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We are all lichens.

Scott Gilbert, We Are All Lichens Now1

Think we must. We must think.

Stengers and Despret, Women Who Make
a Fuss2

What happens when human exceptionalism and

bounded individualism, those old saws of
Western philosophy and political economics,
become unthinkable in the best sciences,
whether natural or social? Seriously unthinkable:
not available to think with. Biological sciences
Donna Haraway have been especially potent in fermenting
notions about all the mortal inhabitants of the
Tentacular Earth since the imperializing eighteenth century.
Homo sapiens the Human as species, the
Anthropos as the human species,Modern Man
Thinking: was a chief product of these knowledge
practices. What happens when the best biologies
Anthropocene, of the twenty-first century cannot do their job
with bounded individuals plus contexts, when
organisms plus environments, or genes plus
Capitalocene, whatever they need, no longer sustain the
overflowing richness of biological knowledges, if
Chthulucene they ever did? What happens when organisms
plus environments can hardly be remembered for
the same reasons that even Western-indebted
people can no longer figure themselves as
individuals and societies of individuals in
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

human-only histories? Surely such a

transformative time on Earth must not be named
the Anthropocene!
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

With all the unfaithful offspring of the sky

gods, with my littermates who find a rich wallow
in multispecies muddles, I want to make a
critical and joyful fuss about these matters. I
want to stay with the trouble, and the only way I
know to do that is in generative joy, terror, and
collective thinking.
My first demon familiar in this task will be a
spider, Pimoa cthulhu, who lives under stumps in
the redwood forests of Sonoma and Mendocino
Counties, near where I live in North Central
California.3 Nobody lives everywhere; everybody
lives somewhere. Nothing is connected to
everything; everything is connected to
something.4 This spider is in place, has a place,
and yet is named for intriguing travels elsewhere.
This spider will help me with returns, and with
roots and routes.5 The eight-legged tentacular
arachnid that I appeal to gets her generic name
from the language of the Goshute people of Utah
and her specific name from denizens of the
depths, from the abyssal and elemental entities,
called chthonic.6 The chthonic powers of Terra
infuse its tissues everywhere, despite the
civilizing efforts of the agents of sky gods to

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astralize them and set up chief Singletons and All the tentacular stringy ones have made
their tame committees of multiples or subgods, me unhappy with posthumanism, even as I am
the One and the Many. Making a small change in nourished by much generative work done under
the biologists taxonomic spelling, from cthulhu that sign. My partner Rusten Hogness suggested
to chthulu, with renamed Pimoa chthulu I compost instead of posthuman(ism), as well as
propose a name for an elsewhere and elsewhen humusities instead of humanities, and I jumped

that was, still is,and might yet be: the into that wormy pile.9 Human as humus has
Chthulucene. I remember that tentacle comes potential, if we could chop and shred human as
from the Latin tentaculum, meaning feeler, and Homo, the detumescing project of a self-making
tentare, meaning to feel and to try; and I and planet-destroying CEO. Imagine a
know that my leggy spider has many-armed conference not on the Future of the Humanities
allies. Myriad tentacles will be needed to tell the in the Capitalist Restructuring University, but
story of the Chthulucene.7 instead on the Power of the Humusities for a
The tentacular are not disembodied figures; Habitable Multispecies Muddle! Ecosexual
they are cnidarians, spiders, fingery beings like artists Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle made a
humans and raccoons, squid, jellyfish, neural bumper sticker for me, for us, for SF:
extravaganzas, fibrous entities, flagellated Composting is so hot!
beings, myofibril braids, matted and felted Shaping her thinking about the times called
microbial and fungal tangles, probing creepers, Anthropocene and multi-faced Gaa (Stengerss
swelling roots, reaching and climbing tendrilled term) in companionable friction with Latour,
ones. The tentacular are also nets and networks, Isabelle Stengers does not ask that we
it critters, in and out of clouds. Tentacularity is recompose ourselves to become able, perhaps,
about life lived along lines and such a wealth to face Gaa. But like Latour and even more like
of lines not at points, not in spheres. The Le Guin, one of her most generative SF writers,
inhabitants of the world, creatures of all kinds, Stengers is adamant about changing the story.
human and non-human, are wayfarers; Focusing on intrusion rather than composition,
generations are like a series of interlaced Stengers calls Gaia a fearful and devastating
trails.8 power that intrudes on our categories of thought,

A pro-composting bumper sticker designed by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stevens with Kern Toy Design.

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Humans are the entitled minority in the face of the sixth great extinction. Copyright: Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon

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that intrudes on thinking itself.10 Earth/Gaia is as well as an agent of double death, the killing of
maker and destroyer, not resource to be ongoingness. The material semiotics of fire in our
exploited or ward to be protected or nursing times are at stake.
mother promising nourishment. Gaia is not a Thus it is past time to turn directly to the
person but complex systemic phenomena that time-space-global thing called Anthropocene.15
compose a living planet. Gaias intrusion into our The term seems to have been coined in the early

affairs is a radically materialist event that 1980s by University of Michigan ecologist Eugene
collects up multitudes. This intrusion threatens Stoermer (d. 2012), an expert in freshwater
not life on Earth itself microbes will adapt, diatoms. He introduced the term to refer to
to put it mildly but threatens the livability of growing evidence for the transformative effects
Earth for vast kinds, species, assemblages, and of human activities on the Earth. The name
individuals in an event already under way Anthropocene made a dramatic star appearance
called the Sixth Great Extinction.11 in globalizing discourses in 2000 when the Dutch
Stengers, like Bruno Latour, evokes the Nobel Prizewinning atmospheric chemist
name of Gaia in the way James Lovelock and Paul Crutzen joined Stoermer to propose that
Lynn Margulis did, to name complex nonlinear human activities had been of such a kind and
couplings between processes that compose and magnitude as to merit the use of a new
sustain entwined but nonadditive subsystems as geological term for a new epoch, superseding the
a partially cohering systemic whole.12 In this Holocene, which dated from the end of the last
hypothesis, Gaia is autopoietic self-forming, ice age, or the end of the Pleistocene, about
boundary maintaining, contingent, dynamic, and twelve thousand years ago. Anthropogenic
stable under some conditions but not others. changes signaled by the mid-eighteenth-century
Gaia is not reducible to the sum of its parts, but steam engine and the planet-changing exploding
achieves finite systemic coherence in the face of use of coal were evident in the airs, waters, and
perturbations within parameters that are rocks.16 Evidence was mounting that the
themselves responsive to dynamic systemic acidification and warming of the oceans are
processes. Gaia does not and could not care rapidly decomposing coral reef ecosystems,
about human or other biological beings resulting in huge ghostly white skeletons of
intentions or desires or needs, but Gaia puts into bleached and dead or dying coral. That a
question our very existence, we who have symbiotic system coral, with its watery
provoked its brutal mutation that threatens both world-making associations of cnidarians and
human and nonhuman livable presents and zooanthellae with many other critters too
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

futures. Gaia is not about a list of questions indicated such a global transformation will
waiting for rational policies;13 Gaia is an intrusive come back into our story.
event that undoes thinking as usual. She is But for now, notice that the Anthropocene
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

what specifically questions the tales and refrains obtained purchase in popular and scientific
of modern history. There is only one real mystery discourse in the context of ubiquitous urgent
at stake, here: it is the answer we, meaning efforts to find ways of talking about, theorizing,
those who belong to this history, may be able to modeling, and managing a Big Thing called
create as we face the consequences of what we Globalization. Climate-change modeling is a
have provoked.14 powerful positive feedback loop provoking
change-of-state in systems of political and
Anthropocene ecological discourses.17 That Paul Crutzen was
So, what have we provoked? Writing in the midst both a Nobel laureate and an atmospheric
of Californias historic multiyear drought and the chemist mattered. By 2008, many scientists
explosive fire season of 2015, I need the around the world had adopted the not-yet-
photograph of a fire set deliberately in June 2009 official but increasingly indispensable term;18
by Sustainable Resource Alberta near the and myriad research projects, performances,
Saskatchewan River Crossing on the Icefields installations, and conferences in the arts, social
Parkway in order to stem the spread of mountain sciences, and humanities found the term
pine beetles, to create a fire barrier to future mandatory in their naming and thinking, not
fires, and to enhance biodiversity. The hope is least for facing both accelerating extinctions
that this fire acts as an ally for resurgence. The across all biological taxa and also multispecies,
devastating spread of the pine beetle across the including human, immiseration across the
North American West is a major chapter of expanse of Terra. Fossil-burning human beings
climate change in the Anthropocene. So too are seem intent on making as many new fossils as
the predicted megadroughts and the extreme possible as fast as possible. They will be read in
and extended fire seasons. Fire in the North the strata of the rocks on the land and under the
American West has a complicated multispecies waters by the geologists of the very near future,
history; fire is an essential element for ongoing, if not already. Perhaps, instead of the fiery

