Sunday Reading Part 2: Latour on Posthumanism
by Adam Robbert
I posted Latour’s fantastic essay “Waiting for Gaia” already, but its just so good that its getting a re-post. In particular, this quotation is a good place to stop and think:
Let us ponder a minute what is meant by the notion of “anthropocene”, this amazing lexical invention proposed by geologists to put a label on our present period. We realise that the sublime has evaporated as soon as we are no longer taken as those puny humans overpowered by “nature” but, on the contrary, as a collective giant that, in terms of terawatts, has scaled up so much that it has become the main geological force shaping the Earth.
What is so ironic with this anthropocene argument is that it comes just when vanguard philosophers were speaking of our time as that of the “posthuman”; and just at the time when other thinkers were proposing to call this same moment the ”end of history”. It seems that history as well as nature have more than one trick in their bag, since we are now witnessing the speeding up and scaling up of history not with a posthuman but rather with what should be called a post-natural twist! If it is true that the “anthropos” is able to shape the Earth literally (and not only metaphorically through its symbols), what we are now witnessing is anthropomorphism on steroids.