POPULAR TALK: Is There Life After Anthropocene?

(PHOTO/VIDEO) Despite the bad weather, the Big Hall of the Students’ Cultural Centre was packed with those interested in how humans impact the world and whether the planet will survive their domination. The Pre-New-Year popular talk entitled ’Is There Life after Anthropocene’ organized by the Institute of Physics as part of the Science Through Stories initiative was held on Monday, 23 December 2019. The popular talk was moderated by Slobodan Bubnjević, an editor of ‘the Science Through Stories’.

The participants of the popular talk looked into various aspects of human life and contemplated on the meaning of differences between natural and artificial, and in addition to the quest for Anthropocene definition and answer to whether this epoch existed, all the while throughout the dialogue the question lurked whether humans were the masters of the world and if that was the case, what they were like in that role.

At the very beginning, Dr Aleksandar Belić, a physicist from the Institute of Physics stated that humans were not even their own masters, explaining that humanity’s discoveries of natural laws did not lead to any changes in nature itself, but people adapted to the new knowledge and changed their behaviour. Dr Belić also said that humans would lose their confidence if aliens came to Earth since human beings had not developed the technology for these journeys yet.

Dr Eva Kamerer from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade took the audience back in history, reminding of a more obscure concept from the first part of the 20th century on noosphere, i.e. the sphere of human reason. Dr Kamerer stressed that the founding authors of this idea on humans being the masters of the world spoke positively, for they saw them as the crown of evolution. Nevertheless, at the end of the popular talk, Dr Kamerer declared she did not consider humans to be the masters of the world, but that was a distorted image stemming from the ideas of modern philosophy and science that humans, owing to their knowledge, would rule the world in order to ensure the wellbeing of everybody.

On human domination of the planet, Dr Milica Kašanin Grubin, a geologist from ICTM, spoke in light of Anthropocene definition, noting that there were several ways to define ‘the age of man’ none of which had been officially approved by geologists. Furthermore, she elaborated on which human steps geologist could truly trace and reminded how old the earth really was and what epochs it had been through before humans appeared.

An astrophysicist and futurist Dr Milan Ćirković from the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade said that the emergence of Anthropocene was an indicator of a huge evolutionary stage, as the appearance of an intelligent being certainly was, no matter whether it was a man. Dr Ćirković stated that the dilemma whether something was natural of artificial was misleading since humans, as well as all their abilities had evolved in a natural manner.

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Photo: Bojan Džodan

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Video: Two Tech Solutions