Kris Pint

Online talk with Q&A
Sat 30 January 2021
19:30 CET (Brussels time)

Living up to the anthropos. Becoming human in the Anthropocene.

Recent critiques of anthropocentric thinking have pointed out that the human scale seems unfit to grasp what shapes us and our environment: from gut bacteria and neurotransmitters on the micro-level to vast ecological processes and socio-economical networks on the macro-level.

Yet, there is a danger in simply discarding the human perspective, even if it has put us and the planet in an extremely precarious position. Intimate desire and suffering, the experiences of a specific body, with a specific life span, cannot but play an essential role in the way we address problems that seem to occur in a completely different scale, impossible to grasp. For some paleontologists, the evolutionary specificity of human experience did not emerge when we became rational tool-makers, able to instrumentalize the environment for better or for worse, but when we turned into ecstatic image-makers, linking outer reality to inner experience. So rather than try to bypass the human frame of reference, we should revise, adapt and revitalize its arsenal of allegedly outmoded concepts, like the soul, imagination, inner life, using them as ‘working fictions’. This specific capability of human imagination, linking the intimate experience to the external, non-human environment, allows for an exploration of other modes of human existence, providing a form of resistance to the status quo.