Posted by: Johan Normark | September 2, 2013

Nihilistic archaeology

If there is one part of the object-oriented perspectives that I have problem with it is the panpsychic tendencies used to break the correlationist circle. In panpsychism mind is intrinsic to being and therefore exists in and for itself. It need not be correlated with anything else. Such a perspective makes it easier to suggest that consciousness emerge from something already existing (i.e. experience). The alternative is to state that consciousness emerges from something non-conscious which is undoubtedly a more complicated argument. However, I find it hard to accept notions, like that found in “neoanimism”, that even stones have personhood, experience, etc. In the end this implies that meaning is inherent in the objects themselves.

I am beginning to look into Brassier’s eliminitavist nihilism since he wishes to eliminate anything that falsely makes humans feel secure. The destruction of meaning is its goal. Extinction is, in fact, the ultimate fate of all existences. Existence is therefore meaningless. Archaeology studies past extinctions, of what has ceased to be, only traceable in scattered pieces here and there. Connections between various material traces are made in order to form an anthropocentric meaning, both for the past humans but also for the people of today. As such, a nihilistic archaeology could study extinctions on many different levels; the breaking of a ceramic vessel, the burning of a house, settlement abandonment, etc. Past and present humans have invested these events with meaning but it is important to first see them all as something free of any meaning whatsoever. Meaning is secondary.


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