Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Logic of Multiplicities

Well it's the Levi Bryant show tonight as I have the privilege of having read what must surely be one of his best pieces, "A Logic of Multiplicities" for the journal Analectica Hermeneutica. A piece for the ages I think. It's really beautifully written and organized.

Not only that. Somehow it makes you feel good to be alive. I watched Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams tonight, about a cave filled with paintings, incredible paintings from 30 000BC. Same thing.

What is that? It has to do with contacting entities that are decisively outside of my frame of reference. I almost understand what an Aboriginal painter said to his ethnographer colleague when asked why he was painting, touching up some ancient wall paintings that were falling into disrepair.

"I'm not painting. Spirit is painting."

In a flat ontology it would be perfectly feasible for one entity to translate another one. Even if that entity were from 30 000BC.

This doesn't mean the painting is totally available to us. It isn't. Herzog's Romanticism makes this profoundly clear.

But somehow a link can be established with marks on a wall.

Somehow Levi's essay makes me feel linked to Plato, Spinoza and all the dudes he talks about. That's pretty special.


Bill Benzon said...

"... Cave of Forgotten Dreams ..."

Aka The Importance of Being Werner. The paintings deserved better.

Michael- said...

“Whatever your metaphysics, you would agree that there must be a nuance between being a horse and having a tiny fraction of the horse existence made visible in the Natural History Museum. The least provocative version of this crossing point is to say that horses benefited from a mode of existence while they were alive, a mode which aimed at reproducing and “enjoying” themselves — enjoyment is Alfred North Whitehead’s expression — and that, at the intersection with paleontologists, some of their bones, hundreds of thousands of years later, happened to enter into another mode of existence once fragments of their former selves had been shunted, so to speak, into paleontological pathways. Let’s call the first mode, subsistence and the second, reference (and let’s not forget that there might be many more than two modes).”

Latour, B. (2006). “A Textbook Case Revisited – Knowledge as a Mode of Existence.” [PDF]