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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Davis 12.6 to 12.10

Mark yer calendars! Come one and all. I have a Ph.D. exam to do and would love to see as many students as poss.

Realist Magic, Final Phase

Starting to put in some edits by Graham and some new stuff by me.

See the thing is, Graham is your actual genius. He sent me eight pages of comments on the book. Within 24 hours of starting to read it.

Music by Killer Whales



Welsh killer whales. They like minor sevenths as much as anyone. Good on em. It encourages them to leap out of the water.

My Brother's Drum Teacher's Other Student



I know, I know. But the drums on this kick so fucking hard. And the use of Linn drums plus the keyboard.

Rutherford's Taurus pedals really really open up the hardwood floor now I have this subwoofer...

Realist Quanta Part 2

The smoking gun is Aaron O'Connell's research. You can see a Ted talk called "Making Sense of a Visible Quantum Object" quite easily online. You can totally isolate a tiny piece of metal--huge from a supposedly quantum scale point of view though--and when you do, you see it vibrating and not-vibrating simulateously. By definition your mind has not put it into coherence, since it's isolated, in a near vacuum near absolute zero. And it's HUGE, millions of times bigger than a quantum such as an electron or proton.


End of Ambition

This is the hard part for scholars. They are very competitive and paranoid:

"Salvation, if we can talk about it at all, is the end of ambition, which is when you become completely one with your experience. Knowledge becomes one with wisdom, which is called buddhahood or the awakened state of mind. You realize that you never needed to make the journey at all, because the journey and the goal are there already. It’s not so much that you are achieving liberation, but it is more that you realize that liberation is right there and that you needn’t have sought for it."
--Trungpa Rinpoche


Quanta versus Correlationism

There's nothing I like better than a bowl of oatmeal and golden syrup, and a conversation with Graham about entanglement. As he points out it's often wheeled out to induce paroxysms of joy in correlationists and idealists.

But...

Here's a clincher I just thought up:

Entanglement doesn't respect distance. You can entangle photons on board a satellite and on earth (Zeilinger) and theoretically it still works on the other side of the galaxy.

Mix some arche fossil stuff in here. Even Brassier on Einstein--there are things outside the light cone (Minkowski) that we can never ever specify even though they are real. Stir.

Theoretically, photons can be entangled way way far away, so far away that you the observer could never know what they were both doing.

Watch the correlationist face go ashen...


Monday, July 30, 2012

Now That's What I Call Suspension, Part 7080



Patrick Gowers, Toccata and Fugue. Disco plus organ. Cor blimey.

"You're Already Dead"



Because They Might Be Giants.

Book Pimps

Do you know what I mean? Reps from Pearson, McGraw Hill, etc. When they met me face to face they became ashen and left rather quickly. I'd request my ideal comp book: a 100-page book of just poems and some stories with no notes.

The novelist Lucy Corin and I collected the book pimps' books for our students to rip up and make collages out of.



Recycling

Six weeks here without a recycling bin, and finally it shows up. Thousands of pages of whatever have been filling the garage, along with a goodly assortment of pilsner bottles.

I haven't chucked books before ever but am doing so now. Bibles. Books that the book pimps force on you when you run anything to do with comp (me 2005-2007), just unbelievable books full of shite about how to write, books that make you want to slit your wrists...

And a few dissertations... Only kidding : ) 



Another Poem by Claire, Aged 8

I am the wind turning the pages of forgotten time.
I am the voice of the secrets
Flowing from the mouth of a simple person.

--beat that, motherfuckers!

"You Fill Me with Inertia"

Peter Cook is the devil. Dudley Moore sells his soul to him for seven wishes in order to get the girl of his dreams, a very young Eleanor Bron. The devil keeps showing up in his wishes to subvert them in whatever way is available. To exit the wish, Dudley must blow a raspberry.

In this wish, the devil has convinced Dudley that the most seductive persona would be a pop star.

One of the very best movies ever made. Should be an English Heritage site.

Dudley Moore was the organ scholar at my college, Magdalen. He wrote this music.

I saw this in utero. May account for my sense of humor. Apparently my mum was in hysterics.

