“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Along with OOO, Aristotle was a major (re)discovery of the summer. So I'm very glad that Levi Bryant has an excellent post up on his weirdness. I couldn't agree more. I actually found Aristotle's examples—paleness and being educated show up a lot—laugh-out-loud funny on more than one occasion. I see Levi matches Aristotle in this respect—very nicely done.

Graham Harman has a corresponding post up about the trouble with reading Aristotle as an authoritarian who likes putting things in rigid boxes. I couldn't agree more with this too. I have heard more than one Derrida-inclined thinker repeating this and felt so strongly about it that I decided to talk against it in my history of criticism undergrad class yesterday. Funny synchronicity.

For me Aristotle seems to exude a relish for actually existing THINGS. He very skilfully tugs your mind away from wanting to find some material substrate that underpins them all or some transcendental Idea or other umbrella under which they all fit (Graham's undermining and overmining). His critique of matter in general is totally riveting. I rather like the punchy demotic of the new Penguin edition of the Metaphysics.

So much so that Aristotle will provide the architecture for my talk on Levi's panel at RMMLA. Title: “We Aren't the World.” I'll be talking about global warming as an Aristotelian substance.

Do yourself a favor: read the Categories, the Physics and the Metaphysics.

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