We live in a thin layer of air–thinner than the skin of an apple. Most of the conditions that enable us to survive are a result of billions of years of prokaryotic life, which has quite ingeniously engineered a livable world. The air we breathe, the soil that nourishes us, the microorganisms that fill our body and enable us to metabolize our food–every year the list gets longer of the ways in which we are entangled with the life of our planet. Yet we are busily disturbing that relationship–we are acting like a terrible virus, sickening its host. Why? In part, because we don’t know where we live, or how. We are addicted to fictions of mastery and uniqueness. We fantasize we are removable, that our destiny is beyond the stars, that our planet is disposable. Which is to say, we are Moderns.
But our time is coming to an end: the crisis of the Anthropocene puts paid to the notion that we are going to rule the earth as its masters. All our causes now have effects: we are just beginning to grasp them.
This blog is an attempt to register my sensibilities as an animal living at the end of Modernity. What does it mean to be no longer Modern? Certainly it doesn’t mean being “postmodern,” which was simply Modernity shored up by critique. What does it mean to be embedded in a world rather than standing above it? What does it mean to live after the triumph of Man?
It is scary, but it is not lonely.