Extinction but not Rebellion
Trotsky wanted us to live in a permanent revolution, but instead, we live in a permanent extinction. Yesterday it was nuclear holocaust; today it is climate catastrophe. Tomorrow what?
Maybe there’s no tomorrow?
Maybe, but let’s hope maybe not. There’s the distinct possibility we will lurch from one cause of extinction to the next in a game of planetary Russian Roulette until we trigger the chamber that has the bullet.
I have been thinking though: should we embrace extinction instead of rejecting it?
Buddhists have always meditated on death. They have these vivid practices where you imagine yourself being a corpse eaten by worms. Tantric rituals take these practices to the next level. The point of these practices, of course, is not to become a murderer, but an enlightened being, that the severe contemplation of death can release compassion instead of fear.
Why not turbocharge that contemplation of mortality to the species level and meditate upon extinction?
Let me give the last word to Paul Edwards:
Of all the technologies built to fight the Cold War, digital computers have become its most ubiquitous, and perhaps its most important , legacy. Yet few have realized the degree to which computers created the technological possibility of' Cold War and shaped its political atmosphere, and virtually no one has recognized how profoundly the Cold War shaped computer technology. Its politics became embedded in the machineseven, at times, in their technical design- while the machines helped make possible its politics. This book argues that we can make sense of the history of computers as tools only when we simultaneously grasp their history as metaphors in Cold War science, politics, and culture.
What if the Cyborg is Kalki, the avatar of the apocalypse? And will remain so as long as we lie under the sword of extinction, whether nuclear, climate or some future catastrophe hidden behind the curtain.