Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bennett, Ch. 4

I don't have much to say on this chapter. I'm glad it begins off with her admitting that many of the properties we once thought to be slowly human also belongs to other animals. I would have liked to see what this insight makes her feel in relation to the previous chapter on edible matter. Though none of that surprises anyone, I am sure.

The rest of the chapter is well-taken. While few of us are metal workers, I am sure we have all had the experience in pottery, or bread baking, or what have you, of the substance we felt of as inert takes on its own generative properties and force. But how do we tie together this almost pantheistic vitalism, in which everything has force, with the affirmation of a life or the life from outside that Deleuze was so fond of speaking of. If you turn to Deleuze's book on Foucault, in the chapter "Strategies and the Non-stratified", you will see Deleuze speak of certain thought of life that comes from the outside, and that does not belong to any species. In the same chapter you will see he talk of the necessary human life, the power particular to human life. My concern here, and I have spoken of this before, is a fear that a notion of a general materialist vitalism might dismantle anthropocentrism while maintaining humanism. And it is this book's relationship to humanism that I continue to wonder about.

Also, if this blog was the type to post pictures, I would have a picture of Wolverine or Weapon X, something like that in honor of the discussion of adamantine.


Timothy Morton said...

Hi--I did a study of vegetarianism called Shelley and the Revolution in Taste in 1994 (you may like it and it has quite a lot of Deleuze and Guattari). My colleague Mike Ziser is writing about food agency, very well (not yet published but will be).

Scu said...

I always mean to read that book. Then I always go, "Wow, that's an expensive book." Then I always mean to check it out from the library, but whenever I am thinking about doing that something happens. Then I think, "I'll just get an illegal pdf", but while all your other books are on the usual suspects, this one remains annoyingly absent.

Anyway, thanks for reminding that I need to get around to reading it. I've been meaning to for a few years now.

And thanks for letting me know about your colleague's work. I'd love to read it.

adrian said...

Hi Scu - Thanks for keeping up the cross-blog event. Your comment about "dismantl[ing] anthropocentrism while maintaining humanism" is a thought-provoking teaser... Hope to hear more about it (and about whether your fears about the book's humanism are warranted) in the remaining weeks.


Scu said...

Thanks Adrian. I got to get back on the reading group horse, I've fallen a bit behind with the traveling.