When I post this the winter solstice occurred two hours ago (11:12 GMT) while I was with Västnytt shooting some scenes for their broadcast later tonight. If you are around to read this blog post, this means that the world did not end and things remains more or less the same. There was no apocalypse or transformation of consciousness. People will now look for new dates, either following the 260-days long tzolkin, or claim that 2013 contains 13 just as the 13 baktun date that just ended. The chosen few that have better knowledge about the GMT (Goodman-Martinez-Thompson) correlation issue will postpone the “end” to December 24. Someone might claim the whole GMT family of correlations are wrong and opt for a much later “end”, such as these Czechs who claim the Long Count calendar correlation is off by two calendar rounds and will occur in roughly 104 years. Few will claim that we have been living in a postapocalyptic world for two centuries already.
Most of the apocalyptic/transformation of consciousness ideas have been based on religious and esoteric metaphysics. Since nothing actually happened (or will happen), you may start to reconsider that this kind of metaphysics is not what is at stake after all. Some 2012-prophets, who strongly believe in this kind of metaphysics, condemn “materialism”, or rather “scientific materialism”. However, maybe the “speculative materialism” that I have outlined in the past posts is something you should take a look at. The previous posts can be found here, here, and here.
Meillassoux proposes a fourfold diagram of possible attitudes towards God (and the “divine” in general I assume). (1) the atheist position is to not believe in God because God does not exist. (2) the theist position is to believe in God because God does exist. (3) the Luciferian position is to not believe in God because God exists. (4) the Meillassouxian position is to believe in God because God does not exist. This is the virtual God, the inexistent God that may or may not come to existence in the future. If it occurs it will be an ex nihilo event, impossible to predict.
In his not yet published dissertation thesis “The Divine Inexistence”, Meillassoux outlines a history of cosmos and Western philosophy that sets his agenda in context. He divides the cosmos into stages of advent of a World. An advent is something without reason and radically novel in relation to what existed before. A World is the advent of something that constitutive for humans. There are four orders that ruptures becoming and those are matter, life, thought and justice. The fourth has not yet emerged and it may never emerge.
According to Meillassoux, the history of “Western” philosophy has been dominated by three Symbols: cosmological, naturalistic, and historical. These are all “intra-worldly” advents and do not follow the same rules as the advents of Worlds (matter, life, etc.). Isaac Newton destroyed the cosmological Symbol by decomposing planetary orbits. Rousseau later set up a difference between the natural and the social. This became the naturalistic Symbol. The corrupt earth was no longer opposed to the majestic sky. This Symbol was eventually replaced by the historical Symbol where disembodied historical processes restores the meaning that first was stripped from the sky and then from nature. As we await a fourth World, Meillassoux proposes a fourth symbol: the factial symbol, which is non-metaphysical.
We have lost the certainty of understanding the real. When a Symbol begins to die we encounter new alternative nightmares: traditionalism and sophistical immoralism. In our time traditionalism would be the emergence of religious fundamentalism, creationism, etc. The latter includes postmodernists but would, in my view, include the 2012-prophets that provide easy solutions by persuasive rhetoric, etc. This is what 2012ers accuse academics for but it is, in fact this group of beliefs that creates irrational nightmares. The reason why all these Symbols have failed is because they have been metaphysical and dependent on a belief in real necessity. Reason has collapsed in favor of an irrational transcendence. The 2012-circus and all its irrationalism is an indication that Meillassoux’s historical Symbol is beginning to die.
Meillassoux suggests that religion devaluate the human. Actually, both theism and atheism are problematic since they falsely believe that their positions exhaust all possibilities and that their positions by necessity are true. Atheism is a defensive strategy used by people satisfied with the unsatisfying territory that religion has created. For Meillassoux religion is not a camp in war with atheism. It is the battlefield where two camps meet. Atheism accepts the negative version of immanence which is proposed by religion. Hence, atheism is not a meaningful option.
Instead of exhausting all possibilities by adhering to necessity, Meillassoux says that the existence of God is possible, not that God exists now but that God may exist in the future. God is virtual rather than possible. Our link with God is with an inexistent God where we all are forerunners of God. Strangely, Meillassoux argues that to believe that God exists is blasphemy and idolatry.
He wishes to restore a necessary superiority. The human is the factial but the ultimate effect of advent. Because thought is different from what came before it (life), there is no other entity that can make a leap beyond thought itself. That would be justice and this only exists for thinking beings. Therefore, every human deserves justice because the value of humans has no cause since cause always is inferior to its effect. Humans acquire value because they understand the eternal. They have value because they know, not what they know.
Philosophical ethics must be an ethics of immortality, a life with no elsewhere. Meillassoux calls this ethics “divine ethics” because it seeks immortality for only this life. He argues that since everything is logically possible this goes for the rebirth of bodies as well. This would be a fourth World because if a World arose from the three earlier ones, it could only be the rebirth of humans, the World of justice. It has not yet emerged but it exists as an object of hope. This is the hope that 2012ers tend to maintain.
As a whole, Meillasoux’s speculative materialism is an ontology that few people would agree with and neither do I. I mainly agree with his critique of correlationism but from there I rather follow the object-oriented path. However, for those 2012ers who have sought the solutions in esoteric transcendent metaphysics to become transrational and have utterly failed to do so (since why are you still here and not elsewhere?), my summary provides you another path for eternal life (never mind the critique launched by philosophers like Peter Hallward and Martin Hägglund which I have ignored here). One only has to await the advent when the inexistent God becomes existent. I highly doubt that post-2012ers will abandon their desire of having a date to focus on. Even though ex nihilo events cannot be predicted in advance, why not opt for October 2, 2027? I am sure one can combine the Aztec Five Suns with Meillassoux’s four Worlds. Why not? It is entirely possible in Meillassoux’s hyper-Chaos.