“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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ice Watch: Listen to Ice with Your Hands at COP21

Olafur Eliasson has got something very special he's going to unveil on Thursday morning at 8:30am, at the Place du Panthéon. I'm really sad I can't be there. But I will be there in spirit. And I'll be there two weeks later to work on my side of how to be ecological, not just think about it.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"No More Baby Parts"

Ted Cruz, Republican senator for my benighted state, his eyebrows almost meeting at an obtuse angle to demonstrate his caring sincerity, said that it would be wrong, even left-wing, to jump to conclusions about terrorism in the case of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter.

“No more baby parts!" is what you shout when you want to scare an organization and people who use that organization into stopping...

Stopping what? Something that they are not doing. Something that they have been framed for, most notably by ... (drum roll) Ted Cruz, at the spearhead of a huge wave of Congressional Republicans.

Also, in general, the "lone wolf" thing about the right wing terrorist proves a few things.

1. Patriarchy is everywhere and some people really get behind the most aggressive messaging--you don't have to form a team, you just stand up to the patriarchal plate.

2. The "he was acting alone" thing is itself a terrorist excuse. Groups can be distributed in time and space. Like, a series of shooters, one every few months, adding up to the several dozen who've basically said they are social Darwinist herd cullers. It's like how Accenture do things. They send in a single consultant at a time.

(2) is an interesting thing. It sort of shows that these shooters are parts of a hyperobject, no?

Also, Cruz dude, even if the guy is who you say he is, his action was right wing misogynist terrorism. It so doesn't matter one little bit who he thinks he is, or who we think we know he is.

Patriarchy Is Erupting Worldwide

Boys shooting people in concerts and bistros. Killings at abortion clinics in the USA. Mass shootings most often motivated by social Darwinist (actually not Darwinist at all by the way) ideas about culling the herd. (Have you read Bifo's new book?)

I was just talking with The New Yorker and we were agreeing that something is happening. Patriarchy is erupting with fury. I'm hoping that's because it's about to go through a major transformation. Ideally, ending. But I'm not sure that's gonna happen quite yet.

In Paris

So I'm sitting in my hotel at FIAC, what an amazing hotel, honestly. Right behind Les Invalides, wow. Anyway--iTunes tells me that I need to listen to this. So I do.

One of the things that the ecological emergency (here comes COP21) and incidents like the shootings in Paris do is crush our ability to fantasize. Anything, anything to restart that. I think that's what Interstellar is mostly about. The first half of this tune works pretty good as a restart mechanism, no?

I'm a sucker for pararhyme, which is where the consonants stay the same-ish and the vowels change. It's such a subtle, and in this case quite sexy, effect. Wilfrid Owen uses it to send chills down your spine but these guys are using it to make you feel nice.

Paris / promise / on it


I love how this tune begins. I love the horsey-trotty beats and the nice tonic triad inversion of that jaunty little keyboard line, tracking the bass. Very tasty. Later, it sort of deteriorates into something like a Fischerspooner-like dirge, which is a shame. If it was me I would've broken out the 303 : )

COP21: Here Comes Olafur Eliasson

Here's a nice summary of what's happening:

Ice Watch will showcase 80 tonnes of ice from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland with the aim of inspiring public action against climate change.

Harvested from free-floating blocks of ice, the work will be arranged in a clock formation on the Place de la République on Sunday, 29 November 2015, the day before world leaders and their climate teams gather in Le Bourget, Paris to discuss how to ensure a stable climate for future generations. In the days following, the ice will be allowed to melt in the square, offering the general public a glimpse at climate change on our planet.

“Today we have access to reliable data that sheds light on what will happen and what can be done,” said Olafur Eliasson. “Let’s appreciate this unique opportunity – we, the world, can and must act now. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action. As an artist I hope my works touch people, which in turn can make something that may have previously seemed quite abstract more a reality. Art has the ability to change our perceptions and perspectives on the world, and Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we are facing tangible. I hope it will inspire shared commitment to taking climate action.”

Friday, November 27, 2015

Why Is This So Good?

"When my master and I were walking in the rain, he would say, 'Do not walk so fast, the rain is everywhere.' " --Shunryu Suzuki

Thursday, November 26, 2015

On the Budget

“I was going to smack you in the face, kick you and hurl you across the room. I now realize that all I need to do is smack you in the face. And this shows how generous and kind I am.”

The Really Wrong Thing about How It Works Right Now

If you study tax you'll know that very few high earners are in fact paying it. They get carried interest, or they get capital gains from their partnerships. And they fund the GOP, which campaigns to lower the taxes they don't in fact pay anyway.

These people don't even want others to have the services that these people don't even pay for.

Thinking about “sharing” corporations these days. The ones that get to share your stuff and your labour time so they can make some money.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

OOO and Racism 2

A commenter writes:

“And so here is where I go ‘what about the signifier’ and seem like some kind of linguist. How do you explain the appearance of racism as a concept internal to racist discourse?”

Well, we're gonna have to talk about the concept of “in” (as in internal) and “discourse” and “the” (as in “the signifier”) if we're really going to do this. Discourse isn't really just about words and language isn't really just about words either. And neither are signifiers. (I done studied too much Foucault and Derrida!) So “in” is a bit suspect. And equating discourse and signifier, etc. And I'm too into deconstruction to be that keen on “the” signifier, as if we all knew what signifiers were in advance...

And it seems a bit circular. Racism is intrinsically “internal to racist discourse.” Unless the commenter is in fact saying that even mentioning racism is racist, in which case there's no hope! There might be a cynical reason version of this statement as well as an obvious right-wing reactionary version, the latter of which is just trying to shut people up. 

Sure, the concept of race itself is indeed racist, that's the whole point you can make with the tools I showed you in the previous post. That's why Darwin wrote The Descent of Man, as it happens. Agassiz had done this incredibly insidious and persistent (to this day) categorization of humans into the dreaded Causasian, Mongoloid etc. Sexual selection, which is why I'm white with slightly reddish facial hair, is never teleological. Positing some telos after the fact just is exactly racism. And speciesism. 

And: it seems to me the question might be coming from a performatted division between language and things that I just can't accept--we need to do an awful lot of work to get near talking about distinctions that way. 

But, I'm in a talkative mood! So here's the very very quick answer: 

It's not a problem at all. Racist language is language that performs what I argued in the previous post: it closes the gap between ontic and ontological in such a way as to privilege a certain appearance. 

Think about default Enlightenment period sexism. There is a marked and an unmarked gender, such that everyone is a Man, some of whom are women. The unmarked gender is a mythical substance underlying appearances altogether--aka the transcendental signifier, aka the logos as in logocentrism. 

Or when someone goes “I don't have an accent.” That's like saying a trumpet note doesn't have a timbre. It's strictly impossible not to have one. But if you think your way of sounding is the “real” or “official” way you may say such a thing. 

Or the “one drop” racism that used to buttress the “Three fifths of a person” statement in the Constitution. Like if just one of your ancestors had non-white skin, you are not white. 

Or “All lives matter” as the racist response to Black Lives Matter. In this sense, saying it's racist to bring up race and racism is, of course...racist...in precisely the OOO sense, that some kind of gap between appearing and being is being sealed over. 

