“Hypo-hyper-hapto-neuro-mysticism: this awful portmanteau word, in all its ungainly confusion, captures something crucial about the present. In the essay that follows I want to use this fractured single word to indicate an event. Perhaps the word event is not quite right, but I want to avoid words such as “mindset” or ideology, simply because what I am referring to is a way of speaking, imagining, or figuring that does not occur completely at the level of thinking. In fact, one of the features of “hypo-hyper-hapto-neuro-mysticism” is that it is (to refer to Deleuze’s terminology) an “image of thought”: the assumption of a certain orthography that delimits the questions and problems posed, and allows for a certain potential for disturbance to be lulled in advance. Indeed, hypo-hapto-neuro-mysticism is an alluring inertia that operates by situating itself, resentfully, against what might count as thinking. In a recent special issue of differences focused on new directions in science studies, Karen Barad reiterated what has now become an almost unquestioned attack on the detached and disembodied nature of “theory,” in favor of theorizing that would take the form of touch:
Theorizing, a form of experimenting, is about being in touch. What keeps theories alive and lively is being responsible and responsive to the world’s patternings and murmurings. Doing theory requires being open to the world’s aliveness, allowing oneself to be lured by curiosity, surprise, and wonder. Theories are not mere metaphysical pronouncements on the world from some presumed position of exteriority. Theories are living and breathing reconfigurings of the world. The world theorizes as well as experiments with itself.
My claim, in opposition to the careful work of Barad and the far less careful work of others, is that theory is not theory (and philosophy is not philosophy) if it is grounded in the tactility of the body.”