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Re: <nettime> McKenzie Wark: Birth of Thanaticism
John Hopkins on Wed, 21 Oct 2015 09:35:22 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> McKenzie Wark: Birth of Thanaticism

On the Thanaticism discussion -- I ran across this excerpt from an interview with Langdon Winner:

Q: You have also been critical of the term Anthropocene, the idea that we are living in a new epoch where human activities define ecosystems. It’s an idea that could shape development planning over the next few decades. Why do you think we need to be wary?

LW: It’s the idea that you can name geological epochs according to some identifiable characteristic. The people who proposed the Anthropocene say humanity is responsible for the significant changes of the past centuries and changes in the future. But naming this geological period after humanity is kind of deterministic — “this is what humans have done”. And it is self-exulting — “look at our grand role in the history of the cosmos”.

But if you look at what is being projected, a better name might be Thanatopocene, after Thanatos, the Greek personification of death. It appears that instead of a grand exultation and transcendence of humanity, we are at a death spiral. So why exult ourselves with concepts like Anthropocene? I find its self-congratulatory power fantasy highly suspicious, at the very point where we ought to be looking at the good evidence that challenges the way of life that’s been built up over the last three centuries.

Full interview at


Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
grounded on a granite batholith
twitter:  {AT} neoscenes

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