The Age of Forgetting: The End of the Human

Nietzsche will tell us that the historical sense is the “capacity to  divine  quickly the order of rank of the valuations by which a people, a society, a man lives – the relationship of these valuations to the conditions of life; the relation  between  the authority of  the values and the authority of the forces that are at work (the presumed relation usually even more than the actual one): being able to reproduce all this within oneself constitutes the historical sense”.

In our time we’ve lost this ‘historical sense’ through a specific transformation that has recently happened: we no longer know what a human is, much less what it does; we’ve entered a zone where the hyperintensive forces of our moment have dissolved the human into a fractured assemblage without a center to hold it. Of course Nietzsche had seen this, too; foretold it’s outlines, its patterns of behavior and destiny, had given it a name: nihilism. Divided it into its active and passive forms and prophesied its transport across a two-hundred year vector of multivalent forces.

But would he have foreseen the closure of the human upon the future? Would he have seen the future collapse upon the present, ending the very form of history of which he speaks? If the human is no more, then can we speak of history anymore? If the very system of valuation and ranking based on a knowledge of humans across time was the key to this historical sense can we reproduce this anymore in ourselves? Or, are we rather sliding intemperately into a strange newness from which the notion of internalization of history will seem like a fairy tale for a bygone age?

We use the term “post” this or that to foreground our quandaries. We speak of post-human, post-history, post-capitalism…. post post post…. Deleuze would speak of And… And… And… a sort of transitional phase-shift through the chaotic spume of a Rubicon abyss from which nothing human will remain. So who will speak of valuation now? Who will speak of such transvaluation of values in our time? Is such a thing not only passé, but erroneous in an age when the future is seen more as an apocalyptic event: a Climatological collapse, sixth extinction, AI Singularity… name your poison? And, the past? What is it anymore if we are no longer human? If the natural is no longer “natural”? If we have suddenly become so artificial and enclosed in the presentism of a non-world of techno-commercial hyper-accelerationist implosion, that the future is collapsing upon us and history is vanishing into the black hole of forgetfulness?

 

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