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“. 

Dante lived from 1265 to 1321. Petrarch lived from 1304 to 1374. These dates are highly significant in respect of the intersection but also transition from the “unperspectival” to the “perspectival” consciousness, as a kind of “mitosis” such as I described earlier. Dante represents, as it were, the last will and testament of the Medieval world, while Petrarch, the father of Renaissance humanism, discovers space and landscape from the heights of Mount Ventoux, and yet initially recoils from the sight and tries to take refuge, again, in the medieval world — in Dante’s world. But he cannot. He is already “moved” by the sight of space. And it is quite interesting, too, that the painter Giotto (1267 – 1337), whose life overlaps that of Dante, is also beginning to experiment with perspective space in painting. 

The relation of Petrarch to Dante is as the two faces of Janus, or as the relationship between the brothers Prometheus (“forethought” or “foresight”) and Epimetheus (“after-thought” or “hindsight”). The shift here represented in Dante and Petrarch is from the emphasis on “soul” to an emphasis on “nature”, and also from time to space, and from a concern with the relationship of eternity to time, to a concern with the relationship of the infinite to the finite (and definition).

The reason why the Medieval world was “unperspectival” was because the medievals weren’t the least bit interested in space except as a matter of “saving the appearances”. Their real interest was eternity and its relationship to time — also a kind of “tale of two cities”: one, the City of God  (aeternitatus) and the other, the City of Man (saeculum), or this notion of the Church on Earth as the “bride” of Christ. This is the theme that is picked up again by William Blake in his vision of “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”.

As Dante reveals, the medieval world was also an Anthrpogenic construct, as it were. Only, the “Anthropos” was the soul, rather than the mind. And Petrarch’s anguish on the top of Mount Ventoux, ably described by Jean Gebser in The Ever-Present Origin, shows him now torn inwardly between soul and mind, between eternity and infinity, or between time and space or, as Gebser might put it, between “unperspectival” and “perspectival” modes of consciousness and perception. And in many respects, the shift from the medieval to the modern was often only a matter of a “revaluation of values” or a translation of a temporal idiom into a spatial one. As I’ve noted earlier, theologies morphed into ideologies, and retain still many of their theological DNA, so to speak, which is why we seem to have a devil of a time in confusing ideology with theology, or politics and religion.

The history of the modern revolutions down to our day shows a clear pattern in this respect. They were, in effect, the form of a “revaluation of values”. Rosenstock-Huessy, in his history of the revolutions called Out of Revolution: Autobiography of Western Man, revealed that pattern in the four European Revolutions — the Lutheran, the English, the French, and the Russian. These altogether have been formative of what it means to be “modern”. Why four revolutions? Because each was a specialisation — if not an overspecialisation — of only one aspect or principle of the fourfold human — soul, spirit, mind, or body. None of the European revolutions embraced the human fourfold in its entirety, but the Lutheran or German Revolution made each of the following revolutions necessary in order to complete the modern “Anthropos“. That is to say, each of the modern revolution has some connection with the meaning of Blake’s “four Zoas” of the fourfold divided “Albion”. These “Zoas”, as it were, have merely been disguised as “ideology”, but they also have a connection with the four evangelists — Mark, Matthew, Luke, John — of the Medieval world, as represented in their fourfold relation for example, in the Book of Kells

The Four Evangelists in The Book of Kells

Each revolution was, in effect, a particular interpretation of what is meant by “human nature” — a particular perspective. And each revolution attempted to recreate and reproduce the human in that particular specialised form. And each ended up making a caricature of the human form to the extent that they did so. This is what Blake refers to as “Single Vision” rather than “fourfold vision”.

Blake also saw in the revolutions the march of the Anthropos towards self-realisation — the contentions of the Zoas in the nightmares of the sleeping but bestirred Albion, as it were. But he did foresee Albion’s awakening in the turmoils of the Modern Era, even if he wasn’t around to witness the four revolution in the series — the Russian. Still, there is an odd correspondence between Blake’s prophetic books about Albion and Rosenstock-Huessy’s history of the Revolutions. Rosenstock-Huessy held that the Russian Revolution completed modernity’s “cross of reality” which would be sealed and concluded by yet a “fifth revolution” — the quintessential or integral — which would definitively close the Modern Era and mark the beginning of a new age and a “new mind” (a metanoia); that, whereas the previous revolutions had specialised in only one aspect of the “cross of reality” — as mind, body, soul, or spirit — the fifth principle would be “health” (which is the meaning of “integral” or “whole”). This is one reason why Rosenstock-Huessy thinks it important to reclaim the whole of the Modern Era — warts and all,, in sickness and in health — as our own “Autobiography” before we can move on to the new “Johannine Age”.

This is also why I suggest we treat the Anthropocene as this “autobiography” made “objective reality” — the culmination of modernity itself, just as Dante’s Inferno was the culmination of the Medieval world but also it’s last will and testament before the great upheaval represented in Petrarch. Gebser apparently saw this same pattern, too, in the revelation of the “fourth dimension” and in Einstein’s unification of space and time as the incipient manifestation of the fourfold Anthropos — or “integral consciousness” or “diaphainon” — considered in terms of the four structures of consciousness — the archaic, the magical, the mythical, and the mental.

If you follow what William Blake, Jean Gebser, and Rosenstock-Huessy have all represented here, then the hypersubject of the Anthropocene is this incipient fourfold Anthropos. Not only the culmination terms of all that has gone before that makes up the epoch called “Modern Era” (and thus our autobiography) but also Modernity’s last will and testament, as it were. It has no where else to go now but to transcend itself — its own inner contradictions — Gebser’s “mutation”, Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanoia” or Blake’s “Albion’s glad day”.

This fourfold or quadrilateral IS emerging in our time, albeit in a somewhat messy, chaotic and confused way presently. It’s the signal amidst the noise. We have to get this right. But we also see this process at in play in present cosmology — in the still fumbling attempts to relate the four fundamental cosmic forces to the Anthropic Principle, which is the cosmos mirroring back to us the same relation of Blake’s four Zoas to Albion.


30 responses to “The Anthropos of the Anthropocene”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    “Neoliberalism and Fascism: The Stealth Connection” by William Connelly.

    This Mr. Buchanan smells like Blake’s Urizen in the flesh.

    • Scott Preston says :

      In keeping with the topic of “stealth politics”, another article published in today’s Guardian also addresses this aspect of the corruption of contemporary democratic politics and society.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yet another one, appearing on the same day in “Truthdig”.

      This isn’t just an American phenomenon, I might add. These fellows need to expand their horizons to see it in the context of the Anthropocene as a whole.

      • Mike McDermott says :

        >> These fellows need to expand their horizons to see it in the context of the Anthropocene as a whole.

        Quite so. And in so doing, perhaps Australia is an example of a medium-sized country where the same processes are taking place, with the ducks being put in a row such that when the (inevitable) economic decline takes place, the fascists can consolidate their power.

        In terms of William E. Connolly’s useful definitions of neoliberalism and fascism in his “Neoliberalism and Fascism: The Stealth Connection” linked above, in Australia the neoliberals in the Liberal Party (Conservatives in US parlance) are in a struggle to the death with fascists in that party. The opposition, the Labor Party, have pretty much swallowed the neoliberal canards, and so both are quite useless as far as the non-fascist, non-neoliberal members of general population are concerned.

        As mentioned in the former string, I have dived back for a time into Lewis Mumford’s The Conduct of Life (1952). The section I have just read reminded me of that saying that the greatest victory of {our Satanic states} is to convince us that they don’t exist. With that accomplished, it’s an easy step to “we are the good guys, they are the bad guys: let’s go kill some bad guys”. Ulro’s error. Mumford, in the first part of his sixth chapter, refers to this pathological assumption endemic to the Anthropocene as “modern man can do no wrong”, and on p. 148 asks, “In a nihilistic order there is a complete unconsciousness of guilt: who can indeed admit responsibility for evil acts, if he does not admit the existence of evil?”, and on p. 129 comments, “What is abnormal, what is fatal, is to have no standards of value and no methods of evaluation”.

