Ktismatics

27 July 2009

Sole and Sacred Fruit

Filed under: Ktismata, Psychology — ktismatics @ 9:22 am

Yesterday Dr. Zamalek again repeated k-punk’s injunction to “surround yourself with people who have projects.” Dr. Z elaborates:

“Tearing down other projects does not count as a project.”

On an earlier thread we explored the “hermeneutic of suspicion” as applied both to the tearer-downers and the project managers. We also saw how mark k-punk’s resistance to tearer-downers is explicitly rooted in what he regards as the need to protect the boundaries and integrity of projects, with an authoritarian hand if need be. But what about Graham Harman? Are we just indulging in armchair psychologizing about his resistance to criticism? I don’t think so. Here’s an excerpt from Harman’s paper in Collapse II:

“While analytic philosophy takes pride in never suggesting more than it explicitly states, this procedure does no justice to a world where objects are always more than they literally state. Those who care only to generate arguments almost never generate objects. New objects, however, are the sole and sacred fruit of writers, thinkers, politicians, travellers, lovers, and inventors.”

First off, it’s clear that in Harman’s system new objects are spawned not only by humans but also by collisions between billiard balls, fire encountering cotton, and all manner of non-human interactions. Secondly, in that same article Harman says that “every connection is itself an object.” An argument generated by an analytical philosopher results from an intentional connection initiated by the arguer in response to some feature of the idea being critiqued. The result, per Harman, is itself an object. So it seems that Harman, in invoking the sacred charge to create objects bestowed upon a certain elite class of humans, is stepping outside the bounds of his own theory. We can only speculate why, but we can certainly identify the self-contradiction explicitly.

We’ve not clarified what’s meant by a “project,” but I’d say it refers to the intentional and systematic and usually goal-directed work undertaken by individual humans or groups of humans. The project is a kind of dynamic meeting-place where objects and subjects interact to produce new products, inventions, events, ideas, and so on. I suppose that a bunch of boulders and pebbles and what-not could have as a project the production of an avalanche, but I don’t think that’s what Dr. Z is talking about here — though I’d say that preventing or stopping the avalanche would constitute a project in its own right. No, both Graham and Mark are talking about projects as the laboratory or incubator for the creation of “sacred fruit” — objects of human genius like theories, inventions, books, discoveries. It seems that for Harman the creation of such objects is better than other kinds of activities in which humans can engage.

I tend to subscribe to this romantic notion of the heroic creator. But critiquers and destoyers can also create heroic objects, just as writers and politicians and inventors can create quite ordinary and even terrible objects.

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105 Comments »

  1. Nice post, John.

    I’m ambivalent about this. I do think it is good to surround oneself with people who have projects and (often) avoid those who have none – or, moreover, those who only want to tear them down. To be among these people can sputter out a project.

    However, this vision of the heroic creator (object enabler!) – beloved by all of us at times, I suspect – and supposedly Nietzschean in echo is pretty unpalatable. It reminds me too much of Soviet Realism. Nietzsche would have laughed at it. We are the blessed creators! Are you indeed? Ecce Homo.

    Why get upset by those who (allegedly, according to the creator) have no projects of their own, unless they are to tear down those of others, if you’re writing a blog full of your ideas on your projects? Write a fucking diary instead and publish later. Or is it that the project-object is so marvellous that those who criticise or even ridicule it are like the soldiers at the foot of Christ? If you’re going to do this – in fact, if you’re going to pursue any creative project – you will publish and you will be damned.

    It’s not that I don’t think it wouldn’t be upsetting to have someone say your stuff is shit, I just don’t get the display of hurt feelings, or even the surprise.

    “Those who care only to generate arguments almost never generate objects.”

    Harman’s quote reminds me of something Deleuze said. I paraphrase because I haven’t read Deleuze in years: there was never a good book that was only against something. I think he’s right there.

    “While analytic philosophy takes pride in never suggesting more than it explicitly states, this procedure does no justice to a world where objects are always more than they literally state.”

    This is a perfect summary of the prejudice of “continental philosophy” against “analytical philosophy” (emphasis on the juvenile and fictive nature those appellations). Philosophy states what it can: that is it’s creative act, whether it’s AJ Ayer or Hegel. There’s a difference (not always!) between the explicit and the literal.

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    Comment by NB — 27 July 2009 @ 10:10 am

  2. I wonder what GH makes of Marx, whose whole career consisted of the systematic critique of others’ work. After some youthful flights of fancy Marx even refused to speculate what communism would be like; no way to know as long as we remain trapped in the second nature of capitalism.

    The example of Marx brings me back to a point that’s come up before in this conversation but deserves repeating. If your project’s a waste of time, or actively pernicious, its critique is itself a worthy project regardless of whether another positive project is there to replace it. I can be just as lost as you and still argue usefully against continuing to drive toward a cliff.

    And yet who can deny that if there’s something you think needs doing, it’s best not to pay much attention to kibitzers.

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    Comment by Carl — 27 July 2009 @ 10:20 am

  3. I suppose GH might say that the mere negation by argument of a pernicious project is unlikely to be effective against it. Only an attractive alternative can exert enough allure to deflect action toward the good. In this sense rhetorical disputation is lazy, and insofar as its target is genuinely pernicious, irresponsible.

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    Comment by Carl — 27 July 2009 @ 10:27 am

  4. And again I find it hard to disagree, but these are the morals of suburban hausfraus. Nietzsche is rofl.

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    Comment by Carl — 27 July 2009 @ 10:32 am

  5. John’a point, at least as far as I see it, is that IF we take Harman’s ontology at face value, there is NO room left for his much desired critique of persons (or “mere” arguments). Arguments are objects if election results are objects. Its all pretty silly that Harman can’t even seem to follow 101 Harman when looking to describe the world.

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    Comment by kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 10:38 am

  6. Agreed K, John’s right on about this harman-ex-machina exclusion of unwelcome objects; I’m just trying to think my way around the scatterplot of the conceptual space.

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    Comment by Carl — 27 July 2009 @ 10:51 am

    • I love your thinking-around Carl, as always.

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      Comment by kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 10:54 am

  7. What is bizarre, or perhaps merely ludicrous, is that Harman doesn’t seem to be able to detect this rather profoundly obvious inconsistency in his own thinking. It is quite frustrating when a thinker urges others to take his ideas seriously, when he/she cannot seem to do so.

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    Comment by kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 10:57 am

  8. It does look that way. Yet as irritated and exhausted as I am by his bpd personal quirks, enough so that on his own principle I mostly ignore him, I think Graham’s a very smart man and therefore unlikely to be caught in such an elementary trap. I realize the kind of resentment he’s flogging can be constitutive, but still. This is why I’m trying to imagine, based on what little I know and it not being worth more of my time and attention than that, how he might get these points connected up in his conceptual space. It’s an interesting puzzle.

    In principle it seems to me that it ought to be impossible for Graham to typify and dismiss any object or actant out of hand based on a surface reading of their interactive disposition, since there is by his definition much more to them than that. The theory looks to me like it ought to lend itself to a profound interpretive generosity and suspension of judgment. Does that seem right?

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    Comment by Carl — 27 July 2009 @ 11:21 am

  9. I see that Doctor Z attended k-punk’s recent wedding. Now I would certainly agree that disrupting a wedding would under most circumstances not constitute a project of its own. Then again there’s the ending to The Graduate to be taken into account.

    I think we’d all agree that little niggling nitpicky bullshit criticisms are tedious. Or there’s this one: you ask someone’s opinion about your project and they tell you about some other project you should be doing instead. I too wonder about the motivations of people who pull this sort of shit. What strikes me about Graham and k-punk is that their criticism of criticism is buoyed by explicit theoretical justification. I’m left wondering whether they constructed theoretical rationales for their personal annoyance, or whether both are taking explicit shots at analytical philosophy’s style of thinking and debating. Not being philosophically trained I don’t know the politics of this Great Divide and the ends to which its partisan combatants will go. Within continental philosophy the term “critical philosophy” is a kind of code word for Kant, so maybe Kant is the main target.

    Or maybe these guys just haven’t gotten famous enough yet to disregard the chatter altogether.

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    Comment by john doyle — 27 July 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  10. Carl: “It does look that way. Yet as irritated and exhausted as I am by his bpd personal quirks, enough so that on his own principle I mostly ignore him, I think Graham’s a very smart man and therefore unlikely to be caught in such an elementary trap.”

    Kvond: Its very hard to impune the intelligence of someone who makes their living trying to convince others who intelligence he is (hard, as in, a loaded thing to do), but I have to say that if you read his theory of causation, you might have different take on just how intelligent (or at least coherent) he is. This is also a man who claims to be philosophically against Spinoza because “Spinoza is too popular”, not the most intelligent critical comment made by a philosopher (his other points against Spinoza really are not really much more perceptive than that. And I have to say that his interpretation of my criticism of his implicit Orientialism did not strike me as all that intelligent either. In short, granting loads of “intelligence” capital to Harman, in reading his theories, has produced a kind of runaway inflation such that I just don’t know what a note of intelligence stands for any more. I’m sure he can prevaricate all he wants about the idea that arguments against something are not objects, but plain and simple, it makes no sense (other than him wanting it to make sense).