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forest, the icon for the Anthropocene should be just individuals, are critical. What is required is
Burning Man!19 action and thinking that do not fit within the
The scale of burning ambitions of fossil- dominant capitalist culture; and, said Werner,
making man of this Anthropos whose hot this is a matter not of opinion, but of geophysical
projects for accelerating extinctions merits a dynamics. The reporter who covered this session
name for a geological epoch is hard to summed up Werners address: He is saying that

comprehend. Leaving aside all the other his research shows that our entire economic
accelerating extractions of minerals, plant and paradigm is a threat to ecological stability.23
animal flesh, human homelands, and so on, Werner is not the first or the last researcher and
surely, we want to say, the pace of development maker of matters of concern to argue this point,
of renewable energy technologies and of political but his clarity at a scientific meeting is bracing.
and technical carbon pollution-abatement Revolt! Think we must; we must think. Actually
measures, in the face of palpable and costly think, not like Eichmann the Thoughtless. Of
ecosystem collapses and spreading political course, the devil is in the details how to
disorders, will mitigate, if not eliminate, the revolt? How to matter and not just want to
burden of planet-warming excess carbon from matter?
burning still more fossil fuels. Or, maybe the
financial troubles of the global coal and oil Capitalocene
industries by 2015 would stop the madness. Not But at least one thing is crystal clear. No matter
so. Even casual acquaintance with the daily how much he might be caught in the generic
news erodes such hopes, but the trouble is masculine universal and how much he only looks
worse than what even a close reader of IPCC up, the Anthropos did not do this fracking thing
documents and the press will find. In The Third and he should not name this double-death-
Carbon Age, Michael Klare, a professor of Peace loving epoch. The Anthropos is not Burning Man
and World Security Studies at Hampshire after all. But because the word is already well
College, lays out strong evidence against the idea entrenched and seems less controversial to
that the old age of coal, replaced by the recent many important players compared to the
age of oil, will be replaced by the age of Capitalocene, I know that we will continue to
renewables.20 He details the large and growing need the term Anthropocene. I will use it too,
global national and corporate investments in sparingly; what and whom the Anthropocene
renewables; clearly, there are big profit and collects in its refurbished netbag might prove
power advantages to be had in this sector. And at potent for living in the ruins and even for modest
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

the same time, every imaginable, and many terran recuperation.

unimaginable, technologies and strategic Still, if we could only have one word for
measures are being pursued by all the big global these SF times, surely it must be the
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

players to extract every last calorie of fossil Capitalocene.24

carbon, at whatever depth and in whatever Species Man did not shape the conditions
formations of sand, mud, or rock, and with for the Third Carbon Age or the Nuclear Age. The
whatever horrors of travel to distribution and use story of Species Man as the agent of the
points, to burn before someone else gets at that Anthropocene is an almost laughable rerun of the
calorie and burns it first in the great prick story great phallic humanizing and modernizing
of the first and the last beautiful words and Adventure, where man, made in the image of a
weapons.21 In what he calls the Age of vanished god, takes on superpowers in his
Unconventional Oil and Gas, hydrofracking is the secular-sacred ascent, only to end in tragic
tip of the (melting) iceberg. Melting of the polar detumescence, once again. Autopoietic, self-
seas, terrible for polar bears and for coastal making man came down once again, this time in
peoples, is very good for big competitive military, tragic system failure, turning biodiverse
exploration, drilling, and tanker shipping across ecosystems into flipped-out deserts of slimy
the northern passages. Who needs an ice- mats and stinging jellyfish. Neither did
breaker when you can count on melting ice?22 technological determinism produce the Third
A complex systems engineer named Brad Carbon Age. Coal and the steam engine did not
Werner addressed a session at the meetings of determine the story, and besides the dates are
the American Geophysical Union in San all wrong, not because one has to go back to the
Francisco in 2012. His point was quite simple: last ice age, but because one has to at least
scientifically speaking, global capitalism has include the great market and commodity
made the depletion of resources so rapid, reworldings of the long sixteenth and
convenient and barrier-free that earth-human seventeenth centuries of the current era, even if
systems are becoming dangerously unstable in we think (wrongly) that we can remain Euro-
response. Therefore, he argued, the only centered in thinking about globalizing
scientific thing to do is revolt! Movements, not transformations shaping the Capitalocene.25 One

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A tardigrade can withstand up to five years dehydrated making it one of the most resilient critters presently known.

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must surely tell of the networks of sugar, yet to string, and not just by human beings.
precious metals, plantations, indigenous As a provocation, let me summarize my
genocides, and slavery, with their labor objections to the Anthropocene as a tool, story,
innovations and relocations and recompositions or epoch to think with:
of critters and things sweeping up both human (1) The myth system associated with the
and nonhuman workers of all kinds. The Anthropos is a setup, and the stories end badly.

infectious industrial revolution of England More to the point, they end in double death; they
mattered hugely, but it is only one player in are not about ongoingness. It is hard to tell a
planet-transforming, historically situated, new- good story with such a bad actor. Bad actors
enough, worlding relations. The relocation of need a story, but not the whole story.
peoples, plants, and animals; the leveling of vast (2) Species Man does not make history.
forests; and the violent mining of metals (3) Man plus Tool does not make history.
preceded the steam engine; but that is not a That is the story of History human
warrant for wringing ones hands about the exceptionalists tell.
perfidy of the Anthropos, or of Species Man, or of (4) That History must give way to geostories,
Man the Hunter. to Gaia stories, to symchthonic stories; terrans
The systemic stories of the linked do webbed, braided, and tentacular living and
metabolisms, articulations, or coproductions dying in sympoietic multispecies string figures;
(pick your metaphor) of economies and they do not do History.
ecologies, of histories and human and nonhuman (5) The human social apparatus of the
critters, must be relentlessly opportunistic and Anthropocene tends to be top-heavy and
contingent. They must also be relentlessly bureaucracy prone. Revolt needs other forms of
relational, sympoietic, and consequential.26 They action and other stories for solace, inspiration,
are terran, not cosmic or blissed or cursed into and effectiveness.
outer space. The Capitalocene is terran; it does (6) Despite its reliance on agile computer
not have to be the last biodiverse geological modeling and autopoietic systems theories, the
epoch that includes our species too. There are so Anthropocene relies too much on what should be
many good stories yet to tell, so many netbags an unthinkable theory of relations, namely the

A depiction of invertebrates by
German biologist Ernst Haeckel,
published as lithographic and
halftone prints in Art Forms in
Nature (1899).

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old one of bounded utilitarian individualism without determinism, teleology, and plan.28
preexisting units in competition relations that Historically situated relational worldings
take up all the air in the atmosphere (except, make a mockery both of the binary division of
apparently, carbon dioxide). nature and society and of our enslavement to
(7) The sciences of the Anthropocene are Progress and its evil twin, Modernization. The
too much contained within restrictive systems Capitalocene was relationally made, and not by a

theories and within evolutionary theories called secular godlike anthropos, a law of history, the
the Modern Synthesis, which for all their machine itself, or a demon called Modernity. The
extraordinary importance have proven unable to Capitalocene must be relationally unmade in
think well about sympoiesis, symbiosis, order to compose in material-semiotic SF
symbiogenesis, development, webbed ecologies, patterns and stories something more livable,
and microbes. Thats a lot of trouble for adequate something Ursula K. Le Guin could be proud of.
evolutionary theory. Shocked anew by our billions of Earth
(8) Anthropocene is a term most easily habitants, including your and my ongoing
meaningful and usable by intellectuals in daily assent in practice to this thing called
wealthy classes and regions; it is not an capitalism, Philippe Pignarre and Isabelle
idiomatic term for climate, weather, land, care of Stengers note that denunciation has been
country, or much else in great swathes of the singularly ineffective, or capitalism would have
world, especially but not only among indigenous long ago vanished from the Earth. A dark
peoples. bewitched commitment to the lure of Progress
I am aligned with feminist environmentalist (and its polar opposite) lashes us to endless
Eileen Crist when she writes against the infernal alternatives, as if we had no other ways
managerial, technocratic, market-and-profit to reworld, reimagine, relive, and reconnect with
besotted, modernizing, and human- each other, in multispecies well-being. This
exceptionalist business-as-usual commitments explication does not excuse us from doing many
of so much Anthropocene discourse. This important things better; quite the opposite.
discourse is not simply wrong-headed and Pignarre and Stengers affirm on-the-ground
wrong-hearted in itself; it also saps our capacity collectives capable of inventing new practices of
for imagining and caring for other worlds, both imagination, resistance, revolt, repair, and
those that exist precariously now (including mourning, and of living and dying well. They
those called wilderness, for all the contaminated remind us that the established disorder is not
history of that term in racist settler colonialism) necessary; another world is not only urgently
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

