The Limit of the Posthuman

As I’ve remarked before and will, no doubt, remark again and again, hatred of men is hatred of civilization since civilization is in its very essence a masculine enterprise. 

And yet, hatred of men is now at the core of what passes for liberal urbanity.

The blame is usually assigned to feminists. But feminism is itself a symptom, of the order of an opportunistic infection thriving in a weakened body no longer capable of fending off even low-grade assaults on its integrity.  In any case, the real question is not how women have become so powerful (this is itself a feminist myth) but how men have grown so feeble.

No huge mystery there. Male enfeeblement proceeds apace with the occlusion of the warrior ruling caste by  mercantile upstarts. Europe leads the way. The “Enlightenment” starts there and at first seems to confer  technical advantages that allow Europeans to subjugate the rest of the planet. And yet, these new, and seemingly unlimited powers that modernity granted to Europeans were silently and invisibly poisoning them from within.

The West today is populated by a race of Daleks, hideous, blobby mutations occupying a technological shell that gives them fearsome powers but outside of which they cannot survive. For the Daleks, as for contemporary Westerners, gender is an unwelcome reminder of an earlier and outmoded form of existence. As with the Borg, the Daleks’ power to subjugate races still dominated by mere biology hides from them their own degraded ugliness. The Daleks and the Borg are the fictional creations of a civilization that unconsciously recognizes in them a representation of itself.

What fiction has as yet not been able to envisage (to my knowledge) is the vulnerability of the “posthuman.” For the posthuman is irrevocably maladapted to live in any but the most artificial and energy-intensive environment. Outside their heavily armored cocoons, the Daleks are essentially slime. But worse, slime haunted by a primordially human drive, a death drive. Their harsh metallic cry when encountering the least form of resistance is “Exterminate!” But what remains perpetually refractory to extermination resides inside themselves. In other words, what they cannot exterminate is the ultimately suicidal drive to exterminate, to reduce everything around them to the void that inhabits them. 

In the end, the Enlightenment project to bring all of nature under rational administration (of which the Daleks are a futurist extension) must resolve into suicide.  For the rational administration of nature cannot mean anything other than the abolition of nature, its nullification as Other, possible only by means of the actual liquidation of the consciousness arrogant enough, unhinged enough, to conceive it .  Thus, it is perfectly logical, though perhaps unsettling, that Western civilization today appears to ardently desire its own erasure, an erasure that manifests, among other ways, as a Western war against whatever remains of Western virility.

The final triumph of the West will therefore be its own disappearance. The posthuman will prove to have been yet one more delusion of the human.

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