A Metahumanist Manifesto
by Jaime del Val and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner
- What is Metahumanism? Metahumanism is a critique of some of humanism’s foundational premises such as the free will, autonomy and superiority of anthropoi due to their rationality. It deepens the view of the body as field of relational forces in motion and of reality as immanent embodied process of becoming which does not necessarily end up in defined forms or identities, but may unfold into endless amorphogenesis. Monsters are promising strategies for performing this development away from humanism.
- The world as relational complex – The Metahuman as Metabody: Metahumanist critique proposes to deepen the understanding of reality as unquantifiable field of relational bodies, or metabodies, in changing and constitutive relation with one another. Herewith, we attempt to finally overcome the Cartesian split between body and mind, object and subject, by proposing a view of the mind as an embodied relational process, and of the body as relational movement, that operates from the molecular and bacterial, through the individual and psychic, to the social, planetary and cosmic levels, and in other dimensions of experience. There is no possibility to map a totality or limits of the forces that constitute a metabody and there is no ultimate exteriority to them, though they may gravitate around provisional nodal points that account for an immanent perspectivism and the formation of power relations.
- Towards a Common Relational Body: Traditionally relationality has developed into or been subjected to a variety of systems of intensive regulations. In contemporary capitalism of affects relationality is increasingly being subjected to control through technologies which produce global standard affects by distributing discreet choreographies. The Panchoreographic is the biopolitical meta-system of control in which metabodies are being preemptively appropriated. Possibilities to reappropriate and redefine technologies of becoming need to get shown.
- Towards a politics of movement and radical pluralism: A radical pluralist politics is a non paternalist movement that works through power structures to avoid the retotalitarianisation of politics. It does not aim at an ideal final state but stresses the need to permanently overcome contemporary challenges which arise by necessity through combining the immanentism proposed by the metahuman with the perspectivism of the posthuman, stressing the importance of movement versus identity.
- The metahuman as postanatomical body: We propose to challenge the anatomies, forms, cartographies or identities that constitute the humanist concept of the anthropos, and the technologies that allow for such representations to take form. Anatomy, as a map of human and social bodies, can only be articulated from an external perspective to the body. We challenge the cartesian split that situates us as subjects external to an objective reality and to other subjects. Through reappropriating and subverting technologies of perception we may dissolve the condition of exteriority and therewith anatomy and the destiny of the body, not for the sake of a new anatomy, but of a postanatomical body. Metahumanism thus proposes an aesthetics of the amorphous, by considering metamedia, metaformance and metaformativity as possibilities to permanently redefine sensory organs.
- Metahumans as metasexual: Metasexuality is a productive state of disorientation of desire that challenges categories of sex-gender identity and sexual orientation. A metabody is not ultimately categorisable in terms of morphological sex or gender but rather is an amorphogenesis of infinite potential sexes: microsexes. It is postqueer: we are beyond the understanding of gender as performative. Metasex not only challenges the dictatorship of anatomical, genital and binary sex, but also the limits of the species and intimacy. Pansexuality, public sex, poliamoria, or voluntary sexwork are means to redefine sexual norms into open fields of relationality, where modalities of affect reconfigure the limits of kinship, family and the community.
- Redefining science and knowledge: Immanentism and perspectivism do not need to be self contradictory concepts – we hold both of them! Yet, we propose the need to introduce immanence into knowledge production, and the revision of encrusted structures. Perspectives are contingent nodes within stratified intensities of the metabody. We propose both to explode and dissolve existing strata and to move through its nodes reconfiguring perspectives as well as immanence.
- Towards a relational ecology – Metahuman Ethics: A metabody is to be understood as a sustainable relational body that includes anthropoi, other species, technology and the environment. Metahuman ethics avows to bring about forms of interaction that avoid the permanent superiority of a force over the others, so that a certain non-violent equilibrium is reinstated over and over again.
- Towards the transformation, amorphogenesis and emergent becoming of metahumans: There is no need to distinguish between procedures of genetic enhancement and classical education. Both rely on untimely distinctions or use given representations of a normative regime which are not universal but result of paternalist political technologies of affective production. We understand alteration processes of the metahuman as flowing types of amorphogenesis of the relational body, all being equally subject to ongoing critique.
- What is the Metahuman?: The metahuman is neither a stable reality, essence or identity, nor a utopia, but an open set of strategies and movements in the present. It implies the need to deterritorialise strata of power and violence and induce new forms of embodied relationality by producing a frontier body that is operating on existing boundaries and redefining them. A micro-recherche considers the genealogies of bodies, movements and affects for the purpose of both challenging existing regimes and producing new forms of resistance and emergence.
A Metahumanist Manifesto was jointly written by Jaime del Val and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner over 2010 and finalised on the day prior to its presentation in Lesvos, Greece, in the conference on Audiovisual Posthumanism in Mytilene on saturday 25th september, followed by a metahuman metaformance by Jaime del Val.
Metahumanist Manifesto, Interview and Review published in
THE AGONIST – Nietzsche Circle, New York
VOLUME IV, ISSUE II, FALL 2011