cover image The Revolt Against Humanity: Imagining a Future Without Us

The Revolt Against Humanity: Imagining a Future Without Us

Adam Kirsch. Columbia Global Reports, $16 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-73-591376-6

Poet and critic Kirsch (The Blessing and the Curse) delivers an intense study of the various schools of thought on “the end of humanity’s reign on Earth.” On one hand is the “Anthropocene antihumanist” camp, who assert that humans aren’t “Earth’s protagonists” but rather are to blame for making the planet nearly uninhabitable; as a result, their disappearance should be welcomed. Transhumanists, meanwhile, believe technology will ease the way for a new and improved species, posthumans, who some theorists believe will live past 170 years and will think “more rapidly and deeply” than Albert Einstein. Kirsch suggests that the main difference between these two perspectives is that transhumanists believe the universe “would be meaningless without minds to experience and understand it,” while antihumanists propose that the universe “doesn’t need to include consciousness for its existence to be meaningful.” Kirsch defers to scientists, philosophers, and activists rather than taking a side himself, but the expert perspectives, paired with anecdotes from sci-fi films and literature, make for a fascinating look at the “profound civilizational changes” that may come. The result is a nice lay of the post-human land. (Dec.)