Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being Ecological (USA) is out with MIT press

What with all the lectures and all, I've hardly had time o mention this simple thing. You can get it from MIT if you're in America. Everyone else can get it from Penguin. Look at the little ad I made on the right!

Monday, October 22, 2018

New Idea about Hyperobjects!

OMG I haven't had a new thought about them for ages and ages. But it turns out that there's a sharp difference between the way logic describes hyperobjects, and the way math does, and I'm with the math, having indicated in several books and essays how vanilla logic fails to describe them anyway.

It turns out that hyperobjects are quantized! There is a minimum hyperobject amplitude. This is very important because it's good to be able to identify these beasties. For example, to take something disturbingly topical, a civil war can easily be described as a hyperobject.

This isn't to do with mathematical hyperobjects, from which I didn't get the word (confusingly!). It's to do with the things I myself call hyperobjects.

Stay tuned, readers, but in short, two's company, three's a crowd---and four is a nascent hyperobject.

Like every energy-matter state in the universe has a specific frequency range. There are no transparent oceans. There are as it were green ones, yellow ones, blue ones...and hyperobjects are just  like that.

In this regard vanilla logic is like classical physics and hyperobject math resembles quantum theory. And as I usually think that the classical world doesn't really exist, and by the way hyperobject logic suffers in exactly the same way as classical physics, I'm with the math. Also, if you know what you're up against, you can do something about it. The logic is useless in an emergency. Say you want to figure out when to leave a country on the edge of civil war. Well...

Stay tuned!

Hyperobjets en Français

...or Hyperobjets I should say! So many things happening, I'd only half realized this came out! I did 17 lectures in the spring as well as teaching my normal full load of classes, PhD advising etc etc, not to mention the Marfa exhibition. So I totally forgot about this! Here's the press's page about it.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Yoko Ono at Mori Art Museum

If you're in Tokyo (lucky you!) and you happen to be in or near Roppongi, do stop by the art museum to witness their very creative and thoughtful exhibition on catastrophe.

If you've read my stuff you'll know I think catastrophe is better than disaster (they're different!) and at the very least we should turn global warming into a catastrophe (there are witnesses) not a disaster (no witnesses).

Anyway, the exhibition closes with a chance to write your thoughts about refugees, asylum seekers, trauma and everything, courtesy of Yoko Ono, then you can obtain a shirt that says WAR IS OVER which is the best t shirt since FRANKIE SAY WAR in 1984...

Yoko Ono in Being Ecological

Have you ever read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki?

If you haven't do so at once gives you the best best best mediation instruction, no matter what contemplative lineage you're in (or not).

And somewhere in the middle is the most wonderful mysterious thing: two blank pages, with a life-size drawing of a fly on the upper right hand corner of the double-page spread.

That's the moment of mind transmission right there! I'm not spoiling it by telling you. That's the amazing lovely thing about meditation: it proves that you can surprise yourself, aka that the future is possible, and new things can happen.

I read it when I was 17. I was so upset...then I read this book and it totally changed my life.

As we head into global warming space ever further, I can't insist enough on you having some kind of healing centering self-soothing practice that you do, whether it be making yourself a nice sandwich or meditating or donating to your favorite charity or smiling or...

Please, the lifeforms need you! The dolphins are upset because they can't use their flippers to turn off the gas pipelines, and we are all collapsing in a heap of depression or cynicism or denial (yeah even now, unbelievably).

So I had this idea when Penguin asked me to write Being Ecological for them. I thought, wouldn't it be amazing if Yoko Ono agreed to put some of her This Is Not Here artwork in it? Given that this was the very first work of art that truly amazed, scared, pushed me.

John Lennon was assassinated when I was 12, and the “Imagine” video was on the tv all the time, because the song went to #1.

When you watch the video you'll see Yoko and John entering their house, and above the door frame is the phrase “THIS IS NOT HERE,” which is the core of the Fluxus piece I'm talking about.

Thanks to the greatest of good fortune and some lovely friends, Yoko agreed to let me put this in the middle of Being Ecological. I never explain or refer to it, just like Shunryu Suzuki's fly! Don't you think it encapsulates something beautiful about ecological awareness?

And then the genius genius Penguin people sandwiched it between the word “metaphysics” and the phrase “of presence.” Jesus Christ that's total genius. See what I mean?

Opera about Time with Jennifer Walshe

Jenny is a student of Tony Conrad and you should totally start listening to her music, it's genius. About two years ago she wrote the definitive piece on hyperobjects, Everything Is Important, which if you haven't heard, is really...important (haha).

So I'm beyond honored to have been asked by her to write the libretto for an opera about time. I believe the world premiere will be in Berlin in spring this space.

Graham Harman's New Book

I continue to count my OOO blessings! My life started to go so right when Levi Bryant pointed out that my “strange stranger” (the term I use for lifeforms in The Ecological Thought) was identical to what OOO means by “object.” Here's what I wrote on the back of Graham's latest tome:

An essential guide by the foremost philosopher of our age. This book will educate and delight both aficionados and those unfamiliar with the first major philosophical movement of the twenty-first century.

If you haven't yet read a guide or introduction to something by Harman, you're in for a treat. I make my undergrad and grad students smile when I show them how he gives you everything you need to understand Heidegger (super complex weirdness) on page 2 of his Heidegger Explained.

