Jane Bennett: Earthling, Now and Forever?
by Adam Robbert
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“Indeed, I think that one of the events that the idea of Anthropocene tries to capture is a certain convergence between two styles of temporality that we had formerly thought were distinct. The first style we had associated with the apersonal geologic: this was a bi-modal time of either a breakneck and explosively transformative speed (lightning, earthquake, wildfire) or an implacably slow, deep time (sedimentation, erosion, radioactive decay). The second style of temporality we identified as prototypically human: this was the more moderate, midrange speed of human endeavor, the enactment of intention or plan, the time of the everyday. There were, of course, exceptions, such as the superfast impact of the atomic bombs the Americans dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or (what many believed to be) the gradual accretion of human knowledge throughout history. The idea of the Anthropocene, however, suggests that the exceptions are not exceptional and that there is little reason to posit a hard, ontological dichotomy between human and ahuman forces, with regard to their temporalities or scope of effect.”
– Jane Bennett