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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've Been Kicked in the Biosphere

50% of all animals. By which is meant things with a spine, fish, primates, lizards. 50% gone in 40 years.



I never personally signed on for this mission. Neither did you.

As one of the animals, I never signed on.

Why do some scholars reject “species” right now? Because its uncanny. Not for any of the stated reasons. Because we notice that we are collectively a zombie, just executing an algorithm.



It's like the idea of the consumer. I personally never “demanded” vacuum sealed products encased in plastic. But I'm told that “the consumer” (invented by Ricardo btw) demanded it. So like it.



Uncanny is the spooky reaction that something totally intimate is weirdly jutting into your world, yet has been unavailable, because taboo mostly.



Of course in the manuals (Freud et al.) it's your mum's body (shock horror). And in the philosophy coming out of that uncanny horror (name your favorite David Lynch interpreter and some of the speculative stuff) it's about juicing oneself with that horror experience. Like taking a cocaine hit of the uncanny, over and over and over again. “Is none other than” is the favorite trope of the uncanny addict.



Can someone say misogynistic?



You know what I think? I think if you stay with this supposed horrible, taboo thing like your mum's body, it's actually quite sad. Even John Carpenter's misogynistic Thing isn't captured totally in the horror fantasy of the viewers and those Arctic researchers. The Thing makes “sad,” sad sounds, the sound of just existing. Like moaning or just breathing.



And if you really stay with it, underneath the sadness is the joy.



And your mum's body--it's not just a sign of the biosphere, it is the biosphere, in the form of her body.



And my stomach, that feels like it was just kicked really violently, isn't my stomach. I'm not talking about little me suffering here. My stomach is also this biosphere. It implies all the not-me beings.



I've been kicked in the biosphere.



If some scholars want to denounce it as narcissism go right ahead. It's fully and utterly narcissistic in the Freudian sense of physical good-enough energy feedback between oneself and one's environment.  Our only task is to include more and more beings within that circuit.



It's really just being with the pain, without suffering. How to do that. Tricky.



I am an escape artist. I admire anyone whose first impulse, when this pain happens is, jump right into it and find the exit, inside it.



Let's not stay frozen in horror. Now we know all this information we don't have to keep juicing ourselves. Solutions like geoengineering are, as a brilliant PhD student Eliot Storer pointed out today, ways of not going further, but of being trapped in the horror tragedy.



Let's make it down into the sadness, and proceed further down from there.



I could hardly teach today because of this. Guess what I was teaching Freud! Uncanny right?! But that's why it was a good class, maybe. I could only just hold it together emotionally. Actually I lost it about three times.



Can the zombies have a crisis and form like a support group, and start to laugh? I would pay big money to make this zombie movie.

UK Food Stamps, at Last!

Conservative party conference yesterday, fixed:

“Hey now that we've been calling it welfare for five years, the public must be ready for step two of the biopolitical scheme. Why don't poor people get a card, a prepaid card, with which they can buy food and pay rent?

“Despite our determination that poor people take responsibility, we are keen to create what we loathe, a class of people who are totally dependent on ‘welfare’ and never get to even have actual money in their pocket. Then we can demonize and crush them a bit more, and then a bit more, and then...”

Conservatives in charge, you are talking about my parents here, and my brother, you *************

Monday, September 29, 2014

Future Fomentation

Dominic Boyer and I are making an intellectual something so berserk that it could actually have a positive effect, you know, in the ahem actual world! Having to do with politics and all that.

We think the anarcho-surrealists will like it!

I'm not telling!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sparkly Goth Meltings

Cocteau Twins, “Squeeze-Wax.” Someone got the delirious fluidity right on the video didn't they?

When I bought this I was pretty sure that the age of boys playing guitars without women couldn't possibly return. Erm...


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dark Ecology

Coming in to land. I needed to get ahead of about 20 essays. Putting in some new thoughts and brushing up the old. There's about 12 more books I need to talk about and some others too.

Some things you may not yet know:

Dark can mean depressing.
It can also mean strange.
It can also mean sweet.

