Cosmopolitics and reconstituting worlds; Concrete political clashes between worlds; 1995 majority of French population believes the future of their children to be worse than their own; the end of the trust in progress; Globalization; sacrifice for competition; Political Ontology; civilizing modern practices
What are concepts good for? Science wars—scientists and critical thinkers—rationality, universality; modern hegemony—knowledge cannot be about representation only
Concepts have a power; the self-confirming power of representationalism; the concept of practice is introduced to divide scientists (to break “Science” up); open up a space for thought in which the monolithic figure of objective knowledge is broken
Reformulating the claims of the sciences rather than directly denying them—situating objectivity as a rare achievement. The particular and exceptional nature of objective interpretation; the general reduction.
Disembedding what has to be enrolled as a witness. The production of reliable witnesses. The indifference of the prospective witness to the experimenters question. If the witness speaks for itself it is not a reliable witness.
If relevance—rather than knowledge—was the goal adventure rather than conquest may have been the outcome of experimental practices. Civilizing scientific practitioners. The creation of new adventurous questions. The idea of civilized practitioners is as speculative as the idea of “Political Ontology.” The concern for relevance is thwarted by the blind imperative for objective knowledge.
Knowledge Economy—knowledge is a matter of representation only, but not the kind of verification critical thinkers are after. Speculative economies, bubbles, and crash economies are taking control over the production of scientific knowledge. The machine may run without the need for reliable knowledge.
The question of an ecology of knowledge or of practices is a question of a political and practical struggle against that which is destroying all practices. How can this ecology—a capacity to link; to present oneself in a civilized way—extend to other than human persons?
Can we avoid the curse of tolerance? “We know better, but just have to ignore those others.”
Are we able to admit that we are bound to coexist with others—Pachamama—beings who have their own ways of demanding consideration.
This is beyond separating scientific practices from general knowledge. “Politics” in its Greek sense is maintained—a gathering of people congregated to discuss an issue. “Cosmos” is there to signify the limitations of this political process.
Other than human entities enter the political scene. Partial connections liable to articulate divergent worlds. Marisol and political ontology. Marisol wants to ontologize politics and interrogate the link between diplomacy and politics. Other than human entities are to be recognized as political protagonists. A radical re-invention of politics that bears on ecology/equality.
Equality and homogeneity of the space that gathers a political community. Extended to the spokespersons for nonhuman communities. Things defined as a matter of collective concern. Bruno Latour; entangled realities of things. Isonomia; more than human world vs. other than human entities.
Matters of belief; matters of concern. We may all agree that the earth has been mistreated; we may all suffer the consequences of modern irresponsibility. Paying attention to what has been recklessly ignored. Slowing down in order not to reduce more than human entities.
The challenge of animism. The entities themselves; taking seriously the commandment “not to regress.” The ecology of practice and cosmopolitics complicate the meaning of this statement. Not in a world that is mute, but is more than human. Negotiating the consequences of an other than human injunction. Reverse cosmopolitics.
The challenge of animism is the point where a strange equality is achieved.
Only a naturalist would organize into Descola’s categories. Organizing schemes; neuronal attractors.
Deleuze/Guattari—Rhizomes; ecological anarchy; heterogenous practices; not a free for all; the connections must be effectively produced. Scientists as diplomats creating rhizomatic links. Conflicting ontologies.
The challenge of animism could be evaded by the power of the injunction if the injunction is given a more than human power. More than human entities have to be recognized so that they do not become overpowering. We are demanded to feel that we feel the high responsibility of determining what it is that really exists and does not exists
Those who claim to be animists—that say that rocks really have soul, power, purpose etc.—have no real word for “really.” The “do not regress” commandment and the statement “other than human entities really have power.”
Reclaiming means recovering what we have been expropriated from and that we have to recover from this expropriation. “Do you really believe in . . . ?”
The smoke of the burned witches still hangs in the streets. Those witch hunters are no longer in the streets, but are replaced by the modern pride that we are able to determine by ourselves what really exists. We are the heirs of social and cultural eradication in the name of civilization.
The point is not to feel guilty. But, following William James, to open up a “genuinely” effective option. Starhawk: claiming the past is not a return to an authentic past, but learning to feel the smoke; to reactivate memory and imagination. Respective milieus.
Those who sneer and those who are sneered at.
Is it possible to reclaim animism? The other than human entities really exist. David Abram. Animism is no longer here an anthropological category. Not reducing the craft to a matter of illusion(ism). If there is an exploitation it is the magician himself who is exploited. Senses for participating in the metaphoric capacity of things. The flux of participation. We are a particular kind of animist. Animated by signs, and animating them. The spell of written text; the alphabetic text as able by itself to experience strange scenes and other lives.
The compulsive insistence on either/ or attitudes. Writing is an experience of metamorphic transformation. The idea requires some bodily contortion; assemblages; a coming together of heterogeneous components. The manner of my existence is my participation in assemblages. Animation; agency; desire; assemblage; reflexivity; the experience of detachment. What is really responsible for what?
