Aside from global and cosmic catastrophes such as asteroid impacts, supernovae and black holes or the aging of the universe and, most generally, time, the inherent destructive potential of our species, especially powerful and prevalent under the current capitalist paradigm, makes ourselves our own and single worst enemy within an abstracted food chain.
Competition as the dominant mode of human agency and interaction, along with inequality as the underlying ontological condition are the source and motoric force of human self-annihilation and environmental destruction.
We’ll use some of the more familiar pop cultural iconography to illustrate the principles of the CET. In “Independence Day” (1996), humanity desperately unites in the face of hostile alien colonization. The “Terminator” saga (1984 onward), in it’s preliminary future projection, features a decimated but determined remaining human species fighting extinction by the literal hands of technology that had turned against their creator. A less bipolar and more current example, “The Expanse” (2011 books, 2015 tv show) shows mankind as interplanetary species, still divided into fractions, but united on their respective home planets - a concept prevalent in many science fiction universes. While the show even uses “united by war” as a slogan for advertising, “united by antagonists of supra-continental magnitude” would be more accurate for most of the show, and more clarifying concerning the nature of the mechanisms that determine human macro-conflicts - until an enemy of supra-system magnitude steps in, forcing the less “technologically advanced” form of life to realize the meaninglessness, insubstantiality and ineffectiveness of their quarreling - similar to the long-run narrative of “Game Of Thrones”, the most popular tv show of all time, according to IMDB. Needless to say also historically, in every war ever fought, alliances of formerly adverse parties became possible - and reality - once a more powerful enemy arose on the horizon. This process or mechanism should therefore be very familiar concept to almost everybody.
So humans, similar to many other animal species, have the ability of mobilizing incredible potential through unification when they have an overwhelming opposing power set against them, as proven by a rich catalogue of historic example.
What if a species would be in a permanent state of resistance to an enemy exactly equal in power, magnitude and multitude, as well as matching speed of development and progress? Wouldn’t the species itself be forced and able to keep up a permanent state of unification as well?
As we do neither have the time nor the desire to wait for any superior alien species to confront us, it is more than rational to do without any extraterrestrial intelligence extinction-level threat scenario and proceed to panhuman global unification directly and immediately - realizing that there is indeed an intraterrestrial intelligence extinction-level threat scenario facing us right now.
Like each of us potentially is their own and single worst enemy as an individual specimen, we humans also are our own and single worst enemy as a species. At the same time, as we all are our most important and powerful supporter, we, as a species, are also our own and single best ally.
Starting with industrialization, latest with the beginning of the anthropocene, the status of being both our own worst enemy as well as our most important ally has become permanent. As unification will usually only last as long as the common danger is present, this is an advantage, a hopeful perspective.
Panhumanism will only unfold if we are and remain constantly aware of the extreme powerful negative leverage we possess towards earth and ourselves; but once we manage to reach this new level of understanding, it may well become the new ground zero, enabling us to overcome most of the ancient scourges and struggles of humanity - precisely because we understand will never defeat the enemy, never escape its negative potential.
We need to remind ourselves, on every single occasion of personal and communal action or decision, to stand above short-sighted conflicts of interest or fear of human differences – above local, national, regional and continental competition, above personal wealth and global social inequality – not just to ‘righteous’, but to ensure our very own individual and collective persistence.
Once we manage to unleash our existence as mutual allies, we will become powerful beyond imagination - directing the immeasurable amount of energy previously lost to conflict, friction, competition and upholding inequality to real social, ecological, technological progress and the advancement of human wellbeing instead.
The first step towards a genuine, true realization and understanding of the Common Enemy Theory and the subsequent Panhumanist Paradigm, is the acknowledgement of the realness of the threat.
The threat is real, it is present and already critical, immediate.