and those we need to bring into being in alliance needed, it is possible, but not if we are
with other critters, for still possible recuperating ensorcelled in despair, cynicism, or optimism,
pasts, presents, and futures. Scarcitys and the belief/disbelief discourse of Progress.29
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

deepening persistence, and the suffering it is Many Marxist critical and cultural theorists, at
auguring for all life, is an artifact of human their best, would agree.30 So would the
exceptionalism at every level. Instead, a tentacular ones.31
humanity with more earthly integrity invites the
priority of our pulling back and scaling down, of Chthulucene
welcoming limitationsof our numbers,
economies, and habitats for the sake of a higher, Chthulucene
more inclusive freedom and quality of life.27 Reaching back to generative complex systems
If Humans live in History and the approaches by Lovelock and Margulis, Gaia
Earthbound take up their task within the figures the Anthropocene for many contemporary
Anthropocene, too many Posthumans (and Western thinkers. But an unfurling Gaia is better
posthumanists, another gathering altogether) situated in the Chthulucene, an ongoing
seem to have emigrated to the Anthropocene for temporality that resists figuration and dating and
my taste. Perhaps my human and nonhuman demands myriad names. Arising from Chaos,32
people are the dreadful Chthonic ones who snake Gaia was and is a powerful intrusive force, in no
within the tissues of Terrapolis. ones pocket, no ones hope for salvation, capable
Note that insofar as the Capitalocene is told of provoking the late twentieth centurys best
in the idiom of fundamentalist Marxism, with all autopoietic complex systems thinking that led to
its trappings of Modernity, Progress, and History, recognizing the devastation caused by
that term is subject to the same or fiercer anthropogenic processes of the last few
criticisms. The stories of both the Anthropocene centuries, a necessary counter to the Euclidean
and the Capitalocene teeter constantly on the figures and stories of Man.33 Brazilian
brink of becoming much Too Big. Marx did better anthropologists and philosophers Eduardo
than that, as did Darwin. We can inherit their Viveiros de Castro and Dborah Danowski
bravery and capacity to tell big-enough stories exorcise lingering notions that Gaia is confined to

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This squishy octopus-shaped machine is one example from the growing field of soft robotics. The Octobot described today is the first self-
contained robot made exclusively of soft, flexible parts.

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the ancient Greeks and subsequent Eurocultures goddess wearing a split skirt and touching a bird
in their refiguring the urgencies of our times in with each hand.35 She is a vivid reminder of the
the post-Eurocentric conference The Thousand breadth, width, and temporal reach into pasts
Names of Gaia.34 Names, not faces, not morphs and futures of chthonic powers in Mediterranean
of the same, something else, a thousand and Near Eastern worlds and beyond.36 Potnia
somethings else, still telling of linked ongoing Theron is rooted in Minoan and then Mycenean

generative and destructive worlding and cultures and infuses Greek stories of the
reworlding in this age of the Earth. We need Gorgons (especially the only mortal Gorgon,
another figure, a thousand names of something Medusa) and of Artemis. A kind of far-traveling
else, to erupt out of the Anthropocene into Ur-Medusa, the Lady of the Beasts is a potent
another, big-enough story. Bitten in a California link between Crete and India. The winged figure
redwood forest by spidery Pimoa chthulhu, I want is also called Potnia Melissa, Mistress of the
to propose snaky Medusa and the many Bees, draped with all their buzzing-stinging-
unfinished worldings of her antecedents, honeyed gifts. Note the acoustic, tactile, and
affiliates, and descendants. Perhaps Medusa, gustatory senses elicited by the Mistress and her
the only mortal Gorgon, can bring us into the sympoietic, more-than-human flesh. The snakes
holobiomes of Terrapolis and heighten our and bees are more like stinging tentacular
chances for dashing the twenty-first-century feelers than like binocular eyes, although these
ships of the Heroes on a living coral reef instead critters see too, in compound-eyed insectile and
of allowing them to suck the last drop of fossil many-armed optics.
flesh out of dead rock. In many incarnations around the world, the
winged bee goddesses are very old, and they are
much needed now.37 Potnia Theron/Melissas
snaky locks and Gorgon face tangle her with a
diverse kinship of chthonic earthly forces that
travel richly in space and time. The Greek word
Gorgon translates as dreadful, but perhaps that
is an astralized, patriarchal hearing of much
more aweful stories and enactments of
generation, destruction, and tenacious, ongoing
terran finitude. Potnia Theron/Melissa/Medusa
give faciality a profound makeover, and that is a
blow to modern humanist (including
technohumanist) figurations of the forward-
looking, sky-gazing Anthropos. Recall that the
Greek chthonios means of, in, or under the Earth
and the seas a rich terran muddle for SF,
science fact, science fiction, speculative
feminism, and speculative fabulation. The
chthonic ones are precisely not sky gods, not a
foundation for the Olympiad, not friends to the
Anthropocene or Capitalocene, and definitely not
finished. The Earthbound can take heart as
well as action.
The Gorgons are powerful winged chthonic
entities without a proper genealogy; their reach
is lateral and tentacular; they have no settled
lineage and no reliable kind (genre, gender),
although they are figured and storied as female.
In old versions, the Gorgons twine with the
Erinyes (Furies), chthonic underworld powers
who avenge crimes against the natural order. In
the winged domains, the bird-bodied Harpies
carry out these vital functions.38 Now, look again
at the birds of Potnia Theron and ask what they
Tunga, From the series Vanguarda Viperina, 1985. Black and white
photograph. do. Are the Harpies their cousins? Around 700
BCE Hesiod imagined the Gorgons as sea
demons and gave them sea deities for parents. I
The terra-cotta figure of Potnia Theron, the read Hesiods Theogony as laboring to stabilize a
Mistress of the Animals, depicts a winged very bumptious queer family. The Gorgons erupt

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more than emerge; they are intrusive in a sense called spiders of the sea. And so Pimoa chthulhu
akin to what Stengers understands by Gaia. and Octopus cyanea meet in the webbed tales of
The Gorgons turned men who looked into the Chthulucene.43
their living, venomous, snake-encrusted faces All of these stories are a lure to proposing
into stone. I wonder what might have happened if the Chthulucene as a needed third story, a third
those men had known how to politely greet the netbag for collecting up what is crucial for

dreadful chthonic ones. I wonder if such manners ongoing, for staying with the trouble.44 The
can still be learned, if there is time to learn now, chthonic ones are not confined to a vanished
or if the stratigraphy of the rocks will only past. They are a buzzing, stinging, sucking
register the ends and end of a stony Anthropos.39 swarm now, and human beings are not in a
Because the deities of the Olympiad separate compost pile. We are humus, not Homo,
identified her as a particularly dangerous enemy not anthropos; we are compost, not posthuman.
to the sky gods succession and authority, mortal As a suffix, the word kainos, -cene, signals
Medusa is especially interesting for my efforts to new, recently made, fresh epochs of the thick
propose the Chthulucene as one of the big- present. To renew the biodiverse powers of terra
enough stories in the netbag for staying with the is the sympoietic work and play of the
trouble of our ongoing epoch. I resignify and Chthulucene. Specifically, unlike either the
twist the stories, but no more than the Greeks Anthropocene or the Capitalocene, the
themselves constantly did.40 The hero Perseus Chthulucene is made up of ongoing multispecies
was dispatched to kill Medusa; and with the help stories and practices of becoming-with in times
of Athena, head-born favorite daughter of Zeus, that remain at stake, in precarious times, in
he cut off the Gorgons head and gave it to his which the world is not finished and the sky has
accomplice, this virgin goddess of wisdom and not fallen yet. We are at stake to each other.
war. Putting Medusas severed head face- Unlike the dominant dramas of Anthropocene
forward on her shield, the Aegis, Athena, as and Capitalocene discourse, human beings are
usual, played traitor to the Earthbound; we not the only important actors in the Chthulucene,
expect no better from motherless mind children. with all other beings able simply to react. The
But great good came of this murder-for-hire, for order is reknitted: human beings are with and of
from Medusas dead body came the winged horse the Earth, and the biotic and abiotic powers of
Pegasus. Feminists have a special friendship this Earth are the main story.
with horses. Who says these stories do not still However, the doings of situated, actual
move us materially?41 And from the blood human beings matter. It matters with which ways
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

dripping from Medusas severed head came the of living and dying we cast our lot rather than
rocky corals of the western seas, remembered others. It matters not just to human beings, but
today in the taxonomic names of the Gorgonians, also to those many critters across taxa which
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

