Every old man thinks the world was a better place when they were young. The colors were brighter, the smiles were warmer and every child had a village growing it to perfection. Sometimes the old man is right; the colors were indeed brighter and the smiles were truly warmer, but sometimes we project our fading energies on to the world.
I am not an old man yet, but I act like one, imagining a better world everywhere besides the one I am in. Not that evidence is lacking for my complaints – tinpot dictators are being elected everywhere, the oceans are swelling with plastic and their rising waters grab another inch of land every day. Still, it should be possible to survey the turmoil of our times without getting preachy. It’s hard for me to get off the pulpit, but I have been trying to set aside my biases and get my grips on the state of the world. After a year of digging here and poking there, two things stand out for me:
- We have (almost) reached peak settler humanity. However you count it – number of people, land area given over to cultivation, control of energy flows, nitrogen fixation, you name it, we are close to peaking as a settler species. The future may be catastrophic or transformational, but it doesn’t belong to settler humanity. That’s the true meaning of the term “The End of History” for history is nothing but the chronicles of settler humanity.
- The universe is giving way to the world, or to put it another way, the god’s eye view of reality is beginning to be replaced by the worm’s eye view of reality. In fact, even when it takes the form of science, the theological view is as anthropocentric as the divine revelation it supplanted; belief in the universe is an unstated article of faith for settler humanity. The world has no place for theology. That, in turn, poses a question close to my heart: if philosophy discloses the universe (I am discounting religion) then what is philosophy’s wormly, worldly avatar?
My goal over the next few months:
- Silence for the rest of 2019.
- Begin the new year by (re)reading what I have written in 2019 in the light of insights 1 & 2 above,
- Summarize the second round of rereading by March of 2020
- Take a break of a few months ~ April-June of 2020,
- Begin round three no later than July 2020 – this time it will be a book rather than a blog.
There, I said it. I have been told that stating one’s intentions in public is the best way to fulfill them.