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Alien Anthropology

Endless Wars

“Returning to the Trenches”, Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, drypoint print, 1916.

I can’t help but wonder if one day, and in the same way that trench warfare might now strike us as such incomprehensible futility and carnage, future generations will look back upon this moment and all of our own fast-spiralling technological arcs and grammars of adversarialism as not being a difference in kind so much as of degree to the large-scale carnage and visceral horror of that earlier era. It is perhaps not that much of an uncommon urge: the Great “Why?” of any retrospective analysis and search for meaning that tends to trouble a traumatised person, community, nation or world after conflict.


The central character of conspicuous absence in any retrospective analysis is generally the coherent unity of that introspection. This persistent presence of absence (as foundational incompletess, transience) is a globally-distributed property of all analytical frameworks – but more significantly, it is a common divisor and identity for all axiomatic, logical and self-propagating computational systems (of which, sadly, #war is one).


Identifying causal factors of discontinuous dissonance in large-scale conflict reveals itself by common symmetry and grammatical genealogy to possess uncanny correlations to core enigmas of epistemology. Simple lessons of conflict, unacknowledged.

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