Pretty much everything you learned from deconstruction, but slightly pulled in the direction of ontology, not that Derrida doesn't start that himself--that's OOO compatible.

Fred Moten is doing some incredible things in this domain. 

Professor Morton, How Do You Explain Racism and Speciesism?

Someone on Twitter asks:

“Is racism/speciesism a phenomenal/ontic equivocation or is it a hyperobject? No one seems to know what it is these days.”

I have in fact been writing about just this in Dark Ecology. How do we think a concept such as species without speciesism or racism? That is precisely the trick. That concept is deeply contaminated by Aristotelian teleology speak: ducks are for swimming, Greeks are for enslaving barbarians, etc...

Racism and speciesism have to do with closing the irreducible gap between data and things. Or, if you prefer, between the ontic and the ontological. Or, if you prefer, between what you can point to and what things actually are.

There is an irreducible gap between little me, Tim Morton, and me as a member of the human species. We can detect this gap by thinking about global warming data. My starting my car doesn't cause global warming at all: it's statistically meaningless. And of course, I never intend to harm Earth. But billions of car startings do cause global warming! There is a weird gap between me and human me.

This is odd, because we've been trained (scientism, Sesame Street) to think of ourselves as human. And we think this human as beyond or behind our race, gender, class etc. In other words, we think the human as a thing that stays constantly present underneath appearances.

The normal species concept is deeply metaphysical and onto-theological. And racism is where you color this concept a certain specific ontic color. Speciesism is where you say that yes, Tim Moton, this guy right here, is human, all the way through.

Have you ever seen Brighton rock? It's a pink minty candy tube with a word or phrase inscribed all the way through. Speciesism is where you think you are like that with "human" written all the way through.

But this is not biologically correct. Because this is not ontologically correct.

Here's the book:

There is such a thing as the human. But human need not be something that is ontically given: we can't see it or touch it or designate it as present in some way (as whiteness or not-blackness et cetera). There is no obvious, constantly present positive content to the human...Racism exists when one fills out the gap between what one can see (beings starting engines and shoveling coal) and what this human thing is: the human considered as a species, that is, as a hyperobject, a massively distributed physical entity of which I am and am not a member, simultaneously...The racist effectively erases the gap, implicitly reacting against Hume and Kant did to reality. Since their age we have thought it sensible that there is some kind of irreducible rift between what a thing is and how it appears, such that science handles data, not actual things.


The Darwinian concept of species is precisely not the Aristotelian one where you can tell teleologically what species are for: ducks are for swimming, Greeks are for enslaving barbarians… Since species in this sense fails to coincide with me, an actual human being as opposed to a pencil or a duck, the concept of species isn't speciesist. Like the racist, the speciesist fills out the gap between phenomenon and thing with a special paste: the fantasy of an easy-to-identify content. That sort of content is what one is incapable of seeing, yet there are ducks and spoonbills, which are not humans.

Racism and speciesism in their modern forms are desperate and violent attempts to fill out the irreducible void between what is given and what is...

George Osborne, This Is Now Personal

“We must eliminate the deficit by 2020.”

= My brother Steve will be kicked out of the nice shared house he's in and forced to live in what is still a Foucauldian prison for mentally ill people, aka “24 hour care.”

Because living in the nice house has to do with housing benefits. And the Conservatives are determined to wipe those out.

Steve has schizophrenia and is a world class genius drummer.

On Radio 4 Today: “The plan to eliminate the deficit is a tough self-imposed goal.” Self-imposed? Oh, how horrible for him. And, more to the point, why--since it does nothing nice for the economy whatsoever? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Come to My Lecture in Vilnius

On Saturday, November 28 (this Saturday!).


At the CAC (Center for Contemporary Art). 6pm. Details here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ingrid Luquet-Gad and I Talk Hyperobjects, Ontology, Ecology in Paris

This was just such a great, great conversation. But as you can see, Ingrid Luquet-Gad, writing for Les Inrocks, takes it a lot further. It makes me so happy that one can be a philosopher and a writer for journals and magazines with the reach and scope of the ones she works for. There are so many good aspects of the dialogue I may write another post but for now, enjoy it. For me it's nice even if nothing else that someone made something out of my jet lagged dribbling...

Someone super au fait both with Derrida and with speculative realism (studying with Meillassoux!): now that's a combination I can identify with...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

You Can Preorder Dark Ecology

Nice one!

This Is How Fascism Begins

...as a fascinating, clownish-seeming display of thuggery. Most theories of the rise of Hitler for instance (Thelweit, Cannetti), argue this. It's a certain kind of aesthetic display that you can't take your mind off. Deleuze and Guattari sum up: the behavior was so in your face and outrageous, no one could believe it was really happening. Like, the newscasters there are hypnotized, no? And rendered impotent with language about “sides” and “objectivity.”

The correct response is immediately to get rid of the fascist pest.

And it isn't just Trump, non-Americans. Like now it's okay for Jeb Bush to say that only Christians should be allowed to immigrate...and Rubio says appalling things, and they all say appalling things. To get nominated for president by their base.

To repeat: yes, this is one of many fascist threat displays. And it's not isolated to Trump.

See, look:

On Thursday, the House voted to add more requirements to what is already an arduous process. Even worse was Jeb Bush's suggestion that perhaps refugees should have to prove that they're Christian, or Donald Trump saying we might have "no choice" but to shut down mosques. Marco Rubio went one step further, saying "it's about closing down any place" where "radicals are being inspired." (Succinct Huffington)

One Tactic in a Time of Terror: Think

Well, this is good isn't it? One of the best things you can do, ever, is decelerate. And this was Derrida's instruction to his graduate students. And now, thanks to smart people refusing to give up their minds, you can read this in a major French pop culture publication:

« La tolérance est d’abord une charité », précise d’emblée Derrida. A ce titre, la tolérance est toujours déjà de la côté du raison du plus fort et du côté de la souveraineté. La tolérance est « le bon visage de la souveraineté qui, depuis sa hauteur, signifie à l’autre : je te laisse vitre, tu n’est pas insupportable, je te laisse une place chez moi, mais ne l’oublie pas, je suis chez moi ». A l’inverse, et comme son pôle contraire, ce serait l’hospitalité qu’il faudrait appeler de ses vœux. Et l’auteur de rappeler que l’expression « seuil de tolérance », en France, a été employée afin de restreindre l’immigration par François Mitterand : à partir d’un certain « seuil » donc, l’assimilation ne pourrait se faire : la tolérance est une hospitalité conditionnelle et circonstanciée, en quelque sorte une permission accordée à l’autre de survivre.

Or l”hospitalité inconditionnelle est la condition éthique de toute politique, bien qu’elle ne puisse pas être politique elle-même, se révélant vite impossible à vivre et à organiser concrètement...   (Ingrid Luquet-Gad, Les Inrocks, November 21)

This is all about Derrida and Habermas talking about 9/11. There is a more than uncanny feeling of repetition right now. And somehow the acceleration of the internet is amplifying this.

One of the big problems with contemporary media space is that the oppressiveness of the social sphere and the instagram speed give you very little wiggle room. Philosophy gives you some wiggle room.

