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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Look what You Can Do with Marx if You Deploy OOO

(At least it sounds really nice lol) (this is also from the Naess essay proofs)

Time isn’t nice and neat either. Because of what I’ve just argued, time itself is not a line of reified atomic now-points, but a spooky shifting that haunts itself, slightly in front or behind itself, the rippling play of light and shadow in the pond water reflected on the underside of a sundial on a late summer afternoon, a vibrant stillness that is far from static. The present is haunted by the X-present. I call this manifold of present and X-present nowness, a shifting, haunted region like evaporating mist, a region can’t be tied to a specific timescale.

Nowness is a dynamic relation between the past and the future. According to the spectral logic I’m outlining, the present isn’t present! It doesn’t exist, at least not like that. The belief that “animals” are superior or inferior to humans because they live in an eternal now is untrue, because no being lives in a now. Furthermore, past and future are artefacts of the structure of entities as such, and are to be found nowhere outside of them. The form of a thing, its appearance, is the past. My face is a map of everything that happened to my face. A beehive is a story about what happened when some bees chewed some wax. There is a contextual abyss about appearance: we can’t draw the line decisively as to when the face stops and its explanatory context—all the things that happened to give it this exact appearance—begins. This provides the basis for the “nightmare” quality of past states of humankind that weigh on us: there might be no end to the “weight of dead traditions.”

On the other hand, the essence of a thing, its being, is the future. few are not entirely caught like algorithms in the gravitational pull of the past. There is also levity: the lightness of futurality. The future is also an abyss. What will happen to my face next? I’m unsure, not just because it’s hard to predict at least somewhat far into the measureable future, but for the deeper reason that the measurable future depends on an infinite (uncountable) futurality, the withdrawal-quality of a thing, so that whatever access mode I use (thinking-about, dabbing-lotion-on, photographing-a-selfie-of), my face slips away like a liquid. The one place our ultra-utilitarian culture has cordoned off as a zone in which this kind of thing is barely tolerated is called art. But in truth everything behaves like that. Everything is a railway junction where past and future are sliding over one another, not touching.

Appearance is the past; being is the future; nowness is the relative motion of future over past, not touching. A thing is a junction of two abyssal movements. Solidarity is the noise the symbiotic real makes in its floating, spectral nowness, conditioned by the past (otherwise known as trauma), yet open to the future. Creativity and enjoyment are a “disabled,” malfunctioning relative motion between past and future, appearance and being.

X-existence happens in the symbiotic real because the ontological structure of a thing allows it. To exist is to X-exist. You can’t be counted as one. But you also can’t be counted as two. Your spectral double is your spectral double, not some frog’s. But it isn’t proper to you. It’s highly improper, in fact; it violates every notion of property and propriety. It’s indecent of fish to breathe air. The manifold of species and X-species is fractal: it lies somewhere between one and two, and the logic of this in-between area must be modal: it must violate strict versions of the Law of the Excluded Middle, so that things can be sort of true, kind of real, slightly wrong. It is as if every indicative sentence is shadowed by its subjunctive double, the sentence in “perhaps” mode. The sentence is open. It isn’t nothing, and it isn’t exactly something. Meaning as such is its spectral shadow. Who knows what a poem is really saying? But this poem is this poem, not that poem.

1 comment:

John T. Maher said...

Wild outpouring of creativity after a bit of a drought here. Wonderful exposition and re imagining of what I take to be some constructs of quantum time. Poetry disguised as a blog post. Mellifluous. Read it twice. Really anticipating the inter species solidarity book after the other posts.

The last sentence: "But this poem is this poem, not that poem." To me this presupposes absolutes exist and my question is whether such absolutes exist absolutely? Since one references the Greeks and pulls the pants down on their formalism it would seem the other two laws ID/NC must be true: if this and not that -- except as you point out bestowing a materialist reference upon time allows us to do away with bothersome consistency, such as EM. I would ask is a really = a is the same as a = holographicly reconstructed a? And is that proposition then an absolute?