Returning Faith to Knowledge: Earthlings after the Anthropocene

Whitney Bauman
Florida International University

Losing faith. This is not just a common phrase to explain when and how we are disappointed in someone or something. It is a process that, at least in the mythical place called “the west” is co-emergent with so-called Modernity.  We all know what the opposite of faith is, right? No doubt.  It is actually certainty. I argue that certainty and what I call the “technologies of certainty” have done more harm than good.  Humanity and the Anthropocene are two of certainty’s greatest achievements, but at what cost? In this period of global climate weirding and the globalization of capitalism, we can’t afford not to answer this question.  I argue that the technologies of certainty (chronological time, efficient causality, essentialism, and exceptionalism) are creating the entire planet in humanity’s own image, and the result is planetary destruction.  If we are to live, as humans, in the evolving planetary community in a way that promotes flourishing, we must return our thinking to the planet, and this means learning how to live in faith again. Perhaps we might be better off adopting the technologies of faith and ambiguity: planetary time, multiple causality, relationalism, and an understanding of humans as first and foremost planetary creatures.