And...How extraordinary, I've been thinking about the exact same thing:

 Friend vs enemy gets us nowhere near where guest and host gets us. Carl Schmitt became this unquestioned font of wisdom about ten years ago, among some of the neo-christian sort of philosophers, and he stages politics as friend versus enemy. 
I was just talking with David Clark (one of my awesome Derridean friends) about this. I found it really, really oppressive in 2005 when everyone in my neck of the woods was citing Agamben and then Žižek on Carl Schmitt. Having to cite them. Terry Shiavo was lying in hospital on a life support machine and the Republicans were refusing to let the husband turn the machine off. Pope John Paul II was insisting on a “culture of life” and so was George W. Bush. Somehow all these things went together in a nasty knot. 

Then there's the fact that, with any luck, I'm going to be talking with Rosi Braidotti in Paris in December. She also has an allergic reaction to this sort of friend/enemy language. 

One of Les Inrocks' journalists was killed last week at the death metal show. 

I just found out that my friend Shawna's friend was also killed there. 

"Precision Agricultural Technology"

An interesting Australian show (thanks Dirk). In New Zealand a few years ago I was given a tour around a highly automated farm, operated by just one guy, and sometimes his son...The bulls had monitors attached to their testicles to ascertain which ones were fertile and which could be used for some other purpose, i.e. slaughtered. The monitors talked to gps systems that told the farmer, Stuart, where they were. There was a rain-producing machine that could be dialed remotely to rain in all kinds of different ways.

Stuart violently objected to the proposed wind farms on his horizon.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

AAA Livestream

Click HERE.

That Denver AAA Anthropocene Panel

It's called Force and Power and the page is here.

Anthropologists with Phone Cameras

Cymene Howe, who has organized the panel at AAA that I'm on this afternoon, has sent me some videos made by some of the panelists. Very interesting. In particular, I'm haunted by how the juxtaposition of visuals and sound works almost like an earlier form of musique concrete. I'm thinking in particular of the work of Luc Ferrari, which sometimes I like a lot.

And then there's the utterly silent undulation of trash bags, like a sinisterly motile mountain range.

And the footage of New York City, a walk that reveals some “climate phenomena” as the video puts it. Including products in a shop window--nice...and the detritus of a superstorm.

I think we are in full on Arcades mode here, aren't we?

It's very significant, all this. It's as if we are all trying to dream what is happening. Which is awesome. Anthropocene information delivery has been good at eroding our ability to fantasize, one of the great bonuses (or plagues, if you are Žižek) of modern times. Control society and neoliberalism might lock this fantasizing into an illusory present, preventing it from opening up a more profound future. Anthropocene information delivery mode is quite often a way of reinforcing this specious present--I'm adapting here a phrase from psychology (we perceive events happening within 0.1 of a second of one another as simultaneous).

Or as Cooper puts it in Interstellar, “Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

It's going to take fantasies of wormhole proportions to allow us to traverse ecological information space.

I'm interested in the quietness of these videos. It enables dreaming, and somehow indicates the vast looming hyperobject in its absence...

I'm putting all my effort into thinking all this right now. Major, major book project imminent. Will tell you more in good time. But just know it is mega...not because of me...

4pm! Be there! I wonder, is it streaming? It's in Denver...

Friday, November 20, 2015

And You May Find Yourself Living in an Age of Mass Extinction

Everything you want to know about what and where this talk is, and how easy it is to get into it without having to convince anyone that you are pure, is right here. All they want you to do is RSVP (email link on page).

New York here I come!

Here Comes Cthonic Live (embed)

What I got up to yesterday evening...

Here Comes Another Talk (NYC!)

“And You May Find Yourself Living in an Age of Mass Extinction,” ISCP, New York, January 12, 2016, 6pm.

Arca's New Album Out Today

I'm super excited about Arca's new album, Mutant. I've been helping him (too slowly!) conceptualize what it's doing, which has been amazing for me, because the sound is just breathtaking.

Arca produced Björk's Vulnicura (wounded healer! Precisely, Björk!) and Kanye West's Yeezus.

Paris: Conversation and Seminar

Okay, we are organizing it! I'm quite excited so here's another post.

The event on Saturday is a conversation (mid/later afternoon to early evening) between me and Rosi Braidotti (we hope). What an honor. The moderator will be Timotheus Vermeulen.

The event on Friday is a seminar: we are working out the details, but also mid to later afternoon to the evening.

More Paris Information (PDF)

This is like maybe the fifth time I'll have been this year. I'm so very very into that. Here is the Bétonsalon PDF about Future Tenses / Beyond Disaster.

Super Happy: Another Paris Trip

Yes that's right. There is an event on December 20, having to do with Bétonsalon, the Centre d'art et de recherche and their Future Tenses / Beyond Disaster project. There may also be a seminar of some kind, I'm guessing on the Friday.

Mega Panel at the Anthropology Convention

...it's at 4pm and it's going to be hosted by Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. And a crowd (truly) of excellent anthropologists are going to talk. And I'm going to be there in some Skypey sense. Probably there'll be 500 people in the audience they are guessing so arrive early.

This is the AAA, not the automobile but the anthropological association.

Paris, Again (December week 2)

I'm so happy and I'm so lucky. COP21 is happening in Paris and I'm going to have something to do with it, in the second week of December. The events are called Beyond Disaster and they are already underway. Look, I just got this description of what's going on and some updates (in French, scroll down for English):

Cet email ne s'affiche pas correctement ? Voir cette Infolettre dans votre navigateur.
Scroll down for English version
Bétonsalon - Centre d’art et de recherche

Dark Series : Prochains rendez-vous

Face à la violence qui a touché Paris vendredi dernier, nous avons suspendu la première assemblée des Dark Series sur la justice environnementale qui devait se tenir à Bétonsalon - Centre d’art et de recherche le samedi 14 novembre. Nous tenons ici à adresser notre soutien et nos pensées à toutes celles et ceux qui ont été touchés par cette violence aveugle, et à celles et ceux qui à travers le monde continuent à y faire face, parfois quotidiennement. Parce que nous avons collectivement besoin d’échanges et de récits pour nous émanciper encore, nous maintenons les prochaines assemblées et conversations programmées dans le cadre de l’exposition Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster. Nous y parlerons d’utopie, de formes d’actions collectives, et de l’avenir du monde dans lequel nous tentons de vivre ensemble.

Suivez le programme complet des Dark Series sur notre site internet, ainsi que la documentation des événements sur le Tumblr Dark Series.

Détail des événements ci-dessous
Vendredi 20 Novembre à 19h 
Développement urbain & changement climatique dans les pays du Sud
Conversation avec Paulo Tavares (architecte et urbaniste) & Justine Liv Olausson (urbaniste et politologue).
Vendredi 27 novembre 2015 à 19h
La narration utopique déviante
Conversation avec Alice Carabédian (doctorante au Laboratoire de Changement Social et Politique à l’Université Denis Diderot).
Samedi 28 novembre à 15h30
Seconde Assemblée des Dark Series 
Pour un avenir soutenable : Art et culture(s) face à la crise environnementale
Avec Sacha Kagan (chercheur en sociologie à l’Université Leuphana, Lunebourg, Allemagne) ; Marie Velardi (artiste) ; Valentina Karga (artiste) et Andrea Sollazo (architecte) du réseau Collective Disaster(réseau international et pluridisciplinaire d’action citoyenne pour le développement durable) ; Isabelle Frémeaux et John Jordan (co-fondateurs du collectif Laboratory of Insurrectional Imagination et co-organisateurs des Climate Games pendant la COP21).

