Perhaps everything changes in the nature of our philosophical questions, in the nature of the aims and ends that might animate us, when the future dies. We need not think this extinction of the future in terms of Brassier’s crushing thought of the extinction of the universe due to heat death as the outcome of the second law of thermodynamics, for with the anthropocene the extinction of the future is here in the form of climate change and the collapse that it will bring. Heidegger taught us that we are ek-static, that we form ourselves by projecting ourselves into a future. The present is presenting arising from this projection before ourselves where we find ourselves now by anticipating ourselves. Yet what happens to this ekstasis when the future becomes extinct or foreclosed?
Hitherto all philosophy has unfolded under a premise so close to us, so proximal, that it didn’t even need to be remarked, interrogated, or noticed: the premise of a world that remains. I read in Deleuze’s Nietzsche & Philosophy that the task of philosophy is an overcoming of infinite debt, of that frame of thought that conceives our being and being itself as that which can never be expiated, of a becoming-active of culture to produce or inaugurate a posthuman, posthistorical world. Yet such a project only makes sense in a world that remains. For us denizens of the anthropocene the world that remains is the remains of the world. It is a world of burning embers, of cinders. We live amidst the remains of the world and of a knowledge that these are the remains of the world. How can we live in this coming darkness where, like the gods before, the future has taken flight and departed and where it seems as if we can no longer project a future before us? Are we condemned to howling into this darkness of a future that has departed where no ekstasis is today possible? I hope it is not as dark as all of this, but it is so very difficult for me to see the twinkling of the future, of a world that remains, today.