Assemblages and William James’s radical empiricism. Not experience as critically purified—subject and experienced object. Relating animism, assemblages, and radical empiricism is a dangerous move because it may appear to comforting. We are pondering experiences other people have written down.
The erotic power of ideas animating the human soul (Plato). Imperfect realization. The possibility of imperfect realization; not knowing the search that animates us. Metamorphic sources make themselves felt. The violent history of ideas.
How can we grant this kind of intentionality to other beings? The text imposes itself as an entity of human province only. Animism is a typical anthropomorphic fantasy.
Improvising words—words with academic restriction. “Magic”—of an event, landscape, music—protected by “metaphor” it is safe to use. Ignoring that we are interfused with something else that may or may not be intentional (we do not really care whether the interfusion is intentional or not).
The sad monotonous voice instructing us not to become mystified. The role of illusions. The craft of magic. Naming it such is in itself an act of magic; conjuring a sense of discomfort associated with the word. How can we accept such a return to supernatural beliefs?
Fictions have a power to shape us—to empower or enslave us. “Fiction” is a poor defense against the shaping power.
Empirical practices of immanent attention. Whitehead and diagnosis. Toxicity. Contemporary witches are radically pragmatic. Interpreted in terms of assemblages. Does change belong to the goddess-as-agent, or to the
If magic is to be reclaimed as an art of participation then assemblages are reframed as empirical.
Disloyal fabulation. Discreetly dismantling academic habits. Confusing the gaze of inquisitors. New habits of knowing what makes us think and feel differently.
The west and the rest. The devastating machine now destroying even the sciences. Equality; all peoples cultivate a manner of animism. Living together or becoming-together. Agents for anti-colonial alliance. Treaty making is not a new universal in a world where many worlds may exist. Not the west and the rest. Treaty bound.
Civilizing the demanding power that commands us not to regress. Immanent attention. Speculative Fabulation; participating in political ontology after learning to relate to the more than humans that make us a people. Politics with the metamorphic efficacy of rituals. Situated by that which one cannot betray without losing one’s soul. An ecology connecting milieus; animating in order to be animated.
Isabelle has given us a kind of a feast which is impossible to comment upon. Some kinds of questions that may provoke certain kinds of conversations I would like to see enabled.
SF; speculative fabulation; string figures; animating cosmopolitical critters. Scientific fact. Science fiction. Speculative Feminism. Its temporality is “So far . . . “ To produce with another; to jest; speculative joking—serious joking.
It matters what thoughts think thoughts. It matters what worlds world worlds. It matters what stories tell stories. Marilyn Strathern. Working by partial connections; analogy. Two dissimilar things held together not to find common identity or differences but to let them systematically exam one another.
THINKING THOUGHTS WITH THOUGHTS
Not to establish what is true, but what is happening reciprocally. Indigenous politics. Cosmopolitics. These words are swirling among us. Ordering avalanches of data.
Graphing SF. Psychotic tree structures in their lines of transfecting; transforming. Cat’s cradle figures. This kind of art depends on the machine. Incredibly competent digital transmogrification.
The gift of symbiosis that the bacteria provide the earth. Over the chemical top-ness. Homages to the gift of symbiosis; multi cellularity, The peopling of the earth; the other than human peopling of the Earth. The level of detail at which we are all lichens. The challenge of animism.
Urusula Le Guin. The Word for World is Forest. How Forests Think. Freud. The practice of lucid dreaming. Infecting the imagination with color.
Isabelle Stengers’s cosmopolitical critters are IDEAS. The doings of ideas populate the territory. Taking her ideas seriously. Otherwise she is completely incomprehensible.
Isabelle is a craftspersons (philosopher) for the building of the lures of propositions for abstractions. Not “mere” abstractions. The building of abstractions that hold worlds together—fragile, more than humans, other than humans, not methodological individualism. Abstractions coming together like Margulis’s endosymbiotic critters.
This is the kind of work that Isabelle does. What kind of FRIGHT is she trying to make available to us? Some kind of reclaimed other-than-human. [What trouble is Donna trying to evoke]
Isabelle is concerned with the phrase “concrete situations.” The really real. The actual etc. (Marisol challenging Isabelle). What is the suspicion of concrete situations? One of the most important things in Isabelle’s cosmpolitics is the outcome of experimental scientific achievements. Science’s experimental achievements—scientists at risk to materials, answers, colleagues, other stake holders, agnostics—something that holds is a radically pragmatic, full of consequences, agonistic achievement.
Concrete situations have a kind of “LAND HO!” — tell me what’s really in play here. If you have “good will” any one can describe in plain language what’s really happening. Isabelle thinks this is plainly neurotic. [Concrete situations are outcomes not givens?]
Isabelle is concerned with the uncritical “concrete situation.” That you can just be “clear” about what you mean and what’s happening. Here we run into a forest of odd terms—humans and nonhumans—they seem to inhabit (can be made to inhabit) the once Euro West. The experimental practices are not born of Western worlds alone. Greece is not the birthplace of Europe. [There is not a disagreement here—this is a false problem Haraway and Stengers do not need to debate].
