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To look at the present as the past of the future

ACCELERATION: We have interviewed the thinker Armen Avanessian about "accelerationism" and the possibility of a new political thinking.

- Your book Metaphysics for our time (Metaphysics at the moment, 2019 [2021]) is now published in Norwegian together with the anthology Acceleration (#Acceleration, 2013). Where did your philosophical involvement in this subject begin?

- In the period when I made the anthology, a spectrum of philosophy had emerged that had a speculative temporality – which saw the world from the point of view of the future. Speculative philosophy today has many ramifications that sometimes conflict with each other, but they all share a realistic or materialistic belief in science.

In more abstract terms, the danger is always that the difference between assumptions about the future and the future itself disappears, so that the future is also lost for the individual.

I am particularly interested in what it can mean to think about our current political situation in an optimistic way with a look to the future. How can we see the present from the outside to see what are the most promising tendencies in our modern capitalist world? The assumption is that there are unused scientific and technological advances, opportunities that can be used to transform our society in a more enlightened way. Despite the fact that capitalism seems to move too fast, it slows us down and holds us back.

Accelerationism allows us to break the "equation" that is stuck in our head, namely that modernity = enlightenment = progress = growth = capitalism = neoliberalism. When we break up this complex of ideas, we see that progress is still achievable: it is possible to improve our society based on rational criteria that are for the best. . .

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Anders Dunker
Philosopher. Regular literary critic in Ny Tid. Translator.
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