“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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nicola Masciandaro's Unknowing Animals

Here's another iteration of Nicola's “Unknowing Animals” project. What I particularly like is his ability to think dark speculative realism together with mysticism. Check note 4:

There is nothing irrational in true mysticism when it is, as it should be, a vision of Reality. It is a form of perception which is absolutely unclouded, and so practical that it can be lived every moment of life and expressed in everyday duties. Its connection with experience is so deep that, in one sense, it is the final understanding of all experience (Meher Baba, Discourses (North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Foundation, 2007), I.7).

Now that's what I call realist magic! I'm going to keep reading this and possibly comment some more, because it's characteristically finely crafted and profound. I also like what he says about “life” as a metaphor for God distinct from animals (see the comments on my recent post “Alien = Life = Object.”

1 comment:

Nicola Masciandaro said...

I like the comparison to your Alien=Life=Object comments. My tendency is also to reject outright the life/non-life distinction in favor everything *being* alive. Ibn Arabi speaks somewhere about everything 'finding itself' solely by virtue of its existence. On the other hnad, nothing is alive is an equally true way of seeing it, which is a central thought of Eugene's After Life and its arrival at conception of life as conjunction of immanence and nothing. Which beautifully redefines ancient concepts of life as illusion.

But the way you put the life/non-life boundary as something that science erodes makes me think of how we might have the boundary in an anontic sense, without its *being* a boundary, namely, by speculatively acknowledging that what science *does* to the boundary is what it *is*, namely an erosion. Life/non-life are distinguished in this conception precisely by mutual decay. In light my thinking of the substantiality of the question then, I would want to synthesize into one process: 1) Reza's differential ontology of decay; 2) dissymetrical semiosis/biohermeneutics; 3) the ungrounding leap of the question.
Life on all scales would then be something like a question decaying the hyperchaos or body of God. So the mystic/saint is the one who becomes incorruptible precisely by dying, by being-suicided-by the question!

Regarding the question of direction in evolution, such a synthesis would mean thinking direction without end, without whence and wither, but a direction which still goes *somewhere*. Hence the unavoidability of spontaneity as discursive concept, as necessary term for thought's outside. Seems like the 'human' is the stagnant telic pooling of such open directionality, the living death of movitated (as opposed to motional) life.