Choreographed and complex relationships between humans, machines, bosons, horses, inclined planes, archived mouse parks, mice, etc. can count as nonhumans. Collectively these are more than human in Isabelle’s lexicon. Other than humans seem to do something else (Or “earth others”—Val Plumwood). The other than human; there’s trouble there. It doesn’t seem to be includable within cosmopolitics or the more than human.
Thou shalt not regress. The problem of animism. Why are we back in the language of colonial developmentalism? Descola’s semiotic square. The technology of the square. Isabelle is suspicious of generalizing a “developing organism.” Why has Isabelle set up the problem in this way? Isabelle is saying hold still; we’re going to honor this commandment.
Haraway: The problem of animism should not be posed as question of development or regression. This should not hold so much weight. Isabelle’s demands are more interesting and complex than this. Relations between the indigenous and cosmopolitics. Indigenous cosmopolitics. Is this oxymoronic?
Some kind of politics as usual has been suspended when a mountain is made visible—and made visible by a specific person who can make it visible—in politics. Cuzco. Confrontations. Forceful entities making claims on everyone—whether you believe in them or not. Forces are making demands in ways that are rather recent, or in some aspects are recent, and are consequential for (maybe) reconstituting worlds.
Isabelle is a radical pragmatist; we share the same enemies. Humans and their machines are a “people” where intentional individuals play a very small role.
Isabelle’s language is anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting, rather than something that should give me allergies. Isabelle and I share the same enemies: the notion of ecological services; knowledge economy; truth over illusion; the power to dispel others of their illusions in the interest of my truth because I have given myself that power.
Moments of literalization that claim to speak for the really real—whether or not they are spoken by Europeans or not.
What should be understood in the “Thou shalt not regress” is not whether sentient mountains really exist, but not sorting out whether or not sentient mountains exist. The point is to leave alone the sorting. Civilizing won’t work either. We cannot pronounce what exists and what doesn’t. Or what is truth and illusion; these separations are part of eradication—mountains, ideas, soils, practices. The power of extermination, genocide, and sorting.
To reclaim, but not to restore. Reformatting and reclaiming and SF. What comes into the world that way and whether one throws one lot in with it. Zoo. Ooz. Open structures of participation. Who leaves is not under your control. Whoever you are. The power to leave is very important to everything Isabelle means by politics.
Metamorphic transformation. Recognizing what animates us. What Isabelle is asking is that we be with those who share practices of disloyal fabulation. We have to actually experience transformative fright. The world we thought was there is not. It undoes what we thought we were. Worlding vs. ontology. What is and what is not. Who is using ontology how? Isabelle does not use ontology in order to sort.
The history of heresy. Rooting out heretics. The forced act of belief. Coerced belief. Deeply felt belief can still be coerced. “I believe . . .” is a very Christian—not Greek or Jewish—thing to say. The Christianization of the Greeks.
There are ways in which Isabelle and I [Donna Haraway] are barely secularized. Is indigenous cosmopolitics an oxymoron? Different uses of ontology. Powers acting, pressing, having affects, whether or not anyone believes in them or wants them to. “Sentience” is a very baggage filled word.
Producing a powerful fright with “Thou shall not regress.” Radical pragmatism and opening to experimental situations.
Killing and “carrying capacity.” The failure to put together ontological politics. Destruction of Navajo land and sheep.
Q & A
Ideas are critters to be honored and feared. The invention of humans. Whitehead and Plato. This is another aspect of ideas. “Human” is an idea; a soul animated by ideas. We are the people of ideas. Ideas may have the status of other than human beings, and the problem is knowing them. They are dangerous; more complicated than us fabricating them. The fury of an imperfect realization of ideas. The westerners who see themselves as “the people” or “human” and not among other people.
The point is not to honor the “do not regress” command, but to take it as a divine power that marks that we have not honored or received what makes us human. It is important that we honor or learn to receive. If we re-member that we were made humans, than we can acknowledge that others are made otherwise. We cannot dream of a freedom from the “do not regress.” Super market spirituality (“no limitations”).
Oncomouse. The first patented animal. An instance of cyborg; a particular kind. Oncomouse as who am I; the implosion of propriety forms; sacrificial surrogacy; detailed technical knowledge; practical relationality with flesh. A non-optional origin story of who we are. Oncomouse is a little bit like Plato’s human; Linneaus’s homo sapiens. Somehow Oncomouse is now a player in the world of ontological politics and cosmopolitics. She is my sister. You can’t repudiate her.
Your [Isabelle’s] relations to proprietary biology do not work for me.
Oncomouse is a victim of worse and worse science.
I don’t think that’s true. I think you like it less and less. The proprietary issue; the financialization of biology etc.
Oncomouse is part of my world.
I think you become a critic when money enters biology.
I would fight my own indigenous politics against the knowledge economy
I think I’m more worried about Plato . . .
Patents do not need reliable knowledge. Just correlations that can be appropriated. Oncomouse may be my sister, but she has been misused.
Well . . .
[Questions/comments—Marisol de la Cadena].
Cosmopolitics as slowing down of political good will.
Abstractions are very concrete.