I'm going to try to take the reader through all three tunnels. In that order.

We've kinda had enough of pure despair. Some people still need to go in there but what comes next?



Language

PS: “fix” means “gut.” Like “I'll fix you, you *** ** * *****”

"Deficit"

Thank you BBC for amplifying the tweet of my old classmate, the chancellor, who said that someone didn't say the word “deficit.” When I say thank you, it's simply because it cements my existing opinion of you nowadays, and I like having my opinions cemented. Maybe.

You only say “deficit” if you are

1. Terribly terribly dull.
2. You have accepted a discredited piece by two economists who forgot to press a certain button in Excel.
3. You have confused deficit with debt.

I'm not making that up. They forgot to press a button and came up with the idea that you should start to destroy education and healthcare as soon as your debt to GDP ratio reaches 90%.

In other words “He didn't say deficit” means “He didn't vow to eliminate healthcare, and that's bad.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Chemical Reaction Known as Blame

That's one of the nicest things I could imagine someone saying about me. “The chemical reaction known as Morton.”

I know it's dangerous toasting or rapping over drum and bass but DRS pulls it off quite quite well.

The next best thing: “Because the psychic organism has arisen, Logical Progression release you from your sound prison.”

Taken quite literally this is sort of what I believe! In particular, the shout out to logic as a tool for freedom.

You're jolly well going to have to buy it!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Is Ecological Art? (MP3)

I had had a very very moving time in Cumbria (where I used to live a bit) and the exhibition of work at the Wordsworth museum, inspired by the idea of a fusion between Basho and Wordsworth, was really, really touching. So I almost did lose it, just like I warn at the beginning! Also I made people laugh, don't worry...

It was to non-scholars who really liked it and really cared about ecology and all that. Thank you Jeff Cowton and everyone who put this together. Highlight talk so far.


OOO the World of Baby Ford

That's what it's called. Not making it up!

Oh 1988.

“Poem for Wigan” and “Wigan,” because I'm at Wigan station.




Friday, September 19, 2014

Billions of Micro-Transcendences

Dear chap, I'm not undoing the transcendental. I'm allowing everything to enjoy it. Not just (human) subject, Geist, history, economic relations, will to power, Dasein.

It's everywhere, man. Not just at one point in the universe.

I think that's quite a lot of transcendence.

I just said it today!

...and I Feel Fine? (MP3)



My talk in Glasgow. Really good q&a. Thank you everyone! Rune Graulund was a terrific host. Martin Leer from Geneva was so good--haven't seen him forever. You hear his voice just after I start talking. Hayden Lorimer, we have the same record collection involving Aphex Twin and Mu-Ziq and Cocteau Twins. And you have a 12" of "Sueno Latino" which is just incredible.

Edward Casey was there (been a fan of his work for ages) and he totally bonded with me, and asked an awesome question (right at the end).

The conference was called The End of the Place as We Know It so I had to use REM...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eco Conference in Glasgow Today and Tomorrow

“The End of Place as We Know It.” Here's what is happening. It will be so good to meet Edward Casey whose The Fate of Place is just an awesome book that inspired me a huge lot in the 90s.

Scots, China Doesn't Want a Yes Vote Because...

It might encourage the Tibetans...

I am not making this up.

Yet another good reason to etc etc.

The Right Book to Read on the Train to Glasgow Today



It's absolutely brilliant. Totally disarming.

Comic timing is how you actually write good sentences, and the sentences in this are very very good indeed.

Comic timing is interlocked with thought I have found.

Happily I am already writing about The Best Party in Dark Ecology. (The sound of sinister reverberant laughter.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thank You Jon Stewart

This is absolutely accurate. Rice has the best ever sexual violence and harassment policy. Ever. It's run by actual trained social workers and actual trained lawyers. Not by some group of faculty trying to cover their asses.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scotland, Pounds, Fear

If you are a sovereign nation you can create your own money.

[End of debate]

Subatomic Sound

They have made a thing sounds like a thing of atomic size that allows you to hear the sound of an atom if you had ears that could tune to twenty octaves higher than the top note on a piano.