    Carl: “In principle it seems to me that it ought to be impossible for Graham to typify and dismiss any object or actant out of hand based on a surface reading of their interactive disposition, since there is by his definition much more to them than that. The theory looks to me like it ought to lend itself to a profound interpretive generosity and suspension of judgment. Does that seem right?”

    Kvond: I agree, it would seem to grant the greatest degree of interpretative generosity, but Harman isn’t really generous enough to think through (I mean, by means of) his own theory.

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    Comment by kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  11. I object that you guys are questioning someone’s intelligence without first informing me of these proceedings! Outrageous!

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 27 July 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  12. Mikhail,

    We put up a notice in the pool hall, just above the 10 cent beer sign, didn’t you see it? Or were you at the racetrack?

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    Comment by Kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  13. I must have concentrated most of my attention on the magic of the ever so rare “10 cent beer” miracle…

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 27 July 2009 @ 7:07 pm

    • Come on now. This is the 1920s, before the invention of the internet…the unwashed rabble have all sorts of advantages.

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      Comment by kvond — 27 July 2009 @ 7:35 pm

  14. “the great unthinking masses” as Kant used to say!

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 27 July 2009 @ 8:38 pm

    • Homologous magnitudes, much as potatoes in a sack form a sack of potatoes.

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      Comment by Carl — 27 July 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  15. “…care only to generate arguments almost never generate objects.” An argument is not an object. It would not become an object until it is ‘taken up’ by at least two objects. Therefore, initially at least, an argument is a one sided thing and therefore only an extension of, or perhaps an unattached projection, (generate is an unfortunate choice of word here) of only the originating object… in any case it does not at that stage appear to fit the definition of an ‘object’.

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    Comment by sam carr — 28 July 2009 @ 5:51 am

    • An argument can be a relationship between two people; it can also be an intellectual position spawned by the arguer interacting with the intellectual position being argued against. It’s the latter that Harman is talking about. A child is spawned by two objects too, and rightly deserves to be credited with objecthood. One of the features of Dr. Sinthome’s take on realism is that an object is real only if it is different and also make a difference — this is where your “taken up” idea would fit in. Surely a new baby-object makes a difference to the parents. Ignoring someone’s argument is a tactic for denying that argument’s reality by refusing to let it make a difference.

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      Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 7:33 am

  16. This post made me chuckle. The “blogosphere” is kind of reproducing “factiony” (and petty) grad school dynamics. Ack.

    I’m certain that I can’t be the only one that sees a performative contradiction in claiming to support some sort of Latour-inspired ANT angle and/or interctive hybrid awesomeness all the while refusing to engage criticism by insisting on some heroic notion of projects…then again, I’m merely talking pool hall talk, so you know…

    Regardless..Yawn…

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    Comment by Shahar Ozeri — 28 July 2009 @ 6:25 am

  17. Isn’t Doctor Z right, though, regardless of ulterior motives and internal theoretical contradictions? If you’re pursuing a project, aren’t you more likely to succeed if you surround yourself with others who are also working on projects? The university is organized on this premise, or at least the upper heroic tier populated by faculty and advanced grad students. Likewise, the corporate upper tiers, working on new product development, are organized as intertwining project teams. Artists tend to congregate disproportionately in particular cities and neighborhoods: presumably they inspire one another both by their works and by their creative sensibilities. Even the competition among scholars and brands and artists keeps the project people on track: com-petition = seeking together.

    I’ve personally found that I do my best concentrated creative work in isolation. The problem is, by the time I come forth from the cave with the finished artifact I find that my isolation persists — everybody else is hanging around together somewhere else, or perhaps they too remain withdrawn in hermetic isolation.

    In this particular recommendation Fisher/Harman aren’t talking about surrounding yourself with like-minded collaborators on your own project. The idea is that people working on their own projects are focused on creating, and that the creative attitude is mutually reinforcing even across radically different kinds of projects. So a philosophy dept. is embedded in a university containing a whole host of other departments populated at the upper strata by project people. Figuring out a way of creatively incorporating or responding to outside criticism is part of the creative task. Presumably it’s the fellow creators who are better able to help you decide that it’s okay to set this particular objection aside for the time being until the basic framework has been constructed. Of course this might prove to be a terrible mistake and you have to start over. People in creator mode tend to believe that building any single new artifact, no matter how defective, is better than never having built anything at all. The idea is recursive prototyping, rather than detailed design and critique in order to create the Perfect Object.

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    Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 7:24 am

    • Yes, that’s right.

      There’s something so high-school (not even grad school, Shahar) about the finger-pointing, name-calling, cliqueing and bullying that accompanies this essentially sound advice that it evokes the very worst social dynamics. Vampires? For crying out loud. Grow tf up. But yes, stripped of all that it really is just good advice about how stuff gets done.

      I myself very much fall into the Perfect Object trap, which is a form of internalized silencing by noxious judgment; part of why I blog is to try to break that habit, which means I’m following the famous ‘write more’ advice although at a formally low level. I love the idea of recursive prototyping (RERO – release early, release often) and appreciate the blogosphere’s low publication / reception thresholds as a sort of big laboratory for all that. In the end, this is what I find most understandable and odious about the Dr. Z / k-punk stalinist cabal. I can see how they’re protecting their own delicate creative processes, but they do so by meta-stomping others’ in a medium that is about open access and free exchange. Graham has remarked that he does not like this democracy of the web and so be it. But that’s the game; it would be better, I think, to understand its value rather than trying to seal it off.

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      Comment by Carl — 28 July 2009 @ 9:09 am

  18. SamC: ““…care only to generate arguments almost never generate objects.” An argument is not an object. It would not become an object until it is ‘taken up’ by at least two objects.

    Kvond: There seems to be a very strong human-centric sense that the only “objects” that count in making an argument an object are human beings, and the only “taking up” is a strongly rational defintion. First of all, if a relationship between parts makes ANY difference in the world it is an object. If I muse to myself an argument against Harman while I am riding on a train and I miss my stop, the argument has made a difference (to take a most obvious example). Graham Harman does not have to “take up” me argument for it to be an “object”.

    Second of all, arguments against positions (Socrates is full of them), can have HUGE historical effects, and they do not have to be idenitified with “projects” to do so. Projects seem to be a very particular kind of object, designed it seems to fit neatly into the academic mill of supposedly “important” thinking. I wrote a criticism of Harman’s thinking which sought to expose it as colonialist and orientalizing, as part of a long heritage of such. Harman never “took up” my argument. In fact he squirmed all about, and then very shortly after shut down his blog (did my “argument” have ANY effect upon his decision to shut down his blog?). And if indeed as Harman’s much repeated fantasy that his theories would be taught 200 years from now (it is humorous that he thinks like this) comes true. My little criticism might be unearthed two centuries in the future, and THEN give birth to a school of though that seeks to overthrow the heretofore unstoppable and dominant thought of Graham Harman.

    SamC: Therefore, initially at least, an argument is a one sided thing and therefore only an extension of, or perhaps an unattached projection, (generate is an unfortunate choice of word here) of only the originating object… in any case it does not at that stage appear to fit the definition of an ‘object’.

    Kvond: Those in favor of the so-called Object Oriented Philosophy actually 99% of the time talking about human beings, and human thoughts, and human objects (Harman very seldom actually talks about non-human objects with much detail). The instant an argument has come into being it has already had an effect on the world. If OOP thinkers would simply pay attention to their own ontology they would understand this.

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    Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 9:15 am

    • I rather tend to agree with you folks. It was just interesting to speculate on how an argument may be ‘made’ and yet not actually exist and my musings led me inexorably towards stuff like will-o’-the wisps and other ineffables.

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      Comment by sam carr — 29 July 2009 @ 6:59 am

      • The ineffables and other non-material objects have a place in speculative realism. In this sort of scheme Popeye and centaurs and will-o-the-wisps are just as real as you and I, even if material and non-material objects possess different kinds of real properties. Do I agree that they possess the same degree of reality? I’m not sure yet.

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        Comment by john doyle — 29 July 2009 @ 11:00 am

      • Agreed again; I’m not suggesting that flights of pure fancy are not accounted for not that they are any less objects, the point is how an argument, even a one sided one, and Kvond regardless of its ultimate effect or lack thereof, can be banished as inconsequential. Both the arguments, that these are somehow non-objects, and/or that they are somehow ‘bad’ objects do seem to be rather ridiculous.

        On the other hand, shutting off comments altogether, whatever be the reason for that action, is certainly a legitimate thing to do. In effect – you’re welcome to read, but not to fiddle, or simply a DO NOT DISTURB.

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        Comment by sam carr — 29 July 2009 @ 11:24 am

      • In that sense the pleasure comes from knowing that someone READS your posts, not from the fact that someone might want to engage you in thinking along – that’s probably as clear of a definition of narcissism as I can think of, and yet it is the same people who preach engagement and networking and surrounding yourself with people with projects – why? so you can compare your project at the boys room and see whose project is larger and better? I find this project-oriented management (I hope this description sticks, that’s my project) is a kind of “low class elitism” – coming from working class background, I can say that there’s nothing worse than another working class person trying to pretend that they are intellectual elite or something like that, dreaming of changing the world of philosophy by inventing a new “school” of thought and becoming its fearless leader – such utter bullshit, if you ask me…

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        Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 29 July 2009 @ 1:01 pm

      • “there’s nothing worse than another working class person trying to pretend that they are intellectual elite”

        Such a classist remark, Mikhail. You need to loosen your proletarian shackles and dare to dream!

