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

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Underground Ecocriticism Liveblog 23

Q: Isn't it a new form of awe, this Laruellian "secret," that hampers actual human-animal relations?
A: Derrida, there is an ethical imperative that can't be silenced by animal rights. Becoming vegetarian may be occasioned by the ethical imperative, but they don't stop the testimony. The secret--Laruelle's idea is the real which is radically immanent, we can't ever speak outside of it, and determines all those things in the last instance (necessary but not sufficient), but all our phenomenal experiences don't lead back to it (unilateralism).

Q: I'm confused by the Laruelle. Why or in what way would this thinking of identity be better than Derrida's thinking of disruption of being and following (suivre and je suis)? We can surely share and have separation in Derrida, without Laruelle? I worry that thinking about identity would erase that subtlety.
A: Identity would be somewhat misleading. It's identity in the last instance. If there is no stepping outside of reality, the identity between us and nonhumans is only in the last instance. It << we are and nonhumans are real but only insofar as it is "in" this reality. We all have to be the same kind of thing. OOO gives us a good language to think about it. We are both objects, in the same kind of identity of a paper cup and an atomic nucleus. All these things are real, manifestations of a radically immanent reality which is never fully coherent or self present. This allows us to think about the opposition of humans and animals in a unilateral way. We can think from animals not about them.

Q:  Moral injunctions. I'm better because I have less garbage. What is the role of literature in the toxic body talk?
A: We need to come up with ways of figuring the contemporary moment. We need to undo the aesthetic. Interest in science. But also suggestions that we can undo the sublime. We are at a moment when both humanities, arts, and the sciences are converging on the same problem. How to represent phenomena that are happening simultaneously across multiple scales. How do these things integrate? Instead of individuals confronting nature, moments where there is ekphrasis. Two people working together and trying to figure out what is happening.
A: Burtynsky, John Fall. Romanticizing the ugliness.

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