“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, April 30, 2023

Hell: Christ's Earthly Form Divine cover idea

 Just this, totally stark and lapidary. Monolithic. 

It's Official: Hell Appears Earth Day 2024 and It's about the Devil, AI, Racism and Ecology

 Well Colombia have agreed to publish a second dark, dark, intense book. Clearly they couldn't get enough of Dark Ecology, the Wellek Lectures that I gave in the lineage of Cixous and Balibar, and now they're going to work with me to get this one out for Earth Day 2024. 

It's a book about slavery, racism, capitalism, AI, ecology, despair, religion and mysticism. It's freaking AWESOME. I wasn't quite ready to say stuff like that out loud when I last worked for Columbia. 

Because Columbia have done this, I'm now committing to them. I've been living my life waiting for approval and love in so many ways and I am DONE. Love is a thing you DO not a thing you wait for. That phenomenology cashes out to being a theater critic and in the end, all the plays are bad. Because you're waiting for them to be bad. I got really good at getting up and leaving the theater no matter where the play was at: I could see the writing on the wall. So at least there's that. But that is still...that. 

So this is my proclamation to the world. I'm with Columbia now. Like how my best buddy Jeff Kripal (the X Men actors have to read his work when they're on set) is with Chicago. It's a great thing. I kept thinking when I found that out,  he must have a lot of space in his soul to think, he doesn't have to keep waiting for people to say yes like me, who acts like they're a character in a Jane Austen novel. 

That never occurred to me until this week, when Columbia accepted Hell. But it had occurred to me in my personal life, in part because my mum's family traces their lineage back to the lower gentry in the later eighteenth century. And that's a horrible precarious place to be. My grandmother to cap it all was Welsh lower gentry. Imagine Sense and Sensibility, but set in Wales. Just horrible ancient colonial vibes. You're dead unless Mister Right sweeps you off your feet. So you have to sit around ever so politely waiting for Mister Right, not putting a foot wrong, including doing a single day of work, and you can't access your own money until said Mister Right shows up. 

This was me and book contracts. I thought it was great, a kind of naive drifting that meant I wasn't pushy and manipulative, and I'm not. But this is better. I'm not Elinor Dashwood. That energy crippled my family. Austen novels are about the terrible pain of a  precarious class, women in the lower gentry during a time of enclosure and transition from primitive accumulation to automated capitalism. 

Hell is about masters and slaves. Hell is about the Devil. Hell is about the biosphere as the Devil and ideas about the Devil as the Devil that's burning the biosphere. 

Hell is also about AI. ery directly, because it’s totally relevant. I think the real driver here is the master slave template that drives everything else (subject versus object, male versus female, active versus passive…). We need to abolish that template. The idea of creating the perfect slave that is then the perfect master is basically every story about selling one’s soul to Satan.

Treating the biosphere like that, because treating each other like that, is why AI people are blundering into this and why that feeling of “the search for AI is like an unstoppable AI” keeps happening…

Saturday, April 29, 2023

I Received Rice's Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award

 ...and was nearly dying with anxiety by the time it came to me, mostly because I hadn't won a thing as an adult before, and the ceremony regressed me to the age of 15! 

But here is a very nice video Rice made about it all and you can see me bowing nicely at the beginning as I walk up, right at the end, to receive the award.