the coral-like sea fans and sea whips, composed and whom we have subjected to exterminations,
in symbioses of tentacular animal cnidarians and extinctions, genocides, and prospects of
photosynthetic algal-like beings called futurelessness. Like it or not, we are in the string
zooanthellae.42 figure game of caring for and with precarious
With the corals, we turn definitively away worldings made terribly more precarious by
from heady facial representations, no matter fossil-burning man making new fossils as rapidly
how snaky. Even Potnia Theron, Potnia Melissa, as possible in orgies of the Anthropocene and
and Medusa cannot alone spin out the needed Capitalocene. Diverse human and nonhuman
tentacularities. In the tasks of thinking, figuring, players are necessary in every fiber of the tissues
and storytelling, the spider of my first pages, of the urgently needed Chthulucene story. The
Pimoa chthulhu, allies with the decidedly chief actors are not restricted to the too-big
nonvertebrate critters of the seas. Corals align players in the too-big stories of Capitalism and
with octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish. the Anthropos, both of which invite odd
Octopuses are called spiders of the seas, not apocalyptic panics and even odder disengaged
only for their tentacularity, but also for their denunciations rather than attentive practices of
predatory habits. The tentacular chthonic ones thought, love, rage, and care.
have to eat; they are at table, cum panis, Both the Anthropocene and the
companion species of terra. They are good Capitalocene lend themselves too readily to
figures for the luring, beckoning, gorgeous, finite, cynicism, defeatism, and self-certain and self-
dangerous precarities of the Chthulucene. This fulfilling predictions, like the game over, too
Chthulucene is neither sacred nor secular; this late discourse I hear all around me these days,
earthly worlding is thoroughly terran, muddled, in both expert and popular discourses, in which
and mortal and at stake now. both technotheocratic geoengineering fixes and
Mobile, many-armed predators, pulsating wallowing in despair seem to coinfect any
through and over the coral reefs, octopuses are possible common imagination. Encountering the

09.18.16 / 17:33:21 EDT

sheer not-us, more-than-human worlding of the knowledge practices about and within
coral reefs, with their requirements for ongoing symbiogenesis and sympoietics are wildly and
living and dying of their myriad critters, is also to wonderfully available and generative in all the
encounter the knowledge that at least 250 humusities, including noncolonizing arts,
million human beings today depend directly on sciences, and politics? What if the doleful doings
the ongoing integrity of these holobiomes for of the Anthropocene and the unworldings of the

their own ongoing living and dying well. Diverse Capitalocene are the last gasps of the sky gods,
corals and diverse people and peoples are at not guarantors of the finished future, game over?
stake to and with each other. Flourishing will be It matters which thoughts think thoughts.
cultivated as a multispecies response-ability We must think!
without the arrogance of the sky gods and their The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up
minions, or else biodiverse terra will flip out into the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism
something very slimy, like any overstressed of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding
complex adaptive system at the end of its and layering like a mad gardener, make a much
abilities to absorb insult after insult. hotter compost pile for still possible pasts,
Corals helped bring the Earthbound into presents, and futures.
consciousness of the Anthropocene in the first
place. From the start, uses of the term This text is an edited extract from chapter 2,
Anthropocene emphasized human-induced Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene,
warming and acidification of the oceans from Capitalocene, Chthulucene, in Donna J. Haraway,
fossil-fuel-generated CO2 emissions. Warming Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the
and acidification are known stressors that sicken Chthulucene, Duke University Press, 2016.
and bleach coral reefs, killing the Copyright, 2016, Duke University Press. All rights
photosynthesizing zooanthellae and so reserved. Republished by permission of the
ultimately their cnidarian symbionts and all of copyright holder. www.dukeupress.edu
the other critters belonging to myriad taxa whose
worlding depends on intact reef systems. Corals
of the seas and lichens of the land also bring us
into consciousness of the Capitalocene, in which
deep-sea mining and drilling in oceans and
fracking and pipeline construction across
delicate lichen-covered northern landscapes are
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

fundamental to accelerating nationalist,

transnationalist, and corporate unworlding.
But coral and lichen symbionts also bring us
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

richly into the storied tissues of the thickly

present Chthulucene, where it remains possible
just barely to play a much better SF
game, in nonarrogant collaboration with all those
in the muddle. We are all lichens; so we can be
scraped off the rocks by the Furies, who still
erupt to avenge crimes against the Earth.
Alternatively, we can join in the metabolic
transformations between and among rocks and
critters for living and dying well. Do you
realize, the phytolinguist will say to the aesthetic
critic, that [once upon a time] they couldnt even
read Eggplant? And they will smile at our
ignorance, as they pick up their rucksacks and
hike on up to read the newly deciphered lyrics of
the lichen on the north face of Pikes Peak.45
Attending to these ongoing matters returns me to
the question that began this text. What happens
when human exceptionalism and the utilitarian
individualism of classical political economics
become unthinkable in the best sciences across
the disciplines and interdisciplines? Seriously
unthinkable: not available to think with. Why is it
that the epochal name of the Anthropos imposed
itself at just the time when understandings and

09.18.16 / 17:33:21 EDT

Donna J. Haraway is Distinguished Professor Emerita 1 University Press, 2013).
in the History of Consciousness Department at the Scott Gilbert, We Are All
Lichens Now http://e- 6
University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of flux.com/journal. See also Chthonic derives from ancient
several books, most recently, Manifestly Haraway. Gilbert, Jan Sapp, and Alfred I. Greek khthonios, of the earth,
Tauber, A Symbiotic View of and from khthn, earth. Greek
Life: We Have Never Been mythology depicts the chthonic
Individuals, Quarterly Review of as the underworld, beneath the
Biology, vol. 87, no. 4 (December Earth; but the chthonic ones are

2012): 32541. Gilbert has much older (and younger) than
erased the now from his those Greeks. Sumeria is a
rallying cry; we have always riverine civilizational scene of
been symbionts genetically, emergence of great chthonic
developmentally, anatomically, tales, including possibly the
physiologically, neurologically, great circular snake eating its
ecologically. own tail, the polysemous
Ouroboros (figure of the
2 continuity of life, an Egyptian
These sentences are on the rear figure as early as 1600 BCE;
cover of Isabelle Stengers and Sumerian SF worlding dates to
Vincinae Despret, Women Who 3500 BCE or before). The
Make a Fuss:The Unfaithful chthonic will accrue many
Daughters of Virginia Woolf, resonances throughout my text.
trans. April Knutson See Thorkild Jacobsen, The
(Minneapolis: Univocal, 2014). Treasures of Darkness: A History
From Virginia Woolfs Three of Mesopotamian Religion (New
Guineas, think we must is the Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
urgency relayed to feminist 1976). In lectures,
collective thinking-with in conversations, and e-mails, the
Women Who Make a Fuss scholar of ancient Middle
through Mara Puig de la Eastern worlds at UC Santa
Bellacasa, Penser nous devons: Cruz, Gildas Hamel, gave me
Politiques fminists et the abyssal and elemental
construction des saviors (Paris: forces before they were
Harmattan, 2013). astralized by chief gods and
their tame committees
3 (personal communication, June
Gustavo Hormiga, A Revision 12, 2014). Cthulu (note spelling),
and Cladistic Analysis of the luxuriating in the science fiction
Spider Family Pimoidae (Aranae: of H. P. Lovecraft, plays no role
Araneae), Smithsonian for me, although it/he did play a
Contributions to Zoology 549 role for Gustavo Hormiga, the
(1994): 1104. See Pimoa scientist who named my spider
cthulhu, Wikipedia; Hormiga demon familiar. For the
Laboratory monstrous male elder god
https://www.gwu.edu/~spiders /. (Cthulu), see Lovecraft, The Call
of Cthulu.
The brand of holist ecological I take the liberty of rescuing
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

philosophy that emphasizes that my spider from Lovecraft for

everything is connected to other stories, and mark the
everything, will not help us here. liberation with the more
Rather, everything is connected common spelling of chthonic
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

to something, which is ones. Lovecrafts dreadful

connected to something else. underworld cthonic serpents
While we may all ultimately be were terrible only in the
connected to one another, the patriarchal mode. The
specificity and proximity of Chthulucene has other terrors
connections matters who we more dangerous and generative
are bound up with and in what in worlds where such gender
ways. Life and death happen does not reign. Undulating with
inside these relationships. And slippery eros and gravid chaos,
so, we need to understand how tangled snakes and ongoing
particular human communities, tentacular forces coil through
as well as those of other living the twenty-first-century CE.
beings, are entangled, and how Consider: Old English oearth,
these entanglements are German Erde, Greek Gaa,
implicated in the production of Roman terra, Dutch aarde; Old
both extinctions and their English w(e)oruld (affairs of
accompanying patterns of life, a long period of time, the
amplified death. Thom Van known life, or life on earth as
Dooren, Flight Ways: Life at the opposed to the afterlife), from
Edge of Extinction (New York: a Germanic compound meaning
Columbia University Press, age of the human race (wer);
2014), 60. Old Norse heimr, literally
abode. Then consider Turkish
5 dnya and go to duny (the
Two indispensable books by my temporal world), an Arabic word
colleague-sibling from thirty- that was passed to many other
plus years in the History of languages, such as Persian,
Consciousness Department at Dari, Pashto, Bengali, Punjabi,
the University of California, Urdu, Hindi, Kurdish, Nepali,
Santa Cruz, guide my writing: Turkish, Arumanian, and North
James Clifford, Routes: Travel Caucasian languages. Duny is
and Translation in the Late also a loanword in Malay and
Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Indonesian, as well as in Greek
MA: Harvard University Press, so many words, so
1997); and Clifford, Returns: many roots, so many pathways,
Becoming Indigenous in the so many mycorrhizal symbioses,
Twenty-First Century even if we restrict ourselves only
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard to Indo-European tangles. There

