“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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Levi on Class as a Hyperobject

He's done it again. Somebody call the police! This is just too many good ideas to have in a week. Levi Bryant is reading Sartre in a most invigorating way and he's just reformulated class as a hyperobject. I like this very much, because it enables us to think about class as an actual object. Just as Braudel discovers capitalism as a massively distributed network of pockets of capitalist production. In this way Levi avoids the idealism latent in (yes I'm going to say it) Marx.

I'm going to quote his swimming pool analogy from an earlier post just because I think it's so neat. I'm using in my Rice talk tomorrow. (Stay tuned.)

Morton’s hyperobjects are thus like our experience of a pool while swimming. Everywhere we are submersed within the pool, everywhere the cool water caresses our body as we move through it, yet we are nonetheless independent of the water. We produce effects in the water like diffraction patterns, causing it to ripple in particular ways, and it produces effects in us, causing our skin to get goosebumps and, if you’re a man, for parts of you to inconveniently shrink, yet the water and the body are nonetheless two objects withdrawn from one another interacting only vicariously.


Michael- said...

idealism latent in Marx? yer killing me Tim. A doubly inverted Hegel I guess then? (360 back flip landed!) Now I’ve read everything… ;-)

Unknown said...

"In this way Levi avoids the idealism latent in (yes I'm going to say it) Marx."

I am also curious here as to what this means. Partly because of the context (Marx surely treats class as an actual object, yeah?) but just generally.