“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, April 23, 2014

Agrilogistics in Diactrics

It's my new idea (!) and it's in this excellent excellent issue of Diacritics, which Karen Pinkus, the extraordinary editor, calls Climate Change Criticism. It's in honor of the Nuclear Criticism issue, which contains one of my favorite essays by Derrida.

Click and click again!

Thank you Naomi Klein

Joshua Hyams, the producer of The Trip 2 (with my favorite Steve Coogan) wrote me to tell me I was in the closing credits for my help on the screenplay. 

But there's more--he said Naomi Klein had cited me in The Guardian today. Nice one: 

So much of our economy relies on the assumption that there is always an "away" into which we can throw our waste. There's the away where our garbage goes when it is taken from the curb, and the away where our waste goes when it is flushed down the drain. There's the away where the minerals and metals that make up our goods are extracted, and the away where those raw materials are turned into finished products. But the lesson of the BP spill, in the words of ecological theorist Timothy Morton, is that ours is "a world in which there is no 'away.'" 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wellek Lectures: The Description

Ecognosis: For a Logic of Future Coexistence

The ecological era we find ourselves in—whether we like it or not, and whether we recognize it or not—makes necessary a searching revaluation of philosophy, politics and art.

The very idea of being “in” an era is up for question. We are “in” the Anthropocene, but that era is also “in” a moment of far longer duration.

What is the present? How can it be thought? What, going further, is presence?

These lectures will explore the fact that ecological awareness forces us to think and feel at multiple scales, scales that disorient normative concepts such as “present,” “life,” “human,” “nature,” “thing,” “thought,” “logic,” and so on.

I shall argue there are layers of attunement to ecological reality that are more accurate than what is habitual in the media, in the academy, and in society at large.

This attunement is necessarily weird, a precise term that we shall explore in depth. It involves the sorts of hermeneutical knowingness belonging to the practices that the Humanities maintain.

The attunement, which I call ecognosis, implies a practical yet highly non-standard vision of what ecological politics could be.

In part, ecognosis involves realizing that nonhumans are installed at profound levels of the human—not just biologically and socially, but in the very structure of thought and logic. Coexisting with these nonhumans is ecological thought, art, ethics and politics.

[Longtime readers: as you will note, this project is no longer called Dark Ecology. That's not because I've dropped that reference frame. I've just come to realize that the frame is a region within a much bigger possibility space I'm calling ecognosis. There will be all the dark-ecological concepts here, and more of them.]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Afrika! L'Afrique, C'est Chic

Tell me it isn't just me who hears that. Afrocentric disco--what a brilliant idea. I was talking about this kind of thing in my “Earworms” talk in Brussels. Forcing white people to hear that in their heads for years, whether they consciously want to or not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heeeere's Tristan!

Form and Object: A Treatise on Things. Excellent! Well done Jon Cogburn and Mark Allan Ohm for translating this magum opus of object-orientation. The French looked great and the English is obviously easier for me, thus even greater.

It's a game changer!

Could Have Been Written by Blake

But was in fact written by Sloterdijk in a book I'm using for my lectures (he gave them last year in any case): 

“the vengeful joy of the melancholic who compiles an archive of evidence to show that the world has gone wrong.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

In Response to Something

...closing the anthropocentric barn door after the posthuman horse has bolted...

Copy it, paste it, quote it. "Take this beat, I don't mind / I got plenty others and they all fine." (Prince, 1988)

Dzogchen Instructions in Music, Part Whatever

These are spiffing, and heard slightly differently, if you practice it. Listen to the first one first.

Friday, April 11, 2014

: (

At the state level, however, Republican governors and legislators are still in a position to block the act’s expansion of Medicaid, denying health care to millions of vulnerable Americans. And they have seized that opportunity with gusto: Most Republican-controlled states, totaling half the nation, have rejected Medicaid expansion. And it shows. The number of uninsured Americans is dropping much faster in states accepting Medicaid expansion than in states rejecting it.

What’s amazing about this wave of rejection is that it appears to be motivated by pure spite. The federal government is prepared to pay for Medicaid expansion, so it would cost the states nothing, and would, in fact, provide an inflow of dollars. The health economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the principal architects of health reform — and normally a very mild-mannered guy — recently summed it up: The Medicaid-rejection states “are willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. It really is just almost awesome in its evilness.” Indeed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wounded Narcissism Is the Dangerous One

There is nothing bad-narcissistic about caring for yourself. Foucualt's The Care of the Self, anyone? 

Pace Adam Curtis. Videos of people caring for themselves, like videos of people in any kind of compromising state, are of course inherently ridiculous. Because you are outside the frame, are feel free to release sadistic glee.

The 70s was a time when some Americans had an appropriate reaction to the speed and intensity of their “civilization.” They became very reflective.

