Facing the Planetary: Entangled Humanism and the Politics of Swarming
William E. Connolly is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches political theory. He is a former editor of Political Theory and one of the cofounders of Theory & Event. His recent books include The Fragility of Things; A World of Becoming; Capitalism and Christianity, American Style; and Pluralism, all also published by Duke University Press.
Distributed Agencies and Bumpy Temporalities
This chapter reviews several periods of rapid change in glacier flows, climate, and ocean currents, some of which occurred well before the Anthropocene. The effects on different civilizations are reviewed. The chapter asks to what extent the doctrine of panexperientialism helps us to grasp such a sporadic history. After introducing the doctrine, adjustments to it are proposed that may help readers to appreciate modes of experience that extend well beyond the human estate and to respect temporal “bumps” by which new complexities of experience emerge and are enlarged. To gather together these themes the chapter addresses the “mysterianism” of Colin McGinn. He claims that we “must” treat the world as a set of blind processes, construe ourselves as free agents, and admit that there is no possible way to square such a combination. The chapter closes by using elements from previous chapters to support an entangled humanism that deepens pluralism and extends attachments to a planet that is neither designed for humans nor highly amenable to human mastery