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        Comment by john doyle — 29 July 2009 @ 6:37 pm

  19. Sure, it’s a solid advice, but as Swedenborg Harman himself often repeats, the way you give advice/criticism also matters…

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    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 28 July 2009 @ 9:47 am

    • Mikhail,

      You keep me chuckling with this.

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      Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 9:57 am

  20. Carl: ” In the end, this is what I find most understandable and odious about the Dr. Z / k-punk stalinist cabal. I can see how they’re protecting their own delicate creative processes, but they do so by meta-stomping others’ in a medium that is about open access and free exchange. Graham has remarked that he does not like this democracy of the web and so be it. But that’s the game; it would be better, I think, to understand its value rather than trying to seal it off.”

    Kvond: Of course what is hilarious about this whole “cabal” is that both these writers have turned their comments section off! That is, what the hell are they referring to? Are they talking about emails they can simply delete? Are they talking about comments made on other blogs they don’t have to read? Are they talking about conversations they have been seduced by Succubi into having, their Arthrian hearts unprotected against the undead? Who are they meta-stomping?

    Instead, in the very worst kind of internet discussion, the kind that typifies the basist kinds of thoughts about race or nationalism or religion, their comments likely are the result of a few negative personal encounters they have in mind which they have then projected into a whole swathe of humanity. Not unlike the guy who was mugged by a minority, suddenly there is an epidemic of “types” that you have to watch out for, not to mention a pseudo-theory to explain just where these types come from, and why they exist. With great humor K-punk and Harman (and Levi) display the same internet “logic” of complaint that typifies the kind of low, base thinking of the parts of the internet they most strongly want to distance themselves from.

    The idea that grad school, or faculty meetings are not like elementary school, is pretty silly too.

    On a stronger, more critical note, directed towards the original post, this is precisely what is missing from Harman’s theorizing about objects. There is NO explantory traction for what cause is, or what determines if one set of objects wins out over another set. In the absence of which Harman is forced to leave his theory altogether and project in the hearts of others deficiencies of an essential kind. Maybe he should read some more Nietzsche. If he only learned to talk like an Nietzschean with some deftness then at least his violation of his own ontology would become less notable. Who knows, maybe he’ll even learn to incorporate Nietzsche’s theory of value into his metaphysics, and produce something more interesting. He could even journey into the dark heart of Heidegger.

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    Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 9:54 am

  21. “a form of internalized silencing by noxious judgment”

    There is the risk of exposing the tender shoots and buds of one’s early growth to a pack of bloggers who are just as likely to stomp on them as to savor and compliment their bouquet (I already hear Dejan’s parody in my head as I write this sentence). Externally-generated noxious judgments have a way of working their way into your head. But silence too is debilitating — your idea recedes into the nonexistence of having made no difference in the world. Blogging is a good example of the pleasure-pain of Lacanian jouissance. Castrating the source of the pain by disabling comments: doesn’t this also cut off much of the pleasure as well? Plus, people denied the chance to engage you directly may well talk about you behind your back… Still, that’s how most published work engages the audience: remotely, vicariously.

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    Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 10:00 am

  22. John: “Castrating the source of the pain by disabling comments: doesn’t this also cut off much of the pleasure as well? Plus, people denied the chance to engage you directly may well talk about you behind your back…”

    Kvond: Interesting analogy. It gives one to think that if you “castrate” the public version of intercourse, the kind that people can see, you are free to invent the illusion and fantasy that you are have all kinds of perverse and violent intercourse behind the curtain. You can then complain vehemently about all the illicit attraction others have for you, behind the scenes, how you can’t seem to keep these undead, relentless types off of you. Instead, when the comments section is engaged people have a pretty clear idea of how interesting you are to other people and the nature of that interest.

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    Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 10:13 am

  23. “If I muse to myself an argument against Harman while I am riding on a train and I miss my stop, the argument has made a difference”

    Theoretical clarification: if the difference of your internal argument is assigned to the changed biochemical state of your neurons and synapses, then it’s a materialist object; if the argument’s difference is in your way of thinking, then it’s a realist object — yes? The flat ontology of Dr. Sinthome, combined with “difference that makes a difference” criterion for objecthood, suggests not a single reality but a million of ’em. E.g., if your argument makes no difference to Harman, then it doesn’t exist as an object in the Harmanocentric reality. In a more abstract philosophical reality, all the arguments that exist in philosophers’ minds are real. For the salt on a desert planet water isn’t real; in the more abstract scientific reality water and salt are real to one another regardless of specific encounters between them. If only the actual encounters count as real then we’re back in empiricism. I believe this sort of multiple-realities formulation to be a useful one. And of course we’ve now allowed this discussion to traject in unforeseen directions.

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    Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 10:21 am

    • Restate your descrption John unto Harman’s attempt say that analytic philosophers do not create “objects”:

      “While analytic philosophy takes pride in never suggesting more than it explicitly states, this procedure does no justice to a world where objects are always more than they literally state. Those who care only to generate arguments almost never generate objects. New objects, however, are the sole and sacred fruit of writers, thinkers, politicians, travellers, lovers, and inventors.”

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      Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 10:24 am

      • I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking, kvond. Do you mean that,whereas the Harmanocentric universe denies the reality of any argument, in his more abstract SR theory all arguments are real? That seems to be the case, doesn’t it, at least in this formulation.

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        Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 10:47 am

  24. John: “if your argument makes no difference to Harman, then it doesn’t exist as an object in the Harmanocentric reality.”

    Kvond: The butterfly beats its wings. My missing of the train can NEVER be said to not have an effect on Mr. Harman (or the life of his theories). This is another thing that is so troubling about Harman’s supposedly non-human centric theories. Because they stem from the VERY human centric positions of Husserl, they are incoherent on what they circumscribe what cause (and therefore objecthood) is.

    The target of my argument after all is not Harman, but his theory, so among the multiple difference that can are are being made, the difference made is not to be measured by an effect on Harman himself, but also upon his theory. Perhaps he dies and there is a posthumous effect on his thinking. Perhaps my missing my train has a disasterous effect upon the economy (butterfly effect), and his theory cannot be published in a new edition. The whole attempt to reduce objecthood to considered consciouness indeed exposes the very human-centered core of Harman’s thinking.

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    Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 10:44 am

    • Actors are events, and events are always fully deployed. They are the sum total of reality rather than an incidental surface-effect of the movement of dormant substrata. In this respect, there is only one world for Latour; all actants are here and nowhere else. But notice that this does not make him a holist: everything does not affect everything else. A character in Latour’s book Aramis demonstrates this point
      with brute physical force: ‘the violent blow he struck with his fist on his desk had no visible influence on the chapter of Aristotle’s Metaphysics that was filed under the letter A at the top of his bookshelf. ‘You see: not everything comes together, not everything is connected’ (AR, p. 152). A philosophy of networks does not require that the network be devoid of separate parts. If everything were already linked, translation would not be such a pressing issue for Latour. Harman, Prince of Networks, 47.

      This happens to be where I am in the book. It seems to be a key point of Harman’s disagreement with Latour. I think Levi is more sympathetic to this tack; he’s done much more with the idea of translation, afaics. Allure is not translation.

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      Comment by Carl — 28 July 2009 @ 11:00 am

  25. Kvond: “The is NO explanatory traction for what cause is…. In the absence of which Harman is forced to leave his theory altogether and project in the hearts of others deficiencies of an essential kind.”

    I haven’t read enough Harman to speak to this authoritatively, but I too have been struck by the ad hoc and, to be blunt, primitive analyses of social dynamics and ascriptions of motive from that side of this shadow conversation. Academics in general tend to be pretty far over on the autism spectrum but it’s still rare to see complete cluelessness packaged so confidently as wisdom and deployed so recklessly as policy. Even my cats still talk to me (and I to them) after I inexplicably am not excited by their gifts of dead voles, although the fact that I feed and pet them does skew the analogy somewhat.

    But this connects me to John’s point about disabling comments. Even without the ponderous lacanian machinery, this is just an elementary failure of anthropological reciprocity – it’s a gesture that says “my gifts are worth more than yours, I am worth more than you.” Which may be true, case by case, but as an interactive posture is more suited to building cults than communities.

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    Comment by Carl — 28 July 2009 @ 10:48 am

  26. Regarding the butterfly-wing effect: let’s grant the almost self-verifying assertion that any change in even the minutest part of the universe changes the universe as a whole. Do you further assert, kvond, that a minute change in butterfly-wing action in my garden also minutely and distinctly changes me and you and the swirling gases of Jupiter? Just clarifying, not snarking in the slightest.

