Tim Morton and I are currently forging together our respective positions. Where this will lead, I don’t know and I think Tim provides structural reasons as to why I can’t know in advance where it will lead. Right now I’m tentatively thinking of my own position as something akin to an eco-Marxism. Eco-Marxism wouldn’t simply be a Marxism that takes into account “the environment”, but rather would significantly expand the domain of Marxist thought. On the one hand, eco-Marxism would include nonhuman actors such as animal, mineral, and quantum beings within its scope. Put differently, the index wouldn’t simply be to human emancipation. I’m still thinking through this. On the other hand, drawing on Morton’s concept of the mesh, such a Marxism would focus on the imbrication of humans with all sorts of other media (in McLuhan’s sense) generating local manifestations that prevent us from strictly dividing the human from the nonhuman (think of Latour’s and Stengers’ networks or Deleuze and Guattari’s machinic assemblages). While this aspect of eco-Marxism would be thoroughly relational in character, it would emphasize that relations are always relations of exteriority. In other words, no entity can be reduced to its relations and the local manifestations it produces, but rather every entity harbors within it a withdrawn being in excess of its local manifestations (this approaches the diachronic dimension of Tim’s thought). This withdrawn dimension is the promise of forming collectives otherwise. Where an internalism of relations tends to lead to the conclusion that we’re stuck because all terms are caught in reciprocal relations with one another, the exteriority of relations gives us the resources for thinking change. Here the focus is not so much on critique, but rather, as Latour puts it, composition. That is, the work of politics and ethics is the composition of new collectives of humans and nonhumans opening the possibility of new ways of living. That’s just where my thought is leading. Tim might very well be on a different page.

At any rate, Tim has some great discussions of his mesh up over at youtube. I reproduce them here for those who are interested.

About these ads