Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Western Metaphysic of the End

Continuing from Lossy Compression

The issue then becomes not one of modeling, or mapping, but containing. The problem of the essence-that-contains is one of generality. Western Ontology is deeply rooted in the desire to set everything under a solitary system. The problem of the system is on the one hand a matter of properties becoming objects, and adjectives becoming nouns, it is also irresistably reconfigurable, and herein lies its redemption. The category is not a set containing objects, but a blueprint from which many models can be built. The category as an object of realism, a reality, objectifies each of its members by reducing it to a subset of qualities.

In the end of it all, you are left with a black hole signifier, that sucks everything under one sign. Even the qualativity of qualities, or an essence of the essence can begin to collapse this system, for its own externalization of this blueprint impresses it onto reality, and thus comes to manufacture reality. This is both “the Language of Eden” and the “Curse of Revelation.” What God would leave out of the Bible, is the fact that we are agents in our own creation. To a large extent, we've been making it up all along.

With our history mostly scripted by our mythologies, hurdling toward an apocalypse that even scientists are beginning to buy into, the majority of the resistance is ironically coming from a Christian dominated right.

Their arguments are based at least partially on science, citing a liberal usage of rate multipliers in producing projections.

At any rate, the multipliers do impact how the projections would pan out. The seemingly alarmless rate of one degree over the past 100 years has mollified the possibility of any consensus. The oil companies stand the most to lose and can no doubt afford to fund their own research projects. Since the oil companies have been a major target of environmentalists, one of the few government controlled industries within our sense of capitalism, the issue is on both sides politicized. The sense that one can take either side in earnest is intellectually dishonest. The speculations are all over the place for the projections. We could end up like Venus, or we'll kill off ourselves but life will continue. It's certainly possible that some tipping point will be reached triggering a chain reaction, which causes some sort of atmospheric cascade failure and kills off everything or most of everything. Maybe only insects survive, or bacteria. Certainly this is frightening to contemplate. And worse still it is all distinctly feasible.

So it's an interesting point for Western metaphysics. Will it have its apocalypse after all? Has our blueprint for disaster finally been realized? Never has it been more cleverly argued than by environmental scientists and perhaps never before has been felt the more pressing reality of an end that has been enacted several times before in history.

But the end is everywhere in every disaster, and apocalypses proliferate. Beasts are indeed everywhere, whores of all sorts, but no horsemen yet. We fantasize about it in movies and books. Two series in the last ten years dealt specifically with the apocalypse. Jericho and Jeremiah. Both were cancelled after showdowns with fascist police states. So we survive, perhaps, but suffer the death of our way of life.

But whatever the outcome, this will be remembered as a time when apocalyptic fears were very real.

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