While juxtaposing the Brian Swimme book The Universe is a Green Dragon and Manuel DeLanda’s A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History in a previous post, I noticed an interesting commonality: the call for a shift in perspective from an anthropocentric viewpoint to a cosmocentric viewpoint. As Swimme writes,
The switch out of an attitude where the human is the center of everything, to a biocentric and cosmocentric orientation where the universe and the Earth are the fundamental referents, is *the* radical transformation that we are presently involved with. (107)
DeLanda makes much the same point in his incredibly clear explanation of an incredibly complicated concept in the philosohy of Deleuze and Guattari–the “Body without Organs” or BwO:
The flow of genes and biomass are “unformed” if we compare them to any individual organism, but the flows themselves have internal forms and functions. Indeed, if instead of taking a planetary perspective we adopted a cosmic viewpoint, our entire planet would itself be a mere provisional hardening in the vast flows of plasma whcih permeate the universe. (261)
His introduction points out that “Many historians have abandoned their Eurocentrism and now question the very rise of the West (Why not China or Islam? is now a common question), and some have even left behind their anthropocentrism and include a host of nonhuman histories” (12). DeLanda’s task is to “allow physics [the physics of far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics, nonlinear combinatorics, emergence] to infiltrate human history” (13) and to engage in “a sustained philosophical meditation on some of the historical processes that have affected these three types of ‘materials’ (energetic, genetic, linguistic)” (21).