSLY, mainly via market mechanisms and the self-serving, narrow-focus decisions of technocratic and power elites

3.The Unconscious Anthropocene, if not made conscious and transformed, will most likely mean the emergence of the POST-HUMAN as the increasing ABOLITION of what it has meant to be a primate and human since the birth of homo sapiens and of humanism: i.e. the diminution, or even abolition, of the evolved body and somatic senses, of uncreated nature, of the close-knit family of biological kin, of the face-to-face community, of work, and of individualism understood as individual meaning-making in the interplay of interiority-solitude and public dialogue

4.The Unconscious Anthropocene means the abolition of the human in a MERGER OF MAN AND MACHINE, a merger of the living with the non-living, of the evolved organic-biological with artificial cyber-mechanistic systems into completely new, post-human forms of evolution

5. This merger is enabled by a dominant and repressive cognitive strategy, the latest form of scientistic REDUCTIONISM and spiritual ‘flatland’: namely by reducing biological-human organisms and their internal meaning-making systems (feelings, interiority, intelligence, imagination, inter-subjectivity) to things seen only as quantifiable external surfaces, i.e. to purely physical information systems or networks and biochemical computer algorithms;

6. Having accomplished that cyber-mechanistic and mathematical reduction, electronic algorithms are then expected to eventually fully decipher and outperform, i.e. SUPERCEDE human biochemical algorithms

7.The outward TECHNOLOGICAL FORMS of this man-machine merger have been gradually emerging and various as they become more dominant post-modern industries of advanced capitalism: artificial intelligence that can adapt and learn from experience, biotechnology and bionics, robotics and bio-robotics, cyborgs and augmented intelligence, injected and new materials nanotechnology and atomic-level machines, self-trafficking and the objectified self movement, the Internet of Things, total private and public surveillance systems etc.

8.The (utopian) alternative would be the political choice of a CONSCIOUS, PARTICIPATORY ANTHROPOCENE in which global citizens democratically debate and decide on the direction of conscious evolution, i.e. make the key decisions on economic, technological and social directions themselves

9. The cultural, political, social and economic forms or institutions of this conscious participatory Anthropocene are, as yet unclearly and unconsciously, emerging in the diverse global movements of resistance to ecocide and capitalism and of cooperative prefiguration and in their communications within the evolving global brain that is the internet

10.The Conscious Anthropocene would neither romantically regress to earlier stages of human evolution (like primitivism, religious fundamentalism or regressive nationalism would seek to do) , nor would it abolish or REPRESS these earlier stages but both consciously INCORPORATE AND TRANSCEND them at a higher level (i.e. the body and senses, ancient/premodern mind-and-feeling, needs for kin, small group and face-to-face community, individual interiority and conscience, need for nature etc.)

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on February 5, 2017.

2 Responses to “The Anthropocene Choice”

  1. I am struggling with the concept of “planetary evolution” as it relates to epoch change. There is this big mixing of geological and biological terminology but the processes of transformation seem so different. Have we really experienced evolutionary change in the last 200 years, 50 years, 10 ? Are we as a species actually being selected genetically to adapt ? Where is the interplay with culture and politics? Not sure myself what the great acceleration is really doing TO us.

    • Thanks Dave. Answers may be: Human history is dependent on, but totally different to, prior cosmic and planetary evolution. Cultural evolution increasingly takes over from biological/genetic evolution as driver, probably from homo sapiens’ great cultural leap forward around 70-50,000 BCE. Then further successive leaps in the evolution of humanity and mind probably: ag rev c. 9000 BCE, agrarian civilisation/city-states/classes/universal empires/trade globalization/writing c. 3000 BCE, universal thought and coinage in the Axial/Classical Age c. 600 BCE-400CE, mercantile globalization and scientific revolution c. 1500 CE, industrial rev and imperialist globalization c. 1750-1914, atomic age and transnational globalization/beginning Anthropocene 1945 ff, cyber-digital age and Conscious/Unconscious Anthropocene choice.

      I’d argue the great acceleration, if not rationally, consciously, democratically transformed into the Conscious Anthropocene, is moving towards some dystopian form of post-human evolution…

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