August 16, 2011

SR/OOO as alternative to Creationism and Nihilism

For my own part, I’ve been fairly straightforward about showing my cards, both in my published works and here on this blog. As is well known, my orientation is basically “continental,” and basically Husserl/Heidegger-oriented at bottom– though in an unorthodox manner, and with quite a bit of Whiteheadian and especially Latourian influence. Unless you’re very skeptical of continental philosophy in general, or unless you’re one of those continentals who think all recent French philosophy is sophistry, I think it’s hard to escape the conclusion that in the post WW-II period Paris has been a unique dynamo, generating new figures and ideas at a dizzying rate. It’s not a question of worshipping that process; I happen to think that Heidegger still hasn’t been surpassed.
In any case, this sort of situating of the reputations of various authors is not a minor aspect of what we do, nor is it something to be passed over in polite silence so as to avoid invidious comparisons. It’s the very heart of critical intellectual life, as well as the very key to how we go about deciding what (among the thousands of books surrounding us) to read first and in greatest depth, and what we decide to skim and what to ignore completely. All of us are wrong in these decisions at times. All of us evolve over the years and change our tastes in one way or another. But there’s no avoiding the decisions. None of us load all philosophy books into an empty drum and choose our summer’s reading at random. We all have some sense, one that is constantly in development, of what we need to read and learn most urgently.
To turn now away from Berendzen and towards those who think Laruelle is more important than I have reason to think so far, there’s plenty of blog and journal room available to make your case. Let’s hear that case, rather than complaints about the messenger.
The democratization of information has now become at least technologically feasible, if not politically actual. I don’t think the rise of the blog signals the end of the university (or at least I should hope not), but it does mean that the individual is now shouldering a good deal more of the weight of human knowledge than before.
I am in graduate school myself, though I attend CIIS, an academically marginalized school started by an Indian yogi in the middle of the New Age capital of the world (Watts was once on the faculty). It is impossible for me to escape this context, even though I aim to think individually much in the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

When I suggested in an earlier post that SR/OOO needs to unpack its theological and anthropological implications, I did so with the hopeful expectation that, were an object-oriented theology, psychology, or anthropology developed, it might provide a viable alternative to the philosophical exaggerations of Creationism and Nihilism alike. […]
I think Whitehead was struggling to secularize theology, such that science and religion–the study of nature and the worship of divinity–could mutually enhance one another, rather than being placed in irremediable conflict on either side of a universe bifurcated between Nature and Spirit. Bryant questions whether any good evidence exists for believing in God, but it seems that he is imagining a God who issues decrees and determines the future course of the universe in advance. Whitehead’s God has no such power, but rather is alike in kind to all other actual entities. God is with the world, not above it. God does not guarantee anything but the possibility of relevant and meaningful experience to every actual occasion. It is up to each actual occasion to decide upon its future based on its own subjective ends. There is little scientific evidence for the existence of a transcendent, law imposing God like the one Bryant is critiquing (I say “little” evidence only because of the way some physicists remain rutted in a non-historical paradigm that conceives of physical laws as arbitrarily imposed upon nature from beyond nature); but from Whitehead’s panentheistic perspective, the evidence for God is aesthetic and moral, not just scientific. 
That there is a Cosmos at all, rather than chaos, is evidence of Beauty’s participation in bringing the cosmic democracy of objects into (a still evolutionary and open-ended!) harmonization. That human beings are capable of struggling for Justice (even if it remains largely an ideal imperfectly realized) is evidence that God’s infinite love for each and every entity is ingredient in our more limited experience of entities. And finally, that human beings are capable of doing metaphysics and philosophy so as to reveal the inner workings of reality is evidence that a deeper Intelligence is involved in bringing forth both the knower and the known.

In League With Sri Aurobindo's Vision And Integral Yoga - Editorial ...
There is not the slightest doubt that our society will have to undergo a reconstruction which may amount to revolution, but it will not be for Europeanisation as the ...

No comments:

Post a Comment