Besides the global warming death spiral, including theories, projections and sufficiently evidenced interrelations (see “cascade failure” or other common sense thought models like “Networked Earth”), besides the waste, pollution and energy crises along with other environmental anthropogenic catastrophes, there are countless other ways in which we are directly or indirectly harming ourselves as individuals, communities, societies, and species as a whole, regarding physical and mental health; through politically mandated damage done to different - organically grown - environmental and cultural structures, including more subtle, complex, long-term subsequent processes affecting our daily realities (media, technology, education, work ethics ...) as well as (anti-)social harm generators deeply rooted in our nature or encoded in our behaviour, actively or passively diminishing our agency over our lives and our collective fate.
Considering the above, or simply consulting any “news” format, even just contemplating your own experience, should actually make it very easy to achieve such an acknowledgement. It’s important to state here that this is not about the notion of something like a general human evilness, of our species being a lost cause, which would ultimately constitute an acceptance of giving in. It’s our existentially negative potential that should scare us into unfolding our utmost positive potential.
If we were to accept our existence as an error, a fraud, a failure - and our nature as fundamentally evil and malicious, it will only lead us into the senseless, cold and deadly embrace of accelerated annihilation.
The metamorphosis of accelerationist discourse into a public phenomenon, especially in the form of its most widespread misconception, is ultimately an expression of disappointment of the many with the reality of life and humanity under neoliberal capitalism - which basically indicates quite some grade of sensibility - paired with a lack of imagination, fueled by a strictly linear projection of the future from a standpoint strictly based on analysis of human history and the atrocities of the present system.
While /Acc thinkers and writers often provide brilliant, thorough analysis of our time and capitalist dynamics, it becomes increasingly clear that accelerationist concepts have unintentionally mutated into a common, almost predominant notion that yes, capitalism is hell, but we have no other choice than to watch and wait for - or, accelerate towards - the collapse to bring about change.
In this scenario, it seems only logical that we are bound to destroy ourselves - take all the arguments made to underpin the concept of the Common Enemy, and reduce imagination to outcomes based on this negative potential - and you will lose your mind gazing into the abyss, while it gazes right back into you. Any total systemic collapse on a global scale is unlikely to leave anyone standing, no matter your nationality, wealth or privilege.
Indeed, it is very hard to imagine anything beyond the point at which all current developments seem to inevitably be crossing paths, mercilessly driven forward by all the powerful mechanisms that have outgrown our grasp. And yes, it is the side of the medal that is most extensively supported by facts and observation.
But it nevertheless simply is just one side of said medal, a medal that has an infinite number of sides. Any other side of the medal includes other conclusions and projections derived from the status quo (including the available catalogue of past events, aka history). We must not forget, that there are far more possible futures and realities beyond than within our capability of comprehension. Time and Space may well be the same, or nonexistent. Each of the infinite number of outcomes has the same probability. And if you want to stick to dichotomies, everything is, indeed, 50/50, even if there are more than two options.
Still, even if you were a pessimistic nihilist and you were to take your perception of the universe for reality, your observations as valid; if human existence were pointless, without meaning (which it probably is - at least with a chance of 50%, and at least to anyone but ourselves), and even if it were equally probable that our self-destruction is inevitable, it does by no means require to accept or welcome this destiny, or, more absurdly, even accelerate the process, thereby amplifying the suffering.
If we’re doomed, and especially if we don’t know whether we’re doomed or not, we might as well fight and seek to reach better alternatives while we can. Why spend the rest of our descent into dissolution (which may occur over a long span of time) worshipping the chaos god, forcing our bitterness onto others who haven’t given up yet, when we could easily use the same energy to make our end - and the life along the way - more pleasant?
In the end, retreat to faux accelerationism (or conservative decelerationism, its equally unimaginative little sibling) constitutes a premature exit from our collective search for meaning, an act of impotence in the face of challenging complexity. Capitalism is to be neither accelerated nor decelerated, it is to be abolished and replaced by something better, something more reasonable.
Instead of a binary assessment of the world, we need to develop the capacity of n-dimensional thinking, matching the complexity and pace of our world instead of denying it. If our existence doesn’t matter to the cosmic infinity, we might as well continue to exist. If human suffering is irrelevant and insignificant to an indifferent apathetic universe, we might as well continue to suffer. If we are to persist, it makes sense to try and improve our experience of existing.