Beast gives us a contemporary parable that illustrates loss and breakdown in a single individual. This narrator, one Edward Buckmaster, is from the same part of eastern England as his previous protagonist. Having abandoned his family to squat in a run-down farmhouse on the moors of Western England, the narrator seeks re-enchantment, in Weber’s sense: “I need to be in the places where the light comes through, where people are thin on the ground, where the old spirits still mutter in the hedges and the stone rows” (10). Buckmaster rejects the empty, dead, asphalt-paved world from which he comes, but at the same time, he has left a wife and a newborn daughter behind. It is the human cost of this attempt to gain an Archimedean vantage point on the world which leads Kingsnorth’s narrator to conclude,
Nothing is really clear, but this no longer seems to matter. I once thought that my challenge was to understand everything, to build a structure in my mind that would support all that I experienced in the world. But there is no structure that will not fall in the end and crush you under it. (162)
During a storm, part of the roof on Buckmaster’s old farmhouse collapses, partially crushing him. In the ensuing delirium of his recovery, the reader’s mystification about what is real and what is not real mirrors the narrator’s same confusion. This increasing uncertainty is even illustrated in the language of the narrator’s monologue: as the book proceeds, grammar and punctuation gradually disappear, only re-appearing at the end as he apparently re-emerges from his delirium, with the lines quoted above.
Vincent Blok is associate professor in Philosophy of Technology & Responsible Innovation at the Philosophy Group, Wageningen University. In this episode we discuss his book Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology: Heidegger and the Poetics of the Anthropocene, alongside discussions on Heideggerian philosophy, Spengler, war and morality.
The world has been a strange place since the release of the second issue of our journal. This strange quality has permeated near all aspects of civilisation, in more ways than we could articulate here. In a very long book, the philosopher Schopenhauer described poetry as being greater than history, as history can only account for a generalised description of the world (re-presented at a distance), while poetry articulates the experience of living in a moment, as the experiencer seeks to express ir. So, while these words are not a generalised totalising narrative of the experience of being in the world, they are expressions that these individuals wished to articulate, of their experience of this strange world.
This announcement is not for just one release, but for two. Alongside the release of our third journal, we are releasing a collection of poems written by Phen Weston and Julian Langer. To all of those who have contributed to the journal, we are sincerely grateful to receive your words. To all of you who may read these collections, we hope you find some beauty in these works.