Towards a Postanthropology : Humanifying Anthropology

We live by putting out a line, says social anthropologist Tim Ingold. Our line interacts with other lines put out by other humans. Life is a linology. Gilles Deleuze teaches us that we live along a line. As we live along the lines of life, we respond to other lines. Every life is a line, and we live continually interacting with the lines of life. This interaction is not a network but a mashwork. A life that is lived along the line is not concentrated at some points as in a network. With the mashwork, what are points become lines. Hence, mashwork becomes an analogy of life lived along a line . It is not about connecting points . It is about entanglement of lines.

This reminds me of Martin Heidegger, who said,’ as I walk, I make my way’. It enables us to take a posthumanity view that sees history as a productive process where humans, along with all living beings, produce the conditions to live their lives. We have focused too much on human exceptionality. We have become exhabitants and not inhabitants by relying on our exceptionality. Posthumanity grounded anthropology needs us to work together with our environment and produce inhabitant knowledge. The inhabitant knowledge is ever growing from our interactions with the environment. This knowledge is not of our inhabitance but is of our being in our inhabitance. This way of being in the world is humanifying.

Humanifying is in opposition to humanization. Humanization is a closed essence that is actualized by an individual human. Humanifying is an existentialist perspective that puts the priority of existence over essence. Humanifying, thus, include the way humans integrate their environment as they live as humans in the world. Humanifying is, therefore, guided inhabitant knowledge and assists us in developing a posthumanities grounded anthropology. Anthropology so far is a humanities based science. It is tainted by anthropocentrism and is the main villain of things that has led us to climate change. We have to switch from humanising to humanifying.

Humanifying is a lifelong process. We can not reach its completion. It makes us continuously attune to our habitat. We open ourselves to our habitat and live not a script that is already laid down. The script is rather written as we live our lives. It is like playing a game where the rules of the game change as we play it. The inhabitant knowledge or postanthropology that we are trying to explore here is not traditional indigenous knowledge. Inhabitat knowledge is based on practices that may be traditional or derived from modern science. This means inhabitant knowledge is built on the basis of practices. It is thinking through making and not making through thinking. Postanthropology is based on thinking through making. It is through our inhabiting practices that we are enabled to build inhabitant knowledge or Postanthropology.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao