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Thursday, January 6, 2011

warning: "Bedside Reading"

for the last couple of weeks I've had Ecology Without Nature near my head where I sleep; last night I didn't sleep at all (more about that in a minute) but before i attempted to sleep I replaced Ecology Without NAture with Speculative Realism. Both are beautiful books; I'm no Adorno but I do have an eye for aesthetics in books sometimes, although I'd taken the cover off Ecology Without NAture (a hardback) and dropped it on the floor (highly unreverential from a Buddhist point of view, but there you go--as most parents know, sometimes kids just don't pick things up, and as any cat owner is more than aware--it's actually preferential to not have things constantly tidied up. Now, let me first say this: my USUAL reading practice hardly ever involves sitting in bed, ever. It's clumsy, bourgoise and there's never enough space to move, write or think... i always end up getting up out of bed, so why bother? but as the subject is objects (!) I thought I'd enjoy some nocturnal osmosis and due to the restrictions of time-compression during "Christmas" some osmosis is better than no osmosis at all. After all, Ecology Without NAture is not an "easy" book. There's no lulling oneself off to sleep after tackling ecomimesis, rendering or the vast array of metaphors, allusions,, tropes, facts and argument that is contained it. And I ain't Latour either, so the only way for me to read these books (and I will clarify what I mean by read in a moment) is in the office, sometimes on  a couch, mostly standing up, with a highlighter in hand, or a pencil and some form of colour in poreparation for a subsequent event (ye creation of a mind map). Although I have produced a few mind maps already from Tim and Graham's other talks elswhere, they have been brief, fast and not thorough (but they look good). Anyway, as I said, last night in the bath I had finished my first cursory run through, highlighting of Ecology Without Nature and now it was Speculative Realism's turn, a mighty fine looking book from Zero, aesthetically pleasing in its own right and already (I'm sure) becoming synonymous with the timeness in which it has come into existence. But could I sleep? Hell, no. I'm not saying there's anything less at stake in Tim's book than in Graham's; far from it in fact, the argument that Romanticism still permeates thinking is strong and the argument for not "viewing" Nature as "view" or "aesthetic experience" equally strong, and several other strong arguments and thoughts that I'm not equipped yet to talk about pervade the text. No, it's definitely not my point to suggest any comparison; they are two books written for quite different reasons by two quite different people. No, that I could not sleep is the point. I mean, I did sleep but not in the usual fashion. It was restless. I was thinking in my dreams. Things were dialoging with me about the nature of Object Oriented Ontology. What had been released? What was releasing? What was I thinking? Or was it thinking me? I focussed in on the lampost across the road, seeing that I could walk up to it. Now it's not a lampost, it's a grey panel which can be opened, presumably to sort out the wires. Then I can pan back and it's a street. Oh so this is what the object is, consciousness can do that. I can move about spatially in my mind's eye. But this wasn't thinking, where is the object, the object is right in front of me, and yet its not, it's beside the bed isn't it? What would the third object be? (Christ, where's the first object?) Back to the lampost, which is off in the distance on a street corner at the top of the road (why that lampost?). But now it's a flat, grey panel again, and now it has curves. Is it the objects or consciousness that I am interested in? Some other thoughts flitted in and out throughout all of this very rough approximation of the NArratizing noise that accompanied six hours. I went to bed at ten, reading in dim light two pages of Speculative Realism (knowing I was fooling myself into or out of a post-bourgoise relationship to reading itself (soft, soothing tonic) a position I had long ago given up. In fact I'd almost entirely given up traditional reading methods in 2002... to replace that with then a new to me method of reading suggested by Tony Buzan. Of course Buzan's method is more of a suggestion than a rule, and so between 2002 and 2009 I experimented and gradually devised a new balance between input, reading, note taqking and making mind maps. Naturally the first flush was a form of ecstasy, in 2002 the IDEA that reading and memory could be both speeded up and more efficient was intoxicating and within five or six months I had proved this method to myself in such sufficient reason that I've never looked back since. I now almost never read in the traditional sense, page turning a novel or trying to understand. Morte of that later. I got out of bed, taking my time (sore back, cold, middle aged, post christmas flu, four a.m, dark urgh (awake again), coffee, putting Speculative Realism next to the sugar while I waited for the kettle to boil, thinking about that lampost and the now-awake realisation that I had had some form of an acoustic lucid dream. I don't know where I'd put Ecology Without NAture, ceertainly not on the bookshelf. The work was pleasantly piling up for the WInter term, I knew what mind maps would do to my reading of the book, so I made a compromise formation and instead tried to read it cover to cover. Well, that just made me feel thick with embarassment. It wasn't going to work that way. I'm making coffee running through all of this and the cat is staring at me. I'm excited really to begin the mind mapping of the books (Circus Philosphicus arrived two weeks ago) and Latour and Meillassoux wait in the wings: this all has to be put together. I know that. I'm not in it for the money (lolly). I'm not even in it for the argument. I know I'm in it because I havesniffed something really new; some sort of spicy arrangemnt of ideas would detract from what that new is. I know we all know that Harman and Meillassoux have cracked it open, and when I get round to it I am sure that crack will be more than clear  to me from Brassier, Ennis, Wolverhampton Lord Bristol Wanderers and Others who are Speculating the Turn at a break neck speed (yes, I downloaded the pdf.... and will buy it as well). I havn't been this excited to begin work since HUme woke me up one night after a bender with Immanuel, saying Marrtin had come over would I like to Husseurl it up a bit? (But that was a long time ago/or so I thought before when time wasn't just a feature of consciousness' spatializing itself--and that really is another stoory). The coffee, a rather cheap, instant and slightly disgusting variety made only palateable by decent milk and a breathtaking amount of the sugar, flowed. Pleasantly, the cat didn't pester me for food (is there anything more disgusting than the cat food smell?) at four in the morning I mean (not in extensis for all time in all places) and outside to my very own version of a Latour Hut (not nearly as large, more truthfull a hut than Latour's House) but warm and disconnected from the main house in what we call a garden near what we call a field opposite what we call trees, behind which are what we call more fields and the sea, across which it would be necessary to sail before reaching France and other environs about which Captain Cook knew too much. Graham's new post, the first thing I do in the morning now is read Harman's Latest, (on Ennis Jan 6 … People still can’t quite get used to the idea that individual things are anything other than square, middle-aged, traditionalistic, reactionary, folk-psychological, commonsensical, gullible fetishes of the everyday fool on the street. But they’re wrong, and they’ll gradually come to see that they’re wrong
) igniting my mind even further, yes we would all find out soon enough that that this isn't that bench that we thought was the total question, as I'm not the subject I thought myself to be; because in the occasion of me reading the lampost, between the cat and the book and all of NAture (raining down) filling the mud banks with water juice, objectifying itself in blog land to mind's idea of what is happening in the specualtive turn itself agreeing that the turn it had made, the turn made from the past where Derrida had sat, was a wrong turn and that the U turn had to me to be made as a bed is remade; that was what was in the lampost, behind that plate which I in fact did not untighten or look in but into which I had projected and could see (and can still see ) wires.

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