Thursday, March 29, 2018
A precarious humanism
Modernity concerned itself with building shelters, protections, guarantees, so it could push back the spectre of death. But now that the tempest has blown away our shelters, we begin to realise that the weak secularism of the modern age has only managed to put death between brackets. We have not learnt how to talk about death, and now death looks at us, contemptuous and sneering, from every corner of the social life. The precarious condition is naked against the cold, winds, hunger, violence. Precarity is bare life as exposed to the truth of death. There is no return from the precarious condition, because it reveals a truth that for too long we have been hiding from ourselves, and of which we are now finally aware. Death inscribes itself within the horizon of radical, autonomous, materialist thinking, because it is only by knowing the limit of our time and of our lives that we might be able to understand that which dialectic (idealist) communism has stopped us from seeing: that the winner wins nothing, and that the struggle for freedom is doomed to failure from the start. And that only in an aware state of autonomy from the awareness of the inevitable it is possible to live happily, and to die consciously, that is - freely.
Radical atheism begins again from scratch, looking at existence from the point of view of death.
Is this the sign of a political defeat?
Or is it perhaps the beginning of a precarious humanism, looking for a happy harmony with chaos?
-Franco Berardi Bifo (from Vanishing Modernity - his introduction to The Last Night : Anti-work, Atheism, Adventure by Frederico Campagna - Zero books 2013)