TimothyMorton's blog

Some green thoughts in a green shade, finally

The invitation to do this blog made me discover several things. One—I love blogging! Two—how great to discuss things with others in slow motion, with careful reading and quiet writing, from the comfort of my introverted indoor space. Kurt and Ash, Ron and Steve, and our readers and commenters, thank you all so much.

Another thing I learnt, as I struggled with blogging form: We owe it to non-humanities people to express our ideas in a way with which they can engage.

Ecological criticism is one mode in which we can do this, easily.

That doesn't mean dumbing down our arguments. It simply means being able to say them in a language that isn't an insider discourse. I very nearly said "jargon"—yikes!

I'm averse to "the jargon of authenticity." Ecocriticism is full of it. I want to make it safe to think ecology and think theory together, simultaneously.

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The nature of the economy

Luckily this is all going down in an election year.

We the people are figuring out that we, the people are—the people.

Not just little individuals in our cul de sacs with big old govt. intruding and doing it wrong, and/or protecting our nation (whatever that is). No: we are the nation.

We have the power. We hold the purse strings.

It's our choice what we want to see on Wall St. and it's our choice to pay, and how to pay.

"The economy" has suddenly ceased being this weird thing happening "over there" like a mountain range.

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The Ambient President

2001: 9/11 (Bush on holiday with dossier that says “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in Mainland USA”)

2003– Iraq (“Stuff happens”)

2005 Hurricane Katrina

2008 Wall Street implodes

Anyone see a pattern here?

Apres moi le deluge needs to be updated to “Simultaneously with moi, le deluge”—no?

Capitalism is reactive. The environmental crisis demands proactive attention (as does everything else on this list...).

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Eco-apocalypse

Hi again. Why am I not in favor of ecological apocalypticism (or in fact of any form apocalypticism)?

It's just not good for ecological being-together. If your view is that the world is ending (and soon), then why worry, why bother?

I think it also marshals the masochism and sadism we sublimate in elegy: in ecological apocalypticism, we witness our deaths, from an impossible future vantage point.

Frank Zappa's words about religious war could also apply to ecological disaster, and the long-term, no-gratifiation energy it will take to deal with it:

(Th)e(c)ology

Quotation of the week from my man Thomas Merton.

This is apopros of Sarah Palin, Pentacostalism, and the prospect of another end times apocalypticist in control of the planet.

This is where the ecological rubber meets the road folks! Are you registered to vote yet?

Here is my favorite part of a favorite essay, called “The Moral Theology of the Devil”:

as might be expected, the moral theology of the devil grants an altogether unusual amount of importance to … the devil. Indeed one soon comes to find out that he is the very center of the whole system. That he is behind everything. That he is moving everybody in the world except ourselves. That he is out to get even with us. And that there is every chance of his doing so because, it now appears, his power is equal to that of God, or even perhaps superior to it …

In one word, the theology of the devil is purely and simply that the devil is god.

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The ecological thought—ecologocentric insert

Hi again.

School starts soon (quarter system). I returned from the retreats. And I'm finishing an essay called “Ecologocentrism: Unworking Animals,” for SubStance.

All feeble excuses for my not yet posting my final thoughts on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

They're about the sheer “thereness” of existence, its density—what “world” subsumes and half erases. And its relation to intimacy.

I've been getting some excellent feedback on my first draft of The Ecological Thought.

The SubStance essay is a study of Solaris, the incredible science fiction story of a psychologist's encounter with a radically other mind.

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Little fly

Okay--I'm on this silent retreat and I shouldn't even be writing this, but what the hey.

So I'm sitting in the meditation hall today and this small house fly lands on my hand. It puts its little proboscis down onto me. I can feel it going a little into my flesh. Yuck. And ouch! So after a few seconds I wave it off.

Of course everything I've said about the neighbor comes flooding into my mind. Not to mention Ash's post on Blake's fly. And lo, my thoughtless hand has indeed brushed it away...

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The ecological thought—an eco-aesthetic intermezzo

So here we are. We've discovered the oozing, slimy core of the poem, an ooze with a face—not a primordial ooze, a naturephilosopher's Urschleim (what a fantastic word—protoplasm is good too I guess), life-to-be. Instead, this slime is caught between categories of life and death, life-in-death, and it induces a horror deeper than revulsion over matter in the wrong place—Life-in-Death is a person. We are not in the realms of vitalism—which is idealism's ground zero.

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