Yet--this is perhaps even more amazing. Actually I think it really is. It's about your actual physical ear. My friend Douglas Kahn convinced me after sending me a really dope acoustics book.

Your eardrum, when hearing the quietest sound it can hear, vibrates with an amplitude shorter than many many times smaller than the diameter of a hydrogen atom.

Think about it. This is a quantum scale dimensionality.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"It'll Be Bad for Business! Uncertainty!"

This is the bit that is really really unacceptable. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, Scotland.

Since when did corporations get to vote? (Don't remind me that they are "people" over here, yuck.)

It's like when Sodexo warned us "if you put up the minimum wage U of C, we will have to put up our prices."

In a certain sense: so the **** what?

I'm sure the English said the same in 1775. The Republicans said the same in the 2010 election here.

But...

America split from England and there was no problem.
Ireland split from England and there was no problem.
Iceland split from Denmark and there was far from a problem.
Latin American countries split from Spain and there was no problem.
Australia. New Zealand.
And on and on and on...

England got all its practice for world domination on the Irish and the Scots.

Give it a whirl Scotland. My Scots ancestors are obviously into it. As is anyone with a pulse, really. As far as the "head" versus "heart" thing goes, I think it's pretty much a no brainer. Literally.

And the whole "there is no going back" thing. What? Since when was that ever true? Just look at your own medieval history England.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Haim Is Where the Heart Is

His picture for me got on my lobby wall finally. It's got these tiny very high resolution pictures of his exhibition at the Menil.





Saturday, September 13, 2014

I SURRENDER...

...to the phenomenal world...





This Is Happening in Grasmere

Next Sunday, at 10:30am. At the Wordsworth Museum.


In an era of ecological emergency, why do we need art?

Humans have had a long history of inaccurate and destructive relations with non-humans, a 10,000-year disaster in the making that has culminated in global warming and mass extinction.
Timothy Morton, ecological critic and Professor at Rice University, Texas, and author of the groundbreaking Ecology without Nature, will explore how art recognises this but can also help, in a direct experiential way, to reawaken the caring bond between humans and non-humans. 

OOO Meditation

When you meditate you experience your mind as an object. Entity. Being. Whatever feels like the right word. Quantum. Just there.

People think meditating is mental but it's very physical, like performance art or something.

It can go a bit like this (below). Erotic, gentle, mysterious. The use of whispering and sequenced fourths in that endlessly rising illusion pattern...you can't quite grasp...but it's there...Wow the chords in the last couple of minutes...

Exactly as in Björk's “Undo” you shouldn't delete the passion you see. Aggression delete.


Friday, September 12, 2014

This Will Happen at Northwestern

...on Tuesday November 4:

Hypocrites
Tim Morton

The point of ecological criticism, whether it's in the media and in scholarship, often seems to be about rooting out hypocrisy. You are a vegetarian but you wear leather shoes. You drive a Prius but you won't save Earth that way. You argue about global warming by flying thousands of miles.

To be in an age of ecological crisis is, in a sense, to be under it, and in that sense, we are all hypocrites.

But in a much more basic sense, ecological awareness “reduces” us to ethical hypocrisy. This is precisely because of the interdependence of lifeforms and non-life, as I'll argue.

In turn, this shows us something deep about the structure of reality. To be a thing at all is to be a hypocrite, in the sense that things are never what they seem, but could not appear otherwise.

Moreover, the age of cynicism, in which sniffing out hypocrisy is lauded as cleverness, in philosophy, art, culture and the media, is not only dead in the ecological age. It is impossible.

This Will Happen, Far North

...in Kirkenes, Norway, Thursday October 9:

My friend Douglas Kahn recently invented the phrase Earth magnitude. When we scale up to Earth magnitude, very interesting things happen to thinking. Far from making supposed universalistic generalizations, as many still assume ecological statements to be, thought at Earth magnitude is highly accurate and specific. Yet it is also deeply entwined with paradox in such a way that it reveals something basic to the structure of thought: a loop form, which I take to be the structure of being anything at all: a logical system, a solar ray, an electromagnetic shield, an aurora, an oil refinery.

