Michael Marder’s “After the Fire: The Politics of Ashes” appears in Telos 161 (Winter 2012). Read the full version online at the Telos Online website, or purchase a print copy of the issue in our store.
Two fires are kindled at the threshold of the metaphysical era, and both are extinguished, almost simultaneously, as soon as metaphysics exhausts itself (or else gets exhausted, tired, fatigued with itself) in its final Nietzschean inversion. The political reality of the twenty-first century is, as a whole, a comet tail of these ancient blazes that, until recently, seemed to be older than time itself, gave the impression of being eternal, undying, inextinguishable. How to find one’s bearings among the cinders and ashes of what the flames consumed? How to make sense—if make sense we must—of the burnt and smoldering remains, the traces of catastrophes, as much as of hopes and revolutionary desires, littering the horizons of the political today?