ALPHONSO LINGIS In the Gobi Desert, the Bolivian Altiplano, the Colca Canyon, in Antarctica, in a stretch of wasteland come upon when we were driving to a distant city, we have found ourselves in uninhabited and uninhabitable landscapes that open us to eons of geological time. The evolution and endurance of the human species with its capacities and ambitions to understand appear to us to be a brief moment in an inhuman cosmos that will go on long after the end of the human species and human understanding. As we have contemplated a stone, a park bench, or an appliance in our home, the concepts and meanings that are assigned to it and that we have assigned to it thinned out, leaving its brute reality before us, closed in itself, indifferent and alien to our existence. There are times when the rushing crowds in the streets, the industry, markets, and institutions of the city appear to us as devoid of intrinsic or external significance as termite hills of African wastelands or masses of crabgrass spreading blindly along the sidewalk. There have been moments when the identity we give ourselves vacillates, the significance and urgency of the duties and
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 18, 2011
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