back to

e-flux conversations

The Labor of the Inhuman, Part I: Human

Inhumanism is the extended practical elaboration of humanism; it is born out of a diligent commitment to the project of enlightened humanism. As a universal wave that erases the self-portrait of man drawn in sand, inhumanism is a vector of revision. It relentlessly revises what it means to be human by removing its supposed evident characteristics and preserving certain invariances. At the same time, inhumanism registers itself as a demand for construction, to define what it means to be human by treating human as a constructible hypothesis, a space of navigation and intervention.

Inhumanism stands in concrete opposition to any paradigm that seeks to degrade humanity either in the face of its finitude or against the backdrop of the great outdoors. Its labor partly consists in decanting the significance of human from any predetermined meaning or particular import set by theology—thereby extricating human significance from human veneration fabricated as a result of assigning significance to varieties of theological jurisdiction (God, ineffable genercity, foundationalist axiom, and so forth).

Once the conflated and the honorific meaning of man is replaced by a minimalist yet functionally consequential, real content, the humilific credo of antihumanism that subsists on a theologically anchored conflation between significance and veneration also loses its deflationary momentum. Incapable of salvaging its pertinence without resorting to a concept of crisis occasioned by theology, and unsuccessful in extracting human significance by disentangling the pathological conflation between real import and glorification, antihumanism is revealed to be in the same theological boat that it is so determined to set on fire.

Failing to single out significance according to the physics that posits it rather than the metaphysics that inflates it, antihumanism’s only solution for overcoming the purported crisis of meaning comes by adopting the cultural heterogeneity of false alternatives (the ever increasing options of post-, communitarian retreats as so-called alternatives to totality, and so forth). Rooted in an originary conflation that was never resolved, such alternatives perpetually swing between their inflationary and deflationary, enchanting and disenchanting bipolar extremes, creating a fog of liberty that suffocates any universalist ambition and hinders the methodological collaboration required to define and achieve a common task for breaking out of the current planetary morass.

Read the full article here.