Moreover, Earth magnitude is the correct scale on which to think something seemingly near to us, yet in fact more distant than Sagittarius A: human being as such.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Morton vs. The Texas Board of Education

“Authority.”

My daughter was on the computer at school defining this word and hearing an example of a sentence that contains it. The example:

CHILDREN SHOULD NOT QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF ADULTS

So, for instance, a fake police car shows up outside school. A fake police officer shouts at some small child that he has been very naughty and has to get into the car. He gets into the car, because he has just learned that children should not question the authority of adults.

Tim Morton's fixed version, reiterated at length to his kids yesterday:

CHILDREN SHOULD ALWAYS QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF ADULTS. THEY SHOULD DO SO OUT LOUD AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.

Anyway. This is all happening in a fortnight where 10 year olds have to define and illustrate words that explain what (Texan) school kids should be. For instance:

COMMUNICATOR: a person who is very effective at communicating.

Tim Morton's example: Ronald Reagan was known as the great communicator. So, by extension, communicator must mean Reagan-like.

You have to come up with synonyms for this freshly defined word. Can you think of any one-word synonyms? I'm stumped. Because communicator doesn't mean that.

Then you have to come up with one-word antonyms. Even harder. The closest I could come was inarticulate person. The irony of which, etc. etc.

For future pondering: what is this doing to Texan minds, and to the Texan economy?

Stay tuned for a discussion of the use of collective punishment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Now That's What I Call Speculative Realism

Well this is one of my favorite stories.

So Padmasambhava was hanging out with his girlfriend Yeshe Tsogyal. And he is being quite impressive on various topics.

So Yeshe Tsogyal goes, "There are some things you don't know yet."

So Padmasambhava is like "Yeah whatever surprise me." Or something.

And this is where she takes this razor thin knife and slits open her stomach, right there in the living room.

She pulls open the flesh. And inside are stars and galaxies and space. Not symbols of them but the actual ones.




Philosophy Sometimes Cries

Philosophy should be about allowing sentences to happen from your innermost feelings.



Anti-Intellectualism

The most popular fashion among professional intellectuals. Only the professional intellectual can afford to be anti-intellectual.

Discuss.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chris Tong

Wow Chris you sure know how to make a grown man cry.

Chris is a fellow at Washington U in St. Louis.





German Ecology without Nature

Yes, it will come out quite soon, well, in book time anyway. Just heard about it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Exohuman

I just made this word up for my friend Jeffrey Kripal. I shall now use this word.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Ulver

You know, respect to any band that tries to set Blake poems to music. It can work--Blake used to doodle on the piano to them himself.

And even more respect to a band that gives The Marriage of Heaven and Hell a go. In its entirety!

It's almost there! The black metal intensity and pomposity is at once demonic and hilarious.

Also--anyone who uses flange guitar is okay. Joy Division could definitely have done a few Blake songs.

This puts them well clear of Tangerine Dream, who once they were trying the same thing had forgotten about moogs and sequencers and had instead started with the wrong bit of the 80s which had to do with wearing slightly too white sneakers and playing fm synthesizers.

But...no one has yet gotten the eroticism. You lose it either in white sneaker world or in death growls.

The masculinity loses it on that score.

Blake songs are weird and mhh is the weirdest.

Jah Wobble almost gets it right but his ones can be a bit sincere.

Maybe that's the closest idea--sort of punk plus rasta.

Oh I don't know!

Vaughan Williams gets the pastoral part but it's a bit weedy. Britten gets the intensity but it's not funny enough.

Like I say anyone who even tries is being quite courageous. Maybe it would only be possible with several artists.




T Shirt


Well, I got it made. It has I SURRENDER on the front and a huge AH syllable on the back, which is truly a sigh of relief.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

I SURRENDER




For ages I've been wanting to make a t-shirt with that on it and a female deity such as Tara on the back. I like the threatening (for some) non-cynicism ("new aginess" or "kitschy") of this image. Tara has eyes everywhere, like on her hands. She comes from a tear on the face of the deity of compassion.

