“The First Thread”

  • Nature: “the slowest and perhaps most effective weapon of mass destruction yet devised” (5).
  • Dark ecology: “ecological awareness,” “dark-depressing,” “dark-uncanny,” “dark-sweet” (5). An eco-nihilism; think with Dark Deleuze, think with no future, think with non-philosophy? Think also with weird, “a turn or twist or loop.” Follow the thread of weird theory.
  • Loops, positive and negative feedback, phasing loops; Morton cares about strange loops. Take the turning and looping of pollution: “You are a member of a massively distributed thing. . . . Every time I start my car or steam engine I don’t mean to harm Earth, let alone cause the Sisth Mass Exinction Event . . . Furhtermore, I’m not harming Earth! My key turning is statistically meaningless. . . . But go up a level and something very strange happens” (8). Loops at scale: a geophysical force on a planetary scale, that’s us.
  • “I am myself a correlationist, by which I mean that I accept Kant’s basic argument that when I try to find the thing in itself, what I find are thing data, not the thing in itself. And I grasp that data in such a way that a thing does not (meaningfully) exist (for me) outside the way I (or history or economic relations or will or Dasein) correlate that data. I believe that there is a drastic finitude that restricts my access to things in themselves. The finitude is drastic because it is irreducible. I can’t bust through it. is marks the difference between some speculative realists, who think you can puncture the finitude and enter a world of direct access, for instance via science, and those who don’t think so, for instance the object-oriented ontologists” (16). The trick is to “release” this correlationism to all nonhumans as well: literally no-thing gets access to the thing-in-itself.
  • “The fact that it is far from hubristic is also why geoengineers are incorrect if they think Anthropocene means we now have carte blanche to put gigantic mirrors in space or flood the ocean with iron filings. The argument for geoengineering goes like this: ‘We have always been terraforming, so let’s do it consciously from now on.’ Making something conscious doesn’t mean it becomes nice. We have always been murdering people. How is deliberate murder more moral?” (21)
  • Thinking at “Earth Magnitude”: a kind of thinking with and at the scale of hyperobjects, an “uprgrade” in scale (31–33).
  • the “wicked problem”: “one you can rationally diagnose but to which there is no feasible rational solution” (36).
  • “agrilogistics”: beginning from the ancient (Ramayana and Genesis) presupposition that in agriculture there was sin; following the thread of the “long now,” that we are in an undying present and have not changed (socially or biologically, cf gluten-free) (38–40). Agrilogistics is our current regime: the twelve-thousand year machination of the Anthropocene. Agrilogistics is a virus: miserable and disastrous but proliferates nonetheless because it allows things (incl. us) to multiply. Scale, again, is the problem. (Like Haraway, are we trending back toward dimunition? And how do we diminish ethically?)
  • The most disturbing thing about man is that we see what we’re doing but will not stop it: “Ecological awareness is disturbing precisely because of these multiple scales” (42). It is weird and monstrous and a machine “whirring away” well before any of us were born.
  • Three axioms of agrilogistics:
    • The Law of Noncontradiction is inviolable
    • Existing means being constantly present
    • (Human) Existing is alwas better than any quality of existing (47)
  • Think agrilogistics as a death drive, a drive to proliferate existence without attention to quality, such that we all suffer in aggregate (53). And, Morton proposes, it’s baked into the very system by which we operate as a species.
  • capital N Nature is agrilogistics par excellence, b/c we partition it “over there,” as “definitively outside the human” (56–57).
  • “In this sense, the concept Nature isn’t only untrue; it’s responsible for global warming. Nature is defined within agrilogistics as a harmonious periodic cycling. Conveniently for agrilogistics, Nature arose at the start of the geological period we call the Holocene, a period marked by stable Earth system fluctuations. One might argue that Nature is an illusion created by an accidental collaboration between the Holocene and agrilogistics: unconscious, and therefore liable to be repeated and prolonged like a zombie stumbling forward. Like Oedipus meeting his father at the crossroads, the cross between the Holocene and agrilogistics has been fatally unconscious” (58).