        Consequently, he then focuses on values, of the kind I call “Big V” values in my book to distinguish them from mere monetary values, and on p. 149 observes that “The social breakdown of our time has shown itself in at least three ways: philosophically, ethically, and politically … meaning emerges from human existence by the same process that creates and confirms values: by providing consistent clues to life-furthering processes and actions and states … The ultimate effect of believing that values have no meaning is to proclaim that meanings have no value. At that point the truth and the will-to-believe become indistinguishable: even the capacity to lie effectively is lost.” On the same page he notes that “This state [of moral breakdown] has brought with it the general debasement of justice, the disregard of law, the attempt to concentrate power in a ruthless minority which, under whatever convenient ideological mask, sometimes fascism, sometimes communism, sometimes capitalism or nationalism, seeks only to perpetuate the lethal conditions of its own existence”, and on p. 150 that “The cult of nihilism thus tends to issue, by swift steps rather than slow, into a cult of violence and methodical terror, expressing a total contempt for life,” as in “we are the good guys, they are the bad guys: let’s go kill some bad guys”. Thus, on p. 152 he notes that “The most deadly sin is that of cutting oneself off from other men … hardness of heart is another name for moral deadness”, and on p. 153 adds, “In the phase of disintegration, each civilization seems to find a special way of keeping to its downward course by reversing the values of life: unable to identify and promote the good, it embraces a variety of evils and calls them good”, like “kicking ass” et al: dominating, deceiving, and destroying, all to the great profit of the “ruthless minority”, and of such simplistically-based murdering observes on p. 159 that “The unexamined premise is the chief source of radical errors.”

        His recommendation includes that “Quietism a false creed fatal to the pursuit of justice and the exercise of civic virtue” (p. 159) and that we must all rise from what for many of us have been lives as vapid and empty as the historic lives of the ruling classes to lives of the pursuit of justice and the exercise of civic virtue, noting that (in the Goldilockean sense) “In some sense pain and organic disharmony and psychological conflict, so far from being wholly deplorable accidents, are among the requisites for development: for growth is a state of unbalance on the way to a higher equilibrium” (p. 162). In so acting, he notes that “The illusion that man is naturally good and can at will avoid evil is almost as much an obstacle to human development as the philosophy that man is naturally bad and cannot attain to the good: both of them leave human nature in a static condition” (p. 170) and that these so-called “good guys”, “sure that their own decisions are untainted by evil, in their massive serenity and self-complacence, are probably a greater block to the renewal of life today than the most brutal dictators … That rigid sense of self-righteousness, with its inability to confess the evils it commits and bring them to an end, is perhaps the chief mark of a dying civilization” (ibid.).

        Finally, he recommends that “What our civilization needs today, as a condition for increasing human maturity and for inner renewal, is the cultivation of an exquisite sensitivity and an incomparable tenderness” (p. 153) [our Satanic states’ chortles, if not guffaws, at that would doubtless echo through the halls of Washington, even into the Lewis Mumford room in Congress].

        But one can never become a real man when ruled by that state: “Only people strong enough to admit their constant tendency to err and sin will be capable of finding new paths: only those who confess their sins will be re-activated sufficiently to attempt the transformation that must now take place in every institution, in every group, in every person” (p.172).

        Applied as a recipe, that can neither happen nor work. As an emergence from transformation though, especially at the scale of the millions and millions referred to by Mumford as I quoted here before, it just might..

        • Mike McDermott says :

          A PS for the Potus from Mumford:

          Without that devaluation and renunciation of nationalism, no life worthy of the name can now be built up. He who is one hundred per cent an American or a Russian, a German or a Frenchman, a European or an African or an Asiatic, is only half a man: the universal part
          of his personality, equally essential to his becoming human, is still inborn. Every act that softens the egoistic claims of nations and accentuates the unity of mankind, adds another foundation stone to the new world that we must now build.

          • Scott Preston says :

            Yes, this is where Aurobindo and Blake are, for me, relevant in their emphasis on the “Universal Humanity” which is, of course, already implicit in the very notion of the Anthropocene as an all-embracing Era. The Universal Humanity was, for them, a very real and concrete matter — the Anthropos, as we’ve been pursuing it here — the human archetype.

            These nationalisms erupting today are quite in keeping with the problems of “the point-of-view” consciousness — this contraction of consciousness into the point. But then, there’s also something of Dante’s Journey through the Inferno in that too.

            One notion I’ve been pursuing is the archetypal roles of men like Putin, Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, Erdogan, etc. — as “psychopomps”, or rather false psychopomps. The near adulation and adoration with which these men are received strikes me as something “numinous”, if we can use that term for manifestations of archetypes. This would be in keeping with the notion of the Anthropocene as “hypersubject”, or of “the market” as Jung’s “collective unconscious”. (Virgil is Dante’s psychopomp). But they are inevitable false psychopomps because the only true psychopomp is the inner one.

