UPDATE 20.02.2012: as the anonymous commentator below says, with the wreck of the Concordia, Cassandra may be reminding us in a whisper of what she shouted out 100 years ago with the Titanic, and, less obviously, with the Concorde disaster. But what else should we expect in our titanic world: for as much rhetoric about peace and harmony as there is today, titans are by their very nature not a concordant group – and when humanity becomes for a period titanic, then manifestations of egoism on a monumental scale are the result. These in turn can only ultimately result in disaccord and catastrophe. For those who have ears: Cassandra’s warnings are only mild foreshadowings of what must come with the inevitable fall of the titans and what must happen to the human constructions and attitudes that follow the titanic model.
For those interested, this is all preeminently explained by F.G. Jünger in his Griechische Götter.
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From 03.02.2010. This is a rare departure from the anarch theme – but I saw a newspaper article today relating that the Concorde disaster of a few years ago was probably caused by panels of titanium lying on the runway and I simply can’t resist! In various places in his work, Ernst Jünger speaks of the prophetic message in the Titanic’s fate. In his words, Cassandra has hardly ever spoken as unambiguously: in the name of the ship; in the overweening technical pride associated with it; in its sinking on a maiden voyage between the Old World and New World.
The symbolic context is of course the Titans of Greek mythology, whose return to power the world is now experiencing. “Titan” literally means “overstretchers of power”, and it is as a result of an imbalance between their power and their wisdom that the Titans drive themselves, after only a brief reign, to a catastrophic end. In Ernst Jünger’s conception, we have been living in a developing Titanic phase ever since the Enlightenment. During the 21st century we will see the absolute mastery of the Titans – and the beginning of their fall. This is unavoidable, part of the life-cycle of the earth.*
In the current return of Titan forces, technology is the key to their worldly powers – and they use it without restraint, to its absolute limits, without concerns for balance and “sustainability”, to resort to a popular word. Humans living in this Titanic phase become intoxicated by their seeming mastery over all things as a result of technology. Their pride swells, nothing seems impossible. They have become like the gods, masters over nature.
And so they build ships like the Titanic and airplanes like the Concorde – unsinkable, masters of vast spaces, luxurious even as they break the speed of sound at 10,000 meters or cross the icy Atlantic to the accompaniment of lobsters, champagne and Dixie music.
Titanic humanity takes great pride in such achievements – but then disaster strikes! The unsinkable Titanic, the pride of humanity, is destroyed by a simple iceberg on its maiden voyage. And now the Concorde, its equivalent of the air, is brought down in a flaming inferno by random bits of technical junk, made by its parents’ and baptized with their name.
With the Titanic, Cassandra spoke loudly to the whole world – with the Concorde’s felling by titanium it is more of a whisper to the initiated, to those who listen for her signs.
(* As an anarch, it is a matter of understanding and adapting to this reality, this higher necessity – ideally even extracting advantage from it. Where possible, an anarch may also try to contribute to an equivalent understanding among others “with ears to hear”. But he understands that the basic course of this process from birth to catastrophe cannot be avoided.)