“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

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Oh I'm very very happy with this thing I just figured out for the new collection by Jeffrey Cohen and Lowell Duckert. They have a habit of bringing out the best in me. The three things I've done for them have been so so very pleasant and inspiring to write.

So they're doing this thing called Veer Ecology, veer being a term that Nicholas Royle noticed was common to words like environment and perversion. Nice one! I use this concept a lot now.

So check it out. I haven't written it yet. But you can guess what it's going to say!

Timothy Morton

Since a thing can't be known directly or totally, one can only attune to it, with greater or lesser degrees of intimacy. Nor is this attunement a “merely” aesthetic approach to a basically blank extensional substance. Since appearance can't be peeled decisively from the reality of a thing, attunement is a living, dynamic relation with another being.

Furthermore, and for the same reason, attunement is the place where causality happens. Consider what happens when an opera singer's voice attunes to a wine glass. If done with the greatest accuracy, the wine glass explodes. The realm of attunement is thus like the mesmeric realm of “animal magnetism.” It is a force simultaneously discovered and repressed at the inception of modernity.

While modernity allowed agricultural logistics to destroy Earth even more successfully than before, it also unleashed, ironically and unwittingly, the non-agricultural (“Paleolithic”) idea of an interconnective, causal–perceptual aesthetic force.

The Owl of Minerva didn't just fly at dusk. She flew straight out of a dream into the dreams of sleepers convinced they had woken up from every last trace of the so-called primitive. When we study attunement, we study something that has always been there: ecological intimacy, which is to say, intimacy between humans and nonhumans, violently repressed with violent results.

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