3 Matching Annotations
- Apr 2016
But I have emphasized many times that ”modernism” carries with it another idea, that of emancipation from some stagnant, archaic and stifling past, so that ”modern” is always a way to orient action according to an arrow of time that distinguishes the past from the future. An essential component of the concept of modernity is the idea of a future toward which we travel after a radical rupture with the past.
The crucial formulation of Latour's argument—in tandem with the corollary, below, that "we have never been modern in the very simple sense that while we emancipated ourselves, each day we also more tightly entangled ourselves in the fabric of nature."
”Nature” isolated from its twin sister ”culture” is a phantom of Western anthropology. What we are dealing with instead are distributions of agencies with which we are all entangled in ways which are highly controversial and the reactions to which are almost always highly counterintuitive. Or to put it in my language, the world is not made of ”matters of fact” but rather of ”matters of concern”. ”Nature is but a name for excess”.
"Matters of concern": I want to align this with my understanding of the dappled nature of the world.
Now for the definition of ”nature”. I think we could easily agree in this assembly that since nature is not ”wilderness” nor the outside, nor the harmonious providential balance, nor any sort of cybernetic machine, nor the opposite of artificial or technical, it would be much more expedient to forget entirely the word “nature” or to use it in William James’ definition: ”nature is but a name for excess”.
This quote from James by Latour is priceless, and deep: nature is but a name for excess. I need to track down the source.