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

Friday, March 11, 2011

Beliefs about Belief

“Mawwidge...”

Levi will be keynoting with Malabou and Brassier on religion shortly, and I can tell he's already winding up his pitch.

OOO is the first view I've encountered in a while that is neither atheist nor theist--that actually situates both positions in a much wider configuration space.

In this I'd call it a form of non-theism much as Jarrod Fowler's work is non-music. Instead of starting from a decision to include or exclude god, OOO starts with questions of existence. What can exist? What is existing? What might (a) god be like? Does her/their/his existence matter?

As Roland Faber's paper at Claremont showed it's perfectly possible to run a theist OOO argument. It's possible to be an OO atheist or in my case an OO Buddhist.

You can also argue that there is a god but she doesn't matter, or we don't matter to her. You're working in a wider space.

You are not restricted to materialism, reductionism or nihilism. Unlike theism and nihilism—and Hägglundian deconstruction—OOO has checked out of the belief policing racket. No wonder it's disliked by theists and nihilists alike. (And nowadays it's sometimes hard to tell the difference...)

If we're going to get out of the modernity funk, we need to stop thinking in the mode of us (sophisticated cool kids without religion, so we believe) and them (idiots blinded by superstition).

Putting it that way is using Enlightenment language (“superstition”): “Belief is always the belief of the other.” That’s a not well examined BELIEF. Levi’s argument is trying to examine both theism and atheism within scruffy configuration space. Hats off to that. Dawkins and Pat Robertson SHARE the same BELIEF ABOUT BELIEF. Beware that this is not claiming with some theists that Darwinism et al are beliefs. The problem is the ATTITUDE to belief, which is identical. Belief is treated as reductively and as materialistically as possible.

3 comments:

bill benzon said...

"OOO is the first view I've encountered in a while that is neither atheist nor theist--that actually situates both positions in a much wider configuration space."

For whatever reasons, I'm unlikely to investigate OOO deeply enough to have a serious opinion of whether or not that is so. But it's an interesting and significant virtue to claim for it.

Henry Warwick said...

hmmm. Here's an idea: agnosticism as a non-atheist method.

In a nutshell, atheism says "no god". theism yes "yes god". Agnosticism says "i don't know god". Not "knowing" doesn't mean no existence, nor does it preclude faith in such. One could be a "faithful" Xian, Buddhist, whatever and still be an agnostic.

The Agnostic/atheist alliance only occurs via Ockham's Razor. If you are willing to set aside the necessity of simplicity (ie. Ockham), then agnosticism can be the skeptic's bridge to "faith".

I don't even know if I believe that, but it makes some kind of sense.

Timothy Morton said...

I like that Henry. Seung Sahn, the Korean Zen master, called it "don't know mind." Bill, thanks for that.