“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Take the Dark Ecology Challenge 6: Collapse of Anthropocentrism

...then we reached an even worse conclusion:
Not only had we done it, caused the ecological catastrophe, the Anthropocene,
But we didn't even have the feeling of existential weirdness to rely on.
This was because our subjective destitution turned out to be a basic feature of reality
Not some special prize for being human, as Heidegger had argued.
Every blasted thing in the universe was an uncanny monster carving out its reality ruthlessly.
We couldn't even rely on our sense of importance,
AND we had gone and screwed up the biosphere,
And we knew these two things simultaneously,
For the same reasons. Finally the Darwin hit home.
The tragic intensity of this poem was part of the very problem it was so beautifully screaming, for Pete's sake!
It was then that we decided that we were total lame-os.
Oh fucking shitting bollocks with a huge slice of bollocks on toast for good measure.


John B-R said...

So: we are uncanny monsters who can't help screwing up the planet? AND, we are uncanny monsters who can't help feeling terrible about it? Wow. I'd say score one for Juliana Spahr.

Timothy Morton said...

John, I believe you might be missing the point. More soon.

John B-R said...

Tim, I might be - That's why I keep coming back here. To worry away at an education. That's why I keep reading Graham, and Levi, and Ian, too, and Thacker , and and ... even those like Ivakhiv who can't help be see as special the noosphere.

Given where I started, I think I'm doing great! Even if I am still not quite passing the class. It may take some time to educate this old dog.

I do realize however that "score one for Juliana" simply meant in a too-cryptic way perhaps that her poem succeeded at least in generating a coda, i.e., got you into dialogue with it. And said dialogue does contain what is perhaps the most unforgettable line to date of all 21st century writing:

"Oh fucking shitting bollocks with a huge slice of bollocks on toast for good measure."