Panpsychism’s Labyrinth


“One model might be located in particularly moving rendition of the “uncanny mountain” from the dissident Marxist tradition. I am thinking here of the short and beautiful text that appears on the copyright page of the texts published by the radical dockworker Stan Weir’s Singlejack Books:
The term singlejack originated with the hard-rock miners of the American West. The drilling of holes for the insertion of dynamite was a tough and dangerous job. The miners worked in pairs, with one kneeling to hold erect the steel drill, which he would turn slowly as his partner drove it into the rock with blows from a sledge (or singlejack) hammer. They would switch tasks now and then, and because the job demanded as much mutual trust as skill, many lasting friendships were formed. Around the turn of the century, on-the-job organizers for the Western Federation of Miners and the Industrial Workers of the World brought additional meaning to singlejack. They used it to describe that method of organizing where dedicated advocates are developed one at a time on a highly personalized basis—as between partners.
Stan Weir’s description of the singlejack’s “uncanny mountain” overlaps substantially with Continental Realism’s “flat ontology”: the razing of bulbous reality to a single plane upon which each entity has exactly as much reality as every other entity. Weir’s world of Wobbly intimacies even takes the mountain seriously as a lively actor, attending to the specific resistances and attractions, the precarious toeholds, the smashing and blasting, the resistances and pressures of human-object interaction.
Shaviro asks: is it possible that from such sources we might plot a path towards a “democracy of objects” that is also a “democracy of fellow creatures”—a polity or rabble that encompasses the rockface as well as the miner, the Nintendo anteater as well as the philosophy professor? If these entanglements of objects already form the texture of our everyday experience, surely we should find a way to orient ourselves within them? We probably need to find a way to say yes to this question. The Universe of Things prepares us for this act of affirmation.”
Kurt Newman @ http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/panpsychisms-labyrinth/

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s