December 5th, 2010

S.C. Hickman

Iain Hamilton Grant: Philosophies of Nature after Schelling

"He who would know the world must first manufacture it."
     - Immanuel Kant

"Schelling’s is a chemical metaphysics, an electromagnetic ontology, a “geology of morals”. ... To save the earth’s surface from the face behind it, what is required is a chemical sensibility, since chemistry has always been the science and art of the imperceptible, of what escapes the imprisonment of sensibility behind a face (the superficial redundancies of recognition and their maturation into features) to go directly to the earth, or to earths, to be dispersed and molecularised in the black."
        - Iain Hamilton Grant, The Chemistry of Darkness

"I’d like to think that we can assume a thought of a anti-humanist realism that can think language as capable of meaning, can think after finitude as a dimension of the non-tragic, and is capable of a language that can compete against the dominance of humanism. This is a language that is a harder materialism, that produces different facts and with that different laws. A language that is capable of meeting the requirements of the unknown."
        - Amanda Beech, Sanity Assasin (2009) 


What sort of language would it take to interpret the dark chemistry of the unknown and unknowable world, the urgrund beyond which our epistemic reach disdains to follow? When the mind can no longer discern the difference between the real and the unreal - between the surface allure of the indefinable other that is, and the dark contours of an imperceptible force that subsumes the very fabric of thought itself, then what is this thinking in us now?

We are reminded of that story of Giotto's flies: "The young Giotto arrived in the studio of his master Cimabue, to find a portrait in progress on an easel. Giotto painted a fly, seemingly poised on the nose of the painting’s subject. When the Master returned to the studio, he attempted repeatedly to brush away the fly. Implicitly, this is the moment at which the genius of the young Giotto was noticed, and a new area of realism inaugurated."[1]

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