What will be my contribution to the “2012-meme” you may ask? I have reached a point where I feel there is no much reason explaining what is right or wrong in relation to 2012. 2012ers will not listen anyway.
My involvement in the 2012 phenomenon has primarily taken place on this blog so I will use it as the foundation for my little side-project. The blog is a medium, a constituting part of what Tim Morton calls a hyperobject, the 2012-hyperobject as I choose to call it (instead of the 2012-meme). A hyperobject is a particular kind of object. In the various forms of object-oriented ontologies that have emerged in last decade, all that exists are objects. The subject is simply one form of object.
A hyperobject is not occupying a singular time and space like your chair. It is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. For example, the 2012-hyperobject is manifested in various objects; Monument 6 at Tortuguero, the Aztec Calendar Stone, books (“The Maya” by Coe, “2012: Maya Cosmogenesis” by Jenkins, etc.), blogs, internet forums, facebook, etc. The 2012-hyperobject itself is always withdrawn. We can never reach its essence, only its sensual qualities. It can be inferred, deduced and abducted, but it cannot be encountered. Nevertheless objects that interact with the 2012-hyperobject are independent of it. Monument 6 at Tortuguero is independent of the 2012-hyperobject, it has many other sensual qualities and it has been and is part of other hyperobjects as well, such as the Classic period ajawlel (kingship). In my side-project I will focus on the interactions of different hyperobjects and show how they may enter conflicting relations with one and another.
On the blog I am not just dealing with people believing in religious apocalyptic narratives although they clearly dominate. There are also secular apocalyptic narratives of this 2012-hyperobject. I see these narratives as sensual objects that describe the 2012-hyperobject.
Object-oriented philosopher, psychoanalyst, and blogger Levi Bryant sees “apocalypticism in popular culture […] as a symptom. Recall that a symptom is often a compromise formation. While we do indeed suffer from our symptoms, with a psychoanalytic framework, symptoms are a solution to a deadlock of desire that allows the subject to attain jouissance under the mark of erasure. Symptoms speak a truth, but in disguised form”. In my side-project I will use part of Bryant’s description of apocalypticism and his onticology to analyze my and my blog’s interaction with other objects and hyperobjects.
The apocalyptic fantasies are nothing but utopian longings for a different order. This new order can only become possible when everything collapses through some divine-like agency and instigates the end of the current social world. Bryant asks what truth apocalyptic fantasies might express and what compromises are being formed in these apocalyptic fantasies. He suggests that “the sorts of apocalyptic fantasies we encounter in religion and popular culture are metonymical displacements or screens of real [… ] catastrophe’s that are facing us”. Indeed, in the past few years we have seen earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear disaster, the economic rise of the east, economic turmoil in the west, occupy the Wall Street movement, volcanic eruptions, sea-level rising, wars, Arabic revolutions, terrorism, etc. These events apparently spread anxiety among some people, looking for easy explanations and solutions.
In this view, the 2012 fantasy refers “to a real, but in disguised, screened, or fetishized form. There is a truth in these fantasies, without a knowledge of this truth […]. The truth of these fantasies is that we really are facing global catastrophe. Knowledge of this truth would entail seeing how this global catastrophe is deeply linked to capitalism, climate change, and the link between the two. Instead, within the popular imaginary, we get a distortion of this link, presenting impending catastrophe as the result of cosmic supernatural forces fighting a battle between good and evil” (Bryant). What better example than the “mysterious” calendar in the 2012 movement and the ancient collapse of the Maya in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto can one desire? This is the attraction of the Maya.
Why is this knowledge disguised in this way? Bryant states that “apocalyptic fantasies allow those that harbor them to simultaneously acknowledge the truth of the ravages of capitalism and impending environmental disaster, while simultaneously continuing to live as they wish, keeping the system in place that is leading in these directions.” Indeed, few of the online 2012ers are willing to put words into action. They are armchair revolutionaries that want “nature”, God, or the calendar itself to do the dirty work for them. Even Calleman’s peaceful transformation of consciousness demands mass extinctions.
In my side-project I will see how my blog and my blogging activity interacts with other objects within the 2012-hyperobject between April 2009 and April 2013. That is the plan for now anyway.