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    Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 11:00 am

    • This is also Carl’s point vis-a-vis the Harman-Latour debates, which I saw after writing my comment.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 28 July 2009 @ 11:05 am

  27. Carl: “But this connects me to John’s point about disabling comments. Even without the ponderous lacanian machinery, this is just an elementary failure of anthropological reciprocity – it’s a gesture that says “my gifts are worth more than yours, I am worth more than you.” Which may be true, case by case, but as an interactive posture is more suited to building cults than communities.”

    Kvond: As I have pointed out elsewhere, this is also expressed theoretically (and I might as well say, incoherntly, and inexplicably) in Graham’s fantasy image of a one-way causation, in which objects can efficiently effect other objects (like mosquitos being hit by Mack trucks), without there being any reciprocal effect. He seems to have fantasized that his own theories are simply one-way effects upon readers, upon which there is optimally, not reciprocal inter- (or need we say, intra-) action.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  28. John: “Regarding the butterfly-wing effect: let’s grant the almost self-verifying assertion that any change in even the minutest part of the universe changes the universe as a whole. Do you further assert, kvond, that a minute change in butterfly-wing action in my garden also minutely and distinctly changes me and you and the swirling gases of Jupiter?

    Kvond: What I am saying is that Harman seems to feel that an argument against a position is not an object unless the author of the position is somehow consciously engaged by argument. But even more than this. The argument itself isn’t even an object THEN. By its very nature it is not an object at all, but simply a destructive, jealous force of some kind. At least that is what he seems to want to say.

    What I am saying about the butterfly effect need not have reference to the universe as a whole at all. It need only refer to actual differences made in the world. IF one is to qualify that an anti-argument is an object ONLY if it has an effect upon either the author of a position, or the position itself (already a huge detachment from object orientation), what I am saying is that there is NO way to, by the very prescrptions of what Harman takes anti-arguments to be, a priori rule out any such causal effect, either upon the life of the position attacked, or the author of that position.

    Wittgenstein’s arguments against Russell did not have to be able to change the gases on Jupiter to be able to achieve object status. And students of Wittgenstein, thinking along with him in class, against Russell et al, did not even have to write published papers in order to have had an effect either upon Russel or his position.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 28 July 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  29. I realized I did not state myself very clearly on the butterfly effect.

    John: “Do you further assert, kvond, that a minute change in butterfly-wing action in my garden also minutely and distinctly changes me and you and the swirling gases of Jupiter?”

    Kvond: What is important is to see that it CAN have such an effect, logically, given enough time and occasion. Wittgenstein’s arguments for instance, may very well have an effect on the swirling gases of Jupiter.

    1. A Wittgensteinian revival in the philosophy departments of Saudi Arabia in the year 2030.

    2. With these a tangential and renewed interest in (Wittgenstein’s friend) Piero Sraffa’s criticism of Neo-Classicism economics among Saudi economists (post Revolution).

    3. Changes in economic policy and the need for National prestige lead to the building of a Saudi probe of Jupiter in 2070.

    4. The probe passes through the atmosphere, affecting the gases of Jupiter.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 29 July 2009 @ 4:57 am

  30. I want to interact with these ideas further, kvond, but other duties call right now. Later…

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 29 July 2009 @ 11:00 am

    • “it CAN have such an effect, logically, given enough time and occasion.”

      Science attempts to demonstrate which kinds of effects are possible. An experiment can demonstrate that substance A will dissolve in substance B but remain unaffected by substance C. Even if this particular sample of A has never encountered C and is extremely unlikely ever to encounter it in the future, the dissolving-interaction is logically possible. From a scientific perspective, rare substances and unlikely interactions are no less real than common substances and frequent interactions. Your move of pushing out the space-time horizons for rendering rare interactions more likely is one way of demonstrating logical possibility in the absence of empirical likelihood. In old-school empiricism it’s only the actually-occurring phenomena that count as real. But empirical science is all about staging phenomena in order to demonstrate generally what’s possible and what isn’t.

      “The probe passes through the atmosphere, affecting the gases of Jupiter.”

      This logical possibility is true but not particularly interesting. Instead of containing a Wittgenstein argument, the probe could contain the lyrics to “Leader of the Pack” or a photograph of my cat or a pack of Marlboros and the effect on Jupiter’s atmosphere would be the same. Exploring specific qualities and interactions in more detail is more interesting.

      What I find difficult to understand in Harman’s account of interactions is why the gases of Jupiter respond to the physicality of a probe but not intellectually to the contents of that probe. If the properties of objects that engage in interaction with each other aren’t the real properties of these objects, yet the nature of the specific quality of the interaction can be predicted, what does that mean? I would think that the predictability points to a connection between the objects’ interactive properties and their real properties. Alternatively you’d have to claim something like this: an interaction is a kind of object in its own right that manifests itself in particular ways when it encounters certain kinds of other objects. E.g. from the prior example, “dissolving” is an object in its own right that manifests its interactive properties whenever substances A and C come into contact with each other. But the real essence of “dissolving” — what it’s like when not associated with soluble substances — can never be known. This sort of thinking is extremely alien to me and seem quite medieval or even pre-classical in tone.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 4:04 am

  31. SamC: “On the other hand, shutting off comments altogether, whatever be the reason for that action, is certainly a legitimate thing to do. In effect – you’re welcome to read, but not to fiddle, or simply a DO NOT DISTURB.”

    Kvond: Legitimacy is an interesting word. I don’t think anyone is saying it is illegitimate in the broadest sense of “rights” to shut off the comments section of an otherwise taken-to-be space of discussion. The question is, Is it symptomatic? Not in the notion of disease, but simply of intention. If one broadcasts the idea that criticism is invited, and that your work is the product of the response to criticism, shutting off the public awareness of the kinds of questions that get pushed your way becomes something of a Whitehouse press conference, wherein, ideologically, one is simply answering questions one already knows is being asked, that you have prepared for, and then seem to spontaneously call upon, as if in the “theater” of dialogue, or questioning. The gaping holes left in Harman’s theory (causation, bad or non-existent objects, etc) by such a process of exclusive dialogue seem to speak for themselves.

    Remember not too long ago when I pressed fellow vampire-killer Levi on some incoherency in his reading, in his comments section, and he simply deleted the series of my questions. It was rather humorous when the next day he ran up a post referring back to how postive his engagement with all the questions he had received the day before, of course giving the IMPRESSION that he had fielded all questions, and that the resulting position was some kind of great synthesis of dialogics. Of course Levi did not have to respond at all to any of my questions (he could simply have ignored them), but deleting them is a different kind of act, a reconfiguring of one’s own intellectual image. Levi has not gone whole-hog and cut off the comments section, probably in part because he enjoys giving the impression that he is responding to the full spectrum of criticisms of his bricolage, and in part because in the small circle of a sculpted readership he gains stimulation from the safer kind of objection, the one that leads into one of those marvelously explicative and professorial mini-courses on what Lacan thinks, or what the “Fallacy of…” means ( a genuine skill). But the deletion of questions, and the cutting off of comments altogether seem to be part of the self-same desire to simply PROJECT yourself into the universe.

    Again, quite legitimate, but best seen as what it is.

    Mikhail, I like your reading of the synthesis of working-class work ethic, and the fantasy of starting your own School of philosophical thought meant to last centuries. Who thinks like this?

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 29 July 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  32. Kvond, he did the same to me recently <a href="http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/flat-ontology/#comments"here when I started asking some simple logical questions, I bet he didn’t like his own answers which were kind of stupid, to be honest, some stuff about how potential becomes real as soon as he thinks about it – actually a rather common feature of Mr. Bryant, that is, he usually trips all over himself trying to express his complex thoughts in a couple of sentences, it’s easier for him to write a thousand posts than a sentence or two, clearly a sign of writing-to-fill-the-deep-hole-inside approach to philosophy. But hey, it’s the same gang that posts private emails and publicly humiliates graduate students who didn’t get the memo “Kiss ass or be banned” – what can you expect?

    Like

    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 29 July 2009 @ 3:15 pm

    • Mikhail, I don’t want to be unkind – though the Larvus recently and generously referred to me as someone who did not have the wherewithall (is that the term he used) to hold a Community College job, something I perversely take as a compliment – but I suspect this inability to answer questions succinctly and stumble all over himself when in dialogue comes from being very unclear about things himself. Under such questions, as is recommended to those caught in a rip-tide, he tries to swim parallel to the shore, and find himself a space between the rocks, back to well-trodden definitional land, when he can simply expound, explicate, at great length.

      Hey, we all have our own styles of “thinking”. What is uninteresting is this tendency simply to admit that you don’t know the answer to things, to better, to even be EXCITED by the fact you don’t know the answer to things. When he deletes questions and his own answers, its all pretty silly.

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 29 July 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  33. At some point I’d think that you guys would just stop commenting at Larval Subjects. When you offer a comment on what’s been written, there’s no call for the writer of the post to respond: you’ve just put in your two cents’ worth on the topic at hand. If the writer offers no comment on your comment, you can assume that his thinking isn’t going in that particular direction. You can push the issue of course, or you can feel sad/angry that the writer didn’t see what you were showing him. But at least you’ve registered your idea in the public forum, and perhaps others who don’t comment have benefited.

