texts + books

I’ve been scampering and doing a troll-like stumble,  following along with Tim Morton’s logorrheic flights for some time now, and gotten twinks of excitement about things like Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontology (OOO).  Of course I have no thorough (or even scanty) background in this stuff or its antecedents, but it gets me tweaked, nonetheless.

So I was happy when I found an all-access kiddie primer on OOO on Ian Bogost’s web site:


The subject line is Percy Shelley’s. This part of an  essay by Tim Morton, “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!” included in  the exhibit/site RETHINK — Contemporary Art & Climate Change (2009). Among other provocative chunks and challenges:


…in the Tucson Mountains, pack rats make a home in the copy machine, a rattlesnake hides under the chaise longue, spiders are welcome and the appearance of a grasshopper is seen as a sign from Lord Chapulin, the Grasshopper Being.

Silko’s menagerie includes mastiffs, parrots, macaws, bees, hummingbirds and various other creatures. None of them are really pets: she gives them respect, not coddling. In fact, much of the book describes how she tends to the animals that live in and around her home, as well as how she attempts to help them ward off predators. While she can’t do much to protect them from the biggest menace, man, Silko’s understanding of nature’s balance brings her comfort. When she sees evidence of fresh destruction by a neighbor, she calms herself by imagining him being smashed under a boulder.


Link to the short story, The Author of the Acacia Seeds, Ursula K. Le Guin.

This was warmly transcribed and posted by a Matt Webb in 2008 who stated:


“I don’t for a second buy into the story, promoted both by deep greens and by the right, that Mother Earth will just brush us off and recover. Faith in an all-powerful deity is precisely a way to ignore hyperobjects. Some people commented on my previous post on hyperobjects, wondering whether God could be considered as one. No. It is precisely when we start to notice hyperobjects that the idea of some transcendental beyond, inhabited by an all-powerful being, starts to melt, and we humans break loose from our island of certainty to float on the ocean of science.How arrogant of us to think that we had reached the end of history in 1989. And how brittle of us. Little did we want to know how this posturing was actually a symptom of our own fragility. The good news is that we are at the beginning of history, like an exhausted newborn, stunned and breathing heavily outside the womb of concepts such as Nature and Progress.”


My cousin Pejk Malinowski sent me this poem last night by Robert Creeley. I am smitten.


The thing comes
of itself

(Look up
to see
the cat & the squirrel,
the one
torn, a red thing,
& the other
somehow immaculate)

– Robert Creeley


(Poem #39) The Riddle of the World

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err;
Whether he thinks to little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus’d;
Still by himself, abus’d or disabus’d;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl’d;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

– Alexander Pope


From today’s NY Times: Reviving the Lost Art of Naming the World, an article on what the decline of taxonomy means for us as narrative beings.

The past few decades have seen a stream of studies that show that sorting and naming the natural world is a universal, deep-seated and fundamental human activity, one we cannot afford to lose because it is essential to understanding the living world, and our place in it.

image from the book “Kunstformen der Natur,” by Ernst Haeckel, 1900.

image from the book “Kunstformen der Natur,” by Ernst Haeckel, 1900.

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