Vendredi 20 Novembre à 19h 

Développement urbain & changement climatique dans les pays du Sud

Conversation avec Paulo Tavares (architecte et urbaniste) & Justine Liv Olausson (urbaniste et politologue).

Dans le cadre du programme Dark Series qui accompagne l’exposition Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster, cette conversation entre Paulo Tavares (architecte) et Justine Liv Olausson (urbaniste) permettra de croiser différents points de vue sur le réchauffement climatique, ici questionné comme une conséquence de la culture impérialiste et industrielle des pays du Nord, qui affecte en première ligne les pays des Suds. Interrogeant la violence politique qui sous-tend ce phénomène, Paulo Tavares et Justine Liv Olausson examineront ses effets dans certaines zones urbaines et non urbaines des régions sud. Leur conversation s’articulera autour de la manière dont le réchauffement climatique affecte le développement des communautés, ainsi qu’autour de leurs possibles façons de s’y adapter et d’y répondre.
(La conversation se tiendra en anglais)
Informations complémentaires

Vendredi 27 novembre 2015 à 19h

La narration utopique déviante

Conversation avec Alice Carabédian (doctorante au Laboratoire de Changement Social et Politique à l’Université Denis Diderot).
JPEG - 172 ko
© Alice Carabédian
Une introduction à la fiction utopique déviante de Iain M. Banks, dans le cadre du cycle Pensées spéculatives conçu avec Émilie Notéris.
"Je pense que nous apprenons à ’devenir du monde’ en nous colletant avec l’ordinaire plutôt qu’en en tirant de grandes généralités. Je suis une créature de la boue, pas du ciel". Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet, Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2008, p.3.
Loin des récits catastrophistes sur l’avenir de l’humain et des visions post-apocalyptiques de la planète chers à la science-fiction, le Cycle de la Culture de l’auteur écossais Iain M. Banks offre une réflexion originale et profondément politique sur le lien entre humanité, artificialité et environnement, remaniant avec ironie les traditions de l’utopie et du space-opéra. En présentant la relation à l’altérité du côté de la rencontre, de la proximité et de l’émancipation, plutôt que du côté de la domination, de la colonisation ou de l’utilitarisme, la science-fiction d’Iain M. Banks nous invite à subvertir notre point de vue, à nous décentrer, et à imaginer un rapport au monde inédit : un rapport utopique déviant.
Informations complémentaires

Samedi 28 novembre à 15h30

Seconde Assemblée des Dark Series - Pour un avenir soutenable : Art et culture(s) face à la crise environnementale 

Avec Sacha Kagan (chercheur en sociologie à l’Université Leuphana, Lunebourg, Allemagne) ; Marie Velardi (artiste) ; Valentina Karga (artiste) et Andrea Sollazo (architecte) du réseau Collective Disaster(réseau international et pluridisciplinaire d’action citoyenne pour le développement durable) ; Isabelle Frémeaux et John Jordan (co-fondateurs du collectif Laboratory of Insurrectional Imagination et co-organisateurs des Climate Games pendant la COP21).

Dans son ouvrage Technique et Civilisation publié en 1934, l’historien et philosophe Lewis Mumford appelait déjà - et espérait voir advenir - un « équilibre dynamique » dans l’exploitation de l’environnement par l’homme, dans la production des biens de consommation, ou encore dans la conservation des ressources naturelles. À la veille de l’ouverture de la COP 21 qui tentera d’établir un accord international contraignant pour limiter un réchauffement climatique en grande partie lié aux excès d’extraction et de combustion d’énergies fossiles ainsi qu’à la déforestation, force est de constater que l’équilibre que Mumford appelait de ses vœux n’a pas été trouvé.
En marge des discussions qui se tiendront au Bourget, la seconde assemblée des Dark Series propose de se pencher sur d’autres stratégies de réflexion et d’action, sur d’autres modes d’apparition et de négociation permettant de repenser le développement de notre société et de l’environnement dans lequel elle s’inscrit. Quel peut être le rôle de la recherche artistique et des pratiques culturelles dans ce contexte ? Au croisement de l’art, de l’activisme et de la recherche, les participants de cette assemblée présenteront leurs propositions pour penser une forme de développement plus durable, rendre visible l’urgence des questions environnementales et concevoir des actions fédératrices au cœur de la société civile.
Informations complémentaires

À l’initiative du Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Co-Workers se déploie sur deux lieux, selon deux propositions : Le réseau comme artiste dans les espaces de l’ARC du Musée d’Art moderne, et Beyond Disaster à Bétonsalon - Centre d’art et de recherche. Chaque exposition sera ponctuée d’un programme de rencontres.
Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster bénéficie du soutien de la Région Île-de-France, d’Arcadi Île-de-France dans le cadre de Némo, Biennale internationale des arts numériques - Paris / Île-de-France, ainsi que de la Fondation Imago Mundi (Cracovie, Pologne) dans le cadre du programme Place Called Space (co-financé par l’European Regional Development Fund du Malopolska Regional Operational Programme pour 2007-2013). Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster reçoit également le soutien du programme UDPN - Usages des patrimoines numérisés (Idex SPC).

English version :

Due to the violence that has affected Paris last Friday, we postponed the first Assembly of the Dark Seriesabout Environmental Justice, that was scheduled on Saturday 14 November. We would like to address here our support and our thoughts to all those who have been touched by this blind violence, and to all those who around the world continue to face it, sometimes on a daily basis. Because we collectively need sharings and stories to keep on emancipating ourselves, we maintain the upcoming Assemblies and Conversations programmed in the framework of the exhibition Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster. There we will talk about utopia, forms of collective action, and about the futures of the world in which we try to live together.

Dark Series : Upcoming Programme

Follow the schedule of Dark Series on our website, as well as the documentation of events on Dark SeriesTumblr.

Detail of the events bellow
Friday November 20 at 7pm
Urban Development & Climate Change in the Global South
Talk with Paulo Tavares (Architect and Urbanist) & Justine Liv Olausson (Urbanist and Political Scientist).
Friday November 27 at 7pm
Deviant Utopian Narration
A conversation with Alice Carabédian (PhD student at the Laboratory for Social and Political Change at Denis Diderot University).
Saturday November 28 at 3:30pm
Second Assembly of the Dark Series 
For a Sustainable Future : Art and Culture(s) Facing Environmental Crisis
With Sacha Kagan (researcher in Sociology at Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany) ; Marie Velardi (artist) ; Valentina Karga (artist) and Andrea Sollazo (architect) from Collective Disaster (international and multidisclipinary network for citizen action and sustainable development) ; Isabelle Frémeaux and John Jordan (co-founders of the collective Laboratory of Insurrectional Imagination and co-organizers of the Climate Games during COP21).

Friday November 20 at 7pm

Urban Development & Climate Change in the Global South

Talk with Paulo Tavares (Architect and Urbanist) & Justine Liv Olausson (Urbanist and Political Scientist).

