Archive | September 2018

The Anthropocene as a Virtual Reality

I frequently mention Neal Gabler’s book Life The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality as an example of what we are calling “the subjectification of reality”. Interestingly, Gabler’s book was published the around the same time as Rolf Jensen’s The Dream Society: How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business which might also be considered an apotheosis of this “subjectification of reality” (a phrase I gleaned from “The Coming of the Subjective Age” by Sri Aurobindo).   Lately, I’ve been attempting to correlate all these matters with what is now being described as “the collapse of reality”, and with the apparent emergence into conscious awareness of this paradoxical “hyperobject” (or “hypersubject”) called “The Anthropocene”, coincident, too, with the breakdown of the consciousness structure of Modern Man — the mental-rational or perspectival. That is to say, in another respect, the corruption of the consciousness structure.

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The Anthropocene and Market Mysticism

Before I delve into the question of what might be redemptive in the Anthropocene, I think I need to flesh out somewhat even what we mean by the term “Anthropocene”. Obviously, I understand by this something quite a bit different than being only the name of a geophysical epoch or age. But even considered merely as a geophysical age, it would be our present milieu. And a milieu is largely defined as that field of force, as it were, in which we “live, move, and have our being”, somewhat equivalent to the German notion of an “Umwelt” or “Lebenswelt“. We aren’t necessarily fully conscious of our milieu, or our Umwelt or Lebenswelt. So, these also may be described in terms both as “hyperobject” or “hypersubject”.

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Gaia and the Anthropocene

“Gaia” is simply the name we give to a sense of the implicit solidarity of all life — the underlying unity of the Lifeworld and the life process which we vaguely acknowledge as “the web of life”. “Gaia” is the name we ascribe to that collective life process conceived as a holon, or as one of Timothy Morton’s “hyperobjects”. In my reading of Aurobindo, for example, the name “Nature” is used rather than Gaia, but Aurobindo employs the word “Nature” in exactly that sense. Nietzsche deploys the name “Dionysus” or the Dionysian in pretty much the same sense.

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