            When “strong men” play the role of the psychopomp, they are inevitably usurpers and pretenders and false Messiahs.

            I’ll have to flesh out this issue of the psychopomp before I post something about it, though.

        • Scott Preston says :

          There’s a Lewis Mumford Room in Congress?

          Those are powerful citations from Mumford, I’ll have to read his The Conduct of Life. Ably describes our present situation quite well, including that statement:

          “In some sense pain and organic disharmony and psychological conflict, so far from being wholly deplorable accidents, are among the requisites for development: for growth is a state of unbalance on the way to a higher equilibrium

          That’s what I’ve been aiming for with my series of posts on the Anthropocene. Gebser wrote something quite similar to this, as did Nietzsche.

          • Mike McDermott says :

            Well, in the Library of Congress”

            In light of the international significance of Mumford’s writings, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has designated an impressive auditorium as the Lewis Mumford Room. The general public is allowed to attend lectures and symposia held in this room on the sixth floor of the library’s newest structure, the James Madison Memorial Building. His works also influenced a myriad of landscape architects such as John Nolen who saw the need for cities to be designed as organic in nature.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              This review of Joseph Campbell’s Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine may be of interest to some of us on the subject.

              Joseph Campbell addresses “the challenge of the moment” for women, which is to “flower as individuals, neither as biological archetypes nor as personalities imitative of the male” (xiii–xiv). He touches as well on the idea that we are in this together, and must find a way to work it out with compassion.

              This flowering of the individual feminine — separate from the masculine — is indeed the challenge of the moment as the mushrooming of the #metoo movement seems to demonstrate. I believe women’s psychological development is potentially revolutionary. The discovery of the importance of intimacy, relationships and care, those things which value connection above autonomy and competition, have been familiar to women from the beginning, a legacy or gift of the Goddess. In rediscovering this gift, perhaps both men and women can rediscover the organic flesh and blood of this earth, this divine aspect in a living relationship, as opposed to remaining greedy tenants, hardly aware of their own aliveness, waiting to be serviced, in a soulless building.

              (As controversial as it may be, this is also reminiscent of Peterson’s concerns regarding the potent drive in some “feminist” circles — among men and women alike — for a gender “equality” that actually represents gender “sameness” in disguise, as in women being expected to look, walk, talk, think and act like “strong men” to “get ahead.”)

            • InfiniteWarrior says :


        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          “What our civilization needs today, as a condition for increasing human maturity and for inner renewal, is the cultivation of an exquisite sensitivity and an incomparable tenderness”

          Or, in other words, a cultivation of our “feminine” aspects and values. I very much like the way he put that. He obviously recognized a feminine-masculine imbalance, also.

          Richard Tarnas has said, “In general, the whole Western intellectual tradition has been a tradition of extremely brilliant, innovative men writing for other men in a patrilineal tradition.” (He does go on to recognize the archetypal and doesn’t reduce the crisis to gender inequality, however.)

          That is obviously still true to a great extent. What he didn’t mention is that there are, today, a lot of extremely brilliant, innovative women…writing for other women.


          • Mike McDermott says :

            >>> a lot of extremely brilliant, innovative women…writing for other women.

            Yes, there are; and sometimes I’m very naughty, and read them too. Maria Popova, for example.

            It’s important to remember when reading Mumford that he was of a tradition in a time that used the term “man” for both men and woman, as in mankind. And I interpret him as meaning that we as mankind should become humanekind. Societally-imposed expectations regardless, no gender has a monopoly on either “exquisite sensitivity and an incomparable tenderness on the one hand”, or Satanic states on the other. Not being humane is being less than fully human, so one does not become more a man by emotionally crippling oneself into a “tough guy” cavern. Rather, one becomes much less than a real man like Mumford.

            The Australian poet Judith Wright said words to the effect that what you kill ruins you. There is truth in that at all levels of our identity constructions, including the national.

            • Mike McDermott says :

              We can toughen up our bodies, but we can only toughen down our souls.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              None too sure.

              There’s much going-and-forthing about surrounding — pretty much everything.

              There seems to be a consensus, however, regarding purely physical versus absolutely any-other-kind of strength.

