The expanse of possible alliances lost in the scoping singularity of our current apocalypse is unknowable in an unusual way. Each lost alliance or form of life means a future that can no longer come about. The global advance of homogenization is killing the futures as it strangles the present.
After writing that post, I started to think about other examples of this phenomenon, and about variations on this kind of fantasy-driven argumentation. The concept of being “reality-based” became a meme among liberals after a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration brazenly brushed off people who care about evidence by saying: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” This accompanied his claim that “the reality-based community” is made up of people who foolishly “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” Where are we now, more than a decade into post-reality politics?
Climate change is, in the words of Timothy Morton, a “hyperobject,” a phenomena too big and too complex to be seen or felt from the standpoint of any solitary human subject — in other words, an object that stretches the very limits of what it means to be a phenomena, a phenomena for which there is no phenomenology . While we as individuals experience weather, such as heavy rain, extraordinary heat, maybe snow in June, this is only a freeze-frame of climate, the macro-level trajectory of an atmospheric system that extends far beyond our personal view of the sky. It is not as if we are somehow too technologically numbed to recognize this condition; no amount of Heideggerian ‘letting-be’ could ever open ourselves to experience something like climate change that is literally too big to be felt. Yet, while we may not be subjectively affected by the climate in its totality, it still affects us, in the humanitarian crises brought on by extreme weather events, in the rising sea levels that threaten to extinguish both low-lying atolls and coastal cities, and in the socio-economic reverberations of droughts and other climate shifts. The scientific community is basically in agreement that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have the effect of net increases in global temperature — but how do we convert this knowledge into the public will for the necessary changes?