As part of the public programme Dark Series unfolding during the exhibition Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster, this conversation between architect Paulo Tavares and urbanist Justine Liv Olausson will bring together different perspectives on global warming, here questioned as a consequence of the industrial and imperialist culture of Northern countries, that first affects the countries of the Global South. Broaching the political violence which underlines this matter, Paulo Tavares and Justine Liv Olausson will elaborate on the effects generated both in some urban and non-urban areas of Global South. The talk will pivot around how global warming crisis affects the development of the communities and the possible ways for them to adapt and deal with this situation.
More information

Friday November 27 at 7pm

Deviant Utopian Narration

A conversation with Alice Carabédian (PhD student at the Laboratory for Social and Political Change at Denis Diderot University).
JPEG - 172 ko
© Alice Carabédian
An introduction to Iain M. Banks’s deviant utopian fiction, in the framework of the Speculative Thinking Series conceived with Émilie Notéris.
"I think we learn to be worldly from grappling with, rather than generalizing from, the ordinary. I am a creature of the mud, not the sky". Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2008, p.3
Far from catastrophist stories about the future of human being or from science fiction post-apocalyptic visions of our planet, the Culture series by Scottish author Ian M. Banks offers an original and deeply political reflexion about the connection between humanity, artificiality and environment – redrafting with irony the traditions of utopia and space-opera. By presenting the relation to alterity from the angle of the encounter, proximity and emancipation – rather than that of domination, colonisation or utilitarianism – Ian M. Banks’s science fiction invites us to subvert our viewpoint, to decenter ourselves, and to imagine an unprecedented relationship to the world : a deviant utopian relation.
Alice Carabédian is a PhD student at the Laboratory for Social and Political Change at Denis Diderot University. She holds a Master in Modern Literature as well as one in Political Philosophy. Carabédian obtained a doctoral contract at LCSP for continuing her research on science fiction literature, seen as a laboratory of though and a medium to problematise contemporary political issues. Her thesis proposes a re-reading and a re-conceptualisation of the political and critical utopia through Banks’s science fiction oeuvre. She is the co-founder of the Archipel des Devenirs - Centre de recherche sur l’utopie (Archipelago of Futures – Centre for Research on Utopia).
More information

Saturday November 28 at 3:30pm

Second Assembly of the Dark Series - For a Sustainable Future : Art and Culture(s) Facing Environmental Crisis

With Sacha Kagan (researcher in Sociology at Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany) ; Marie Velardi (artist) ; Valentina Karga (artist) and Andrea Sollazo (architect) from Collective Disaster (international and multidisclipinary network for citizen action and sustainable development) ; Isabelle Frémeaux and John Jordan (co-founders of the collective Laboratory of Insurrectional Imagination and co-organizers of the Climate Games during COP21).

In his book Technics and Civilization published in 1934, the historian and philosopher Lewis Mumford already called for – and hoped to see realised - a “dynamic equilibrium” regarding the human exploitation of the environment, the production of the consumer goods, or even the conservation of natural resources. On the eve of the opening of the COP21 in Paris, which aims at establishing an international binding agreement to limit the climate warming largely due to the excessive extraction and burning of fossil fuels as well as to deforestation, it has to be said that the equilibrium that Mumford called for was not achieved.
Outside of the discussions that will take place in Le Bourget, the second assembly of Dark Series proposes to look into other strategies of reflexion and action, in other manners of showing and negotiating that could allow us to re-think the development of our society and our environment. What could be the role of artistic research and of cultural practices in this context ? At the crossroad of art, activism and research, the participants of this assembly will present their proposals for a more sustainable development, to make visible the urgency of environmental issues and to conceive unifying actions at the heart of civil society.
More information

Initiated by Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Co-Workers unfolds over two different chapters : The Network as Artist in the space of ARC at Musée d’Art moderne, and Beyond Disaster at Bétonsalon Centre for Art and Research.
Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster is supported by Région Île-de-France, Arcadi Île-de-France in the frame of Némo, International Biennial of Digital Arts – Paris / Île-de-France, as well as by Imago Mundi Foundation (Cracow, Poland) within the programme Place Called Space (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Malopolska Regional Operational Programme for 2007-2013). Co-Workers : Beyond Disaster is also supported by the UDPN - Usages des patrimoines numérisés programme (Idex SPC).

10 ans
9 Esplanade Pierre Vidal-Naquet
Rez-de-Chaussée de la Halle aux Farines
13ème arrondissement à Paris
Ouverture / Open:
Du mardi au samedi de 11h à 19h
Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm

Accès / Access:
Metro 14, RER C
Arrêt / Stop: Bibliothèque François Mitterrand
Sortie / Way out: N°2

Bétonsalon bénéficie du soutien / is supported by:
Ville de Paris, Université Paris Diderot, DRAC Ile-de-France, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Conseil régional d’Ile-de-France, Leroy Merlin (Quai d’Ivry).

Bétonsalon est membre de / is a member of:
Tram, réseau art contemporain Paris et/and d.c.a. Association française de développement des centres d’art.

Logo partenaire

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Some Books

Thank you Cambridge UP!

A Whisper on a Stair

Why is doing interviews so so fun? I know. It's because you are all reading one another. Do you read me? You are allowing the future to happen. You know and don't know what will happen next.

So there's this show on Resonance FM, it was just broadcast, go and listen to the stream when it uploads. Cthonic Live. It is haunting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Happy today because David Clark is arriving. I love hosting people. I get to show him around the Menil and Rothko Chapel etc, which are two blocks from where I live. Maybe the James Turrell, buy all his food, drive him everywhere...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Excellent Lecture on Thursday

...at my place, so I thought I'd advertise it. 

David Clark, Goya’s Scarcity (HUMA 117, Thursday November 19, 4pm)
Although often interpreted as a contemporary denunciation of the horrors of the Peninsular War (1807–1814), Francisco de Goya’s series of aquatints, The Disasters of War (1814-1820), was not actually published until almost 50 years later. In fact Goya, who died in 1848, never made his reasons for creating or withholding the series known. In this illustrated talk, David L. Clark considers the non-disclosure of The Disasters of War and suggests that redaction is intrinsic to the series itself, part of an experimental artistic strategy in which the artist takes on troubling enormities without necessarily experiencing them traumatically and without working them through. The acquatints call for a new understanding of the meaning of destitution and loss during wartime. For Goya, learning to work ruinously is the key to living without the consolation of a shared and unified world, a phenomenon that Clark calls “scarcity.”
David L. Clark is a Professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies and Associate Member of the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University. He was George Whalley Visiting Professor in Romanticism at Queen’s University in 2012, and Lansdowne Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria in 2013. He has published on a broad range of subjects, from British Romanticism and German Idealism to contemporary critical theory, and from Immanuel Kant’s late writings to the question of photography, animality and atrocity. His recent interview with Tyler Pollard for the Public Intellectuals Project, “What does it mean to welcome Omar Khadr? University students and the lesson of hospitality,” appeared in Truthout, as did an earlier interview this year, “The Canadian University and the War Against Omar Khadr.”  

