Note to A and E, 3/12/20

A thought. Please indulge me.

CRISPR is derived from a bacterial mechanism that provides immunity from viruses by using RNA to cut and paste snippets of the viral attacker into the genetic code of the bacterium itself.

There are large scale endeavors to use genetic editing strategies to engineer responses to actual viruses. The arguments for expediency and exigency abound.

That these things come into our knowledge and come into technoscientific existence so quickly —seemingly all at once—- makes my brain hurt.

This is all happening so fast, my friends. Much of it in less than a decade. And even that short time scale seems to be compacting upon itself.

PostScript Sat March 15

But what we never seem to understand is that just because we have power doesn’t mean we are in control. Which, I am convinced, speeds up the process of humans attempting to colonize, cum synthesize, cum automate their individual AND aggregate activities. Whether we can admit it or not, synthetic biology is already here. A crisis like this will only expedite acknowledging the  transformation of current and subsequent Homo sapiens genetics, before, during and after ‘expression’.

A species expands asymptotically, no longer what it thought it was, unbecoming in media res.

Or so I tell myself. #talesofthelatehuman

AcceleRants

Accelerators and accelerants, recombinant and chaotic. Synthetic life emerges from this bacterial animal which, having colonized everything, learns to colonize anew. It grows, it devours, it blooms, it dies. But not without giving birth to other forms of life, intentionally and otherwise. The Xenobots arrive.

 

Language is leaving us…

I’ve lost interest in maintaining anything other than spoken voice—presence. Writing seems like failure.

The rate of extraction of our linguistic domains, written and spoken, feels like extinction to me. Nothing else. Those at the top, we apex predators, best flee the earth or hack our own genomes and biomes to give ourselves, up and over, to other possible worlds, living and dead. We at the top are the most precarious of all. This is what I like to call autocolonialism. (“We do it to ourselves, we do.”) Naming it, defining it, giving it shape and form in language seems to do nothing more than extract further the value of whatever resistance might be articulated, rendered, voiced. I feel as though language is leaving us.

“It wears him out”

For students at the Albertus Universität in Königsberg, anthropology was likely to be their first, if not only, exposure to Kant’s thought”

“If we now ask whether the human species can be considered a good or a bad race (it can be called a race only when one thinks of it as a species of rational beings on earth, compared to those rational beings on other planets, sprung as a multitude of creatures from one demiurge), then I must confess that there is not much to boast about. Nevertheless, anyone who considers human behavior not only in ancient history, but also in recent history will often be tempted to coincide with Timon’s misanthropic judgment, but far more often and more to the point, he will coincide with Momus, and find foolishness rather than evil the most striking characteristic of our species. But, since foolishness combined with traces of evil (when it is called madness) cannot be ignored in the moral physiognomy of our species, it is obvious from the concealment of a good part of our thoughts, which every clever person deems essential, that everyone in our race finds it advisable to be on his guard, and not to reveal himself completely. This behavior betrays the tendency of our species to be evil-minded toward one another.” Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (1798)

Naked news, fake-d news, or “something else entirely”?

“Was a story selected for its statistical prominence among news organs, or because a personalization algorithm picked it out for us? If the selection was based on statistics, then which statistics—the number of mentions of the story, the authority of the news outlets promoting it, or something else entirely?” Frank Pasquale, The Black Box Society (2015)

I’m thinking, erm, something else entirely. #agnotology #talesofthelatehuman

Gone. Forgotten.

 

Upgrade, feverish

Newness begets what we have found: nothingness. We could never be present in such expectations of a future, predicated upon nearly instantaneous forms of obsolescence.

 

The past and future enfold upon this non-existent now; a now which is forgetting, forgotten. Gone. Absent: Present. The late human sleepsasleep, wakesawake, shuns extinct, shuns.

We thought we were human as we consciously passed the ghost of ourselves onwards.

Past, psst, passed. Life.

#talesofthelatehuman

 

Note to E, October 15, 2014

Writ(h)ing, always. These words. They fail me, fail us. New languages yet to be invented are just beyond my grasp, but I suspect not yours. But discourse in late liberalism is an ecological nightmare. Our publics a whispered -shush- of open secrets, power seeks anonymity and finds sanction from the highest courts in the land. United citizens, whistleblowing automata, what programs will we invent, to tell ourselves anything resembling this thing we have become. Maybe human once, but no longer, no longer.

Thoughts for my friend, Jeremy W.

Someone will take the fall. Maybe even Trump. But when it is corruption all the way down, how far do we really think we will get? I apologize for the cynicism, but in paying close attention to the manufacturing and management of crisis-oriented capitalism these last twenty odd years, as we have been doing, I feel, have felt for sometime, that though the planet may not be on fire, the species sure as fuck seems to be. I call this autocolonialism, and it is the fate of a species whose anthropomorphisms extended through their expansionist order, such that homo sapiens, who had never been human –aspiring as they might– would either succeed in fleeing the earth, or in their extinction would allow other species to advance and die off accordingly.
As you may know, I have my money on the cephalopods.
Sorry to be so bleak. But this is how I have come to see liberalism as eating itself, as producing this self-inflicted Trumpian defamation for the world to see. But I suspect even Sanders couldn’t escape this level of financial entrapment, of insider wealth that determines much of the planet’s political economy, and which continues to siphon off the wealth of nations, as it has long done. To our humanity are left the dregs. I believe that the tale of late capitalism is that the fabulists who foresaw and told the future were not using language, they were not writers per se. They were the mathematicians of speculative finance; their algorithmic and machinic scope arose from computation and warfare. And here we are, from boom to bust, the attenuation of a species, with it’s increasingly complex and precarious systems of scale. All of this has been given over to political processes incapable of moving beyond obscene modes of petty short-sightedness and rampant, perverse corruption.

©Shaun Tan

Those who have power have no interest in giving it up. But they are not in control. They are the most precarious of us all.