    When, on the other hand, you direct questions specifically to the person who wrote the post, aren’t you putting the post-writer in the position of expertise as someone who’s expected to know the answers? Or is it more like putting the suspect “in the box” in a police procedural? The writer can reply, but then you pose a follow-up question implying that the initial response was inadequate, that your question hasn’t really been answered. At some point the persistence of Q&A starts looking more like a challenge to expertise, even a kind of third degree in which the questioner seems almost to be trying to trip up the “suspect.” Eventually it becomes clear that the questioner is claiming to be the one with the expertise and the answers. When the post-writer gets angry, the questioner’s authority is validated. When, on the other hand, the post-writer just stops responding or says that further questioning along these lines isn’t worth the effort, then the original teacher-student hierarchy is restored and the student feels slapped down.

    So how about this — an unsolicited tip of sorts, or perhaps an experimental intervention, for managing your side of the Sinthome engagement: comment, don’t question. It’s more likely to keep the egos at bay, letting the intellectual arguments dominate the interpersonal antagonisms. And then, if Sinthome repeatedly doesn’t interact with your comments, you can either decide you’re happy providing an unacknowledged public service to the other readers or you can just drift off from commenting and read in silence.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 3:11 am

  34. John: “At some point I’d think that you guys would just stop commenting at Larval Subjects. When you offer a comment on what’s been written, there’s no call for the writer of the post to respond: you’ve just put in your two cents’ worth on the topic at hand. If the writer offers no comment on your comment, you can assume that his thinking isn’t going in that particular direction. You can push the issue of course, or you can feel sad/angry that the writer didn’t see what you were showing him. But at least you’ve registered your idea in the public forum, and perhaps others who don’t comment have benefited.”

    Kvond: I wish I knew what you were talking about. If we are not to talk about Larval Subjects, why are you to talk about Graham Harman? As I mentioned rather explicitly, the subject matter had turned to the removal of the comments section altogether (K-punk, Harman), and I pointe out that Levi’s tendency to actually delete not only questions asked, but also the back and forth of questions asked and attempted to be answered was very much in the same vein. Larvus himself has invited this comparison with his alignment of “hatred” towards the said Grey Vampires, and his own invented “Minotaur” (conjured up to describe Mikhail types). Many times INDEED I have told Larvus he had no responsibility to answer my questions, and if he found them unmindful to just ignore them, but Larvus is of the way that he cannot let it appear that he does not know the answer to something.

    John: “When, on the other hand, you direct questions specifically to the person who wrote the post, aren’t you putting the post-writer in the position of expertise as someone who’s expected to know the answers? Or is it more like putting the suspect “in the box” in a police procedural? The writer can reply, but then you pose a follow-up question implying that the initial response was inadequate, that your question hasn’t really been answered. At some point the persistence of Q&A starts looking more like a challenge to expertise, even a kind of third degree in which the questioner seems almost to be trying to trip up the “suspect.” Eventually it becomes clear that the questioner is claiming to be the one with the expertise and the answers.

    Kvond: I never seem to have this problem on my blog. Very seldom does a line of questions go in a direction that is unproductive for me. I simply tell the person its not worth it to pursue it further, and thank them very much. The problem is if you imagine, or like to pretend that there is authority to your opinion. It is then, when proclaiming definitive “truths” (talking about fallacies is the kind of talk that invites crtique, if you know what a “fallacy” is and are not just being metaphorical) as Larvus is tend to do, that objects are due.

    John: “When the post-writer gets angry, the questioner’s authority is validated. When, on the other hand, the post-writer just stops responding or says that further questioning along these lines isn’t worth the effort, then the original teacher-student hierarchy is restored and the student feels slapped down.

    Kvond: Nice diagnosis doctor. Unfortunately some of us just like discussing questions raised and trying to find some common ground of agreement.

    John: “So how about this — an unsolicited tip of sorts, or perhaps an experimental intervention, for managing your side of the Sinthome engagement: comment, don’t question.”

    Kvond: If this is unsolited tip is directed to me, youi are tipping on situations you don’t follow closely. I actually am banned from commenting on his blog. My own solution is “don’t read” as I got the hang of his oft repeated summations and they became less interesting. I very seldom read Larvus, and I don’t read Harman’s blog either. When people are not interested in questions, their thought becomes droll.

    John: “And then, if Sinthome repeatedly doesn’t interact with your comments, you can either decide you’re happy providing an unacknowledged public service to the other readers or you can just drift off from commenting and read in silence.”

    Kvond: Again, you seem unfamiliar with the procedure (Mikhail and I even described it above). It isn’t that Larvus doesn’t respond you questions. It’s that he either responds with deletion, or responds in an incoherent often lecturing style, or BOTH. It seems perfectly legitimate (I love that recent word) to discuss the deletion of questions under a blog post that centers itself on the “objecthood” of anti-arguments, and Harman’s desire to seal himself off from either bad objects or unreal objects. Larvus has distinctly and without question aligned himself with Harman on the issue of “undead” or monstrous types, and his deletion procedures on his blog mirror rather closely this very same desire to erase objects from their objecthood. In my own case (and it seems that Mikhail had similiar experience), that the deletion of our discussion ended up with Larvus the very next day posting on how much he enjoyed the previous day’s questions is MORE than humorous. It is indeed ideological.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 8:46 am

    • “If we are we not to talk about Larval Subjects…”

      But we are talking about him. I was offering an alternative tactic for talking TO him as part of the discussion ABOUT him. His hitting the delete button surely reflects some sort of anger and frustration on his part rather than just intellectual disagreement. Is it possible to ameliorate the affect a bit for the sake of the conversation? Then maybe you can pose your arguments without getting into an argument. By the way, I wouldn’t say that the tactic I’ve proposed has worked very well for me on Larval Subjects. Most of my comments-without-questions receive no reply from Sinthome, I do wonder whether and why I’m being ignored, as if I have no reality in the Sinthomocentric universe. The lack of engagement fuels both my resentment and my insecurity as being unworthy of engaging in serious philosophical conversations, etc.

      “Larvus is of the way that he cannot let it appear that he does not know the answer to something.”

      That’s the impression I get too — see comment 35, which I was writing while you were writing #34. It doesn’t look like your interventions on Larval Subjects have made the going any easier, nor has he asked for your advice about how to make his discussions work more like those on frames/sing. I was offering options about alternatives to try to see if they might yield more satisfying interactions and results. I didn’t realize that you’d actually been banned from Larval Subjects, so clearly the alternative I’m suggesting isn’t useful to you. Maybe others can learn from your experiences and the solution at which you’ve arrived, both in recognizing Sinthome’s faults/weaknesses themselves and in deciding how they’ll respond.

      “Nice diagnosis doctor.”

      My immediate reaction to this remark? What an asshole. Why respond with overt sarcasm when I’m engaging in good faith and with some hope for change? Do I have to agree with everything you say and disagree entirely with Sinthome in order to please you? Of course then you can say that you had no sarcastic intention at all, that I’m just projecting, why so touchy, etc. And then I either decide to fight back or to laugh it off. Either way a bit of resistance has been attached to the conversational circuitry.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 9:29 am

  35. On the other hand, if I were proposing an experiment to Dr. Sinthome, I might suggest that he try playing the role of TV analyst, bouncing the question back to the questioner. “Good question, Mikhail/kvond: so what do you think about that?” The questioner’s intellectual acumen gets reaffirmed, and Sinthome extracts himself from the alternatingly aggressive and defensive posture of having to be the One Who Knows. After the questioner answers his own question, Sinthome asks a follow-up question. He might even ask for advice about how to incorporate his interlocutor’s insight into his own framework.

    I’m thinking of one blogger in particular who takes this tack, and sometimes I feel frustrated about not knowing where he stands. But he’s prepared to acknowledge that he doesn’t know all the ins and outs of his own position, that others know more than he does about certain topics, and that he might be able to learn something from them. Levi recently acknowledged that his book is overly scholarly because he felt like he had to demonstrate his academic cred. I think he does that in spades every day on his blog — no need for insecurity there. Relax; you’re a smart and knowledgeable guy: extend others the same generosity of judgment and let them run with the ball for awhile. It’s still your blog, and you get to decide which insights to incorporate into your own project and which to reject.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 8:56 am

  36. John: “This logical possibility is true but not particularly interesting. Instead of containing a Wittgenstein argument, the probe could contain the lyrics to “Leader of the Pack” or a photograph of my cat or a pack of Marlboros and the effect on Jupiter’s atmosphere would be the same. Exploring specific qualities and interactions in more detail is more interesting.”

    Kvond: Hmmmm. I seemed to have made the faux pas of raising a point that is interesting to me, but not to you. I find this odd because it was you who raised the spectre of the gases of Jupiter, which presumably was raised due to their very great distance. As to the part that I find interesting, Wittgenstein’s arguments against Russell do not have to be “taken up” by Russell in order to be objects in the world.

    John: “What I find difficult to understand in Harman’s account of interactions is why the gases of Jupiter respond to the physicality of a probe but not intellectually to the contents of that probe. If the properties of objects that engage in interaction with each other aren’t the real properties of these objects, yet the nature of the specific quality of the interaction can be predicted, what does that mean?”

