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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Against Malleable Nature

...some thoughts from the beginning of the essay I'm working on, for the volume with Jameson. The basic argument of the second part is the Hegel and ecology paper I'm doing in London. This part comes earlier:

Malleable Nature is a dream about a certain tiny set of objects, a set that is malleable enough to maintain the stability of the dream. Since to be an entity at all is to be vulnerable to 1+n entities that can destroy you (there is always some externality, as I shall argue here), this dream must be limited. It cannot talk about the entire set of objects in the universe. To be physical is to be fragile. Dreams end somewhere.

The question is, now that we know what we know, do we want to continue imagining different kinds of malleability (capitalism, communism) and is that all we want to do? Note that on this view, even if we achieve some kind of physical enactment of our dream—say we have enough political power and enough Earth shaking equipment—we will still be dreaming. Dreaming in a world in which humans coexist with a plenum of actual entities, a very large finitude of real beings such as glass, potato viroids, kerosene, gar and oyster catchers. They are now, we find out to our chagrin, on this side of social space. Always have been. The trouble is, whose social space is it, now that we know that?

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