09.18.16 / 17:33:21 EDT

are so many kin who might start entwined with her work transformative theory of culture) accompanies proposals
better have named this time of with Ilya Prigogine, which symbiogenesis, but I think if she of the earliest dates,
the Anthropocene that is at understood that strong linear were alive to take up the coextensive with Homo sapiens
stake now. The anthropos is too coupling in complex systems question, Margulis would often on the planet hunting big now-
much of a parochial fellow; he is theory entailed the possibility of prefer the terminology and extinct prey and then inventing
both too big and too small for radical global system change, figural-conceptual powers of agriculture and domestication of
most of the needed stories. including collapse. Prigogine sympoiesis. I suggest that Gaia animals. A compelling case for
and Stengers, Order Out of Chaos is a system mistaken for dating the Anthropocene from
7 (New York: Bantam, 1984). The autopoietic that is really the multiple great

Eva Hayward proposes the term relation of Gaia to Chaos is an sympoietic. Gaias story needs accelerations, in Earth system
tentacularity; her trans- old one in science and an intrusive makeover to knot indicators and in social change
thinking and -doing in spidery philosophy. What I want to do is with a host of other promising indicators, from about 1950 on,
and coralline worlds entwine knot that emergence sympoietic tentacular ones for first marked by atmospheric
with my writing in SF patterns. sympoietically into a worlding of making rich compost, for going nuclear bomb explosions, is
See Hayward, FingeryEyes: ongoing chthonic powers, which on. Gaia or Ge is much older and made by Will Steffen, Wendy
Impressions of Cup Corals, is the material-semiotic time- wilder than Hesiod (Greek poet Broadgate, Lisa Deutsch, Owen
Cultural Anthropology, vol. 24, space of the Chthulucene rather around the time of Homer, circa Gaffney, and Cornelia Ludwig,
no. 4 (2010): 57799; Hayward, than Anthropocene or 750 to 650 BCE), but Hesiod The Trajectory of the
SpiderCitySex, Women and Capitalocene. This is part of cleaned her/it up in the Anthropocene: The Great
Performance: A Journal of what Stengers means when she Theogony in his story-setting Acceleration, The Anthropocene
Feminist Theory, vol. 20, no. 3 says that her intrusive Gaia was way: after Chaos, wide- Review, January 16, 2015.
(2010): 22551; and Hayward, ticklish from the start. Her bosomed Gaia (Earth) arose to Zalasiewicz et al. argue that
Sensational Jellyfish: Aquarium autopoietic functioning is not be the everlasting seat of the adoption of the term
Affects and the Matter of her truth but what we [human immortals who possess Olympus Anthropocene as a geological
Immersion, differences: A beings] have to face, and are above (Theogony, 11618, trans. epoch by the relevant national
Journal of Feminist Cultural able to read from our computer Glenn W. Most, Loeb Classical and international scientific
Studies, vol. 23, no. 1 (2012): models, the face she turns on Library), and the depths of bodies will turn on stratigraphic
16196. See Eleanor Morgan, us (e-mail from Stengers to Tartarus below (Theogony, 119). signatures. Perhaps, but the
Sticky Tales: Spiders, Silk, and Haraway, May 9, 2014). The chthonic ones reply, resonances of the Anthropocene
Human Attachments, Nonsense! Gaia is one of theirs, are much more disseminated
Dandelion, vol. 2, no. 2 (2011) 11 an ongoing tentacular threat to than that. One of my favorite art
http://dandelionjournal.org/ Scientists estimate that this the astralized ones of the investigations of the stigmata of
index.php/dandelion/article/ extinction event, the first to Olympiad, not their ground and the Anthropocene is Ryan
view/78/98. UK experimental occur during the time of our foundation, with their ensuing Deweys Virtual Places: Core
artist Eleanor Morgans spider species, could, as previous great generations of gods all arrayed Logging the Anthropocene in
silk art spins many threads extinction events have, but in proper genealogies. Hesiods Real-Time, in which he
resonating with this chapter, much more rapidly, eliminate 50 is the old prick tale, already composes core samples of the
tuned to the interactions of to 95 percent of existing setting up canons in the eighth ad hoc geology of retail shelves.
animals (especially arachnids biodiversity. Sober estimates century BCE.
and sponges) and humans. See anticipate half of existing 17
Morgans website species of birds could disappear 13 For a powerful ethnographic
http://www.eleanormorgan.com by 2100. By any measure, that is Although I cannot help but think encounter in the 1990s with
/filter/Spider/About. a lot of double death. For a more rational environmental and climate-change modeling, see
popular exposition, see Voices socialnatural policies of all sorts Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,
8 for Biodiversity, The Sixth Great would help! Natural Universals and the
Tim Ingold, Lines, a Brief History Extinction Global Scale, ch. 3 in Friction:
(New York: Routledge, 2007), http://newswatch.nationalgeo 14 An Ethnography of Global
11619. graphic.com/2012/03/28/the-s Isabelle Stengers, from English Connection (Princeton, NJ:
ixth-great-extinction-a-sile nt- compilation on Gaia sent by e- Princeton University Press,
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

9 extermination/. For a report by mail January 14, 2014. 2005), 88112, especially
The pile was made irresistible by an award-winning science Global Climate as a Model,
Mara Puig de la Bellacasa, writer, see Elizabeth Kolbert, 15 1016. Tsing asks, What makes
Encountering Bioinfrastructure: The Sixth Extinction: An I use thing in two senses that global knowledge possible? She
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

