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THE AGE OF META/PHYSICAL STRUGGLE
Kohso Sabu is an independent writer and translator from Japan living in New York City
What we have been experiencing in the recent past has been an irrevocable tendency toward a total fusion of the globe, where the impact of collisions among forces (both human and non-human) is dismantling everything we have known: from politics, economy, sociality, history, culture to the reproduction of everyday life. From the increasingly close communication networking within the social to the accelerating proximity of planetary activities and human systems, the impetus to become one, to fuse everything, has begun to run fissures through the planetary apparatus in different dimensions and in an unprecedented manner. The fissures could either be positive (revolutionary) or negative (disastrous), or even dystopian, as evident in 3/11.
3/11 has announced the irreversibility of the impetus with a massive spread of radioactivity along with its imminent and omnipresent possibilities of like incidents across the world. Since then, we – emphatically within Japan but also globally -- have inexorably been made part of the necro-politics of radiation. The politics is aimed at managing and controlling the nuclear disaster and the radiation-fallout affecting our life world, instead of eliminating it. At the moment it is epitomized by a blurred and blurring spatio-temporality. Most crucially, we are confronted with the issue of how and where will the radioactivity spread and effect other life forms? How and when will our bodies develop symptoms? The formation of the current global nuclear regime strategizes through the uncertainties and unevenness as radioactive substances affect the ecosystem in space and time. This regime continues to tell us: “There are no immediate effects! Mind your own business. Business as usual.” In this way, the struggle of life- forms pushing against the regime gets initiated through information warfare.
Coincidentally, or perhaps correspondingly, educational systems around the world are collapsing and wiki-leaks have launched their own assault against the empire for its information communization. Japanese mothers have begun their self-education, their autonomous investigation through information gathering and networking in opposition to the academic and state authorities, which are predictably showing irresponsibility and an inability to act. Post 3/11 is the age when the sophic domains of information, intelligence, science and technology present themselves, more than ever, not only as the system that constructs the material world as apparatus, but also provide some basis of commonality and even weapons for the people to fight the regime.
Radioactivity has both physical and metaphysical aspects. The monster is after all the embodiment of energo-genesis itself. Having been developed mostly by a ‘boys’ club’ of vanguard mathematicians and physicists after WWI, the theoretical discovery and technological manipulation of the invisible world of atoms succeeded in reproducing the solar activity of nuclear fusion whose half-life endures an astronomical number of years, a length of time that is beyond human imagination and control. “But,” as Robert Jungk reminds us, “they never dreamed that their somewhat esoteric studies would so soon, so profoundly and so violently affect the fate of mankind and their own lives.” Now that the metaphysical core is internalized in the apparatus as an artifice, the encounter/collision between the man-made world and the planet earth could anytime release the metaphysical into the physical with apocalyptic consequences. It is in this precise sense, nuclear weapon and nuclear power assume one and the same effect.
With the advent of climate change all the planetary activities -- earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, etc. – embody the wrath of mother earth, in addition to her consistent nourishment. Now we have no other choice but to raise our struggle against the necro-politics of radiation on the horizon of the sublime spectrum of planetary affects, which could kill us at anytime, but is also our ultimate source and home. What or who is the figure to instigate this anti necro-political struggle? Who is going to materialize the necessary rage against the necro-politics at the same time as clean up the current mess (quite literally)? The angry mothers who unhesitatingly act by employing the entire spectrum of affects from love to wrath to curse, or the shamans who could translate the languages of science and magic, physics and metaphysics, and the world and the earth? We are thus in the age of meta/physical struggle.