“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, January 20, 2011

Joshua Mostafa: Cynicism, Realism, Speculation

Joshua Mostafa has the most marvelous trilogy of posts up about the move towards realism and away from cynicism, culminating in a piece about The Speculative Turn. It's well worth the ride. If you're new to all this you'll see what all the fuss is about. This is big folks. At least a century-sized kind of big. Some of us OOO types are arguing that it's a two-century-sized big, and I'm arguing for a five-century deal in Realist Magic!

If you were as turned off as I was by the dissing of all things Obama from the left, and wondering whether it had deeper roots—read this piece. It includes excellent links eg to Latour's landmark essay in Critical Inquiry.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words, Tim. Glad you enjoyed the piece. Ever since I read the Sloterdijk book I've been yearning to write something about it; all I did really was draw the (fairly obvious) line between his critique of cynicism and the SR stuff.

I have to say, though, I'm no apologist for the Obama administration. If he's the best politically-possible president, it reflects very poorly on the American political system and culture, rather than well on him. Naturally, he's better than the other choice. On the Left, we're used to being told to get into line behind the centre, because otherwise the bogeyman on the RIght will eat us all up; that gets pretty old.

There is a need for a viable alternative to liberalism in both its technocratic (Obama) and libertopian forms. But that alternative needs to have a direction, not just a set of negations. It's supposed to be the conservatives who stand athwart history yelling 'stop', after all - not the Left!

Timothy Morton said...

Can you clarify "technocratic"?