“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.
There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague, and we are the cure.”
Anti-Humanism is less a coherent philosophical position by itself, and more of a logical outcome of all the other default capitalist ideological positions.
We can see it very clearly in this nasty Agent Smith quote. Now, Agent Smith is supposed to be a machine AI, and so probably pretty smart. We’d expect him to perhaps have decent concepts. But what Agent Smith actually is – is a character written for a commodity movie by commodity people.
So the good concepts? Not so much.
Agent Smith is an anti-humanist, because the people who wrote Agent Smith are anti-humanists. The people who wrote Agent Smith are anti-humanists, because commodified subjectivity is inherently anti-humanist.
Look at this drivel! There is no equilibrium in ‘nature’ whatsoever. There are exactly zero organisms that develop a ‘natural equilibrium’ with their ‘surrounding environment’, and there never have been. All organisms overshoot! That’s what an organism is! The only time they sometimes don’t is when they bump up against other populations that are also overshooting. That this sometimes looks equilibrious from our limited timescale is a hallucination – any balance or equilibrium in ‘nature’ is and has always been temporary. One organism will always eventually overshoot the others, and then it will die having eradicated its own supporting conditions, leaving room for more organisms to overshoot. And so on!
Nature is overshoot. Nature is a cancer! Nature is the plague.
Humans aren’t any different than any other organism in this!
Agent Smith is so wrong that he doesn’t realize human beings are the only existing organism that ever even had a chance of not overshooting. And indeed, for long periods of our history, we didn’t!
So much for the superior intelligence of the machine overlords.
Anti-Humanism is everywhere. It’s implicit in vulgar understandings of ‘overpopulation’, it’s built into the false universality of liberalism, it is rife in every pre-Darwinian ‘ecological’ conceptual edifice. The deep-greens hate human beings, because they’re comparing us to a fantastical Gaia entity that doesn’t exist (or they hate civilization itself, because they’re comparing it with a mythical garden of eden). What an irony – the greenest greens and the machine overlords agree in their reflexive anti-humanism. I wonder if they got their concepts from the same source?
When we take the shitty concepts of commodity society and try to use them to understand large-scale phenomena, we completely blot out the economic layer – because capitalists see this as neutral, natural, and thus invisible. Capitalists thus can only ever see human beings as equivalent to some kind of bug.
This should be extremely obvious to anybody living in the West during Covid times. The choice is this – quarantine and tamp down on the economy to save human lives, or keep the economy up and humming and let those fuckers burn.
Human lives or number-go-up? We’re ‘still figuring it out’.
Guess which choice the west picked? To the capitalist mentality, human lives are worthless – because the economy has to keep running no matter what. ‘Freedom’ my ass. If your ‘rights’ can be taken away when the First Plague of the Apocalypse shows up, they were never there to begin with. If you are being forced to go to work during Covid, you are being deliberately fed into a stochastic slaughterhouse for the sake of number-go-up and someone else’s commodity comforts. (Or you’re a healthcare worker, and thus a hero beyond reckoning).
By comparison, check out how a country that has some minimal autonomy from capitalist ideology and value dynamics tried to handle covid:
communism is humanity’s immune system. uncountable lives saved, one of the most incredible logistical feats ever attempted, few events more promethean in all human history. even now that it has fallen, it will never not be legendary. everybody in this gif is a superhero! in the 21c – civilization begins and ends with #zerocovid. history will vindicate this response. its loss is an unspeakable tragedy for the chinese masses, and for humanity.
If you live in a Western ‘democracy’ (they’re all actually capitalist oligarchies), anti-humanism drips from every billboard, spills out of every screen, screeches from every speaker. It’s implicit in most narratives commodified subjects can generate that contain the abstractions ‘people’, or ‘human’, not to mention that wonderful old bit of abstract ahistorical gibberish – ‘human nature’. (Translation: ‘it’s my nature’).
I guess they all just fucking hate themselves?
It’s sad, but it’s so widespread that it routinely gets played up for laughs. It was an American comedian who originally said ‘The planet is fine! The people are fucked!’
Allow me to emphasize:
this is an acceptable outcome to a commodified subject.
Anti-humanism is integral to capitalist culture, because capitalist culture is a culture of death.
The only thing Capital can see is Number, and Number?
It must go up.
Anti-Humanism is toxic and self-hating, but even worse – it is incorrect! Against anti-humanism we insist: human beings were not the problem. Capitalism was the problem, and human beings were the only possible solution to that problem.
This humanist stance of our line-struggle here is the hardest to uphold in our times, as the scale of our crimes dwarfs anything positive we’ve ever done. So, you have to be able to separate ‘human-ness’ from capitalism, which is kinda what we’re trying to do here. You probably won’t be able to do this unless you’ve started to extricate yourself from capitalist ideology, because you simply won’t have a basis of comparison otherwise. Once you start doing this tho, you will soon realize that the very definition of ‘human’ is a historically produced, evolving, contingent political distinction.
At the moment, that distinction coincides with an extinction event. Not a great look. As what we were and have been has little to recommend itself and is also obsolete, this means any 21c humanism can only be something that struggles against extinction trajectories, something that rejects what is, something that attempts to preserve itself in the face of oblivion, something that forges itself anew.
Humanity is an ideal yet to be achieved, or it is just a fetid fungal bloom.
This is a humanism that is both partisan and universal – which means that in the Post-Holocene, we have to choose to be human, against what currently counts as such.
So, while we should always be open to seeing the potential in all of our fellow organisms –
we also have to respect the choices of others.