Sublime Objects

I've recenly had a lot of success workshopping an essay by blogging about it. It's on Buddhism and object-oriented ontology and you can find the most recent post here. (There will be more.) Levi Bryant commissioned it for a volume he's editing with Ian Bogost on object-oriented ontology. 

It really is a very good time to do philosophy online. Of course you will run into snags but the thrill of doing it almost live is really something. 

So I'm going to use this blog to start work on my next project, an essay for the journal Speculations (a journal of speculative realism) entitled “Sublime Objects” (watch out Slavoj!). 

Here's the basic idea. We usually think the sublime through Burke or through Kant. For Burke the sublime is the awesome power of an external authority—shock and awe. For Kant the sublime is the experience of inner freedom based on a momentary feeling of cognitive failure. 

Both sublimes, I argue, are correlationist, in the recently minted and very useful term of Quentin Meillassoux. That is, both sublimes assume that 

• the world is specially or uniquely accessible to humans;
• the sublime uniquely correlates the world to humans;
• what's important about the sublime is a reaction in the subject

Against these assumptions I'm going to argue for a speculative sublime, an object-oriented sublime to be more precise. There is a model for just such a sublime on the market—the oldest text on the sublime we know, Peri Hypsous by Longinus.  The Longinian sublime is about the physical intrusion of an alien presence. It can thus easily be broadened to include non-human “experiences” of the sublime. 

I posted some labels for the recent Urbanomic Late at the Tate exhibition in London that were about this.  Urbanomic is planning a release of some of the materials from this exhibition. It was really good to relabel works I'd seen over and over again, by artists such as Turner, Blake and Wilson, in light of speculative realism. 

More on all this soon. I hope you're up for a conversation about it. 

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