Whitehead’s view elsewhere that the universe is “a field of force—or, in other words, a field of incessant activity” not only undergirds Sarah’s crucial vectorization “Form is a verb” but that, I would expand, everything is verb. Life is verb. [To tie with other conversations in Session 1 concerning ‘meaning’ and ‘sense-making’, just would add here sens in French also includes additionally ‘directionality’, this dimension of vectoring form-ing, living, creating.]
I sing Whitehead’s song concerning an undivided Nature-[Hu]Man and there is indeed so much to marvel and affirm in, as Sarah says: “...that what distinguishes humans is the way that we have used culture to radically extend and amplify our capacities.” And yet, I pause how human plasticity and our incomparable capacities have brought us — humans and non-humans — to the brink of planetary ecocide. I don’t know if Whitehead contemplated such a horizon; but (re-)affirming and (re-)activating an incessant culture of care—or even more, to incessantly create embodied (micro-)cultures of caring—feels crucial in confronting and embracing what lies Be-For(e) and With-In.
To keep from humanism-past:
- While there was the French Enlightenment; there was also the daring inflammatory counter-Enlightenment of Johann Georg Hamman (as much I feel little resonance with his polemics).
- Within the French Enlightenment, that Diderot could pen such a flight of delirium as Rameau’s Nephew.
- Who was it that posited that the opposition between reason and feeling is illusory? Rather, that reason is a special form of feeling. In other words, feeling is a continuum inclusive of reason.
Meditating on just these three—the way they each circuit a critical contingency to push back or vector ways of thinking and living otherwise while entangled in far more formidable, prevailing, dominant conditionalities—could it be that I harbor a desire to keep all of humanism-past?
What might enacting erasure of parts of humanism-past portend for an ethical posthumanism-future?