Anthropogenesis: Origins and Endings in the Anthropocene

If the Anthropocene represents a new epoch of thought, it also represents a new form of materiality and historicity for the human as strata and stratigrapher of the geologic record. This collision of human and inhuman histories in the strata is a new formation of subjectivity within a geologic horizon that redefines temporal, material, and spatial orders of the human (and thus nature). I argue that the Anthropocene contains within it a form of Anthropogenesis – a new origin story and ontics for man – that radically rewrites material modes of differentiation and concepts of life, from predominantly biopolitical notions of life toward an understanding of life’s geophysical origination (geontics). Here, I use the term Anthropogenesis to suggest that two things explicitly happen in the nomination of the Anthropocene: 1) the production of a mythic Anthropos as geologic world-maker/destroyer of worlds, and 2) a material, evolutionary narrative that re-imagines human origins and endings within a geologic rather than an exclusively biological context. In contrast to the homogeneous geomorphizing of the Anthropocene, I suggest that socializing the strata needs a more nuanced notion of ‘geologic life’ that challenges the construction of the Anthropocene as an undifferentiated social stratification.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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