Published in  
July 9, 2018


Is it possible that my sense of self, my I-ness, is the collaboration of ecosystems of sentient communities of cells, bacteria, and microbes?

That the composite ecologies and aliens that I am made up of have their own lives and hopes and meanings and yearnings and politics? And that their symbiosis occasions the ‘I’ of “my” self, a thin sliver of awareness that works with these revenant communities?

I imagine that human consciousness is a necessary distraction; an economic strategy or bodily practice of managing an impossibly complex reality; an ancient approach to scouring the fluid and overwhelming landscapes and to shut out what is not useful – an approach that is breached or interrupted temporarily with psychedelic transversality, allowing the monstrosity of the self to roar briefly, and the multiplicities “within” to be glimpsed. Thinking of the self as a migrant aesthetic, as conditional collaboration, as a material+semiotic trick of conservatism, as an evasive manoeuvre, as a compromised navigational tool, and as emerging from shimmering intersections, instead of as a coherent ahistorical “soul”, breaks open an emancipatory politics of dwelling within the dissolve of things.

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But apart from learning how to be hospitable to the immigrants that comprise ‘me’, to approach this commonwealth of frailty with a measure of reverence, I stumble upon the dizzying realisation that all my experiences, intellectual exercises, convictions and affective states are neither ‘true’ nor representative, but fragile gestures with a world that is wilder than these technologies. Humility thus becomes more than a moral injunction; it becomes the very ground of radical indebtedness that makes us possible.