              For example, when I was engaged in the Martial Arts, there was no tip-toeing around the fact that women are generally less physically “strong” than men. God forbid, one should “hang in there,” hoping to “win” the fight. No, indeed-ie. The object was to do as much damage as possible to open up the possibility of escape from the situation. To do otherwise, was considered suicide.

              Seems to me, there’s a lesson there.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              he was of a tradition in a time that used the term “man” for both men and woman, as in mankind.

              Or, ‘Man, — das in, “apostrophe man” — as the case may be. ; )

              (Note that not-all-that-ubqituous apostrophe.)

              What did I say?

              “What’s horrifying is how language is being utilized. ; )

            • Mike McDermott says :

              >>> Seems to me, there’s a lesson there.

              Me too. I further think the lesson can be explored in examining as consistent Mumford’s themes of the need for tenderness and his impassioned call for the United States to enter World War II against the Nazis.

              It’s as yet too early for me to comment (I’m still in the mulling phase), but my answer may be shaped along the lines of Mandela’s point (in this forum’s parlance) that the servitors of the megamachine who inflict violence on its behalf are victims of the megamachine too (as he stated near the conclusion of his “Long Walk to Freedom”), and that every opportunity taken involves a host not taken.

              I’m not there yet, though.

  2. Max Leyf says :

    Thank you for this brilliant post! The contrast of Dante and Petrarch is supremely expressive.

    The transition is also readily apparent in the context of painting. For example, the Madonna as depicted by Duccio in comparison with Botticelli or Raphael.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Thanks. But here’s a very interesting question perhaps for historians to pursue. Did the European Revolutions follow, even necessarily, from Petrarch’s vision on Mount Ventoux? Such an interesting question. We can see this new re-orientation towards space beginning in Petrarch and Giotto, and the subsequent systematisation of that spatial orientation in the perspectivism of Alberti, Leonardo, etc. and then through Copernicus, Galileo and its systematisation in Descartes as his “method”, which is perspectivist. Gebser has explored quite a lot of that territory, but not the revolutions, as I recall. Intuitively, though, I sense a clear link between that event on Mt. Ventoux and subsequent developments in history.

      But having run the gauntlet of time, as it were, this development has now apparently exhausted its further possibilities, and that brings with it the sense of an ending, and the question “what now?”. It has become, as it were, overripe.

      But that’s also suggestive.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    There’s a great deal of difference between being a “denizen” and being a “citizen”. Most people are not citizens but denizens. Denizens of the Anthropocene rather than citizens of a Commonwealth — Commonwealth Earth.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The Anthropocene is an aberration because it is not an authentic Commonwealth. Like so much else, today, it is a fake, a mirage. The question here is what is the potential for the metamorphosis of the Anthropocene into an authentic Commonwealth?

      If you ponder what makes the difference between a denizen and a citizen, and what is the difference between the Anthropocene and a Commonwealth, you’ll come to many, many insights into the peculiarities of the present time. For this does, in many respects, also mark the difference between a mere “Totality” and a “Whole”, and between inauthentic and authentic wholes or integrations.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    The Laws of Manu, which specified the division of Indian society into four castes, were based upon a faulty and aberrant understanding of the fourfold Atman or Anthropos. The Buddha recognised this, and condemned the Brahmans. Against this conception he countered with his doctrine of Anatman — no-Self, no-Mind. Buddha was considered a heretic in his day, but his doctrine was profoundly democratic in spirit. He was a liberator because he denied the validity of the caste system as an inauthentic reflection of the Atman.

    Jesus did the same for Jewish society — his attack on the Pharisees and Scribes mirrors Buddhas attack on the Brahmans. Any kind of specialist division of labour based on class or caste that denies “the truth that sets free” of the whole man or woman is annulled.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Largely agreed, excepting that the Buddha didn’t condemn the Brahmans and Jesus didn’t “attack” the Scribes and Pharisees, just as Rosenstock didn’t “attack” Descartes.

      The Buddha called Brahmanism into question; Jesus called Phariseeism into question; and Rosenstock called Cartesianism into question; etc. Such a distinction, however, is one that may never get through our thick skulls.

      24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.

