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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rutgers Eco Conference: Morton talk, response, Q&A mp3

Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station, Suffolk, UK. I used to swim near



Fun tip: In the response, I become the fall guy for OOO. And Buddhism! And science! And intellectuals! And the human! Listen out for it!

12 comments:

michael- said...

Wow, your response to the response was amazing. I the way you exercise the notion of post-critique really resonated with me Tim. In fact, I think I just decided to start being less of an asshole - at least in terms of philosophical discourse.

Even if I can't accept the notion that global warming as an 'object', I can at least understand what you getting at.

Timothy Morton said...

Hey thanks for that--and thanks for all the kind comments here recently.

michael- said...

No problem Tim. I can be quite combative at times, if only because I like the creativity and clarity that is generated in debate. You talk makes me think this could be done in other ways though; perhaps through alliances of exploration instead?

m-

Timothy Morton said...

yeah me too--but i think there is a difference between the rough and tumble with some passion, and just trying to skewer, which i've never experienced you doing

Rarian Rakista said...

I try to leave the field with something between a joust and a jest.

Robert Jackson said...

Thanks for the mention - hope John F Simon's work executed itself properly there.

Paul J. Ennis said...

Muchos passion and honesty. I think you won them over in the end.

Also I think 'I should say my stupid stuff before I do' is a pretty good motto to live by!

Eileen Joy said...

I must say that Ed Cohen's response dismayed me, not because he doesn't want to join the ecological/hyperobject thought/OOO bandwagon, or anything like that--he should do exactly the sort of intellectual work he thinks is important, as I am all for the cultivation of the flourishing of personal projects as an important mandate of the humanities--but Cohen's response was so ungenerous in precise relation to prescribing how it is we should all *think* [like, always in cross-comparative, anthropological contexts, or, *not* through blogging]. Blogging seems to threaten some academics who think, since it is time-consuming and not always about long-ruminated/long-researched subjects, it must therefore be stupid and too much "on the fly." But we think "on the fly" all the time, and in relation to all sorts of other modes of reflection that *are* rooted in longer/deeper trajectories of thought and work [we have "voices" in our heads, running on multiple tracks and many academic books are just failed, if beautiful attempts, to fix thought, and even history, in amber]; it's just that blogs kind of generously open up scholarship as a more transparent, processural trajectory. It also allows for broader communities engaged in what I would call collective commentary that aims at the *sheltering* of open discourse. You might change your mind tomorrow, but I would rather see you thinking out loud the way you do here on your blog, and on mp3 and YouTube feeds, *and* in articles and books, than be assured of some *settled* position you had reached after you had "slow[ed] down" in some secluded study somewhere, emerging later with your supposedly well-reflected-upon and *finished* monograph.

I've written on this subject of open and processural and collective scholarship many, many times, so this is a subject that resonates with me, and I've also been taken to task for not being more invested in a kind of Hegelian "strong" dialectical critique. Obviously we need to push and pull a little bit on each other's ideas, but what is more important right now, I really believe, is thinking about what some of the *biggest* problems are facing us today [biopolitics, problems of embodiment/identity, climate change, human/Other rights, war/terrorism, viral pandemics, transnational capital without oversight, liveable lives, and the like] and then working together within the humanities, social sciences, and sciences to bring the best minds to bear upon these problems with an eye toward what might be called better collective "living arrangements." The key would be to *not* shut down any mode of inquiry or thought that would work toward these living arrangements, that would include, of course, human and non human actants. Arguments would center upon, not debating "my methods, or answers, are better than your methods or answers," but instead, "how can I help you work through this problem which is obviously important to you, and ultimately, also to all of us?"

[to be continued]

Eileen Joy said...

[continuing]

Also, just as an aside, can anyone who has read your work not *get* how political/ethical/moral it is? And how attuned it is to "persons," human and otherwise? Look at the footnotes in "The Ecological Thought," where you kind of buried most of the *direct* references to Levinas, but being a Levinas person myself, I kept thinking as I went along, "Levinas, Levinas, Levinas." This is just my way of saying that, even if I don't like Levinas [and I do, btw], anyone reading your work can see its deep ethical commitments. Also, paging Ed Cohen: anarchy is also a form of politics. It is NOT a non-politics. To whit: please read Simon Critchley's "Infinitely Demanding, " where--guess what, everyone?--self-ironizing turns out to be critically important if we are going to have any hope of moving out of present political [and often very violent] impasses. [Think Gadaffi: as far removed from self-ironizing as possible]. It goes without saying that Critchley is also the philosopher par excellence as regards bringing Derrida and Levinas together. So, to Ed Cohen, I also say: please start self-ironizing. You might like it.

All minds are beautiful miracles, and I would like to see the humanities reinvent itself as a space of rapprochement of different and differing sentiences--a kind of hyper-sentience, if you will, a hive of sentiences, a reservoir of such, as well as, sure, a court to sort through the harmful, less harmful, and more beneficial modes of thought aimed at more liveable lives for the greatest number of "persons" [which might include humans as well as dogs as well as tress].

Earthwizard said...

Powerful message there Tim! Almost like listening to a verbal machine gun the way you punch the sentences out. I like how you're interweaving Time and this Hyperobject of Global Warming as an entity that stretches through time like a contingent animal or beast interacting in history like Cthulu coming out of the dark colors of space. Bravo!

And, I hope you further this idea of our entering the 'Ecological Age'... sounds like a meshing of ideas both political and philosophical in there to me...

Timothy Morton said...

Thanks Earthwizard--I do mean to continue that line of thinking in my Sydney talk and elsewhere...

Diall said...

Dr Morton, I love to listen to the mp3s you post. Any chance of making them available for download, podcast style? It would make them that much easier to access and enjoy.