Archive | October 2018

The Anthropos of the Anthropocene

It has been quite some time since I read Dante’s Inferno, and my recollection of the book is somewhat hazy. But I may not be too amiss in suggesting it as a map and metaphor for our own journey through the Anthropocene. It does have some of the same structural components and elements as the Anthropocene. The “Inferno” was, as it were, the Anthropocene of Dante’s day — the hypersubject of the medieval world, or the Anthropos considered as “soul“. 

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“Cultural Creatives” in the Anthropocene

It’s quite interesting to follow the online musings of some of the architects of the Global Brain. Having suddenly realised that in their expectations for the global genius brain they have, instead, built an Idiot Brain and a Frankenstein’s monster, they are now attempting to de-Frankenstein the Global Brain. Utopian expectations have given way to dystopian nightmares, and no one, it seems, knows now quite what to do about it.

But here it’s a matter of a “tale of two cities”, as it were when it comes to the Anthropocene. One, we have addressed in the previous post — the Anthropocene and the Culture of Narcissism. That is one “city”, as it were — one discourse about the Anthropocene. And the other “city” is not about the Culture of Narcissism but a discourse and narrative about “Cultural Creatives”. And this is the other side of the Anthropocene we want to examine today.

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The Culture of Narcissism and the Anthropocene

If you look into the backstory for this term “Anthropocene”, you’ll find that it was coined coincident also with Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism (1979). An Italian geologist named Antonio Stoppani even proposed an “Anthropozoic Era” as early as 1873, (so around the time Nietzsche was formulating his new philosophy, too). So, the Anthropocene has been a while in process of consolidation and in coming to our attention as the Era in which we are, and have been, living.

Culture of Narcissism and Anthropocene are conjoined themes, and if anything the chief symptom of the Kali Yuga — or spiritual Dark Age — is human narcissism. But do we really understand the meaning of narcissism at all?

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Albion, Anthropos, Purusa

Yesterday I began writing up a post on the Anthropos as the Cosmic Androgyne, or the primeval “Adam”. I wasn’t very happy with the way it was developing so I parked it in draughts until I had decided where I actually wanted to go with it. There is, in any case, much posted on the internet on the symbolism of the Androgyne across cultures.

But then this morning, something quite odd occurred that convinced me to take it up again. I was browsing through a used book that I had picked up recently at a flea market entitled A Sourcebook of Indian Philosophy, and not far into it came across a Vedic hymn addressed to Purusa. Purusa is one of the Vedic gods of ancient India. But as I read through the hymn, I realised that Purusa was Blake’s Albion, was the Anthropos, and the primeval “Adam”, as well as the Cosmic Androgyne, and also as something that prefigures the Anthropic Principle in contemporary cosmology.

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The Esoteric Side of the Anthropocene

Today, we’re going to plunge into a pretty strange and esoteric landscape, something akin to Tolkien’s “Fellowship of the Ring” saga, you might say. But then, the Anthropocene is that in many ways. In the Anthropocene quite a few of us today feel like the proverbial Old Testament “stranger in a strange land”.

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Anthropocene, Megamachine and the Kali Yuga

Kali: a name of Devi, the Hindu mother-goddess, in her black-skinned death-aspect, 1798, from Sanskrit kali, literally “the black one,” fem. of kalah “blue-black, black,” a word from a Dravidian language. Also taken as the fem. of kala “time” (as destroyer).

I was intrigued by a remark I heard the other day that the name “Kal” is related to words for “machine” or “machinery”. I’ve not been able to verify that directly, but Kali’s connection with the word for “time” — and “time as destroyer”, or entropy — suggests, yes, the Clockwork Universe. This aspect of Kali, of course, must be taken into relation to Jean Gebser’s ideas about “integral consciousness” as also being “time-freedom”, ie, transcending the Kali Yuga. So, in this sense, the Kali Yuga means “the time age”. It seems also to be this aspect of “Nature” that William Blake calls “Vala” (or “veil” or valley perhaps — as an allusion to the Biblical “shadow of the valley of death”) who is the Dark Mother, or what Blake calls “The Shadowy Female”.

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Physis and the Anthropocene, II

I awoke this morning with the sense that I needed to complete my explanation of Physis and my thoughts about how the Anthropocene is a mimic of Physis and in what way it mimics Physis. I also posted a brief comment about this at the conclusion of yesterday’s post. Although the Anthropocene would appear to be the complete contradiction and antithesis to Physis, my instincts always tell me that “only a hair separates the true from the false”. That is my guiding principle, as it were. And that principle tells me that the Anthropocene should be considered as a kind of shadow of Physis.

But first, a few more thoughts about Physis. We need to be clear about Physis before we can account for how the Anthropocene is a mimic of Physis.

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