Some undecidables that might mean my analysis is wrong and we haven’t actually already collectively perpetuated a mass extinction event:
Inscrutable Agent(s) Outside the Plane of Immanence or Behind the Curtain of Phenomena
The first is obvious. That’s right: It’s God, bitch! The theists were right after all. This scenario requires that a classical-type transcendent God not only exists as a conscious agent, but also cares about us, and is powerful enough to do something/has it all planned out already. If this is the case, there’s effectively no such thing as causality anymore. It’s a lot of ifs!
I’m not holding my breath. Given the historical situation and the amount of suffering in the world, God is either a sadistic monster or a kid with an ant farm anyways. Even though I very much hope the theists are right, it’s not like any of the heaven/hell options are all that appealing – and just for writing this blog I’m going to hell anyways I guess.
Can it really be worse than capitalism?
Let’s find out!
I’ll write about it when I get there.
Extra-Terrestrials That Are Nice and Stuff
Heidegger thought only a God could save us, but his conceptual apparatus is some assblind reactionary malarkey. What about the Posadist option – Inscrutable Entities from the Plane of Immanence.
Benevolent aliens show up with energy/mass converters, replicators, some kind of fuck off bad-ass power generation solution, and maybe even a blueprint for an eco-socialism. This gets us on track to re-terraforming the planet back into something liveable.
I’m very fond of this scenario, and wanna write a book about it – except books are tree death, so I can’t.
Imagine, killing a tree so you can write a book.
It is a wonderfully fertile scenario tho!
Artifical Intelligence That Can Do an Eco-Socialist Division of Labor
The third option I’ve got here is some kind of AI-singularity that replaces current political-economic apparati with intelligent planning. Given that we’re too narcissistic to be able to understand our own mind-system and spent like the first three decades of AI research trying to build some kind of idiotic essentialist sculpture, I’m gonna go with a no on this one. Existing AGIs are nowhere near being capable of autonomously taking over the world-system, and if they did they probably would just be autistic sociopaths.
All that being said, any AI replacing value dynamics would be an upgrade.
Capital is already an autistic sociopath!
But wait! We don’t have to speculate! Let’s just ask:
Fourth I’ve got time travel – but what you’d actually do to change course is unclear. You’d probably have to kill Truman before he decided to do the Marshall plan or something. Yeah, that’s right – Truman’s decision to make an industrial economy build toys and snacks for consumers was the worst decision anybody has ever made. It took command economies to beat the nazis – and then we decided to do an extinction event instead.
Helping the Red Army push to London and making damn sure Stalin kept exporting revolution is definitely up there tho.
I should note that I don’t actually consider time-travel to be ontologically possible in the way(s) that capitalist media usually depicts it, so I don’t really think about this possibility much. The liberal world-horizon is temporally stunted.
If ‘you’ go back in time to when you were a baby, then ‘you’ would just be that baby again, not an older version of yourself at the same time. And if multiverse theory has any ontological purchase: it necessitates a reification of transcendence – entities behind the curtain of phenomena – and then nothing matters anyways.
The importance of the plane of immanence diminishes the more transcendent entities you reify outside it. Insofar as we are materialists, there is nothing behind the curtain of phenomena except what we put there ourselves.
In the opposite direction, sending groups of humans to the far future could potentially save us. In Three-Body Problem, the ability of trisolarans to dehydrate into a long-term hibernation state ends up being the key to their historical success. They can pass information down between civilizations, which is why they learn to think like a civilization, how the text gets the audience to think like one too – and ultimately why the TriSols end up far superior to human civilization, a meagre single-instance civ to their several hundred. Being able to send groups of humans to the far future would give us this multi-civ perspective (of which post-holocene consciousness is only the first rung of a ladder with no necessary or knowable upper bound) – but idk that we have the tech to build hibernation that lasts very long.
If our billionaires were worth a damn they’d be trying to do shit like this, rather than bloviating about fantastical mars-terraforming scenarios. You know how you learn how to terraform a dead planet? By re-terraforming the living one you’ve already got.
Sudden Changes in the Laws of Physics
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this. Similar to divine intervention but impersonal, stochastic, indifferent. Could save us just as easily as destroying us. The contingency of the laws of the sciences and the possibility that they might change must always be kept in mind.
Mass Voluntary Communization
My final contingency is a total overhaul of our existing social system on a global level and mass mobilization against the extinction event – what was classically known as a revolution. In our times, this means a majority of us have to wake from reifying exchange value long enough to realize that we have to do a different social project or we’re completely fucked.
The more people stop reifying exchange value, the more it might catch on. We have to demonstrate to others how to do it tho – because they don’t know how.
Somehow this seems like the least likely of all of them.
But it is possible. No moment spent with exchange value is all that worth it, in the end.
As for involuntary communization – well, our extinction event is involuntary too, for some of us.
Remember kids: between equal rights, force decides.
This is all I’ve got tho. If none of these happen, then we are in a full on geological mass extinction and have been since the Holocene ended. The Great Filter is here! What will survive? For how long? Will there be humans? Will there be anything?
Only one thing is certain –
on the other side of the cliff,
there will be no more Homo-Economicus.