Naturally the devil has the best tune : ) 



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shrouds They Have No Pockets



Fields, they have eyes
Woods, they have ears
Fish always sink
Stay close to downwards

Never dismount
I'll ride this tiger
Crosses are ladders
Leading to heaven

John Lydon, a poet. Miles Davis: “That cat is doing with his voice what I'm trying to do with the trumpet.”

Plasma

Though I don't subscribe to what my uncle charmingly calls the moronoscope, the sellers were kind enough to leave the largest plasma tv possible along with their surround and distribution system. So I do sort of have a moronoscope. It's just that I watch what I want through Apple TV now, which means I'm a little bit more in charge of it--and it's quite educational to see the music titles cos iTunes plays through it.

Aurally too--I had no idea The Beloved put such a deep note in the bassline of "The Sun Rising."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nice Ride

Finishing In Excess by Jean-Luc Marion. Great analysis of Rothko. If you want a good read go for it. Some of my deconstructy friends got me into him. I'm using it for my book on causality--final edit this week (cracks knuckles).



The NHS Dance

Don't have a telly so am catching up on the Olympics opening ceremony as best as I can.

Cor that NHS moment was quite strong wasn't it.



Chris Schaberg on Hyperobjects

By jove. It's about petoskey stones.



Friday, July 27, 2012

OOO Al-Jazeera Style

"The past decade, in particular, has seen the rise of "a unified theory or ontology of objects", Object-Oriented-Ontology (OOO), to the forefront of academic philosophy. But there will be no headlines on the work of thinkers such as Graham Harman, Timothy Morton or Bruno Latour for contemporary philosophy at the moment poses no match to the LHC in terms of spectacular imagery. It is a shame, because this field might actually hold the keys to forge the alliances necessary to deal with global concerns such as global warming, indigenous survival and mass bio-extinction."

From this.

HT Graham.

And it's about the Higgs!


Campus Mail

I just sent my first bit. There is an actual mailbox thing with a slot in it.

I had lunch with the excellent Judith Roof, who made me feel better about my perverse compulsions to teach and write.



Cultures of Energy

It's this seminar thing at Rice. I'm not sure if it's open to the public yet. And I was convinced I wouldn't be invited to join it, since I arrived later than the applications were put in. But join it I did, or rather, I was put in it, happily.



Mick Smith's Book Report

To the chap who just commented—that was a confidential review of the book for publication, not a publicly available report.

Cool City

Houston.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And

Sneaker Pimps, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Messiaen.



More Shuffling

Masters of Persian Music (a live show from Cairo), Stereolab, XTC, Schoenberg.



Shuffling

It is strange to put the whole iTunes thing on shuffle, as I've been doing recently to test the new speakers. In rapid succession, the following: Pierre Henry, the Beatles, Sunn O))), Haydn, random pounding trance.



So It Begins

Copying my iTunes library. 70 days of music. 200gb. My machine tells me it will take 5 hours...



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh Bollocks

Greenland's ice ain't what it was cracked up to be.



A Different Talk

My materialism arguments will now be encapsulated in a rather different talk. For France and Australia, among other things. It is called "Art without You." I leave you to guess what it's about, he said threateningly...



Architects on OOO

In the new issue of Tarp:

"Younger scholars and practitioners are raising their voices against the now twenty-year-old paradigm of an architecture based on the management of relationships of meaning, program, use, and flow… Widespread attention has returned to the inexhaustible meaning of architectural objects that always exceed the intentions, techniques, and even aesthetics that generated them. This turn is now finding common ground in the object-oriented ontology… emerging in continental philosophy and led by writers including Graham Harman and Timothy Morton."

Erik Ghenoiu


Classic German Psychedelia



So sincere that it is hilarious. “Rising Runner Missed by Endless Sender” by Tangerine Dreams. “Never coming back...”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nice Trungpa Rinpoche Story

So the meditation place up my street turns out to have been founded and run by Anne Klein, my friend from the Religion Department. Psych! It was quite extraordinary to receive what amounted to Dzogchen instruction in my first ever seminar at Rice a couple of months ago, from Anne. She wasn't doing it deliberately. It just sort of happened that way for those with ears. It was pretty gulp making.

Anyway, here's some pithy instruction in the form of a story of the young Trungpa Rinpoche and his colorful students (I know and love a few). They were meditating at Karme Choling, which was founded in 1971 (I think). They were doing basic shamatha-vipashyana, and one of them piped up, “Hey, Rinpoche, when is the break?”

