Stirling Newberry is posting again!
Long post, even for me, and I am under the gun today, for all sorts of reasons, so here is a passage that caught my eye:
In our present practice of writing and thinking, in our rhetoric of politics and knowledge, we have come to a point of confusion. There will always be confusion, doubt, and despair – but ours is existential, and as a consequence paralyzing at the moment when action is needed. This paralysis will only make action more dramatically necessary, and more painful, when it arrives. Our problem, like that of Gibbons' England, is that we are looking backward at founding moments as the reason for our success, and continuation of the future, when, in fact, this is a founding moment, of a world which exists, but is shackled by chains posted into the dialog and discourse.
This essay is a journey, so here I erect a sign post of the markers along the way, the first is what we mean by post- and why it has exploded. The second is to search for moments in the past who have similarly looked back just at the moment when they should have looked forward. The third is to step forward from the world of post- to a world of proto-, from a narrative that is after, to one that is before. Along the way we will meet Enlil from Sumer and Akkad, stand at the base of volcanic fury as it wipes away old worlds, read Milton and his turning of post- into pre- for his age, look deep into the broad science that paints the history of humanity as a fresco in sulfur and carbon. Along the way we will look outwards to the last man, and meet Mary Shelley's first man.
He also plays with "neo" vs. "new."
As usual with Newberry, there are almost too many ideas to seize and run off with. And I -- probably neatly demonstrating one of the themes of the post -- can't do him justice right now. But I like the idea of flipping from post- to proto- rather a lot. And I like it even more that he's tanned, he's rested, he's ready, and felt it necessary/useful to return to the blogosphere.
As they say, read the whole thing.
NOTE For those who came in late, Stirling is a truly old-school blogger -- not latter-day whippersnapper like me -- who suffered a stroke in 2013.