One of the core motivations in peddling a postnihilist rhetorics (as praxis) is an interest in disrupting the cognitive hegemony of anthropocentric thought. Meaning and rationalizations are local human expressions, not constituent features woven into the fabric of the cosmos. Yet, all human action seems to be routed through self-referential circuits of existential concern and human-focused interest. Inflated egos everywhere – with only a hint of the kind of perspective-taking required to speculate about what it might ‘be like’ to be an otter, or an orchid.
More significantly, anthropocentrism narrows the associative cognitive-neuronal tunnel within which we can evaluate the overall necessity, function and agency of otters, orchids, or even carbon-dioxide molecules. This makes for bad ontography and therefore even worse social design. Thus deflating the aspirations of folk transcendentalisms inherent in the cultural codes of Western thinkers, viz. a perpetual negation of its doxic contents, can make room for new circuits of evaluation and habits of communication wherein humans interface and relate with nonhumans in a more authentic and ecologically tenable way.
“There is no life without the conditions of life that variably sustain life, and those conditions are pervasively social, establishing not the discrete ontology of the person, but rather the interdependency of persons, involving reproducible and sustaining social relations, and relations to the environment and to non-human forms of life, broadly considered. This mode of social ontology (for which no absolute distinction between social and ecological exists) has concrete implications for how we re-approach the issues of reproductive freedom and anti-war politics. The question is not whether a given being is living or not, nor whether the being in question has the status of a “person”; it is, rather, whether the social conditions of persistence and flourishing are or are not possible. Only with this latter question can we avoid the anthropocentric and liberal individualist presumptions that have derailed such discussions.” ― Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?
“In the twentieth century nothing can better cure the anthropocentrism that is the author of all our ills than to cast ourselves into the physics of the infinitely large (or the infinitely small). By reading any text of popular science we quickly regain the sense of the absurd, but this time it is a sentiment that can be held in our hands, born of tangible, demonstrable, almost consoling things. We no longer believe because it is absurd: it is absurd because we must believe.” ― Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds
Anthropocentrism is the belief that human beings are the central or most significant species on the planet (in the sense that they are considered to have a moral status or value higher than that of other animals), or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective. The term can refer to the concept as human supremacy or human exceptionalism.