    Kvond: I suspect the reason for this abyss is that Harman has simply projected Husserlian Idealism into the heart of Heideggerian Being objects, and then reprojected this human-centric vision out there into the world. In so doing, actually DOUBLED the problems of Dualism, rather than resolving them. Part of this is because his theory of causation has nothing to do with describing objects in the world (non-human ones) at all. Instead it is just one great fantasy attempt to think about human beings and human experiences in a different way. As such, it is, as he say, an “experiment” but it isn’t really a theory because it falls apart at the joints at a very fundamental level. It something like a science fiction novel, and asking questions like, “Well, how does the warp drive in the Enterprise work?” kinda defeats the whole fun of it. Unfortunately, although this works well for Science fiction, its pretty bad for philosophy which seeks the maximim traction of explanation and coherence.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 8:58 am

    • “I seemed to have made the faux pas of raising a point that is interesting to me, but not to you.”

      Not a faux pas. I find it uninteresting because it seems nearly tautological: in an eternal self-contained universe everything will eventually affect everything else, everything will repeat itself endlessly, and so on. The universe isn’t eternal though, so it’s necessary to speak of possibility rather than inevitability. The physical impact of a probe containing a copy of Wittgenstein’s argument reduces that argument to part of a material object: while this is valid it doesn’t do much justice to the argument as an intellectual object. I’m not asserting that its intellectuality is superior to its materiality — I’m saying that its difference from other kinds of things, the difference in the kinds of interactions it affords, is its intellectuality. The physicality of the argument’s effects on neurons or probes or alien atmospheres is real to be sure, but is the intellectual affordance of an argument to be reduced to its materiality in this way, as if it were analogous to a billiard ball?

      I think this issue is related to your concerns about Harman’s theory of causation: particular kinds of forces have particular effects on particular kinds of objects. Otherwise we’re back in Hume’s world, where the collision between two billiard balls might just as well result in the two balls suddenly breaking into a two-part harmonious rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

      Anyhow, I agree that Wittgenstein’s argument doesn’t have to be taken up by anyone in particular for it to be real. After the extinction of all sentient beings from the universe, the argument’s intellectuality disappears while its materiality remains. And if all the physical copies of the argument disintegrate, then only the molecules of the argument persist as difference-makers.

      If an argument never reaches someone in particular, either intellectually or materially, would it be fair to say that it isn’t real to that person? I.e., without denying the objective reality of everything to everything else, is it possible also to speak of local realities? Certainly the social constructionists make this move within The Correlation. Even without invoking consciousness as the basis of reality, and without denying possibilities of interactions that are never realized, it is the case that a particular argument interacts with only some subset of material objects, including thinkers, their brains, and their written outputs. Can we describe a microreality surrounding Wittgenstein’s argument comprising something like all the actual interactions it has had with things, without having to say that the argument is consciously aware of these interactions? (Guess what: I’m leaning in this direction.)

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 11:06 am

  37. John: “The questioner’s intellectual acumen gets reaffirmed, and Sinthome extracts himself from the alternatingly aggressive and defensive posture of having to be the One Who Knows.”

    Kvond: Doctor, you have not being paying attention, this “posture” no matter how excruciating and contorting it is, is the very desire of the Larval Subject. Like watching a Texus business man vacationing in the Bahammas who has taken his very first yoga class because the girls are so hot, his attempts to hold onto this posture are actually painful to watch.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 9:04 am

    • “Doctor, you have not being paying attention”

      I acknowledge that I’ve not paid full attention to your problem, kvond. Perhaps we can discuss my fees and schedule an appointment…? Is it also your desire to piss him off, to be the cause of his desire, to put yourself in the position of getting castrated from his blog? By the way, did you catch tVoPR’s diagnosis at the bottom of the Sneerage post?

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 9:36 am

  38. John: “My immediate reaction to this remark? What an asshole. Why respond with overt sarcasm when I’m engaging in good faith and with some hope for change? Do I have to agree with everything you say and disagree entirely with Sinthome in order to please you?”

    Kvond: Actually, I miss read your first comment above: “At some point I’d think that you guys would just stop commenting at Larval Subjects.” I read this as advice to stop commenting ON Larval Subjects on YOUR blog, not his blog.

    Be that as it may, at least from my point view, all this advice on how we (I) should talk to him was pretty ludicrous, as you do not seem to be aware that I don’t comment on his blog, and that have been banned from it for some time. As to your diagnosis, I was certainly sarcastic, as you do have a tendency (once in a while) to get a bit “above the fray (and therefore above the participants)” and doctorly. Your rendition of how questioners actually work to produce the result of an angry professorial type struck me as just this kind of thing. This, combined with the fact that you do not seem to be aware of (or at least describing) the deletion dynamics that Mikhail and I were discussing was a little off-putting. What can I say. When you offer advice on something you seem less than familiar with, those receiving the advice may feel a little bit patronized.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 9:45 am

    • Very possible. So in what way is it possible to offer a suggestion that doesn’t seem patronizing? Would others reading this exchange regard me as positioning myself as your Patron? Part of my interest is doctorly to be sure — the kinds of issues that come up here are issues that come up in practice. Sinthome recently speculated about what his analyst’s response might have been had he described some of his blog interactions to him. My positioning myself as an advice-giver puts me in league, implicitly, with Dr. Zamalek. Surely I wish he’d stick to philosophy and leave psychologizing to the experts. Generally I’d say that I’ve never been particularly successful in offering advice, or in benefiting from others’. The whole coaching style of Harman’s does seem patronizing and condescending. Hell, I’m older than he is, I’ve written three books, MY doctorate is in psychology…

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 9:59 am

  39. John: “I acknowledge that I’ve not paid full attention to your problem, kvond. Perhaps we can discuss my fees and schedule an appointment…? Is it also your desire to piss him off, to be the cause of his desire, to put yourself in the position of getting castrated from his blog? By the way, did you catch tVoPR’s diagnosis at the bottom of the Sneerage post?”

    Kvond: I look forward to hearing your fees. No doubt when you get paid, you pay closer attention. I responded to VoRP’s diagnosis (if he posted another one, I can’t say its worth chasing down). I have no idea why you guys are so sensitive around Larvus. Mikhail and I were talking about Larval Subject’s own tendencies for deletion WITHIN the subject matter of the post, which is about the objecthood of anti-arguments. Everything said about Larvus is directed towards the subject of the post, which is what I find REALLY interesting. Larval Subjects isn’t that intersting a person to me, and his thoughts proved less so, what can I say.

    As to my banning, again something you seem to have very little awareness or knowledge of. It was not a contentious banning. I suggested to Larvus that he and I as thinkers simply do not mix well, and that if I were his friend I would most certainl advise him to distance himself from my questions as they seem to upset him. My own advice was to simply not respond to my questions, but he can’t seem to handle that. The guy gets emotional. So when he asked me not to comment, a happily agreed. As to wanting to be amiably banned, its not a ver interesting question. I find the guy to be a bit of a hypocrite, and in my book hypocrites should be tested and exposed. If this leads to my “castration” (sigh…I just love how psychologists make the world so colorful), no deal. If it leads to them becoming less hypocritical, all the better. For instance this was very much the subject of my post on Levi’s hatred of hatred. In short, you and Parody seem to find Larvus much more interesting than I do.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 9:58 am

    • “No doubt when you get paid, you pay closer attention.”

      So we’re joking now, right, kvond, like we’re having a beer together at the neighborhood bar? I mean, you’re not really being that big of an asshole, are you? I just went back to where you said you’d been banned from commenting at LS prior to my issuance of tips, and I still can’t find it. And I don’t believe Mikhail has been banned, has he — he too was addressed in my tips comment. Then you say you weren’t banned; rather, that you suggested to Levi that you no longer comment there and he agreed. Why say that you were banned if you weren’t, or am I still not paying close enough attention? If the information comes out incrementally, I can’t be held accountable for ignoring or misreading that which had not yet been written.

      “if he posted another one, I can’t say its worth chasing down”

      Hmmm.

      I have to acknowledge that anything I know about Lacanian analysis I learned first from Sinthome and Parodycenter. I thought in light of the subject under discussion a bit of cheap analytical sloganeering wasn’t out of line.

      “Larval Subjects isn’t that intersting a person to me, and his thoughts proved less so, what can I say.”

      You do seem to keep bringing Sinthome and LS into the discussion, kvond. When you (unconsciously) misread my remark as saying that we ought not to comment ABOUT Larval Subjects, you got all hot and bothered.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 10:17 am

  40. You’ve written three books. I think that is pretty cool.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 10:02 am

    • Thanks kvond. Only one of them would I have angsted over its publication, and I keep trying unsuccessfully to fix it. The other two (the novels) I like just as well now as when I’d just finished the final edits. Contrary to Harman’s experience, I now find it much harder to write a book now than I did then. He’s on a roll now, but there’s no telling how long the luck will last.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 10:21 am

  41. John: “You do seem to keep bringing Sinthome and LS into the discussion, kvond. When you (unconsciously) misread my remark as saying that we ought not to comment ABOUT Larval Subjects, you got all hot and bothered.”

    Kvond: Again, re-read the context into which I brought him up, and the context within which Mikhail commented. Read it. Its not about Levi, per se, but the very attempt to control (objects) through their repression or erasure. That Levi links himself to Harman and K-punk is his own doing. When the subject is brought up and discussed, invariably so is his variation of hatreds.

