Random Interlude: the Death of Posterity

by rsbakker

I’ve had one of those random days, where I seem to be running to place to place as much as running through thought after thought. I had an interesting talk about the singularity, the way creeping normalcy along a thousand different technological avenues, combined with market economics, would likely overcome all but the most fanatical traditionalist hold outs. This all fell out of a discussion on Death of Posterity and what it means for literature.

Posterity has always been used as a rationale for literary exotericism. Since it’s hard to argue that the defection from conventions does not alienate audiences, some literary authors turn to posterity to defend themselves: sure, the larger community may fail to see the value of what I do now, but some day, some day they will see.

Perhaps this held water years ago, but in the shadow of the Singularity? It is a fact that revolutions, profound revolutions, are brewing across all the sciences, some, like neuroscience, in terrifyingly consequential domains. All writers are post-posterity writers, whether they want to be or not. The kinds of social transformations we will see will make the industrial revolution look like an Oprah makeover special.