Time is an elusive and deceptive phantasm, slipping beyond our grasp until we find ourselves grasping at nothing, before finding ourselves encaged within its bars, cut off from the timelessness of the present.
Relativity, quantum correlation, time entanglement and superposition, and other truisms of science all (to the degree that scientific truth reveals anything) reveal that time is, if nothing else, fuzzy. But the phenomenology our immediate egoistic experience, while perhaps encoded in the myths and Symbols of History, progress, civilisation; means we find ourselves ultimately condemned to the transient dances of the eternal return of the present. And so, we find that the linear trajectory mapping out Historicities, personal, political or otherwise, places us outside ourselves, seeking to divorce us from our flesh, our bodies, our living-animality – as before domestication there was no History and no “real” time, as non-domesticated animals, with no machinery/production, can really only waste time, and time wasted isn’t time spent (because time is capital as-reified-Being).
But we find ourselves ultimately in a state of cosmic-contradiction, akin to that of superposition. This contradiction is the one that finds us both trapped in the alienation of time/History and mysteriously, immediately outside of it, free from its clutches. Which is not to say that bodies don’t decay within the transience of the present, presenting what we call age – which is ultimately just illusions regarding the Sameness of any identicality within the spatio-temporality of flux (the river of Heraclitus) – eternity is at the core of all myths of the Leviathan and its machinery, with all eternity being the eternity of time and the encoding of civilisation. No, this is the claim that neither the past nor the future exist.
The concept of time is a force that divorces us from relationalities and into structures. Zerzan wrote in Time and its Discontents –
“Time necessarily flows; without its passage there would be no sense of time. Whatever flows, though, flows with respect to time. Time therefore flows with respect to itself, which is meaningless owing to the fact that nothing can flow with respect to itself. No vocabulary is available for the abstract explication of time apart from a vocabulary in which time is already presupposed.”
So given time being located with a discourse that presupposes its own existence, time is revealed as the dogmatic axiom of a foundationalist construction of Being – a machinic entity, a blockage in the living flow of wild-Being.
But given the state of empire we find ourselves geographically immersed within, it cannot be denied that, in our superposition, we also find ourselves encaged in time/History. And we find ourselves at the ending of one year and the beginning of another – though I feel disgusted by discussing this in the terms of beginnings and endings, time and History, for pragmatisms sake I shall.
2017 was a tough year for many. Many, perhaps most, thought that things couldn’t get worse than 2016. But 2017 came and kicked us all up the arse.
If Trump and Brexit and other entirely arbitrary socio-political narratives weren’t enough to strike fear and horror into your hearts, regarding the trajectory History and progress seems to be going down (in its fumbling attempts to avoid collapse), well then the destructive fury of hurricanes, earthquakes and wild-fires, escalated by the effects of civilisations violence, brought many closer to the existential nightmare before us, as ecological collapse means a far more chaotic (to use the language of the false dichotomy of chaos and order) world than any of us have ever known.
And we’d be complete fools if we were to believe 2018 is going to be an easier year.
It seems almost poetic that as this past year ends and this new one begins, Storm Dylan will visit this island in the North Sea that I live upon. And ecological collapse is here, right now. This is the mass extinction event and regardless of any socio-political scheme, project or whatever thing culture tries to create to keep itself going, who it elects or who it impeaches, humanity, as in civilised, domesticated biological-humans within the machinery of the Leviathan, is fucked. 2018 will, I believe, bring us all far closer to this truth. And it feels Kaczynzkian to say that civilisation can’t have its cake and eat it too – especially given the media coverage he has had with the new Netflix series (which isn’t actually too bad).
But 2017 wasn’t a bad year for me. In fact 2017 was in many ways fucking awesome! Sure there has been personal struggles, everyday stresses and the crap that just goes with living in this culture to piss me off. But 2017 was the year in which the book I’d poured myself into during the last 2 years of my undergraduate degree became published, seeing a huge personal dream realised, which I’ve done talks on across this island, seen in book shops I love, and which has brought more people than I expected to contact me about with love in response to. 2017 has been the year during which I married the woman I have loved and been companion to since I was 15, who has stuck by me these 11 years and deeply cared for me throughout my cancer treatment (and we had a glorious wedding). 2017 included my managing to find employment that I find personally enriching, with no self-betrayal, so that I have the financial means to survive this culture and engage in activities that I want to engage in. In 2017 I have been able to give more of myself to struggles I want to support. It has seen new friendships, as well as the ending of old ones. It has involved laughter and tears. And I am grateful for the experiences of this past year.
As 2018 comes ever closer though, while I am excited for personal projects, I cannot deny the dread I feel regarding what I believe is to come. I’m not looking forward to the further collapse of the biosphere, though I do see beauty in the destructive fury of wild-Being. I am not looking forward to the return of specicide projects that I feel tugged towards attempting to sabotage. I don’t care about arbitrary socio-political issues, but I don’t want to see those that I love struggling because of their violences.
I guess I will just have to take each present moment as it comes, as we all do in actuality.
The becoming-feral of green nihilism and the emergence of animal-becoming through radical mysticism as an iconoclastic force, outside of time/History as a means of attacking and resisting the Leviathan, through revolt and rebellion, is what I have to offer now, in this present moment. These dances are what interest me in this present moment. I’ll have to see if 2018 moves me away from this or closer to it.
I’ll end with a happy new year, as it seems fitting, and I’ll say that I hope your 2018 is full of wild life-enriching experiences.