Intelligence is always animal intelligence: on Eugene Linden’s Deep Past (2019)

The basic idea informing the plot of Eugene Linden’s paleontological thriller Deep Past (2019) is neatly summarized in this snatch of dialogue: “Ten thousand years ago humans were just as intelligent as we are today, but our material culture was almost non-existent. Evolution produced human intelligence in the blink of an eye; our material culture… Continue Reading Intelligence is always animal intelligence: on Eugene Linden’s Deep Past (2019)

Toward an American psychogeography (3): Zothique and the Zodiac Killer

Jean Baudrillard, in his philosophical travelogue America (1986), writes that “America ducks the question of origins; it cultivates no origin or mythical authenticity; it has no past and no founding truth. Having known no primitive accumulation of time, it lives in a perpetual present.” But we have only to turn to an American psychogeography to… Continue Reading Toward an American psychogeography (3): Zothique and the Zodiac Killer

Toward an American psychogeography (2): displacing Exham Priory

Necessarily, any American psychogeography will form a webwork of displacements. In such a psychogeography, there are displacements on top of displacements on top of displacements. This is because the formal structure of displacement is necessarily recursive. A structure is recursive when the shape of the whole structure recurs in the shape of its parts (e.g.,… Continue Reading Toward an American psychogeography (2): displacing Exham Priory

On the concept of pre-extinction

Typically, we think of extinction in terms of the death of the last individual member of the species facing extinction. A species goes extinct when there aren’t any more organisms belonging to it still walking around. What comes to mind is a short fragment by Jorge Luis Borges, “The Witness” (1967). In the fragment, Borges… Continue Reading On the concept of pre-extinction

Robert Aickman’s strange stories (1): “Meeting Mr. Millar”

Robert Aickman’s “strange stories” are epistemological in nature. Consistently, each story portrays an increasingly baffling series of events. The events rarely culminate in some horrifying revelation (comprehensible or otherwise). Instead, they end with the obstruction of all possible access to that which has occurred, why the events in question have taken place, and the general… Continue Reading Robert Aickman’s strange stories (1): “Meeting Mr. Millar”

The left hand of all creation: how to repurpose whole worlds

“The world is an asymmetrical place full of asymmetrical beings.” – Frank Close In the following series of interrelated posts, I sketch out in preliminary fashion the theoretical framework of an ontological program of strong redescription. Redescription refers to one mode of interacting with, repurposing, and using the various objects that constitute our world. One… Continue Reading The left hand of all creation: how to repurpose whole worlds

The left hand of all creation (4): An informal algorithm for repurposing worlds

Faced with an object world, on the standard assumption (i.e., that objects are passive or self-contained), the only option a subject has available is trying to direct and manipulate the objects composing that world. Objects have nothing much to contribute, except the details and difficulty of their pliability. Effectively, on this view, objects are virtually… Continue Reading The left hand of all creation (4): An informal algorithm for repurposing worlds

The left hand of all creation (3): Excursus on creative destruction (Spielrein, Schumpeter, Boyd, Land)

Obviously, a concept like creative destruction has an extensive genealogy. In Western philosophy, at least, you can trace variations of the idea back to Greek pre-Socratics like Anaximander and Heraclitus. While the specific locution “creative destruction” is often attributed to Joseph Schumpeter (who probably pulls the term from either Karl Marx or Werner Sombart), the… Continue Reading The left hand of all creation (3): Excursus on creative destruction (Spielrein, Schumpeter, Boyd, Land)