      26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

      29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

      — Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV)

      • Scott Preston says :

        No. That is not the case. Caling the Pharisees and Scribes “hypocrites” and “whited sepulchres” isn’t calling anything “into question” or doubt. There’s no suggestion of a question here at all. Likewise, in “Farewell to Descartes”, there is no issue of a “question”, except, perhaps, in the reader’s mind, but certainly not in Rosenstock-Huessy’s. And neither is there any “question” in Blake’s mind about “Single Vision & Newtons sleep”. Blake goes on the attack, and he specifically says so. So there’s not reason to soft-pedal any of this by suggesting that any of it is “questionable”.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          No one has to like the way my comment is phrased. In fact, I’m sure there’s better phrasing to be found. It’s the distinction — a distinction which obviously escapes us, generation after generation — that’s important.

          I’m not much for “soft-pedaling” myself, which is why I have no problem describing humanity as “thick-skulled,” perhaps especially, on this point. Until and unless that changes, I expect the vicious cycles of mental, emotional and physical abuse that characterizes human history to continue indefinitely or, at least, until we destroy ourselves.

          neither is there any “question” in Blake’s mind about “Single Vision & Newtons sleep”. Blake goes on the attack, and he specifically says so.

          “Attack”… on Single Vision & Newton’s Sleep.

          “Only a hair separates the false from the true.”

          • Scott Preston says :

            “One Law for the Lion & the Ox is Oppression”.

            Opinions belong to the Oxen, not the Lion. When a Buddha goes on the offensive against the Brahmans, and a Jesus goes on the offensive against the Pharisees, or a Blake goes on the offensive against the men of “Single Vision”, this is not a matter of differences of opinion, which ever calls the question, but because they had direct and immediate perception of the truth, and saw that the truth was not in these pretenders and usurpers: the Brahmans, Pharisees, or men of “Single Vision”, but only such “opinions”. The authority that they claimed over the truth was fraudulent, and this was, for a Jesus, a Buddha, a Blake, not a matter of conjecture but of genuine insight.

            And there is little more expressive of the spiritual combattiveness or “the Lion” that results from that than Blake’s song “Jerusalem”.

            Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
            Bring me my arrows of desire:
            Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
            Bring me my Chariot of fire!

            I will not cease from Mental Fight,
            Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
            Till we have built Jerusalem,
            In Englands green & pleasant Land.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              this is not a matter of differences of opinion, which ever calls the question

              I see you’re still stuck on the phrasing, “called…into question.” That’s a good point on a much different subject (opinion) than the distinction I’ve tried — again and again — to bring into view, however, so thanks for that.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    Hoooo boy. ” If ocean temperatures are rising more rapidly than previously calculated, that could leave nations even less time to dramatically cut the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide, in hopes of limiting global warming to the ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.”

    If? We are already on a very short leash — 12 years. Definitely already “ambitious” (a euphemism if there ever was one). And this study has just concluded that the leash is even shorter than we had thought.

  6. Scott Preston says :

    Speaking of co-optation and appropriation, I might relate a personal anecdote that I find highly significant. I know three men who were very influenced by Chomsky and his critiques of the liberal media and propaganda system. And upon meeting them, I initially also assumed they were aligned with Chomsky’s humanism and anarcho-socialism.

    No. They turned out to be neo-fascists, which floored me. It was, after all, none of Chomsky’s intent to buttress or offer sustenance to fascists, but there it was. They had inverted Chomsky’s critiques and appropriated them (as well as Chomsky’s propaganda model) for their own assaults on liberalism and the liberal media! I would have thought that reading a rationale and justification for fascism out of Chomsky was impossible.

    But it’s a very common pattern: many of the critiques of liberalism, neo-liberalism, or the mainstream media have been appropriated and co-opted by the radical right and inverted for their own purposes — usually nihilistic ones. And this has thrown everything into confusion.

    This is, of course, how “National Socialism” operated — by cooptation, confusion, and inversion and perversion of the meaning and aims of “socialism”. It’s been effective even down to our time, since even people who should know better believe that Hitler was ” a man of the Left”. It’s a masquerade and deceitful, but a seemingly effective one.

    This has some connection with Algis Mikunas’s idea of “technocratic shamanism” — the turning of one thing into another thing, if not the very contrary of its meaning (the “Spin Doctor”).

  7. Scott Preston says :

    This is an hilarious (and well-earned) takedown of Jordan Peterson. Love the stuff about “lobsters”.

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