Resonance FM This Thursday pm

8:00pm - 9:00pm

Clear Spot
Chthonic Live by Sophie Sleigh-Johnson: an abstraction expanded from the previous Doggerland: Chthonic Report, Chthonic Live is impressionistic space created through sound, discussion, fragmentation and the spaces in-between. Attempting a mythography of the Chthonic, it brings together the mysterious and dreamlike archetype of the descent to the underground in ancient myth and Palaeolithic inscription. Transmission is a tremor, a randomized flicker, unspooling hieroglyphs onto the air. Sophie is joined by Dr Irving Finkel, keeper of cuneiform tablets at the British Museum to discuss paleography; and by Professor Timothy Morton, author of Hyperobjects, to discuss the arche-lithic and the shadow on the cave wall. The show also features original sound from artist Simon Martin and live performance from multi-phonic composer and instrumentalist Chris Cundy. Here, the penumbral and the speleological are channelled as archaeology of the present tense. [Repeated Friday 9am.]

Allende on Sadness

 "Sadness is the fertile soil at the bottom of the heart where the best things grow." Thanks Rick. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Work It to the Bone

Kids and adults get worked and worked and worked to freakin death in this economy. Its so so bad. No downtime at all. And when you have downtime you have to play death games, or snark games (aka Twitter and Facebook). Screens, screens, screens.

I'm totally with Federico Campagna on this. Just stopping work for a moment, fantastic act, and non-act, and vision of utopia.

Look, it's Mother Theresa Adorno to break it down for you:

Einer Menschheit, welche Not nicht mehr kennt, dämmert gar etwas von dem Wahnhaften, Vergeblichen all der Veranstaltungen, welche bis dahin getroffen wurden, um der Not zu entgehen, und welche die Not mit dem Reichtum erweitert reproduzierten. Genuß selber würde davon berührt, so wie sein gegenwärtiges Schema von der Betriebsamkeit, dem Planen, seinen Willen Haben, Unterjochen nicht getrennt werden kann. Rien faire comme une bête, auf dem Wasser liegen und friedlich in den Himmel schauen, »sein, sonst nichts, ohne alle weitere Bestimmung und Erfüllung« könnte an Stelle von Prozeß, Tun, Erfüllen treten und so wahrhaft das Versprechen der dialektischen Logik einlösen, in ihren Ursprung zu münden. Keiner unter den abstrakten Begriffen kommt der erfüllten Utopie näher als der vom ewigen Frieden. Zaungäste des Fortschritts wie Maupassant und Sternheim haben dieser Intention zum Ausdruck verholfen, so schüchtern, wie es deren Zerbrechlichkeit einzig verstattet ist.

A mankind which no longer knows want will begin to have an inkling of the delusory, futile nature of all the arrangements hitherto made in order to escape want, which used wealth to reproduce want on a larger scale. Enjoyment itself would be affected, just as its present framework is inseparable from operating, planning, having one's way, subjugating. Rien faire comme une bête, lying on water and looking peacefully at the sky, “being, nothing else, without any further definition and fulfilment,” might take the place of process, act, satisfaction, and so truly keep the promise of dialectical logic that it would culminate in its origin. None of the abstract concepts comes closer to fulfilled utopia than that of eternal peace


This is so so so so warm and it always makes me think of being in Paris, and it's by Mike 303. Anyone who has 303 in their name is okay in my book : )

I really truly don't know how to help right now. So here's some playful warmth, it's the best I could come up with.

The Current State of Play vis a vis Gender, Roughly

“I am my own paparazzo and I can do anything to anything, including my own body, which is a blank screen. I am a man circa 1789.”

A thing said, roughly, by women and blokes alike at this point.

AKA: the feminist project is so not over. Interesting piece in the Times today, roughly in the region me and my psychoanalyst mum were talking about the other day:

“SO far the gender revolution has been a one-sided effort. Women have entered previously male precincts of economic and political life, and for the most part they have succeeded. They can lead companies, fly fighter jets, even run for president.

But along the way something crucial has been left out. We have not pushed hard enough to put men in traditionally female roles — that is where our priority should lie now. This is not just about gender equality. The stakes are even higher. The jobs that many men used to do are gone or going fast, and families need two engaged parents to share the task of raising children.”

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Other N Word


So many times at eco conferences, right at the end, where we all get insecure about the fact that our job is to talk. “How can we get over our narcissism and start doing something?”

Well, don't diss my favorite hobby, hahaha...

I'm with Derrida on this one. Narcissism is the condition of possibility for relation with any other entity whatsoever (one of which, technically, is oneself). If we destroyed it, the “relation to the other” (Derrida) would be destroyed “absolutely” and “in advance” (Derrida).

A spirited ecological politics must involve a spirited paradoxical defense of narcissism.

So there's a whole bit on it in Dark Ecology.

You also hear it in Buddhism, because of the assaults of Hegelians: “I'm not one of those awful Buddhists who actually likes themselves.” LOL

What people mean when they diss the N word is in fact wounded narcissism aka narcissistic personality disorder (for example). In other words, narcissism that isn't narcissistic enough...

I reckon this dissing of one's own inner loop (slash prana, slash subtle body concept) is a symptom of our agrilogistical aggression. We cut out spirit animals and we cut out most other lifeforms except for those designated as cattle. Including the nonhumans in us, the nonhumans that are us. And we suffer from that. And that is called civilization.

We have Stockholm syndrome resulting from deep, deep, narcissistic wounds that are 12 500 years old.


Fascist Robots 2

A while back I pointed out that Arnold Schwarzenegger's role, as governor of California, was identical to that of the Terminator in his movies: a fascist robot who fends off worse fascist robots (such as the T1000 prototype and Darryl Issa).

Having just seen Terminator: Genisys (thanks Air France!) I can now add. Boy oh boy, Schwarzenegger's enemy in this one is the spitting image of...Ted Cruz.

This cannot be random.


"If you say 'banana' you are not saying how bananas are symptoms of neoliberalism"

No. If you say "If you say 'banana' you are not saying how bananas are symptoms of neoliberalism," your statement is a symptom of neoliberalism.

Bananas are not reducible to neoliberalism.

Another Sink

Oh, yeah! That was it. If I just say humpback whale and not squirmy humpback whale then I'm reducing the whale to a bland lump without qualities.

Project much, right?

If you think beings don't have qualities until you describe them, that's called...


It's us OOO people who are saying that humpback whale bristles and squirms and flips with all kinds of qualities without us needing to notice them.

Nouns are interlocked with adjectives all the way down, as it were.

It's you who has the bland substance ontology...

Every Kitchen Sink

Seriously, in the last 36 hours I've been called sexist, racist, supporter of neoliberalism, and nazi. This is because I wanted to say “humpback whale, spoon, quasar,”--at a posthumanism conference...

Mind you, not everyone was like that.

But it's odd. Erik Davis had a good idea. There must be a term for supporting a boundary that otherwise one thinks shouldn't exist, or shouldn't exist so rigidly. What is that word?

Cos I'm like, posthumanism, great! Pencil! Tree frog! Gamma ray burst! But somehow that's wrong. Very wrong.

Like in one instance, I was a nazi for using nouns. This was in fact the substance of someone's talk. Tim Morton, literally, this Tim who is writing this, is a nazi because nouns imply something very very bad. I think maybe something like objectification, stasis, not caring about fluids and in particular body fluids.

He don't know me vewy well. And anyway: river!

