Tired of the human?

February 3, 2016

Pär SegerdahlI have on several occasions encountered what could be called: impatience with the human. Haven’t we been humans long enough? Is it not high time that we stopped to perceive the world from our parochial human perspectives, where the sun “rises” every morning and warms us – as if it cared about us!

We speak of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal flora, as if they took care of us as our inner servants. But what do they care about us? We are grossly anthropocentric. It is time to leave this human idyll and become… posthuman. – At least in serious, intellectual contexts.

The parochial illusion in which we supposedly live is often associated with language. Millennia of human endeavor have been deposited in linguistic structures that constantly repeat the same old spectacle in front of our eyes: the world as seen from a human point of view.

The time is ripe for a revolt against our homespun linguistic tradition; for the construction of new materialistic language, free of inherited folk perspectives on a fundamentally indifferent universe, and on us. – At least in serious, intellectual contexts.

The only problem is that even language, if we are to be consistent, must be a piece of folklore. Entities like language, words, statements, and meanings obviously belong to – if we are to be completely consistent – an oral tradition where we, for utterly mundane purposes, talk about “language,” “words,” “statements,” and “meanings.”

It suddenly seems unexpectedly difficult to go beyond the human. There is no language to rebel against. Or the illusion is too powerful: we cannot even speak of resisting it without relying on it. For the very idea of a ​​revolt, the exciting feeling of being near the truth or on its track… is this not all too familiar, all too human? Even more folklore, then?

Perhaps we should rather be impatient with this metaphysical intellectualism, which not very clear-sightedly – it seems – dreams of beholding an absolutely pure reality.

We continue to be humans who sometimes, for various purposes, describe a material reality and take it into account. – Even in serious, intellectual contexts.

Pär Segerdahl

This post in Swedish

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