Tokyo This Week

I so had the best time! Thank you thank you to the organizers of the lovely Innovative City Forum. I met amazing people, and thanks to the beautifully organized format, real thinking and relating was possible.

Tristan Garcia's The Life Intense

Do you have a copy yet? It's awesome. Here's what I wrote about it:

Tristan Garcia demonstrates how at the most encompassing level of contemporary social roles lives the Romantic consumerist, forever seeking spiritually heightened experiences: what he like Pater calls intensity. We’re all Baudelaires now. Ecological ethics and politics ignores this at its peril: all that talk of efficiency and anti-consumerism seems to want to bypass this inconvenient truth. An ecological future must voyage through intensity…and for that we need maps. Garcia establishes some key coordinates for such a mission.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

In Milan

Two great things this weekend: a very good festival on sustainability and the Italian translation of Being Ecological is in the shops along with the Italian Hyperobjects.

That means there are twelve books in translation and I think nine of them appeared this year. Next year, French The Ecological Thought and Russian Being Ecological.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

1000 Citations of Hyperobjects of today, and altogether my stuff has been cited over 6000 times as of today.

In Orion Magazine

In 2007 someone nicked my phrase "dark ecology" and started a movement with an essay in Orion. Now I'm there in a short interview mostly about Being Ecological.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

BBC vs Alex Jones

This is brilliant. At last one of Britain's fiercest interviewers, John Humphrys, gets his teeth around the Alex Jones conspiracy theory.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Don't Just Read This, Really Think about What You're Going to Do about It

Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a friend of mine — an expert on international relations — made a joke: “Now that Eastern Europe is free from the alien ideology of Communism, it can return to its true historical path — fascism.” Even at the time, his quip had a real edge.

And as of 2018 it hardly seems like a joke at all. What Freedom House calls illiberalism is on the rise across Eastern Europe. This includes Poland and Hungary, both still members of the European Union, in which democracy as we normally understand it is already dead.

In both countries the ruling parties — Law and Justice in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary — have established regimes that maintain the forms of popular elections, but have destroyed the independence of the judiciary, suppressed freedom of the press, institutionalized large-scale corruption and effectively delegitimized dissent. The result seems likely to be one-party rule for the foreseeable future.

And it could all too easily happen here. There was a time, not long ago, when people used to say that our democratic norms, our proud history of freedom, would protect us from such a slide into tyranny. In fact, some people still say that. But believing such a thing today requires willful blindness. The fact is that the Republican Party is ready, even eager, to become an American version of Law and Justice or Fidesz, exploiting its current political power to lock in permanent rule.

Just look at what has been happening at the state level.

In North Carolina, after a Democrat won the governorship, Republicans used the incumbent’s final days to pass legislation stripping the governor’s office of much of its power.

In Georgia, Republicans tried to use transparently phony concerns about access for disabled voters to close most of the polling places in a mainly black district.

In West Virginia, Republican legislators exploited complaints about excessive spending to impeach the entire State Supreme Court and replace it with party loyalists.

And these are just the cases that have received national attention. There are surely scores if not hundreds of similar stories across the nation. What all of them reflect is the reality that the modern G.O.P. feels no allegiance to democratic ideals; it will do whatever it thinks it can get away with to entrench its power.

What about developments at the national level? That’s where things get really scary. We’re currently sitting on a knife edge. If we fall off it in the wrong direction — specifically, if Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress in November — we will become another Poland or Hungary faster than you can imagine.
This week Axios created a bit of a stir with a scoop about a spreadsheet circulating among Republicans in Congress, listing investigations they think Democrats are likely to carry out if they take the House. The thing about the list is that every item on it — starting with Donald Trump’s tax returns — is something that obviously should be investigated, and would have been investigated under any other president. But the people circulating the document simply take it for granted that Republicans won’t address any of these issues: Party loyalty will prevail over constitutional responsibility.

Many Trump critics celebrated last week’s legal developments, taking the Manafort conviction and the Cohen guilty plea as signs that the walls may finally be closing in on the lawbreaker in chief. But I felt a sense of deepened dread as I watched the Republican reaction: Faced with undeniable evidence of Trump’s thuggishness, his party closed ranks around him more tightly than ever.

A year ago it seemed possible that there might be limits to the party’s complicity, that there would come a point where at least a few representatives or senators would say, no more. Now it’s clear that there are no limits: They’ll do whatever it takes to defend Trump and consolidate power.

This goes even for politicians who once seemed to have some principles. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was a voice of independence in the health care debate; now she sees no problem with having a president who’s an unindicted co-conspirator appoint a Supreme Court justice who believes that presidents are immune from prosecution. Senator Lindsey Graham denounced Trump in 2016, and until recently seemed to be standing up against the idea of firing the attorney general to kill the Mueller investigation; now he’s signaled that he’s O.K. with such a firing.

But why is America, the birthplace of democracy, so close to following the lead of other countries that have recently destroyed it?

Don’t tell me about “economic anxiety.” That’s not what happened in Poland, which grew steadily through the financial crisis and its aftermath. And it’s not what happened here in 2016: Study after study has found that racial resentment, not economic distress, drove Trump voters.

The point is that we’re suffering from the same disease — white nationalism run wild — that has already effectively killed democracy in some other Western nations. And we’re very, very close to the point of no return.

--Paul Krugman