Spatiotemporality in the Anthropocene: Deleuzoguattarian philosophy, quantum physics, and the German Netflix series dark

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Crises alter our perception of time. For medical personnel faced with treating unprecedented numbers of critically ill patients under conditions of personal threat, COVID-19 has most recently accelerated the subjective perception of time. For millions of others, social isolation has decelerated our lives. For all of us, at least in the short term, the future has become more uncertain. Theoretical physicists tell us, however, that under any conditions, the human perception of the flowing of time is only a result of our blurred, limited, macroscopic vision. As the quantum physicist Carlo Rovelli writes, therefore, “[t]o understand ourselves is to reflect on time” (2018: 179). Potentially caused by humans’ failed interactions with wild animals, the contemporary global pandemic, as well as previous outbreaks such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus) or the bird flu, has led to calls to reevaluate humans’ relationships with nonhuman life, with the natural environment that includes us, in the epoch that may soon be named for our very failure – the Anthropocene. In an era in which our usual, day-to-day certainties and desire for human control have been upended, not only by the current medical crisis but also by the continuing existential threat to terrestrial life that is climate change, a rethinking of the category of the human, a new conceptualization of the entangled (human and nonhuman) material relationships on our planet and beyond, requires reflecting on time. This article engages in such reflection through a conversation with the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.


Government and Sociology

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