    As to my Unconscious, forgive me if I leave it in more capable hands than yours and Parody Center’s.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 10:45 am

    • Ooh. Touchy, are you? Incapable, am I? Is this what you regard as the direction to take a mutually beneficial conversation?

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 11:10 am

    • Please, please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who.

      I liked the advice about making comments rather than asking questions, because it neatly (and appropriately, I think) reverses the common couples-therapy wisdom. There’s a whole universe of interactive subtleties about question-asking, starting perhaps with the hilarious classroom conundrum that the best way to make sure there won’t be any questions is to ask if there are any. Picking up John’s point, the contrast between the kinds of questions asked by experts as rhetorical tools and those asked by the ignorant seeking enlightenment goes back to Socrates (debate continues about which kind his were) and continues in the practice of smart lawyers today, who never ask a question without already knowing its answer. These questions entrain power dynamics, as John says, and some people, especially class outsiders seeking or uncomfortably occupying new positions of status as Mikhail says, are exquisitely sensitive canaries of power dynamics.

      I very much admire the conversational dynamics here and at Kvond’s place, where little of the posturing that marks some other sites occurs. I like conversations that are about what they’re about. I’ve noticed on my blog and in my life that my inclination to make declarative statements as invitations to reply and discuss does not always yield fruit; a question sometimes shakes loose a better response rate. This is particularly visible on the more self-consciously womanist sites I visit, where feelings are more carefully nurtured and every comment is prefaced by a careful mitigating phrase like ‘in my limited experience’ or ‘I think you’re completely right but’.

      Like

      Comment by Carl — 30 July 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  42. Carl, I like all your words.

    John, if you think that you (and Parody Center) are “capable hands” I should place my Unconscious in this makes an interesting presumption.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 2:34 pm

    • Various interesting presumptions are in play here, kvond. Yesterday I took someone to the airport and made a lame joke about how the airport security system detects insecurity in the passengers. In my response to your remark the security alarm went off, detecting my insecurity about my own capability as psychologist. Were I more secure, or less concerned about demonstrating my capability, I might have questioned your presumption that you are capable of consciously deciding whose hands will lay hold of your unconscious. This has been a theme of our conversation: are Zamalek and Sinthome self-aware about apparent self-contradictions between their theory and their practice, or are others able to see things about them that remain hidden even from themselves? To confront someone with your interpretation of his unconscious motivations is almost sure to generate resistance and irritation as the initial response. And of course the interpretation might actually be mistaken.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 3:54 pm

  43. “I like conversations that are about what they’re about.”

    There has been a significant amount of reflexivity on display here, hasn’t there Carl? I wouldn’t put it past me to stage a re-enactment of the situation under discussion, to see how it plays out (I’m not saying that I did it, mind you — at least not consciously). If either kvond or I had been the analyst and the other the analysand, then we’d have successfully pulled the psychodynamic conflict into the session itself. Of course whichever of us was playing the analyst would have had to exercise more restraint counter-transference-wise. Instead we find ourselves in mediation therapy under Carl’s capable hands.

    Self-reflection: Carl, I’d say you accurately detected an escalation of my bad feelings for kvond. I experienced something similar to what Sinthome has mentioned: the interaction has stuck with me; I’ve rolled it around in my head; other thoughts seem to have been pushed aside while I obsessed on this one. Do I feel like the affect-laden attention to this dispute is productive for me? I’d say that it is: not just for my own self-analysis, but also for the topic under discussion in the post. Was I tempted to start deleting? No, at least not yet. Do I feel myself to be in the right? Of course. Can I recognize that the fault is partly my own? Reluctantly, yes. Do I think that the escalation was an interactive one? Mos def.

    Okay kvond, nice job demonstrating the dynamics. Let’s go grab us some beers and play some pool.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 2:50 pm

  44. I’m largely washing my hands off here, I think there’s something strange about blog-interactions, but I’d say if it furthers one’s thinking, then whatever works is fine (barring such unethical techniques as publishing private communications or erasing parts of the comment threads to present your views in a better light and maybe also attacking students by name knowing that it can permanently ruin their careers) – what strikes me about Levi is that he clearly writes for writing’s sake most of the time and probably suffers from a certain graphomania (he clearly derives pleasure from seeing his own words on paper, but who does not?), but he also likes to play victim once someone is too harsh on him, instead of, as was suggested, moderating or ignoring comments. He’s basically like America in that he likes to be king of his domain and yet when someone hits back, he’s all “Why do they hate me? I just don’t understand it?” and then emotional outburst followed by a military action with little or no purpose…

    Like

    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 30 July 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  45. M.E.: “He’s basically like America in that he likes to be king of his domain and yet when someone hits back, he’s all “Why do they hate me? I just don’t understand it?” and then emotional outburst followed by a military action with little or no purpose…”

    Kvond: This is an significant perception. I’m not sure of what, but tantalizing.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  46. Returning to the original subject, Dr. Z links to Dr. S’s post on memes with the following postscript:
    “Note to Levi: trolls and grey vampires aren’t refuted, they’re simply abandoned.” He just won’t let it go, will he?

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 5:51 pm

    • Let’s say he’s right – is that what he thinks abandoning looks like?

      Like

      Comment by Carl — 30 July 2009 @ 7:34 pm

      • I suppose he has a point, you can’t argue with those who are not interested in arguing and are simply nitpicking, but the language of abandonment is creepy to say the least – you can’t abandon that which does not belong to you. As for letting go, these folks need enemies to justify their bellicose speculation about the worlds none of us can see or understand. As the old Prussian used to say, “speculations weaken the moral feeling” – dreamers dream, don’t disturb them – no one likes being awakened with a sudden blunt thump of common sense and logic…

        Like

        Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 30 July 2009 @ 8:38 pm

  47. Honestly, it seems that Levi has the PERFECT mentor.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 30 July 2009 @ 8:44 pm

    • Until that is of course that time when they get into a special heated debate that will result in a gigantically pissy fight and eventual hostility without forgiveness – Bryant will write a letter to Harman who will be on his deathbed, but the latter would reject the former’s gesture of reconciliation and die unforgiving, Bryant will then describe in his autobiography how despicable Harman’s behavior was yet how much he still loved him but could never tell…

      Like

      Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 30 July 2009 @ 9:13 pm

      • I do love melodrama, Mikhail.

        Like

        Comment by john doyle — 30 July 2009 @ 9:17 pm

      • Doesn’t it totally smell of possible and soon to come melodrama? I mean the two talk about “meeting” each other online like they were lovers at first sight, and now half of Harman’s posts a day are links to Bryant’s posts that link back with a coy “you’re too kind” – “no, you are too kind” – “no, you are”… It is simply bound to end in tears, as my mother used to say when I got too excited about something – I put my money on it, both seem like drama-queens (although Harman’s more dangerous since he clearly has a sort of “I will crush you if you cross me” approach to human relationships) – we’ll see, we’ll see.

        Like

        Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 30 July 2009 @ 10:12 pm

      • Lured over to OOP by a no-doubt misplaced desire to be fair, I see a recent disquisition on why he does not like dedications and acknowledgments at the front of books. It boils down to either they’re boring or they’re intimidating. A third option, that they are interesting and perhaps important traces of the author’s influences and conditions of production, is not entertained.

        Harman virtuously champions an exclusive ethic of hospitality to readers. “With a book there is only one relationship that counts: that between author and reader,” because readers could read something else instead.

        In the context of our discussion I’d just like to point out how narrow and defensive this sense of relationship and responsibility is, not to mention the fetishization of the text. I do not question that Harman himself is (with readers like him) either bored or intimidated by the extensive networks of material, intellectual and affective support that make finished projects like books possible. His assumption that all readers stand ready to judge and dismiss with quick ennui or status aversion is revealing. I myself do not always care to explore a text’s context, subtext and intertext to that degree, but if I don’t I just flip those pages.

        Like

        Comment by Carl — 31 July 2009 @ 11:45 am

  48. Carl,

    That is a beautiful observation. It is difficult to see books, texts, made into such nakedly unappealing things, instead of the rich encounters of near infinite variety. And dedications, boring or intimidating? Not revealing, human?

    I will say that I do find it interesting that Harman treats this “one” relationship as inviolable, because for some reason after many attempt to engage his writing I actually have experienced a certain sense of betrayal. There is something tantalizing about the subject matter he employs (perhaps he wants to call it the “allure” of his theory), but the time I invested always was paid back with terrible insubstantiality to his arguments, either flippant turns towards metaphor, or the brushing off of very significant questions. When I read his essay on causation I felt “You made me read a whole essay on causation, and you didn’t provide an actual theory of causation at all?” Or, when I read his Prince of Networks, I was like, “You just made me read a whole book on Latour which is little more than a book report and summation?” Perhaps this is the reason why “allure” is insufficient an explanation for causation, allure does not produce significant change.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 31 July 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    • I’m also having that feeling about PoN, about 50 pages in now, but enough Latour shows through to keep me interested. I’m also curious where he’s going to go with the critique in the second half – it’s shaping up to be one of those “I don’t like these conclusions so I’m going to imagine something different to make it not so in my head” kind of deals, but that remains to be seen.

