As we attempt to grapple with this bleak post-human future, we must also confront the question of what humans can hope to understand. Parts of the physical world are understood. They can be observed and described by theories—but much of it cannot. Human observation bumps up against stark limits. Human reasoning is not limitless either, but it does allow us to think through what might in principle be “over the horizon.”
Spencer Kornhaber: “The first major-studio movie about adolescent gay romance, Greg Berlanti’s spring hit, Love, Simon, uses teen-comedy tropes to portray homosexuality as no big deal in a well-off, relatively woke slice of America. But other recent films, set in less tolerant places and eras, hint that integrating queerness into a schema that has been overwhelmingly straight isn’t so simple.”
An 1897 article in The American Electrician worried that a growing dependence on the telephone would turn us all into “transparent heaps of jelly.” But while the notion of addiction to our smartphones (the most usual suspects in the current attention crisis) is contested, numerous studies have found that compulsive phone use can lead to separation anxiety, chronic fear of missing out, and a painful thumb condition known as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis—signs worrying enough that we can’t rule out the eventual jellification of humanity.