“This is the break.”

Flatter-y Will Get You Everywhere

By Graham. It is pretty mystifying, this idea that since only humans understand what I'm writing here (hmm), then if you talk about anything that isn't human, you are contradicting yourself.

As Graham points out, that idea makes a mockery of science.

Two random extra observations:

Is this very language that I'm writing now totally human? Why do guns go bang and pan (French) but not squiggle or squawk?

And furthermore:

The very idea of contradiction isn't strictly human. 2+2 isn't human. I can't talk about math and logic because I'm talking about stuff that it outside my humanness?



Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Grey

Another Alaskan death drive movie: what is going on up there? : )

If the guys had stayed with the wrecked plane, they would have had a slim chance of being found.

This chance evaporated when they went with Mr. Suicidal Impulses into the forest to evade/be the wolves.

The cynical nihilist had the most truly spiritual experience and non-violent death, for the same reason. He was Schopenhauer.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Nonhuman in Heidegger

Two or three striking passages in the Beiträge were about the perils of being “human.” Very suggestive. I'm going to chew these a bit and talk about them.

How to Talk to an Ostrich

...about global warming.



Friday, July 20, 2012

This Happened

In Tibet, a place called Saga (joyful place, roughly). 15 000 feet, on our way to Kailash. Someone had some techno at 6am. Rinpoche, Alan and I, and various assorted others such as Lizzie (who took this) and Owsley (you know who you are). Just found the photo. Nuff said.



"The world has already ended"

Hyperobjects will be published by U of Minnesota Press: just got word today. Here is a nice part of what the head editor said:

The Board found your idea that "the world has already ended" as provocative and insightful as Cary did in his series editor's report and as I felt in my first reading of the project. That thought has also resonated with our in-house editorial group here at the Press.


Psych!!



My Limoges Talk

For The Matter of Contradiction, a meeting of speculative minds.

It's called "Ecology without Matter."



Democracy of Objects Reviewed

[T]his openness to the truly other (to the “strange stranger” as Bryant writes, adopting a phrase from Timothy Morton) would not simply be an ethical rule to be followed or broken; it is (according to an argument surprisingly reminiscent of Derrida’s meditations on hospitality) an inescapable, ontological feature of the proper being of beings...


Yay.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vegetarian Neanderthals

Oh yes indeed.



His Magnificent Octopus

About to finish reading the Beitrage (Heidegger's Contributions to Philosophy). Will report, as best as I can. Which will probably be a shot of that moment in the video of "Burning Down the House" in which we see David Byrne's face agape and flat on the tarmac...



OO Theology

It was only a matter of time. I'm blurbing (IMO the correct term is puffing) Adam Miller's Speculative Grace (Fordham).



Monday, July 16, 2012

Ian Bogost on Turing

In the Atlantic.


A nice meditation on pretense, a major plank of Realist Magic. Since as Lacan says, and this is by now my favorite line ever, "What constitutes pretense is that, in the end, you don't know whether it's pretense or not."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rainforest Blues by My 8-Year-Old Daughter

No cats, no dogs, no fish,
Just trees plants nature,
and grief.
Rainforest blues.

Claire Morton 07.15.12

New Essay

"On Entering the Anthropocene." It's for an Australian journal called Environmental Humanities. I'm writing my first baby steps towards Dark Ecology, which is this year's project...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

And Death Shall Have No Dominion


And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

The Swamp of The Nothing

I just came across this beautiful line in Heidegger's Contributions to Philosophy: "being...surrounds itself only with the nothing."





Thursday, July 12, 2012

Awareness--It's Just There

"Awareness is not something that needs to be manufactured: when there is a gap, awareness enters into us. So awareness does not require a certain particular effort. Such an effort is unnecessary. Awareness is like a wind. If you open your doors and windows, it is bound to come in."
Trungpa Rinpoche



Sunday, July 8, 2012

One World



“Sometimes I feel so cold, sometimes I get so lonely in this tiny little world we were born to share.” Wish I had the Live version to share.

Levi's Melancholy Thoughts

Professor Bryant you make sense.



Physicists against Bootstrapping

Or the idea that something can come from nothing. HT Dirk Felleman.