Ecological Movements and the Unnatural History (New York: rub against each other: (1) the replies, Erasing collaborations.
Sciences of Soil, Social Henry Holt, 2014). Reports from collection of entities brought But Tsing does not stop with this
Epistemology vol. 28, no. 1 the Convention on Biological together in the Parliament of historically situated critique.
(2014): 2640. Diversity are more cautious Things that Bruno Latour called Instead she, like Latour and
about predictions and discuss our attention to, and (2) Stengers, takes us to the really
10 the practical and theoretical something hard to classify, important question: Might it be
Isabelle Stengers, Au temps des difficulties of obtaining reliable unsortable, and probably with a possible to attend to natures
catastrophes: Rsister la knowledge, but they are not less bad smell. Latour, We Have collaborative origins without
barbarie qui vient (Paris: sobering. For a disturbing report Never Been Modern (Cambridge, losing the advantages of its
Dcouverte), 2009. Gaia intrudes from summer 2015, see Geraldo MA: Harvard University Press, global reach? (95). How might
in this text from p. 48 on. Ceballos, Paul Ehrlich, Anthony 1993). scholars take on the challenge of
Stengers discusses the Barnosky, Andres Garcia, Robert freeing critical imaginations
intrusion of Gaa in numerous Pringle, and Todd Palmer, 16 from the specter of neoliberal
interviews, essays, and lectures. Accelerated Modern Human- Paul Crutzen and Eugene conquest singular, universal,
Discomfort with the ever more Induced Species Losses: Stoermer, The Anthropocene, global? Attention to the frictions
inescapable label of the Entering the Sixth Mass Global Change Newsletter, of contingent articulation can
Anthropocene, in and out of Extinction, Science Advances International Geosphere- help us describe the
sciences, politics, and culture, vol. 1, no. 5 (June 19, 2015). Biosphere Program Newsletter, effectiveness, and the fragility,
pervades Stengerss thinking, as no. 41 (May 2000): 1718 of emergent capitalist and
well as that of many other 12 http://www.igbp.net/download globalist forms. In this shifting
engaged writers, including Lovelock, Gaia as Seen through /18.316f18321323470177580001 heterogeneity there are new
Latour, even as we struggle for the Atmosphere, Atmospheric 401/NL41.pdf; Crutzen, Geology sources of hope, and, of course,
another word. See Stengers in Environment, vol. 6, no. 8 (1967): of Mankind, Nature 415 (2002): new nightmares (77). At her first
conversation with Heather Davis 57980; Lovelock and Margulis, 23; Jan Zalasiewicz et al., Are climate-modeling conference in
and Etienne Turpin, Matters of Atmospheric Homeostasis by We Now Living in the 1995, Tsing had an epiphany:
Cosmopolitics: On the and for the Biosphere: The Gaia Anthropocene? GSA The global scale takes
Provocations of Gaa, in Hypothesis, Tellus, Series A (Geophysical Society of America) precedence because it is the
Architecture in the (Stockholm: International Today vol. 18, no. 2 (2008): 48. scale of the model (103, italics
Anthropocene: Encounters Meteorological Institute) vol. 26, Much earlier dates for the in original). But this and related
among Design, Deep Time, nos. 12 (February 1, 1974): 210 emergence of the Anthropocene properties have a particular
Science and Philosophy, ed. http://tellusa.net/index.php are sometimes proposed, but effect: they bring negotiators to
Etienne Turpin (London: Open /tellusa/article/view/9731. For a most scientists and an international, heterogeneous
Humanities, 2013), 17182. video of a lecture to employees environmentalists tend to table, maybe not heterogeneous
at the National Aeronautic and emphasize global anthropogenic enough, but far from full of
Stengerss thinking Space Agency in 1984, go to effects from the late eighteenth identical units and players. The
about Gaia and the Lovelock- https://archive.org/details/ century on. A more profound embedding of smaller scales
Margulis development of the gaia_hypothesis. Autopoiesis human exceptionalism (the into the global; the enlargement
Gaia hypothesis was from the was crucial to Marguliss deepest divide of nature and of models to include everything;

09.18.16 / 17:33:21 EDT

the policy-driven construction of gallery-1.1150830. Attended by 2013 aspect of this unfinished story.
the models: Together these tens of thousands of human http://www.huffingtonpost.co
features make it possible for the people (and an unknown number m/michael-t-klare/renewable- 22
models to bring diplomats to the of dogs), Burning Man is an energy_b_3725777.html, in Photograph from NASA Earth
negotiating table (105). That is annual week-long festival of art which he writes, According to Observatory, 2015 (public
not to be despised. and (commercial) anarchism the International Energy Agency domain). If flame is the icon for
held in the Black Rock Desert of (IEA), an inter-governmental the Anthropocene, I use the
The reports of the Nevada since 1990 and on San research organization based in missing ice and the unblocked
Intergovernmental Panel on Franciscos Baker Beach from Paris, cumulative worldwide Northwest Passage to figure the

Climate Change (IPCC) are 1986 to 1990. The events origins investment in new fossil-fuel Capitalocene. The Soufan Group
necessary documents and tie to San Francisco artists extraction and processing will provides strategic security
excellent illustrations of Tsings celebrations of the summer total an estimated $22.87 trillion intelligence services to
accounts: Climate Change 2014: solstice. The event is described between 2012 and 2035, while governments and multinational
Mitigation of Climate Change and as an experiment in community, investment in renewables, organizations. Its report TSG
Climate Change 2014: Impacts, art, radical self-expression, and hydropower, and nuclear energy IntelBrief: Geostrategic
Adaptation, and Vulnerability. radical self-reliance (Burning will amount to only $7.32 Competition in the Arctic
Man, Wikipedia). The globalizing trillion. Nuclear, after includes the following quotes:
Tsings stakes in her extravaganzas of the Fukushima! Not to mention that The Guardian estimates that
intimate tracking of the Anthropocene are not the drug- none of these calculations the Arctic contains 30 percent of
relentless ethnographic and art-laced worlding of prioritize a much lighter, smaller, the worlds undiscovered natural
specificities of far-flung chains Burning Man, but the more modest human presence gas and 15 percent of its oil. In
of intimate dealings and livings iconography of the immense on Earth, with all its critters. late February, Russia announced
are to hold in productive, fiery Man ignited during the Even in its sustainability it would form a strategic military
nonutopian friction the scale- festival is irresistible. The first discourses, the Capitalocene command to protect its Arctic
making power of the things burning effigies on the beach in cannot tolerate a multispecies interests. Russia, Canada,
climate-change models do with San Francisco were of a nine- world of the Earthbound. For the Norway, Denmark, and the US all
the life-and-death messiness of foot-tall wooden Man and a switch in Big Energys growth make some claim to
place- and travel-based smaller wooden dog. By 1988 the strategies to nations with the international waters and the
worldings that always make Man was forty feet tall and weakest environmental controls, continental shelf in the Arctic
even our best and most dogless. Relocated to a dry see Klare, Whats Big Energy Ocean. [A Northwest Passage]
necessary universals very lumpy. lakebed in Nevada, the Man Smoking? Common Dreams, route could provide the Russians
She seeks and describes topped out in 2011 at 104 feet. May 27, 2014 with a great deal of leverage on
multiple situated worldings and This is America; supersized is http://www.commondreams.org/ the international stage over
multiple sorts of translations to the name of the game, a fitting views/2014/05/27/whats-big-e China or any other nation
engage globalism. Attention to habitat for the Anthropos. nergy-smoking. See also Klare, dependent on sea commerce
friction opens up the possibility The Race for Whats Left: The between Asia and Europe.
of an ethnographic account of Anthropos Global Scramble for the Worlds
global interconnection (6). () is an ambiguous Last Resources (New York: The province of Alberta
Appreciation of what she calls word with contested Picador, 2012). in Canada ranks third in the
weediness is indispensable: etymologies. What Anthropos world after Saudi Arabia and
To be aware of the necessity for never figures is the rich 21 Venezuela for proven global
careful coalitions with those generative home of a Heavy tar sand pollution must crude reserves. Almost all of
whose knowledges and multispecies Earth. The Online break the hearts and shatter the Albertas oil is in the tar sands in
pleasures come from other Etymology Dictionary states that gills of every Terran, Gaian, and the north of the province, site of
sources is the beginning of it comes from the Greek aner, Earthbound critter. The toxic the great new petrotoxic lakes of
nonimperialist man, as opposed to a woman, lakes of wastewater from tar North America. See Alberta
environmentalism (170). The a god, or a boy. Just what I sand oil extraction in northern Energy, Facts and Statistics
hostis will not make an suspected! Or, Anthropos Alberta, Canada, shape a kind of http://www.energy.alberta.ca
appearance in this string sometimes is explained as a new Great Lakes region, with /oilsands/791.asp. The
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

figuring, but mushrooms as compound of aner and ops more giant ponds added daily. Capitalocene in action! See the
guides for living in the ruins (genitive opos) eye, face; so Current area covered by these Indigenous Environmental
most certainly will. See Tsing, literally he who has the face of a lakes is about 50 percent greater Network, Canadian Indigenous
The Mushroom at the End of the man. Or, sometimes, the shape than the area covered by the Tar Sands Campaign
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