And he did use a lot of adjectives, to get back at me. But he also said “Sperm! Shit! Blood!”

All sacred substances in the Vajrayana, y'know...

But if you think about it, thinking that nouns are evil like that, that's your own projection right there. People hear the word “object” and it becomes a mirror of their beliefs...about objects. Which they put onto us lot. Usually these beliefs are the exact opposite of OOO.

Like for example, if you think that being isn't presence, you're not going to say "Gamma ray burst!" in an objectifying way.

If you think being isn't presence, you're not going to be opposed to movement. Like movement is wrong! Relations are wrong! Hahahahaha! Like “You like green but I like purple, so you're bad.” Whoah!

And like, hyperobjects, they're viscous...they stick to you...I even use Kristeva to describe them!


And...double trouble...this is a literature conference. So people are often like “You used the wrong word/a bad word/a word I don't like/You should have said this/You should have namechecked that.”

Like in one of those hiphop albums from about 1989 where everyone, everyone is namechecked.

After all that namechecking, humpback whale mentioning is totally out of the question...again...

Bad News

I feel badly that I had no idea what had been going on in Paris until a couple of hours in--I was really caught up at this conference I've been at. More on that anon.

Right now I'm waiting to hear back from several people I know.

Many were right there. Heitham, for instance, came downstairs this morning to see bodies being draped

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dark Ecology Catalogue Description

Here it is my friends, in all its glory. Columbia are doing such an awesome job with this, I really appreciate it. You can click to download it. It's nice and clear if you click and magnify...

And, and: look at the cover! They used Jeff VanderMeer's calligrapher artist!!!!

Interview about Nothing

Hahaha! This book title is the gift that keeps on giving! Anyway, here's a little interview I did about it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"The Richest Are Paying More Income Tax than Ever" (BBC)

1. Oh cry me a river.

2. This works the other way around than the spokesperson was claiming. If you earn a squillion pounds a year, then you may have to pay millions in tax. Big deal. You've got squillions left.

3. Did anyone think to recall the 90% top rate of tax in the later 60s? I thought not.

Our Second Gig

Well, that was just as much fun and just as illuminating as the first one in Stockholm, so I hope we can do some more!

We being me and Olafur Eliasson.

His ice piece at COP21 is going to be mega.

I'm so glad to be working with him and his in all ways lovely crew.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

True Story

So I walk to Niels Bohr's archive place. And they are shining big dots of light on it, somehow randomly scattered, like photons. The dots disappear and more dots appear. Are they moving, or a sequence of still dots? As it were. Momentum and position.

And I turn on my camera app and point. And the video function disappears. It disappears before my eyes!

It's like the house interfered with my camera. I literally couldn't record the dots in motion. I could record their position with a photo, hahaha....

This actually happened, like an hour ago.

Super Natural (mp3)

“Super Natural,” Voices of Urgency, FIAC, Paris, October 25. Featuring Tim Morton, Ko Un and Homero Aridjis. Convened and moderated by Alex Cecchetti.

I Think It's Them...

Mark your calendars: Vilnius, end of the third week of November, Emilija Škarnulytė's QSO Lens, an installation at CAC, and a talk by me. My bit is called


Thinking about this installation is my favorite thing to do right now.

I thought I'd show you something like an experiential, phenomenological version of what's going to happen. Look: here's a famous male Renaissance artist going inside his own mirror, through a wormhole, distorting into a woman artist ready to reach out into multidimensional liquid to touch the nonhuman, or, as a matter of fact, the X-human. Despite the dire warnings, the taboos, the noli me tangeres, the never-point-out-you-are-inside-a-hyperobject-s.

One name for this reaching out is science. Speculation is where art and science shake hands.

I hope you packed your spacesuit. Booster ignition and...

How to Defeat Invisible Gods: Mexico City Lecture (mp3)

Nothing Like a Good Old Eight-Bar Phrase

That time in Boulder when I was just getting used to living on what I supposed was the surface of the Moon. I was like Mr. Clean from Apocalypse Now, “born in some south Bronx shithole [aka south London] and the light and space of Vietnam [Colorado] really put the zap on his head.”

So I walked into the nicest record store at that time and my friend Nathan was spinning this. And everything was totally okay.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Tim Clark's New Book

It's looking mighty interesting. I'm gonna get me a copy. My friend Nicholas Royle's Veering is the UK eco-deconstruction tome I've been rocking out to most.

Almost There

CPH:DOX here I come! I'm really looking forward to my next gig with Olafur Eliasson. We had such a good time last time! Hard to know how it could be better. Let's find out...

If you google us you'll easily find out where we are doing this crazy thing.

My Piece in Brooklyn Rail

"Leave Things Open," featuring a laser eyed mermaid, aka Emilija Škarnulytė, from her imminent installation at the CAC in Vilnius and everywhere else...


What a nice flight. And I think I pretty much indexed my book! (Not that I'm not gonna do more, my trusty assistant Mallory haha).

Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Editorial in Today's Danish Politiken (in English)

Here is the original.

IPCC: The Intraplanetary League of Concerned Critters
Timothy Morton

On any given day we receive a lot of data about the climate through the media. On any given day during COP21, we're going to receive a whole lot more.

We know the routine. A spokesperson for the scientists sits behind a table and delivers the scary news. And it's the way most articles in most papers are written. They unleash thunderstorms of information such as: “50%!” “100 000!” “2.7 degrees!” “Ten more species of mammal!” (I'm just making up these numbers. You get the picture.) And it's definitely how NGOs seem to operate. The routine is everywhere.

How do we live all this data? How can we be ecological?

This isn't a trivial problem. It's not like we get the numbers from the void then sprinkle some nice human-meaning candy on them. To have the numbers in the first place, you have to be a scientist who cares about global warming. (NB: I call it global warming not “climate change”—right-wing global warming deniers in the USA shouldn't scare us into diluting it.) You have to care enough to set up the experiments, run the numbers, risk the floods of hostile emails (even I get them, and I'm in the Humanities.)

So…how do you care at all? How do you attune to ecological things in the first place, enough to find all this data, let alone absorb it? I can hardly care about what to get at the supermarket next week, let alone what polar bears need two decades from now. Or what humans will need two centuries from now.

In philosophy world, this is what we call logical priority. Living ecological knowledge is logically prior to finding out ecological facts. And there's a huge problem: information dump mode isn't helping us to live our ecological knowledge. In fact, it's really damaging.

Why? First of all, anyone with a pulse knows how oppressive information dumps can be: all those numbers, they change every day, they are signals from a horribly damaged world, they make us go numb, and sometimes they push us further into denial or defiance. It's like someone shaking you and yelling, “Your mom is dead, dammit! Snap out of it!”

How do you truly work with people in the denial phase of grief, grief that we have already lost our (sense of a familiar) world? We are all waking up inside a nightmare that is already happening. The world has already ended. The catastrophe has already occurred.

But information dump mode has the unintended consequence of making us feel like the traumatic event hasn't happened yet.

Let me be clear: I'm not arguing that scientists shouldn't warn us about future consequences of burning more fossil fuels. Or that things couldn't get much, much worse.

