Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Everything's Easier when You Get All Heideggerian: Even Quantum Theory

This chap has sensibly decided that space is a compression (aka metaphor) for data concerning causal influence. A lion wants to bite me and is able to do so--compressing that = “The lion is close.” In other words, when you assume space is a slightly reified way of talking about how things care, and in this case not just human things. We're talking about the lion's project of biting me here. We're talking lion Dasein, which means we're sort of almost in OOO world.

I've been arguing recently (in particular in Dark Ecology as you'll see) that it's space not place that dissolves in modernity, reports of place's death notwithstanding. Moreover, this is exactly not the revenge of some exoticized, fetishized (human scaled) local, but rather the end of a one-size-fits-all anthropocentric reference frame, aka human Dasein if you like. We know other things are on other missions. So there is biospheric place, the place of climate. Spacetime is a theory of place: it is a kind of liquid that pours out of objects, not a box in which objects are sitting.

And according to the argument in this essay, space emerges from tiny things interacting.

So in general, the dominant concept of space is undermined. It turns out that:

Space is the parochial one!!! It's a handy concept for colonialist white western missions. That's all.


When you think objects only as defined extensionally, you are compressing data. There's so much more to them, even from a conventionally scientific standpoint, as this essay points out in its science-y way.

This essay is really saying exactly the same as what Graham Harman says about space as a relation between aspects of a thing and between things.

So when you really think about it, what is called space implies very specific objects with built in irreducible qualities, like the frequency of an energy field. The writer gets to talking about gravitons this way. It's spacious-ness all the way down. It's x tera electron volts or whatever, a specific kind of note.

It's madly like what they say in the “space” section of the esoteric Dzogchen instructions.

And there's so much I like in the author's rhetoric. Subatomic narcissism!

Cliff Gerrish, thank you thank you.


cgerrish said...

There's also an interesting take on why a "whole" is less than the sum of its parts. The hierarchical network metaphor (compression) contains fewer nodes, and therefore less energy, than the fully interconnected network. It's by masquerading as a complete whole that the caricature gains its power. We don't have access to the fully interconnected network because we are embedded in it; as soon as we create the distance that allows us a perspective, we begin spinning metaphors so that we can grasp the concept.

J. Ahlroth said...

Hi Tim,
This is really interesting. But I'm afraid I don't understand. I would love to. Please explain how can it be spaciousness all the way down if space dissolves?