We Live in the Post-Natural

Akira Yokoyama, 1983 (via 50 Watts)

I have been thinking about science fiction. It is often forgotten, and bears conscious recall, that the parallel to the group-based whirlpools of fanfiction and related collectives to which a subset of Gen Zs and Milennials belong, is for Gen X and Boomers science fiction fandom. Underneath a surprising amount of mobius-shaped thought belonging to a certain element of the over-50 counterculture are the structures and cultures of science fiction fandom, the SCA, the old cultures of sci-fi conventions, early Dungeons and Dragons, sci-fi Usenet. There is a peculiar self-admiration and anti-humanism deep down in the veins of this stuff, essentially unrelated to science-fiction or fantasy and entirely related to fandom, its qualities and functions. I can’t prove this hypothesis—for so many reasons, not least that I am magnetically repelled by geek culture of any vintage.

I was thinking of this because I was made aware that “anti-body”, a term I often use to describe American society, has appeared in anti-Jewish paranoiac writing of technicolor insanity by people once members of the Deep Green Resistance. These writers believe, in part, that transgenderism was devised and funded by billionaires to lay the groundwork for AI-supplemented human bodies. I obviously don’t believe this, because I am not demented. It’s frustrating to see yet another term with serious thought behind it get picked up and disseminated by lunatics. The hatred of American culture for the human body is real. There is no reason for this true statement to get mixed up with people who think David Icke has something to say.

And so I have been thinking about the by-roads of big culture, and by-roads’ by-roads. An important impulse behind sci-fi fandom of the 70s and 80s seems to be the desire to head quietly and sociably onto the left-hand path. The aim seems to be to discover any by-road off the big one, and to do it as a group. I understand the impulse but don’t respect it. Whatever my appearance, I have always, my whole life, been in the wildwoods: I am fundamentally contemptuous of the taking of paths. I am especially scornful of people who think a weird road with company isn’t a road.

My way of life better accords to reality than the pathful way. And now let me tell you why, in terms a sci-fi fan might empathize with. These are my terms and this is one jargon of my native language, but the early-fandom desire to cut across main ways might recognize itself in my belief that any way is an obscenity against original reality.

We are, as a post-lapsarian people, living in the post-natural. Death is unnatural; but death, understood here as the failure of the body to sustain itself on earth, is an element of life under the circumstances of this earth. It isn’t necessary in the sense that other items of this earth require it—because that kind of necessity is non-real. All things exist and weirdly, wyrdly, we have thonged them together in an apparently codependent web.

There are many peoples who could have been. There are many ethics and means of thinking which might have been organized. That we have so badly limited ourselves to what-occurred-in-the-moment, that we are a people of entirely intuitive culture, from our language to our science and its techniques, is a cosmic disappointment.

We are living under a tediously structured state of reality. It did not have to be this way. We are living, as I said, in the post-natural, where our impulses and intuitions are so magnified by their being out of place that they have become the whole of our culture. Our little reaches beyond this state are stuck to an idea—an idea which hates humans—that our bodies either fit or don’t fit into a network which we’ve either got to conform to or leave.

I am as I said opposed, both by my nature and by the little ethics I’ve developed or come into third-hand, to paths and especially to group-walking down special paths. I am especially attuned to the sound of subcultures who want to get off-road. I think you should keep an ear cocked to the elements of our culture who were fostered specifically in 70s and 80s sci-fi fandom, whether as present participants or as inheritors. I think you will find that they play a far larger role in the contemporary counterculture than you’d expect.

Addendum: I can’t believe I have to add this, but because I am talking about the DGR people and their ideas about gender I’ve got to specify: when I talk about the anti-human and anti-body ideas of bodies in or leaving networks, I am not talking about gender theory. This is not my sideways means of describing gender or gender “discourse”. I am literally talking about the having of bodies.

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