Climate of Fear (pt. 2)

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4 Responses

  1. Nicholas says:

    Fascinating and quite entertaining, Branko; thank you.

    On a somewhat relevant note, given your polemics against science I wonder what you would make of this argument by a certain fiction writer, R. Scott Bakker (his blog:

    “For centuries now, science has been making the invisible visible, thus revolutionizing our understanding of and power over different traditional domains of knowledge. Fairly all the speculative phantoms have been exorcised from the world, ‘disenchanted,’ and now, at long last, the insatiable institution has begun making the human visible for what it is. Are we the last ancient delusion? Is the great, wheezing heap of humanism more an artifact of ignorance than insight? We have ample reason to think so, and as the cognitive sciences creep ever deeper into our biological convolutions, the ‘worst case scenario’ only looms darker on the horizon. To be a writer in this age is to stand astride this paradox, to trade in communicative modes at once anchored to our deepest notions of authenticity and in the process of being dismantled or worse, simulated. If writing is a process of making visible, communicating some recognizable humanity, how does it proceed in an age where everything is illuminated and inhuman? All revolutions require experimentation, but all too often experimentation devolves into closed circuits of socially inert production and consumption. The present revolution, I will argue, requires cultural tools we do not yet possess (or know how to use), and a sensibility that existing cultural elites can only regard as anathema. Writing in the 21st century requires abandoning our speculative past, and seeing ‘literature’ as praxis in a time of unprecedented crisis, as ‘cultural triage.’ Most importantly, writing after the death of meaning means communicating to what we in fact are, and not to the innumerable conceits of obsolescent tradition.”

    coupled with

    “Our present juncture is a post-posterity one. This is the big reason I see the intentional tradition as being obscurantist and apologetic rather than obscurantist and critical: we no longer have the luxury of arguing angels on pinheads. The worst case scenario is materializing before our eyes, and yet still only a handful of souls have committed themselves to exploring it in its own terms. Everyone–the vast bulk of scholarship–is devoted to rationalizing why this or that traditional conceit simply has to be the exception.

    This is insane.”

    Best Regards

  2. Malić says:

    “For centuries now, science has been making the invisible visible (…)”

    No, it wasn’t.

    Otherwise, thank you for your kind words and apologizes I haven’t provided you with an answer on one of the previous articles. As a principle I don’t defend what others have written, and I couldn’t get Philip to answer you (probably he forgot, we all have a lot of things on our minds).

    • Nicholas says:

      Interesting response, but what exactly do you mean by your rejection? What Bakker means is that science is all the more, from its inception til today, been revealing the causal and actual over the mysterious and fantastic, i.e. when once some might have thought lightning bolts struck out of the arbitrary will of Zeus, now we know exactly the mechanisms that *actually* bring it about, and can therefore properly explain, measure, and predict.

      In some other words: Historically, science tends to replace intentional explanations of natural phenomena with functional explanations. Since humans are a natural phenomena we can presume, all things being equal, that science will continue in the same vein, that intentional phenomena and ideas [souls, free will, meaning] are simply the last of the ancient delusions soon to be debunked

      Added for extra pessimism (by the same man): “Humans are [ultimately] out and out stupid, that the only thing that makes us seem smart is that our nearest competitors are still sniffing each other’s asses to say hello. In the humanities in particular, we seem to forget that science is an accomplishment, and a slow and painful one at that. The corollary of this, of course, is that humans are chronic bullshitters. I’m still astounded at how after decades of rhetoric regarding critical thinking, despite millennia of suffering our own stupidity, despite pretty much everything you see on the evening news, our culture has managed to suppress the bare fact of our cognitive shortcomings [that religion, cults and fascist manipulators knows how to exploit oh so well], let alone consider it any sustained fashion.”

      As for Philip, no worries; I appreciate that academics have a full enough schedule so as not to allow keeping track of servicing random internet commenters 😉

    • Malić says:

      I consider the soul, spirit, purpose and other beings addressed by traditional metaphysics to be quite real. Modern science is unable to address them and henceforth unable to bring about the unified principle o knowledge which it nevertheless craves to establish. As for Zeus and lightnings, the polytheism is more often than not symbolic representation of intelligible reality. This is something Greek philosophers wrote at length about (Proclus, for instance). And this reality implies causal relations that can be depicted only by taking into account man’s higher cognitive faculties, i.e. activity of mind or rational soul, because they are more akin to them than what we perceive in environment. Irony of modern science is that, once rendered unable to make use of these faculties, it proceeded to construct a make-shift copies of them, the ultimate one to date being notion of the system.

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