How they acted on that is another story.

Wounded narcissism causes you to control people by seeing them as your reflection.

Nice one Elizabeth Lunbeck.

"These Waves Are All Around Us Now"

For Doug Kahn.

Hyperobject: Homeland (video)

I just found this--it's the same as the hologram Paula Dawson sent me. If you shine a light above it, the images seem to float above the screen. Oh yes.

Naturally, this video is very beautiful.

Hyperobject: Homeland from Paula Dawson on Vimeo.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Polish Hyperobjects

Is happening! Thanks to UMP and Anna Barcz, the translator.

Has the Global Warming "Debate" Become More Violent?

Someone asked me this recently. I think the rhetoric has become more violent on the denialist side, and remains the same on the acceptance side.

The IPCC has remained somewhat conservative and forensic-only in its rhetoric. Sites like 350.org have remained the same.

The reason for the ramping up of denialist rhetoric is that the facts remain the facts, and screaming hasn't made them go away.

In a sense, the acceptance language has been nowhere near effective enough. This is not because it isn't violent enough, but because

1. The IPCC and subsequent PR (including the websites) made a fundamental mistake.

2. The acceptance language is too much wedded to avoiding a disastrous future. The disaster has already occurred.

On (1) the mistake was that everyone (including the IPCC) allowed Frank Luntz, a conservative PR strategist, to define (falsely) “global warming” versus “climate change.” In 2003.

Now this is used as a weapon to beat the scientists with. “Oho--they changed it from global warming to climate change. Because they were wrong!”

In reality, scientists have used climate change since the 1950s. More recently, what was already the case in Gilbert Plass's quite accurately predictive 1956 paper, namely that humans are responsible, and that the climate change in question is due to an increase in global temperature, we have begun to use the term global warming. Since the later 1980s. That's when I remember first hearing it on the radio. Some time around 1988. This is when the IPCC (the CC means climate change) was founded.

Again: climate change has resulted from global warming.

The fact that “the climate has always been changing” is (1) irrelevant and (2) a way of watering down the meaning of this particular phase.

Ecology people who use the term “climate change”: you are now in Frank Luntz's world. Do you not want to be in it? Insist on calling it what it is, at least as a hyperobject: global warming.

I conclude: the rhetoric on the acceptance side is not nearly violent enough. This violence should not be in the form of stridency about the future. It should be ruthlessly insisting on the truth, which is that the catastrophe has already happened. We now have to figure out what on Earth to do with this knowledge. Not “brace ourselves for” anything as the New York Times wrongly puts it in a piece on my friend Stephanie Lemenager.

Buddhism and Theory

Bradley Kaye has just published a very interesting book with a  beautiful title.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I Just Saw This in the Hyperobjects Cover

A Close Encounters allusion!

Actually it's even more like something about five minutes later. The Mothership passes overhead and then beams its light over the next railroad crossing. That's sort of what the light is doing above that iceberg.

There is was, starting me in the face all the time, like Devil's Tower.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Been There, Done That

As an English scholar, the recent spate of cynical reason from other Humanities departments isn't so surprising. It reminds me of what we were up to in the late eighties.

My teacher Terry Eagleton had the good grace to put it this way: “Beauty is s***. And that's true. But on the other hand, it couldn't be more untrue.” In his lectures on the ideology of the aesthetic in 1989.

But still it goes on. Le plus ça change...“Give me $1000 for lecturing to you about why the Humanities are dead. Fly me to your place, put me up in a fancy hotel and give me lots of great food. Actually my fee is now $3000.”

“As a poetry professor I'm here to tell you that poetry is s***. Give me another $1000 for saying that. And buy my new poetry book on the stand at the exit.”

Here is the newest variant:

“As a scholar of x I know full well that x is s***.[endnote 1]  Now publish my book on that and give a raise.”

Endnote 1: Laruelle citation.

"Winning" Debates

Britain, Britain, Britain. You're not very experienced at this are you?

When you have a televised debate, never trust the insta-poll right afterwards. Obama won all the presidential debates--eventually...and he won the election twice. By being quiet. Introspective. Reasonable. Reflective.

It's this thing about battles and wars.

You might have imported something from the US without properly understanding how it works (again)--sorry but you don't know everything, dudes : )

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Green Planets Is Here

My mates Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson put this together. It has an essay by me--on the inevitable Avatar.

Listen to what Fred Jameson says about it: 

“The book posits a fundamental opposition in the genre: the future-technological city (Utopia) versus the pastoral Arcadia: each believing the other one to be the true dystopia. Add to this our ecological crisis, and you have the situation all these SF essays confront in so topical and stimulating a way. This seems to me a truly timely and contemporary, innovative collection, breaking new ground for literature and perhaps for reality as well.”