Sexx Musick 4 Freax (mp3)



It's a rainy Sunday afternoon after all. Might help with packing. By Rubyliquid (me and Mike Snyder).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And While We're On the Subject

...There's a bunch of upcoming talks. See “Future Talks.”

Nonhuman Queer

I was just asked to tell the organizers of this thing at Rice about my title (mid September). So this is it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Shit That Happened to Me on This Retreat

This was a silent retreat, solitary except for morning teachings. Brilliant.

(1) Note the bandaid. Also note the mudra, called Turning the Wheel of Dharma or, as I prefer, Buddhism Is the Fucking Shizzle.


(2) Prostrating on a concrete floor continued.

 
(3) A phase of fantastically colorful paranoia ensued. Note pupils...



(4) Result! I made it through the karmic laundromat all nice and clean.



...this is what I was looking at when I took that last one (real actual photo, taken September 5):

Professor Morton, What Is It Like Doing a Monthlong Dzogchen Retreat?

It's okay, especially if you do it in August 2010, because you are getting to know your OOO buddies and this is your ear worm:



Junkie Einstein is by now a mythological figure, no? I can't remember why I used this in my Rhetoric graduate class later on...oh, maybe it was cos it was fun : )

Oh, all right. This guy was also part of why it was good:

Ego Trip

Cor blimey I'm all over this latest issue of PMLA.


A Scot at Wimbledon

It's been a strange couple of weeks for things Scots. First I saw Prometheus, then the new Snow White, then yesterday Brave—all had Scots themes and characters and references.

Now Andy Murray of Scotland is in the finals. First time a Brit has made it into the Men's since 1938. It's pretty heavy. And he's up against Roger Federer, whom I totally dig. Who cares who wins you know?

Virginia Wade won as a kid. My mum wouldn't want you to know she once beat Virginia Wade when she was being all about tennis as a late teen...

I've watched Wimbledon since I was five, in part because in England I always lived within a tennis ball's throw of the Club. You could hear the planes going overhead above the house and on the telly. Ooh. And once or twice I saw people like McEnroe getting out of some car up the street.

That 1980 final between Borg and McEnroe remains one of the most outrageously beautiful things I've ever seen. Tennis is like gladiatorial combat.

For the record, I am shite at it.

And my last name is Scots.  Fancifully, to romance ears, it means Town of Death.  : )

Will Professor Tim Be in Melbourne?

Some are asking and the answer is yes.

The schedule is:

August 24, 25: UNSW Seminar and NIEA event, “Sense of Planet” (Sydney).

August 27–28: ANU conference (Canberra).

August 31, September 1: Forum and ASLE (Melbourne).

A Thing Zizek Said That I Liked

From Graham's blog:

Žižek responded in particular to the following statement:
“He never discusses poverty, inequality, war, finance, childcare, intolerance, crime, education, famine, nationalism, medicine, climate change, or the production of goods and services, yet he takes himself to be grappling with the most pressing social issues of our time. He is happy to leave the world to burn while he plays his games of philosophical toy soldiers.”
Žižek began by asking, with delicious sarcasm: “How dare I write a book about Hegel without discussing childcare?”

Ian and I have been running into this quite a lot. People want you to make sure your philosophy is painted in easily recognizable dayglo ethics and politics.

This isn't necessarily a new phenomenon. 

Imagine Plato having to go up against the clepsydra maker for the grant money. How the heck would he talk about the “impact” of his philosophy to people who want immediate results. 

On the other hand, it does seem as if, like hip hop album sleeves in the early 90s, we are caught in a doldrums of namechecking, or rather issue-checking, as Žižek says.

Just doing philosophy without that is in itself a political act. Why on earth should its “impact” be immediately visible to the people who think they want that?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Honesty Is the Best Wealth

Tell it Trungpa Rinpoche:

Ideally, all businesses should be without blame. The idea of juggling things around rather than being straightforward is like taking pride in getting into a theater without paying. You avoid the ticket taker by using the back door. That might be profitable for a few weeks, but as time goes on, you find that you have problems. Honesty is the best wealth.

(yuck I misspelled the post title!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Talk at Australian National University

“This Is Not My Beautiful Biosphere.”

11.30am, August 28, 2012, in the Sir Ronald Wilson Building on McCoy St., Canberra.

My Continuing Thoughts on the Higgs Boson