“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 23, 2015

Humankind 1

So...in addition to writing the Penguin book, there is also of course the Verso book. It's really interesting to be writing two at once. I don't think I've ever quite done it before. They are on two really distinct missions, these books. One is designed to show you that you can incorporate nonhumans into Marxism. The other is super IMAX widescreen 3D ecological philosophy.

(Not that the Verso topic isn't vast as well!)

I stared writing the Verso one, Humankind, this afternoon. Apparently I really do have something to say, as I reached my goal for the day.

The Verso book is in five through-composed shorter chapters. The sequence definitely goes 1 >> 2 >> 3 etc. There's a logical sequence that would be really out of shape if the book's arrangement didn't track it.

The Penguin book is a little different. Each chapter feels modular. You could probably have them in any order, although I think the one I chose is best. The inner logic and the arrangement don't coincide, quite.

That's an interesting, less well known fact about the five parts of rhetoric, Aristotle style. You've got your second part, which is called ordo in Latin. But it's also called dispositio. The latter is the arrangement of the idea sequence. The former is the logical sequence. You see the difference?

When you're thinking how a book should be, what you want to say is actually different from when you want to say it, and both are really important.

The ordo-dispositio mix for each book feels really right. It's nice to be doing them together for that reason. They are different beasts. Maybe the beasts will synergize one another, at this rhetorical level. I know they will at other levels...

I'll be interesting to see what kinds of style differences emerge as I proceed (the third part of rhetoric).


Anonymous said...

Cheered to hear of forthcoming writings concerning including animals within Marxism. I though Shukin's work was brilliant but not dirty, crawly and slithery enough and the Critical Animal Studies people just do not seem to get it and insist upon a literal almost fundamentalist interpretation of Labour Theory of value and abstraction of labour. Rather than writing against this I look to OOO and TM here for new way of looking at it. The 'inclusion' TM mentions is what got my attention, wherein we shall catch the conscience of the soveriegn, and is the key thing and is hopefully not part of the cul de sac of using agency as the vehicle for political inclusion within Marxism or other constructs.

I went with some humans to a Christmas Mass at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC last night for the possibility of transcendence and ended up being pounded with every aspect of what this Blog terms agrilogistics. I think perhaps one chapter of Dark Ecology should be taught in a Cathedral at some occasion such as Easter, as it will wonderfully illustrate all the elements TM writes about and which tie together agrilogistics, culture, civilization, wilderness, totalitarianism, patriarchy, killing, exceptionalism, and exclusion. That is to say it all made absolute perfect anthropological sense, what the Bishop said, but I was convinced he'd got it exactly backwards in terms of meaning constrained by how he had been taught to think. I think I must go the the Robert Riemann show at DIA now that they have new meaning in the global warming north and recall a melancholia of seasonal change and human affect, although that is merely another part f the sameness.

Timothy Morton said...

John this is really deep and I hope we can talk about it some more, especially paragraph 1, because it's my ongoing project!

D. E.M. said...

I often feel as John does too, stumbling into something or into a place that makes me feel deeply how assbackward everything is.