“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, March 23, 2013

Subject to Change Liveblog 9

Gary Grieve-Carlson (Lebanon Valley College)

“ ‘No Greek will be able / to discriminate my body’: Charles Olson’s Objectism and the Decentering of the Human Subject” 

Olson’s discovery of Whitehead
Whitehead’s decentering of the object, the mechanistic theory that is the “orthodox creed” of scientism
contemporary physics versus the mechanics of simple location
“If I see a planet I am not seeing the actual planet--instead chemicals are causing a subjective experience of the planet” (it’s the old undermining/overmining one-two; it’s not that different from the old scientism!)
Principles of Natural Knowledge
our commonsense view of subjects and objects is false
so we need not to think of discrete subjects and objects but as events that unfold across time and space
an event prehends into unity the different aspects of nature that it includes
events can overlap and nest within one another
they exist diachronically and synchronically
the observer and observed are aspects of events
1950 Olson’s Maximus poems >> 1970
Maximus is Olson’s persona
precession of the equinox
the event that is the wobble unfolds within many larger events; each point is imposed by the vast precession of points going back to the planet’s origin
poem also << antecedent precessions
who is the author? not the poet or the poem--nothing can be discrete
not only is Olson a compound of his antecedent precessions but he’s also part of the larger environment he’s in
“An American / is a complex of occasions”

Heraclitus: panta rhei

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