This post on NiCHE is an introduction to Kateryna Barnes’ recently published Gothic Nature II article, “Soundtrack to Settler-Colonialism: Tanya Tagaq’s Music as Creative Nonfiction Horror.”
In the documentary SILENCE=DEATH(1990), poet and philosopher Allen Ginsberg declares AIDS to be an allegory for anthropogenic environmental destruction, saying that living with AIDS is dying with AIDS, be it planetary or personal. He says:
The planet has AIDs… ozone layer depletion, acid rain, greenhouse effect––they are lesions on the skin of the planet. Desertification, deforestation, and poison-dumping both in oceans and land… the key problem is the immune system of the planet doesn’t seem to be able to repair the damage done by the human virus (n.pg.).
Further to Ginsberg’s analogy, I posit that maybe the planet is undergoing radical radiation treatment – killing what is healthy along with the deadly in an effort to survive. It’s an impending apocalypse where death isn’t the end, but extinction is. It’s an existential end of all we know. As anthropologist Ernest Becker (1973) explains in his landmark book The Denial of Death, it is “an impossible paradox: the ever-present fear of death in the normal biological functioning of our instinct of self-preservation, as well as our utter obliviousness to this fear in our conscious life” (pg 15). This impossible paradox is like philosopher Eugene Thacker’s (2010) framing of an unthinkable world, a speculative world.
Read more at NiCHE.