2 3/3 into The Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy (2008-2010) by Liu Cixin. I should have discovered this artwork earlier. It offers insight to many of the ideological challenges posthumanism faces as a political movement: Nature is beyond cruel, shadowed only by the ignorance of the universe… So, how can we built momentum to organize? I imagine the story (particularly the first book) is to a degree reimagining changes which European expansionism inflicted on the world. It could be read to imagine what went on in people’s drug numbed minds during the Opium Wars, when the destiny of China changed and people needed to break their minds to survive anew. Cixin is weirdly approaching this stress optimistically, celebrating bureaucracy and hierarchical governance (a sense of more-than-human-duty) as safe havens from the anxiety which individuals feel in troubled times. Perhaps the series is a reader for Confucius.
This defeatism is the horror in the story, it portrays individuals the weak links of collectives, or populations rather. The book portrays that for life, only populations matter and this perspective brings about challenges to human rationality. The manner humans have adapted and continue to adapt to change is non-rational, our survival is a non-rational process governed by a lifeforce beyond our grasp. This is why we can’t die. The best we can do is to document the passing of this cruel lifeforce in order to gain an understanding of its direction. This understanding is helpful only for preparing for the next horrors that await us. Kristiina Koskentolas Our Bodies Have Turned to Gold (2018) is a good reference for approaching this deathless death.
The people in the story are bone dry, caricatures of film-noir characters and there are hardly any women (and the few portrayed as saints or demons). There aren’t any animals either and the few plants which the story depicts are used for a thin backdrop landscape. Despite issues with character development, it suggests bold ideas on social order such as the weaponization of empathy, exhibited in scenes where people plot and execute ecogenocides. Communication takes place through gazes and decisions are affirmed in feedback loops. Perhaps all communication has this character.
The story also suggests that all cosmological questions may be resolved through philosophical enquiry. Having binged on acollierastro’s videos on string theory and dark matter, this rings true. The “sophon-barrier”, a talisman blocking scientific development on earth, featured in the first two books is real: We can only perceive what our nature affords us, so investigating the mind is the only route to discovery. This extends Timothy Morton’s ideas regarding algorithms (in Humankind, 2017) to flesh. Morton’s depicts that algorithms are locked to the past because their code replicates the ideology of the era they were written. The lifeforce is the only route for change yet if we surrender to it (which we must), humans become something else, which is gruesome and ugly. Surviving is a disgusting process as discussed earlier.
Edit: The third book didn’t provide more of “cosmic sociology” but it had entertaining horror & space opera bits. The idea that stories transmit technological information was of interest and syncs well with ideas on rhythm as technology which I was introduced in Assembling a Black Counter Culture (2022). In the third book earth is flattened in a multidimensional attack which converts the solar system into 2D. This got me thinking that representational political activity (for example artists producing illustrations of past political movements) possibly removes a dimension (perhaps intuition) from our understanding of day political activity.
Assembled a Delay No More and set it in a case with a Benjolin, a Twin Peak filter, a speaker and the FM radio I’ve been working on. It’s difficult to grasp as a system. The delay itself is a challenge.
Resigned from the army reserve and I’m set to undergo five days of Civil Service training in August. I resigned as a protest, because Finland’s NATO process was not discussed and organized democratically. Defending the authoritarian society Finland is emerging as, as a corporal was a saddening idea. Feels weirdly sad to resign.