Anthrodecentrism – the genesis and meaning of a word

I’m not one to claim ownership over my language. I have not yet succeeded in working off my debt to the language with which I speak. I still owe it everything. I suspect I will always owe it everything. Words exist in an ecology of knowledge, a gossipy network of promiscuous and often comedic-tragic ties. Words are only ever bastard children, brought forth repeatedly through unknown mothers and by absent fathers. Who am I to claim a word? I am but a word myself. Once uttered, words reverberate in a world all their own.

And what about decentering the human (anthro-de-centrism)? I am all for it. Human and humus (earth) have both been set into motion. We are no longer at the still center of things–rather, we ourselves are things. I don’t see anthrodecentrism necessarily leading to nihilism or atheism. I think we can look at the de-centering of our species as an opportunity to re-orient anthropos, checking our hubris, so that we learn to walk in stride with our divine and cosmic conspirators. Anthropos has been over-emphasized since the Enlightenment. It’s time to reign in our desire to reign over and own the world. Earth is not ours. It belongs to God, first of all, and second of all to the many other creatures of God who live and die among us on the mud beneath the sun.

Anthrodecentrism is both proscriptive and descriptive. In terms of democratic governance, it is corporate persons and not human persons who determine the law. Money is speech. Money talks. Descriptively, then, anthrodecentrism is a fact about the way global techocapitalism functions in its total domination over the human worker/consumer/slave. We no longer live in a human-scale world. We live in a world dominated by corporate egregores. Morton likes to bring up the fact that we’ve entered a new geological era, the “anthropocene”; but to my mind it is precisely what is no longer human about our civilization that is destroying human society along with the earth community. Proscriptively, anthrodecentrism implies a radical politics of de-centralization and anarchism, which is not chaos and lawlessness, but free association and political activity for the sake of the common (rather than the private) good. “Common” here means not just common for humans, but for the entire cosmic community.

[Update: has responded]

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  1. “Word reverberate in a world all their own” and yet, they form a language when combined. “Mi alone is only mi, but mi with sol, me with soul, means a song is beginning (Schwartz, 1973).

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