It's just that in my line of work, you get to see how sentences—even something as neutral seeming as “one plus one equals two”—always have a color, a flavor, some kind of DNA of their very own. Ideas come bundled with attitudes towards them, just like cans of soda come with ways of opening them, or beer comes in irritating new plastic packs you have to figure out how to handle.

Scientists aren't generally aware that the sentences they say aren't just happening in a void. This isn't their fault. It's because of scientism, which is very different from science itself. Scientism is a belief. For example, it's scientistic, not scientific, to say that medium-sized things like horses are reducible to smaller things like atoms, in such a way that atoms are more real than horses. Science isn't allowed to say what's more real than what. Science is about examining patterns in data. That's why scientists rely on statistics. You can't just go around saying “This causes that”—it's not scientific. You have to say “This is 97% likely to cause that.” Which gives the deniers a way out—they can claim that you are being fuzzy. But you aren't. It's the bald assertion that has no backup except for threats of torture or execution (paging the Spanish Inquisition). Deniers want to party like it's 1749, before modern science began, before philosophy (thanks Hume and Kant) figured all this out. Unfortunately, so does scientism.

Most of us aren't ready to live modern science, then, let alone global warming science. And by modern I mean stuff that happened in the last two hundred years. We have a lot of catching up to do.

So…ideas don't just drop out of the sky, they have colors and flavors and textures and ways of having them. In the USA they call “welfare” what used to be called “benefits” in the UK—until the current Conservative government took control. They knew that changing the term to “welfare” meant that to have the idea “correctly,” you have to have an attitude of contempt to the recipients. I can't believe that even the BBC hasn't noticed this powerful shift in how British people live their politics and economics.

What is the flavor of information dump mode? Think of it this way. People who suffer from post-traumatic stress have terrible recurring nightmares. The fact that they recur must mean that there is some gain to having them. It's very plausible that post-traumatic stress sufferers are trying to “anticipate” their trauma with 20/20 hindsight. In other words, the sufferer's dream is there to install her or him, in fantasy, at a point just before the trauma happened, so that horrifying fright (finding yourself in the middle of a traumatic situation) can be replaced by less horrifying anxiety: in this case, a lower-level fear of something that is about to happen—but hasn't happened yet.

Can you see why information dump mode isn't helping? We don't need to feel anxious about global warming. We need to feel frightened. If we feel anxious, we haven't even started to go through the trauma yet. We aren't yet living ecological truth. It's almost as if we have a choice. We can choose to be scared, or not, because it's as if the catastrophe hasn't happened yet. All those facts and all those warnings of imminent disaster are weirdly having exactly the opposite effect than the one the deliverers of the information are intending!

In this utilitarian scientistic age where we just plough ahead without remembering why studying things like philosophy and literature might be very important, we have lost track of how to talk with one another, and even more significantly, how to listen. So we say stuff without thinking about the consequences.

Eco-information dumping has negative consequences. I bet this even effects policy makers: they are human too, so we are told. I even wonder whether they really need all those numbers to make effective policies. We talk about how they need it to “sell” the policies. But then the salesmanship also happens in information dump mode. So we are all making a nice buffer against being ecological—by shouting at each other that it's terribly important to be ecological!

There has to be another way.

Think about it like this. Those of us who know we need to do something don't need any more information dumps. (Sure it's nice to have up-to-date facts, but maybe we can find them out a different way.) Those of us who refuse to acknowledge that we need to do something really don't need any more information dumps.

What the deniers need is to be joined. Information dumping is an aggression mode that sends another unintended message: the dumper is trying to replace your beliefs with hers or his. Some atheists will get very angry with me at this point, because I'm sort of saying that the war of escalating facts vs. denial happens in part because the fact delivery people refuse to notice that their delivery mode exactly resembles clinging to a belief.

Perhaps there are two kinds of people in this world: those who know they believe, and those who say that they don't. Anyway, the problem is never exactly what you believe, it's how you believe, and your beliefs about belief. Do you think that believing means clinging tightly to something and slamming the table when the other guy doesn't agree? Then I'm afraid that whatever you are saying is in evangelical belief mode. (Richard Dawkins, you can get mad at me now. But just realize that if you do, you'll be proving my point.)

Instead of looking at the statistics and the drowning polar bears, how about doing something seemingly counter-intuitive? How about turning the camera around the other way? Let's talk about being frightened. Let's talk about being numb. How to act when you feel scared and numb and overwhelmed, and quite frankly and quite often, bored?

When someone says, “I'm bored,” it usually means “I'm critical” or “I'm resisting.” If you meditate, you know that exploring boredom can be quite…interesting. Instead we are trying to reject where we're at, as if there's something wrong with having emotions—unless they are the “right” ones.
For example, what happened to laughter? I believe that laughter is equivalent to thinking something new—something pops up that you didn't expect, that maybe you kind of knew at the back of your head, but you don't know that you know it already. That's funny. Why should we be ecological in tragedy mode only? Isn't comedy a much better model for nonviolent coexistence? Comedy certainly allows a great deal more different types of emotion. And ecological awareness is kind of funny. You rely on so many non-you organisms, living right in your digestive system. In 10 000BCE some of us tried to avoid global warming by settling down and eventually creating…worse global warming. (That's the super short history of the last 12 000 years. Come on, it's almost funny, isn't it?) So we're vulnerable and we rely on nonhumans and we get twisted up in things: big deal.

In order to laugh, you have to be ready: you have to be listening. Either literally listening, like listening to a comedian as she plays with comic timing, teasing out that thing you already know. Or listening in a metaphorical sense, being contemplative, allowing things to happen.
Listening mode is the exact opposite of information dump mode. Better: information dump mode is a small, distorted island in a gigantic ocean called listening. You have to be listening already to get dumped on, even though it's obviously not very pleasant when it happens. So let's tune up our listening powers.

There are two words for a listening-power tuning specialist: artist and humanist.

We need people like artists and musicians and writers and humanists to do the press conferences. I propose a new IPCC: the Intraplanetary League of Concerned Critters. We will shadow the official press conferences. We will wear animal hats, like the wolf ones you can buy in Norway. We won't do any information dumps. Instead, we will try to walk you through an experience that is equivalent to having accepted global warming as a reality. We will join you. We will make you smile. We won't force you to be contemplative, because that can be done in “dump” mode too. We will simply create a nice atmosphere that is equivalent to listening, attending, attuning.
For their brilliant work in helping us to attend to nonhuman beings, I nominate Björk and Olafur Eliasson to kick off the first IPCC meeting.
Actually of course, you can start your own chapter of the IPCC right now. Get together with some friends, maybe even involve your dog or your parrot or your cat, get behind a table somewhere in public and just start doing a press conference. You can even dump all kinds of information too: “I'm really scared about the bees”; “Can you believe the price of a liter of gasoline these days?”; “I'm so embarrassed that I'm actually quite bored of ecological facts”; “I really like your animal hat.”

Stop trying to persuade people. Per-suasion actually means “thoroughly softening.” That sounds nice.

Just remember: you are in charge. You have the controls. Don't wait for another single shred of evidence. Don't stand there like a deer in the headlights waiting for a disaster that has already happened. We are already dead: what a relief! There's no need to be scared. It has already happened. We really are in a nightmare: there's no need to check anymore. Stop the handwringing. Smile a little bit.

Then perhaps you will be able to cry, for real.