World: On the Possibility of Life of a man. Biblical scholars find it world city of Vancouver. Tar http://www.ienearth.org/what -
in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton, hard to make the Greek sands operations return almost we-do/tar-sands/. Over twenty
NJ: Princeton University Press, include women, and it none of the vast quantities of corporations operate in the tar
2015). complicates translations in water they use to natural cycles. sands in the home area of many
fascinating ways: see Earthbound peoples trying to indigenous peoples, including
18 http://www.bible-researcher. establish growing things at the the First Nation Mikisew Cree,
The Anthropocene Working com/anthropos.html. Other edges of these alarmingly Athabasca Chipewyan, Fort
Group, which was established in sources give the meaning of the colored waters filled with McMurray, Fort McKay Cree,
2008 to report to the compound as that which is extraction tailings say that Beaver Lake Cree, Chipewyan
International Union of Geological below, hence earthly, human, or, successional processes for Prairie, and also the Metis.
Sciences and the International the upward looking one, and so reestablishing sympoietic
Commission on Stratigraphy on below, lamentably on Earth. biodiverse ecosystems, if they 23
whether to name a new epoch in Unlike the animals, man as prove possible at all, will be an Naomi Klein, How Science Is
the geological timeline, aimed to anthropos looks up at what he affair of decades and centuries. Telling Us All to Revolt, New
issue its final report in 2016. See sees: http://www.science- See Pembina Institute, Albertas Statesman, October 29, 2013
Newsletter of the Anthropocene bbs.com/1 14- Oil Sands http://www.newstatesman.com/
Working Group, volume 4 (June lang%20/0e74f4484bff3fe0. https://www.pembina.org/oil- 2013/10/science-says-revolt;
2013): 117 htm. The Anthropos is not sands; and Bob Weber, Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The
http://quaternary.stratigrap Latours Earthbound. Rebuilding Land Destroyed by Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New
hy.org/workinggroups/anthrop Oil Sands May Not Restore It, York: Macmillan/Picador, 2008).
o/anthropoceneNI4a.pdf; and It is safe to say that Globe and Mail, March 11, 2012
volume 5 (September 2014): Eugene Stoermer and Paul http://www.theglobeandmail.c 24
119 http://quaternary.stratigrap Crutzen were not much vexed by om/news/national/rebuilding- Capitaloceneis one of those
hy.org/workinggroups/anthrop these ambiguities. Still, thank land-destroyed-by-oil-sands- words likesympoiesis; if you
o/anthropoceneworkinggroupne the heavens, looking up, their may-not-restore-it-researche think you invented it, justlook
wsletterv015.pdf. human eyes were firmly on the rs-say/article552879/. Only around and notice how many
Earths atmospheric carbon Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have other people are inventing the
19 burden. Or, also, swimming in more oil reserves than Alberta. term at the same time. That
For a photogallery of fiery too hot seas with the tentacular All that said, the Earthbound, certainly happened to me, and
images of the Man burning at ones, their eyes were the optic- the Terrans, do not cede either after I got over a small fit of
the end of the festival, see haptic fingery eyes of marine the present or the future; the sky individualist pique at being
Burning Man Festival 2012: A critters in diseased and dying is lowering, but has not yet asked whom I got the term
Celebration of Art, Music, and coral symbioses. See Hayward, fallen, yet. Pembina Institute, Capitalocene from hadnt I
Fire, New York Daily News, FingeryEyes. Oil Sands Solutions coined the word? (Coin!) And
September 3, 2012 https://www.pembina.org/oil- why do other scholars almost
http://www.nydailynews.com/n 20 sands/solutions. First Nation, always ask women which male
ews/burning-man-festival-201 See Klare, The Third Carbon Mtis, and Aboriginal peoples writers their ideas are indebted
2-celebration-art-music-fire - Age, Huffington Post, August 8, are crucial players in every to? I recognized that not only

09.18.16 / 17:33:21 EDT

was I part of a cats cradle game grown and armed, from the head likely Western Marxist allies, 35
of invention, as always, but that of a carboniferous Zeus. besides Marx, for nurturing the The bee was one of Potnia
Jason Moore had already written Civilizations do not form through Chthulucene in the belly of the Therons emblems, and she is
compelling arguments to think Big Bang events. They emerge Capitalocene are Antonio also called Potnia Melissa,
with, and my interlocutor both through cascading Gramsci, Selections from the Mistress of the Bees. Modern
knew Moores work and was transformations and Prison Notebooks, and Stuart Wiccans remember these
relaying it to me. Moore himself bifurcations of human activity in Hall. Halls immensely chthonic beings in ritual and
first heard the term the web of life [For example,] generative essays extend from poetry. If fire figured the
Capitalocene in 2009 in a the long seventeenth century the 1960s through the 1990s. Anthropocene, and ice marked

seminar in Lund, Sweden, when forest clearances of the Vistula See, for example, Stuart Hall: the Capitalocene, it pleases me
then graduate student Andreas Basin and Brazils Atlantic Critical Dialogues in Cultural to use red clay pottery for the
Malm proposed it. In an urgent Rainforest occurred on a scale, Studies, eds. David Morley and Chthulucene, a time of fire,
historical conjuncture, words- and at a speed, between five and Kuan-Hsing Chen (London: water, and Earth, tuned to the
to-think-with pop out all at once ten times greater than anything Routledge, 1996). touch of its critters, including its
from many bubbling cauldrons seen in medieval Europe. people. With her PhD writing on
because we all feel the need for 31 the riverine goddess Ratu Kidul
better netbags to collect up the 27 See Dave Gilson, Octopi Wall and her dances now performed
stuff crying out for attention. Crist, On the Poverty of Our Street! Mother Jones, October on Bali, Raissa DeSmet
Despite its problems, the term Nomenclature, Environmental 6, 2011 (Trumbull) introduced me to the
Anthropocene was and is Humanities 3 (2013): 12947; http://www.motherjones.com/m web of far-traveling chthonic
embraced because it collects up 144. Crist does superb critique ixed-media/2011/10/occupy-wa tentacular ones emerging from
many matters of fact, concern, of the traps of Anthropocene ll-street-octopus-vampire-sq the Hindu serpentine Nagas and
and care; and I hope discourse, as well as gives us uid, for the fascinating history of moving through the waters of
Capitalocene will roll off propositions for more cephalopods figuring the Southeast Asia. DeSmet, A
myriad tongues soon. imaginative worlding and ways depredations of Big Capital in Liquid World: Figuring
to stay with the trouble. For the United States (for example, Coloniality in the Indies, PhD
In particular, see the work of entangled, dissenting papers the early twentieth-century John diss., History of Consciousness
Jason Moore, a creative Marxist that both refuse and take up the D. Rockefeller/Standard Oil Department, University of
sociologist at Binghamton name Anthropocene, see videos octopus strangling workers, California at Santa Cruz, 2013.
University in New York. Moore is from the conference farmers, and citizens in general
coordinator of the World- Anthropocene Feminism, with its many huge tentacles). 36
Ecology Research Network. For University of Resignification of octopuses and Links between Potnia Theron
his first Capitalocene argument, WisconsinMilwaukee, April squids as chthonic allies is and the Gorgon/Medusa
see Moore, Anthropocene, 1012, 2014 excellent news. May they squirt continued in temple architecture
Capitalocene, and the Myth of http://c21uwm.com/anthropoce inky night into the visualizing and building adornment well
Industrialization, June 16, 2013 ne/conference-videos/. For rich apparatuses of the technoid sky after 600 BCE, giving evidence of
https://jasonwmoore.wordpres interdisciplinary research, gods. the tenacious hold of the
s.com/2013/06/16/anthropocen organized by Anna Tsing and Nils chthonic powers in practice,
e-capitalocene-the-myth-of-i Ole Bubandt, that brings 32 imagination, and ritual, for
ndustrialization/. See Moore, together anthropologists, Hesiods Theogony in achingly example, from the fifth through
Capitalism and the Web of Life: biologists, and artists under the beautiful language tells of the third centuries BCE on the
Ecology and the Accumulation of sign of the Anthropocene, see Gaia/Earth arising out of Chaos Italian peninsula. The dread-full
Capital (London: AURA: Aarhus University to be the seat of the Olympian Gorgon figure faces outward,
Research on the Anthropocene immortals above and of Tartarus defending against exterior
Verso, 2015). http://anthropocene.au.dk/. in the depths below. She/it is dangers, and the no less awe-
very old and polymorphic and full Potnia Theron faces inward,
25 28 exceeds Greek tellings, but just nurturing the webs of living. See
To get over Eurocentrism while I owe the insistence on big- how remains controversial and Kimberly Sue Busby, The
thinking about the history of enough stories to Clifford, speculative. At the very least, Temple Terracottas of Etruscan
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

pathways and centers of Returns: I think of these as big Gaia is not restricted to the job Orvieto: A Vision of the
globalization over the last few enough histories, able to of holding up the Olympians! The Underworld in the Art and Cult of
centuries, see Dennis O. Flynn account for a lot, but not for important and unorthodox Ancient Volsinii, PhD diss.,
and Arturo Girldez, China and everything and without scholar-archaeologist Marija University of Illinois, 2007. The
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

the Birth of Globalisation in the guarantees of political virtue Gimbutis claims that Gaia as Christian Mary, Virgin Mother of
16th Century (Farnum, UK: (201). Rejecting one big Mother Earth is a later form of a God, who herself erupted in the
Ashgate Variorium, 2012). For synthetic account or theory, preIndo-European, Neolithic Near East and Mediterranean
analysis attentive to the Clifford works to craft a realism Great Mother. In 2004, filmmaker worlds, took on attributes of
differencesand frictions among that works with open-ended Donna Reed and neopagan these and other chthonic powers
colonialisms, imperialisms, (because their linear historical author and activist Starhawk in her travels around the world.
globalizing trade formations, time is ontologically unfinished) released a collaborative Unfortunately, Marys
and capitalism, see Engseng Ho, big-enough stories, sites of documentary film about the life iconography shows her ringed by
Empire through Diasporic Eyes: contact, struggle, and dialogue and work of Gimbutas, Signs out stars and crushing the head of
A View from the Other Boat, (8586). of Time. See Belili Productions, the snake (for example, in the
Society for Comparative Study of About Signs out of Time Miraculous Medal dating from
Society and History (April 2004): 29 http://www.belili.org/marija an early nineteenth-century
21046; and Ho, The Graves of Philippe Pignarre and Isabelle /aboutSIGNS.html; Gimbutas, apparition of the Virgin), more
Tarem: Genealogy and Mobility Stengers, La sorcellerie The Living Goddesses,ed. Miriam than allying herself with Earth
across the Indian Ocean capitaliste: Pratiques de Robbins Dexter (Berkeley: powers. The lady surrounded by
(Berkeley: University of dsenvotement (Paris: University of California Press, stars is a Christian scriptural
California Press, 2006). Dcouverte, 2005). Latour and 1999). apocalyptic figure for the end of
Stengers are deeply allied in time. That is a bad idea.
26 their fierce rejection of 33 Throughout my childhood, I wore
In Anthropocene or discourses of denunciation. They To understand what is at stake in a gold chain with the Miraculous
Capitalocene, Part III, May 19, have both patiently taught me to non-Euclidean storytelling, go Medal. Finally and luckily, it was
2013 understand and relearn in this to Le Guin, Always Coming Home her residual chthonic infections
https://jasonwmoore.wordpres matter. I love a good (Berkeley: University of that took hold in me, turning me
s.com/2013/05/19/anthropocen denunciation! It is a hard habit California Press, 1985);and Le from both the secular and also
e-or-capitalocene-part-iii/, to unlearn. Guin, A Non-Euclidean View of the sacred, and toward humus
Jason Moore puts it this way: California as a Cold Placeto Be, and compost.
This means that capital and 30 in Dancing at the Edge of the
power and countless other It is possible to read Max World: Thoughts on Words, 37
strategic relations do not act Horkheimer and Theodor Women, Places (New York: Grove, The Hebrew word Deborah
upon nature but develop through Adornos Dialectic of 1989), 80100. means bee, and she was the
the web of life. Nature is here Enlightenment as an allied only female judge mentioned in
offered as the relation of the critique of Progress and 34 the Bible. She was a warrior and
whole. Humans live as a Modernization, even though The Thousand Names of Gaia: counselor in premonarchic
specifically endowed (but not theirresolute secularism gets in From the Anthropocene to the Israel. The Song of Deborah may
special) environment-making their own way. It is very hard for Age of the Earth, International date to the twelfth centuryBCE.
species within Nature. Second, a secularist to really listen to the Colloquium, Rio de Janeiro, Deborah was a military heroand
capitalism in 1800 was no squid, bacteria, and angry old September 1519, 2014. ally of Jael, one of the 4Js in
Athena, bursting forth, fully women of Terra/Gaia. The most Joanna Russs formative

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feminist science fiction novel Attention: Wonder in Feminist ongoing looping, becoming-with,
The Female Man. Theory and Scientific Practice, and polymorphism. The
PhD diss., History of suppleness of molluscs, which
In April 2014, the Consciousness Department, appear as a mass of tentacles
Reverend Billy Talen and the University of California at Santa (polplokoi), makes their bodies
Church of Stop Shopping Cruz, 2013. Kenney explores an interlaced network, a living
exorcised the robobee from the different genres of fable, which knot of mobile animated bonds
Micro Robotics Laboratories at situate what she calls unstable (159). For Detienne and
Harvard. The robobee is a high- wild facts in relation to Vernants Greeks, the

tech drone bee that is intended proposing and testing the polymorphic and supple
to replace overworked and strength of knowledge claims. cuttlefish are close to the
poisoned biological pollinating She investigates strategies for primordial multisexual deities of
bees as they become more and navigating uncertain terrain, the sea ambiguous, mobile,
more diseased and endangered. where the productive tensions and ever changing, sinuous and
Honeybeealujah, old stories live! between fact and fiction in undulating, presiding over
See Talen, Beware of the actual practices are necessary. coming-to-be, pulsating with
Robobee, Monsanto and darpa, waves of intense color, cryptic,
June 4, 2014 40 secreting clouds of darkness,
http://www.revbilly.com/bewa Medousa and Gorgones, Theoi adept at getting out of
re_of_the_robobee_monsanto_a Greek Mythology difficulties, and having tentacles
nd_darpa; and John P. Finnegan, http://www.theoi.com/Pontios where proper men would have
Protestors Sing /Gorgones.html beards.
Honeybeelujahs against
Robobees, Harvard Crimson, 41 44
April 23, 2014 Suzy McKee Charnass Holdfast See Donna Haraway and Martha
http://www.thecrimson.com/ar Chronicles, beginning in 1974 Kenney, Anthropocene,
ticle/2014/4/23/protesters-s with Walk to the End of the Capitalocene, Chthulucene,
ing-honeybeelujahs-robobees/ . World, is greatSFfor thinking interview for Art in the
Or, as Brad Werner put it at the about feminists and their Anthropocene: Encounters
American Geophysical Union horses. The sex isexciting if very among Aesthetics, Politics,
Meetings, Revolt! Do we hear the incorrect, and the politics are Environment, and Epistemology,
buzzing yet? It is time to sting. It bracing. ed. Heather Davis and Etienne
is time for a chthonic swarm. It Turpin (Open Humanities Press,
is time to take care of the bees. 42 Critical Climate Change series,
Eva Hayward first drew my 2015)
38 attention to the emergence of http://www.openhumanitiespre
Erinyes 1, Theoi Greek Pegasus from Medusas body ss.org/books/titles/art-in-t he-
Mythology and of coral from drops of her anthropocene/
http://www.theoi.com/Khthoni blood. In her The Crochet Coral
os/Erinyes.html Reef Project Heightens Our 45
Sense of Responsibility to the Le Guin, The Author of Acacia
39 Oceans, Independent Weekly, Seeds and Other Extracts from
Martha Kenney pointed out to August 1, 2012, she writes: If the Journal of the Association of
me that the story of the Ood, in coral teaches us about the Theolinguistics, in Buffalo Gals
the long-running British science reciprocal nature of life, then and Other Animal Presences
fiction TV series Doctor Who, how do we stay obligated to (New York: New American
shows how the squid-faced ones environments many of which Library, 1988), 175.
became deadly to humanity only we made unlivable that now
after they were mutilated, cut sicken us? Perhaps Earth will
Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene

off from their symchthonic hive follow Venus, becoming

mind, and enslaved. The uninhabitable due to rampaging
humanoid empathic Ood have greenhouse effect. Or, maybe,
sinuous tentacles over the lower we will rebuild reefs or construct
e-flux journal #75 september 2016 Donna Haraway

portion of their multifolded alien alternate homes for the oceans

faces; and in their proper bodies refugees. Whatever the
they carry their hindbrains in conditions of our future, we
their hands, communicating remain obligate partners with
with each other telepathically oceans. See Margaret Wertheim
through these vulnerable, living, and Christine Wertheim, Crochet
exterior organs (organons). Coral Reef: A Project by the
Humans (definitely not the Institute for Figuring (Los
Earthbound) cut off the Angeles: IFF, 2015).
hindbrains and replaced them
with a technological 43
communication-translator I am inspired by the 201415
sphere, so that the isolated Ood Monterey Bay Aquarium
could only communicate through exhibition Tentacles: The
their enslavers, who forced them Astounding Lives of Octopuses,
into hostilities. I resist thinking Squids, and Cuttlefish. See
the Ood techno-communicators Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre
are a future release of the Vernant, Cunning Intelligence in
iPhone, but it is tempting when I Greek Culture and Society, trans.
watch the faces of twenty-first- Janet Lloyd (Brighton, UK:
century humans on the streets, Harvester Press, 1978), with
or even at the dinner table, thanks to Chris Connery for this
apparently connected only to reference in which cuttlefish,
their devices. I am saved from octopuses, and squid play a
this ungenerous fantasy by the large role. Polymorphy, the
SF fact that in the episode capacity to make a net or mesh
Planet of the Ood, the of bonds, and cunning
tentacular ones were freed by intelligence are the traits the
the actions of Ood Sigma and Greek writers foregrounded.
restored to their nonsingular Cuttlefish and octopuses are
selves. Doctor Who is a much pure porai and the
better story cycle for going-on- impenetrable pathless night
with than Star Trek. they secrete is the most perfect
image of their metis (38).
For the importance Chapter 5, The Orphic Metis
of reworking fables in sciences and the Cuttle-Fish of Thetis, is
and other knowledge practices, the most interesting for the
see Martha Kenney, Fables of Chthulucenes own themes of

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