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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Essay on Lingis

I did pretty good work today. It's not hard to write something about someone whose work you love. In this case, I'm writing an essay on Alphonso Lingis. Lingis was a big shock for me, in a good way. After reading his translations of Levinas, I realized how important he was for Graham Harman's work, so I got on the case and read Dangerous Emotions and The Imperative.

What then transpired was an enormous relief as I dropped my defenses about the notion of phenomenology and jumped back in. At last I understood something about a field I had dismissed too easily, and at last I'd found someone who argued almost exactly the same about ecology, almost uncannily in one or two cases in The Imperative.

Writing about about someone you really dig is also bound to churn up some fresh ideas, so I'm really enjoying this essay.

By coincidence Lingis's new book came in the post today—it's called Violence and Splendor. I've only been able to glance through it but it's another extraordinary example of a lifetime's thought condensed into sentences that seem so fluid, yet convey such an emotional punch, that you are left reeling from them for hours. And delivered with such a knowledge of the actual Earth and the beings who live on it. Learned is the wrong word, though it certainly is that. A risky adventure, high stakes intensity, immense passion and compassion, backed up by tremendous learning, maybe that's better.

No comments: