I recently read a piece in Wired about the impact of global warming on the bodies and minds of the Inuit (and the rest of us)—how profound changes in what we take to be the external world manifest as profound psychological (inner) changes, which are themselves somatic effects, registers of physical distress or debilitation. Most of us know the lacerating, visceral effects of natural disaster, and now of political catastrophe in the form of the Trump White House. But how do they go together? Why do we feel penetrated by these events, as if our skin is just a porous veil and our guts have spilled into view? Why these cramps and lesions and dizziness and anger? In “the Use and Abuse of History,” Nietzsche announced that what distinguished the consciousness of modern Man was the notion that he had an interior to which no exterior corresponded, and vice versa. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer turned this idea into the premise of their Dialectic of Enlightenment(1944), and hundreds of other theorists enlisted it to explain “alienation.” But it doesn’t sound like a self-evident proposition anymore. Kant was closer to the truth of our times: “But through inner experience I am conscious of my existence in time (consequently also of its determinability in time), and this is more than to be conscious of any representation. It is identical with the empirical consciousness of my existence, which is...Read More
Month: May 2019
Thackeray Meets Dark Matter: The Making of a TV Super-Hero Emily Anne Foster and Jordan Valdes Imagine this: a bus collides with Dark Matter. This is fiction, of course—a superhero TV show, to be exact. Dark Matter, in this particular, televised universe, catalyses the transformation of ordinary people into those with an extraordinary power or skill. A bus collides with Dark Matter, and from that bus emerges… a character out of a Victorian novel. William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair begins with the departure of the popular Miss Amelia Sedley from her boarding school. Amid the teary sniffles, wails,...Read More
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