Michel Serres - The Natural Contract

“Now if there is a law, and thus a history, for subjective wars, there is none for objective violence, which is without limit or rule, and thus without history.

The growth of our rational means carries us off, at a speed difficult to estimate, in the direction of the destruction of the world, which, in a rather recent backlash, could condemn us all together, and no longer by locales, to automatic extinction. Suddenly we are returning to the most ancient times, whose memory has been preserved only in and through the ideas of philosophers who theorize the law, times when our cultures, saved by a contract, invented our history, which is defined by forgetting the state that preceded it.

In conditions very different from this first state, but nonetheless parallel, we must, therefore, once again, under the threat of collective death, invent a law for objective violence. We find ourselves in the same position as our unimaginable ancestors when they invented the oldest law, which transformed their subjective violence, through a contract, into what we call wars. We must make a new pact, a new preliminary agreement with the objective enemy of the human world: the world as such. A war of everyone against everything.

If we must renew our ties with a history’s foundations, that is a clear indication that we are seeing its end. Is this the death of Mars? What are we going to do with our armies? This astonishing question has come back to haunt our governments. But more than that is at stake: the necessity to revise and even re-sign the primitive social contract. This unites us for better and for worse, along the first diagonal, without the world. Now that we know how to join forces in the face of danger, we must envisage, along the other diagonal, a new pact to sign with the world: the natural contract.

Thus the two fundamental contracts intersect.