“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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stop the World, They Want to Get Off

Galloway and the commenters on the ever-popular Hegelian response site suspect that speculative realism is tantamount to dangerous financial speculation, in which entire worlds are wiped away and created at a stroke. Indeed, this does sound a bit like hyperchaos.

But what are the conditions of possibility for financial speculation as we've seen it recently? Conditions such as severe constraints on the explanatory power of sufficient reason, for instance? Or the anarchic "teeming" world that I describe in various places?

Isn't it just as likely that humans will need to pass through a cognitive (and social and philosophical) engagement with this negativity to reach "the other shore"--if there is one?

Galloway's is a stop the world, I want to get off position, common to (I repeat) a certain Romanticism within Marxism, a Romanticism that inheres in what McKenzie Wark today skillfully calls the "open" art form, the kind that big money pays big money for. The eschewal of the kitsch that is always the kitsch of the other.

The burden of proof is Galloway's--he is the one who must show why his eschewal of non-open form (found in his hostility to object-oriented programming, for instance, canard though it is) is not the reactionary one that gets hung on the walls of banks every week.

I prefer Ken's view of reality as an abundance and excess that high finance tames. So that the ultimate problem is that high finance is not excessive enough.

As Badiou remarks in his Continent interview, speculative realists are trying to work on new forms of negation adequate to the present times. The old forms are evidently not working.

Galloway's cry for totality is the rusty squeak of an old farm gate, misheard as Nature through the rose-tinted hearing aid of the contemporary Romantic consumer: "They don't make em like they used to..."

No comments: