Monday, December 21, 2009

Vision and volition for l’avenir


The sense of the end of an epoch hangs strongly over our times, whether in the hegemonic notion of the end of a Hegelian world history, the culminant rational godhood of the Enlightenment or the exploding apocalyptic millenarianism claiming sectarian fulfillments from every direction of the earth. The age of science and technology uniformalizes the world today under the sign of neo-liberal globalization. Multinational capitalism streams through nation-states constructing its control apparatus, a omniscient panopticon, poised to fulfill the prophecy of the modern knowledge academy – the human sciences dictating a universal anthropology and psychology based on behaviorism and the market, configuring world populations as standing reserve and increasingly as appendages of fantastically efficient machineries, meshed together in finer and more invisible systems aspiring to the condition of integrality.
Against this, singularities of all kinds revolt, in suicide missions of mutual destruction in the name of god’s will and its universal claim on world history. Origin myths, blood cleansing rites, control societies of historical purity raise their shrill voices in a discordant cacophony – or is this rather the ambiguous harmony of a new subjectivity? Is it possible anymore to talk of humanism, when human consciousness is physically and metaphysically thought of and described in terms of platforms for running machine-codes of Darwinian algorithms; or when a tangle of human destinies contest the future and in the thick of this contest, human agency is forcibly hybridized in incalculable ways? Who and how many are the seen and unseen contestants slouching towards Bethlehem to be born?  Our technologies are increasingly the ubiquitous environments of our Lifeworld. Will humanity disappear in technology or will technology disappear in the human? In this the age of comparative-culture-gone-crazy in which the digital commodity forms of hyper-modernism assault consciousness mercilessly at almost every waking moment, are there a set of inexorable options or alternate modernities that can grow rhizomatically from our present orientation to promise a future free from the terror of code, the horrors of consumerism, and the death wish of fundamentalism?
And what kind of human would remain to live such a future – what universal anthropology redeemed as the collective body of poesis and techne? Is this the possibility held out by purnayoga that deterritorializes human consciousness in terms of its subjugation to the desiring codes of prakriti (nature) but languages a reconstruction of the sacrificed body of purusha (soul) in terms of tapas and shakti? How can a practice that cultivates a Foucauldian care of self wield its inner technologies to harvest attention and sublimate desire to facilitate the reversal of the equation of purusha and prakriti, freedom and control? Given the blind play of word forces kneading an unpredictable chaos is the epic imagination or self-discipline conceivable to the liberal humanist subject who suffers the painful memory traces of a long history of failed metaphysics?
If man is ropewalker between beast and overman we are suspended above a species aporia vacillating in a present in which the soul’s history has become tightly bound to its destining as technological artifact, its individuation a process of binary abstraction from networked circuits of global collectivization. The question that confronts the human future is not simply one of inevitable change or endings but whether the last man whimpered or not before succumbing to its post-human destiny. But can a transitional vision and volition (prakamya, aishwarya) play some role in the ruptured arrival of the post-human? At what we consider a temporal bifurcation point of not one but many post-human destinies we stand poised before we the editors of this webzine engage with theoria to negotiate these questions to explore the fashioning of new tools for a praxis of individual and social contemplation of l’avenir.

No comments:

Post a Comment