Humankind continues to vegetate



After the Second World War, everything, including a resurrected culture, has been destroyed without realizing it; humankind continues to vegetate, creeping along after events that even the survivors cannot really survive, on a rubbish heap that has made even reflection on one's own damaged state useless.

Theodor Adorno, 'Trying to Understand Endgame'

(thanks to Institute for sending this my way. For those apologists of capital who use the metaphor of "green shoots" to envision the glimmers of hope rising beneath the glacial weight of the crisis, consider this other form, this determined pathetic kudzu creep of that which knows it is broken but cannot help itself. This may very well wind up as an epigraph to the apocalypse book, although given my tendencies, it will need to be followed with words of a different tone, a little more of a crooked grin. A graveside smile to cut through the heavy fog of gloom with some sharp and joyful doom.)

3 comments:

Giovanni said...

It is rubbish, though. Eurocentric, Germanocentric rubbish. I'm thinking that people from, say, India, can survive the events of WWII just fine, and that the Peruvians don't live in quite so damaged a state either. Being Italian, I suppose I should be grateful that there are people willing to blame 'humanity' for Fascism and Nazism - but it is rubbish.

socialism and/or barbarism said...

Entirely agreed. That's part of what interests me about this, in terms of my work on misanthropy as internal anti-Europeanism, which involves a consequent shrinking of apocalypse to shifts that affect "humanity" (i.e. Europe) and hence which cannot grasp the ongoing, systemic implementations of apocalyptic zones across the globe.

All that said, the man could turn a phrase.

Giovanni said...

That he could - "there can be no poetry after Auschwitz" is quite the double simultaneous blow to the head and stomach. And I have some sympathy for the argument that in Europe the apocalypse has already happened (you'll get some joy from Sebald on that count too), I just can't abide for the universalisation of that particular historicised feeling.

Love the idea of apocalyptic zones, you could build a world map of asynchronous armageddons. And when I say you I don't mean a generic you, I mean you.