Thursday, December 06, 2012

Material (II) / Scribbles

Harman: "For orthodox Marxists, everything else is superstructure or ideology built on top of that economic base. I reject such reductionism completely, whether it comes from Marxists or from anyone else."

Graham Harman is a superb and clear writer, and as I've dipped my toes in the waters of "speculative realism" his work has been that which I've felt the most able to work with and learn from - often, I think, because of his style.  I begin this way simply because debate pro and con SR/OOO has fostered a really ugly online rat-king over the last few years and I don't want to jump in there at all.  But I would like to comment on one sticking point that seems strange to me, which I've come across on more than one occasion regarding speculative realists or sympathizers (for lack of a better word), which is a common canard of Marxism as a base/superstructure idiocy that literally reduces "everything else" (including any number of the variegated lists of objects that SR-types are prone to including, e.g., airplanes, the ozone layer, fertilizer, and apartment buildings) subsequent to economic base.  I.e., it calls Marxism reductive because it gives a reductive image of Marxism.

I highly recommend my readers look over the excerpts of Z.A. Jordan I posted here a while back, which in turn link to a substantially longer excerpt of Jordan's work on the Marxists Internet Archive.  The world is human, for Marx, not because the guy was "Correlationism 4 Life!" but because it may make little sense to delude ourselves into thinking the external and convincing each other that we are in fact apprehending the very "weird" essences of the objects that exist outside of us.  To think or speak the contingency of human existence within the greater scope of the physical world is to transcribe this physical world into comprehensible material for that very contigency.  It is a style, or a posture, of human existence. 

No comments: