On the concept of pre-extinction

Typically, we think of extinction in terms of the death of the last individual member of the species facing extinction. A species goes extinct when there aren’t any more organisms belonging to it still walking around. What comes to mind is a short fragment by Jorge Luis Borges, “The Witness” (1967). In the fragment, Borges… Continue Reading On the concept of pre-extinction

The left hand of all creation: how to repurpose whole worlds

“The world is an asymmetrical place full of asymmetrical beings.” – Frank Close In the following series of interrelated posts, I sketch out in preliminary fashion the theoretical framework of an ontological program of strong redescription. Redescription refers to one mode of interacting with, repurposing, and using the various objects that constitute our world. One… Continue Reading The left hand of all creation: how to repurpose whole worlds

The left hand of all creation (3): Excursus on creative destruction (Spielrein, Schumpeter, Boyd, Land)

Obviously, a concept like creative destruction has an extensive genealogy. In Western philosophy, at least, you can trace variations of the idea back to Greek pre-Socratics like Anaximander and Heraclitus. While the specific locution “creative destruction” is often attributed to Joseph Schumpeter (who probably pulls the term from either Karl Marx or Werner Sombart), the… Continue Reading The left hand of all creation (3): Excursus on creative destruction (Spielrein, Schumpeter, Boyd, Land)

Notes on ecopessimism (1): decathexis as a mode of futural projection

(A slightly different version of this post was presented at the 2017 Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts conference “Out of Time,” on the panel “Collective Manifestations: Thinking Futures beyond the Dark Mountain.”) A preliminary clarification: climate change isn’t the problem. Instead, climate change is a symptom of a much deeper problem called the… Continue Reading Notes on ecopessimism (1): decathexis as a mode of futural projection

Gray sky thinking

The standard assumption about the future is that it will resemble the past. Often, we adopt the standard assumption because it is a useful heuristic in everyday life. In the context of contemporary risk assessment, however, maintaining the standard assumption is blue sky thinking at best and ruinous at worst. Contemporary trends, historical precedent, and… Continue Reading Gray sky thinking