“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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vicarious Causation

Levi, Graham and Robert all have posts on vicarious causation today. And Graham mentions how genuinely he cleaves to it as a daily practice of inhabiting his world. Since Santa may or may not be the direct sensual cause of the absurd pile of presents under the tree here, I thought this would be a good moment to weigh in.

Mostly just to go on record. Especially since there has been some detraction of late.

Let it be known that for me, vicarious causation is the MOST attractive and compelling thing about OOO, the one thing that resonates TOTALLY with my existing studies, and the reason why for the first time I've felt truly at home in a philosophical view. The turning upside down of the usual mode in which the aesthetic is just some nice sense organ candy on the substance cake is the ONE facet of OOO that locks instantly with my mind.

For me, vicarious causation is not the weird cod liver oil you have to swallow with the OOO meal. "You don't know why now dear but it will make sense when you're grown up, just take your medicine and then you can have some ice cream."

For me, vicarious causation is the reason why to eat the OOO meal in the first place. Which is why it'll be the subject of Realist Magic.

I'm just glad Graham had the guts to formulate it. It's the one piece that says most strongly, at least for me, "You are no longer living in modernity. Welcome to the next moment."


Anonymous said...

You might enjoy this series of posts I made on VC way back when:

I also consider it the richest part of OOO and have been meaning to write up something on it for ages now but things move so fast in OOO world that I feel I'd need to zero in on a selection of essays and let a lot slip past.

Timothy Morton said...

That's great Paul--bookmarked!

Henry Warwick said...

Harman writes:

Vicarious causation frees us from such imprisonment by returning us to the heart of the inanimate world, whether
natural or artificial.


This assumes there is an animate world.