I miss my 1988 t-shirt that got so torn up I had to chuck it. It was a picture of Krishna inscribed thusly:

PARADISE
DESIGNED IN HEAVEN FOR USE ON EARTH

But in the meantime, this is like the best ever meditation instruction (below). First Björk's lyrics and the way she delivers them. The feeling of it. Then there's the fact that as you listen this huge shimmering Indian lake of humid sound starts to emerge behind the voice, followed by a Fauré-like choir descending from the sky.

It's like how you visualize, for real. It's an emotion, visualizing is. It's not filling in little details. It's like what Husserl says about intentional objects. They are just there--you see a green car, you don't make one out of lots of little pixels. Or atoms for that matter if you are OOO.

Everything about it is physical.

New York City: see it. Right? You don't have to build it up starting with the streets, adding some buildings, the layout etc. If you've been there or better yet lived there, it's a feeling, yes?

And that's linked to the best instruction ever, which is the lyric undo. There's this term in Dzogchen, it's call “mental non-doing.” Or non-meditation. (It's a bit nicer than Laurelle's non- with apologies to the “non-Buddhists.”)

Look, someone had almost the same idea!




Žižek on ....?

Awesome, nice to Buddhism (though nb, Tibetan Buddhism is a path of bliss but whatever), and so forth. Insert the insecure true believer of your choice:

But are the terrorist fundamentalists really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the United States — the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the nonbelievers’ way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by nonbelievers. Why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued and fascinated by the sinful life of the nonbelievers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation. This is why the so-called fundamentalists of ISIS are a disgrace to true fundamentalism.

Sparklecore

Youth and freedom are connected with the birth of the awakened state of mind. The awakened state has the quality of morning, of dawn—fresh and sparkling, completely awake. Having identified ourselves with the path of dharma and the proper attitude toward the path, we suddenly discover that there is something beautiful about it. The path has a freshness to it that contrasts sharply with the monotony of going through a program of various practices. New discoveries are being made.  -- Trungpa Rinpoche

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jón Gnarr >> Rice

...in the spring. This is such good news is it not? There will be events...

Erm

This is where I live.

Look at how it voted fro 1845 to 2005.

Now look at the image, which shows how it's been redistricted.

In what reality is this weird colon connected to a swollen stomach by a distempered rubber hose a region that represents anything to do with where, how, and with whom people live, ecologically, geographically and so on?

Now look at how its voted since 2005.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Remote Ocean

Someone asks, how can one notice the "nonlocal" effects of the hyperobject ocean thousands of miles inland?

Well, there are three ways to answer.

1. Dogmatic and Jeremaic statements of the obvious! Like "You see sushi flown in from the Pacific in your supermarket. Sometimes it is on the self faster than if you lived in SF because they fly that stuff really fast."

Like "You already wonder whether the coastal town you visit might be inundated soon." Or "If you like fish it will soon be gone from your dinner plate." Or "You won't be liking to snorkel because the coral will be all white." Or "massive hurricanes..." etc.

2. Much nicer and more interesting. Like when I lived in Davis. A landlocked town in an irrigated desert in northern Cali.

As it has a Mediterranean climate the weather is very digital. Burning hot for six months. Constant drizzle for six months.

In the summer you could feel the coolness of the night air until about 10am. Sometimes this air would smell of the ocean. Seagulls flew about.

Your soil is very silty or clay like.

Also you flush your toilet. You know it's going to the waste water treatment places in the sandy salty bay.

Also you feel your body. It is made of 70% salt water because ocean life etc etc.

3. Ultimate awesomeness and nonviolence:

Simply by wondering whether you can or not feel the hyperobject ocean close to you inland, you are feeling it.

In fact in this way you are noticing that hyperobjects sparkle with nothingness. Are they there--or not?

You are already "in" ecological awareness. Before you wonder whether you are.