      Like

      Comment by Carl — 31 July 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  49. To be fair, the advanced copy I read did not contain the final chapter where I imagine he made his “boldest” departure from Latour, but the whole rest of the book was nothing more than a book report (with the occasional OOP thoughts thrown in, thoughts I was already familiar with). In point of fact, Latour is amazing, brilliant and original, and seeing his thought passing through the rather clouded, somewhat simplicistically arranged stained glass of Harman’s Heideggerian needs was really dissatisfying. Just read Latour.

    This being said, the book’s nicely tailored summations did give me the handy opportunity to compare Latour to Spinoza, and make the argument that Latour was a kind of closet Spinozist, which I did here: http://kvond.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/is-latour-an-under-expressed-spinozist/, quoting from the work as a nice shorthand.

    Perhaps others will find it interesting, but honestly, intellectually, I found the book to be a betrayal of the reader (me), not giving anything of what it seemed to promise.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 31 July 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  50. Citations are a form of acknowledgment, no? It seems reasonable to recognize contributions others have made to the finished work, whether intellectual, moral, financial — a recognition that no book comes fully formed out of the head of the author. I like watching the credits at the end of a movie, even though I have no idea who most of these people are, just to see the amount and variety of effort that went into it. I’m with Carl — the bored reader can skip the acknowledgments easily enough. It’s a token of gratitude and respect, even of humility, to make the gesture.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 31 July 2009 @ 7:46 pm

  51. So now he tells us it took him about 25 hours to write his latest book, and he’s disappointed it took him that long.

    In grad school I got to where I could turn out a page of decent quality text with close-enough references in an hour. (I’d just count back from the due point.) Like Graham this is not counting research, brainstorming and outlining, of course. I think I may have hit some zones when I was writing the dissertation where I doubled that rate. But assuming this book’s around 200 pages, the rate is less than eight minutes a page.

    I guess I can see it if you really know what you want to say and don’t loop back to second-guess yourself at all. I’m not sure whether to be inspired or horrified.

    Like

    Comment by Carl — 3 August 2009 @ 11:45 am

    • I believe it is estimated now that you can twitter the next Being and Time in about 2,000 cups of coffee.

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 3 August 2009 @ 5:20 pm

    • I like Graham Greene’s pace better: 500 words a day = a book a year, with plenty of time set aside for long lunches and naps and a little espionage on the side.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 3 August 2009 @ 8:45 pm

      • You can’t become famous and influential philosopher with lunches and naps, all the pleasures are to be cut out, he’s only got like 10-20 good years later and he’s barely made a ripple in the tough competish for philosophical fame…

        Like

        Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 3 August 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  52. I’d say be inspired – if you found your little theme, you can pound it so hard a book will come out without you even knowing it. I like that everything Harman initially begins has such high aspirations but in the end is just another way for him to talk about himself – “blogs are the real medium of philosophy, i will blog like no one ever blogged before” [erases his blog in frustration after realization blogging sucks]; “”I will defend graduate students from vicious attack by hegemonic oppressors in their departments” [ends up viciously attacking a student for criticizing him, published private emails from third parties that fuel his attacks, loses face] and now it is “I’m going to show everyone how to write, I will demystify writing” [ends up writing about his own writing routine, diary-style]; – what’s the next thing that will inevitably end up being all about Harman? Reading techniques? Dating tips?

    Like

    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 3 August 2009 @ 12:17 pm

    • I agree, be inspired, publish and express. But Mikhail your tracking of his reversals is pointedly revealing.

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 3 August 2009 @ 5:13 pm

  53. Just a note to observe that the anti-troll, anti-vampire campaign continues, even after (as far as I can tell) the perps have stopped talking about it or even engaging them in discussion. Some of you may have noticed that I have been granted an imprimatur by one of the Assailed — I’m irritating, but not a troll or a vampire. Too bad for you other suckahs!

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 16 August 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    • Amazing.

      “It reminds me of a graduate student I once knew– and hence not a Troll-Master, just a student, but a Troll-Master “type”. Despite being a fairly repulsive, Charles Manson-like figure (or perhaps precisely for this reason) he had a kind of guru status among younger female graduate students. This always puzzled the rest of us, but I managed to catch glimpses of him at work, and finally figured it out. What he would do is begin by flattering them, telling them that they were universally regarded as brilliant and promising students. Then later, he would pretend that others had been somewhat disappointed by their work so far, that their intellectual stock had dropped, but that maybe it wasn’t too late to prove themselves. There’s no evidence that he ever got any tangible dating rewards out of this technique, but he certainly established a psychological tyranny over these young women that was sickening to observe.”

      I’m very surprised to see Larval Subject’s methodology to be described in this way, so cloakedly…

      The Charles Manson of the Philosophical Internet meets the Rush Limbaugh of the Philosophical Internet. Steel Cage Death Match.

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 16 August 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  54. Lucky dog. I note also that Dejan has graduated from ‘troll’ to ‘pervert’.

    Like

    Comment by Carl — 16 August 2009 @ 1:25 pm

    • Carl, that’s *Lacanian* Pervert, in otherwords “Analyst”.

      It reminds me so beautifully of Arrested Development’s Tobias Funke’s buisness card, bringing together the best of two professions, Therapist and Analyst:

      http://the-op.com/media/image2.php?ep=303&i=8855&cat=6200

      (if you don’t know the show, you might not appreciate the humor fully).

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 16 August 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  55. Rather than taking on alternative POVs combatively, it’s possible to riff on them, to improvise some emergent hybrid that might be even more grotesquely world-shattering than the initial position. Not just translation but mutation. Accelerate into the next dimension! Too Deleuzian I suppose, lacking respect for the immutable essences of the objects. I don’t really have any idea what Mark k-punk’s philosophical position is all about, though Nick S. lumps him in with the SR Marxists. Has Mark written for Collapse? I think that journal came forth from k-punk’s circles originally, didn’t it?

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 16 August 2009 @ 6:17 pm

    • From what I am told k-punk is really a music reviewer (what he is good at), who uses his philosophy attachments to wow the un-literati, and make them all feel smart together. If I were him I would really want anyone, undead or otherwise, messin’ with the recipe.

      But hey, talking about trolls and vampires surely boosts the page hits, just like talking about wawr on terror and Islamo-Fascists makes all the folks come out and vote. I mean, the guy has a new book out, you better get the Capitalist book-buying machine into action somehow.

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 16 August 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  56. I’ll probably read the book. K-punk does write engagingly, and I’m curious. His old associate Nick Land, whose book I read recently, emulates the Nietzschean tone that Mark commends in his anti-troll piece, so I’m betting his book strikes those same notes. You’re right about page hits for vampirology, kvond: this post has generated a lot of traffic.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 16 August 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  57. I think you should capitalize on this (no pun intended), and begin a novel about trolls and grey vampires. As a psychologist you could present the kind of undead that the commentless bloggist k-punk and Harman fear (why these guys continually talk about trolls I have no idea, but perhaps it is like the guy with 23 dead bolts on his door always talking about burglers). But then you could make these trolls and vampires into real undead types, literalizing their horrors. It could be something like Twilight meets Pi…when the screen rings out “You-got-mail” a sense of dread fills the room…

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 16 August 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  58. I like it, kvond. I see a short story anyway. The up-and-coming philosopher bashes the vampires because he’s secretly both terrorized and desirous of having his theories critiqued to death. He gets published, blurbed by famous people, lauded by acolytes, and still this fear of being exposed torments him. The vampire, having been pestered from the internet by the successful vampire-purge campaign, hasn’t written a comment or email in months, maybe years. But in the now-famous philosopher’s mind the dread expands to fill the silence. When will the vampire come back and pound a stake through the heart of his philosophy? Maybe it turns out that the vampire is the philosopher himself, bringing his own work to ruin. Maybe you should write it, kvond? Too much realism maybe.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 16 August 2009 @ 8:59 pm

    • I love it. Unfortunately if I wrote it the Vampire would grow board with the tedium of the Philosopher, yawn, and an eternity would pass. But if you wrote it there would be all kinds of action. Who knows, maybe even a part could be written for the “irritating” one (not to go too far, you know)…

      Like

      Comment by kvond — 16 August 2009 @ 9:02 pm

    • The irritating one countertransferentially identifies with everyone else’s perversions and neuroses and psychoses, enjoying them all without ever combating or resolving or allying with any of them. Because he’s so annoying he’s killed off even before the story begins and is assigned to the hauntological role of narrator.

      Like

      Comment by john doyle — 17 August 2009 @ 5:49 am

      • Ah, the hauntological! I knew you would make that M-punk happy!

        Like

        Comment by kvond — 17 August 2009 @ 9:16 am

  59. […] Now there’s a man with a project. […]

    Like

    Pingback by One more on ‘grey vampires’, « Dead Voles — 18 August 2009 @ 6:17 am

  60. In related news, Levi Bryant comes out in support of trolling and in opposition to the purge of grey vampires as a proselytic tool for spreading and reinforcing orthodoxy.

    Like

    Comment by john doyle — 25 August 2009 @ 5:29 am


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