Some perplexing questions being asked by a November 10, 2013 New York Times “Opinionator” article by Roy Scranton about the Anthropocene.
He makes parallels between his recent experience during a military tour of duty, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in terms of broken human infrastructures and its attendant chaos.
The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.
The greatest challenge the Anthropocene poses may be to our sense of what it means to be human.
If homo sapiens (or some genetically modified variant) survives the next millenniums, it will be survival in a world unrecognizably different from the one we have inhabited.
Geological time scales, civilizational collapse and species extinction give rise to profound problems that humanities scholars and academic philosophers, with their taste for fine-grained analysis, esoteric debates and archival marginalia, might seem remarkably ill suited to address. After all, how will thinking about Kant help us trap carbon dioxide?
You can find the link to the entire article here.