Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I'm writing, running, playing and working again

And loving, too. I forgot to mention that. I have much for which to be thankful.

2016, here I come! I'm writing a book. Well, two books. A book about Ecodesign and the Fifth Ontology, and an objectile horror-fantasy-fiction. I'm running...yes, Tim Morton, just like Jaques Derrida used to. But he didn't have a pug named Kira to run with. Let's see, I'm also cooking. And I'm starting a musical project (dare I say "band"?) with Fred from up the street. Oh, and I'm still going to be building amp & effects circuits. And me & Deb are going to adopt kids. Life is solid. Now, where to fit my lucrative and flexible day job?

Oh, oh, oh! And...I'm getting my PhD! In English! At...a location to be announced. Hee hee. Yep, busy year ahead.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


EcoSynthesis (the name is taken from David Holmgren's managed use of non-native species to create ecologically stable collectives, but the concept has been vastly expanded by yours truly) is a form of ecodesign derived from––and improving upon––vitalist, organicist and anti-intellectualist forms such as  permaculture. It can be thought as a kind of ecodesign-without-"Nature" (see Tim Morton's excellent book, Ecology Without Nature).

Permaculture designers talk about basing their systems on "patterns found in 'Nature'". If there is no such object as "Nature" (a reified thing over there that is separate from us and therefore observable by us), and if "Nature" doesn't even consistently work as a normative concept (it doesn't), then what they are really talking about are patterns found in the minds of permaculture designers, transmitted to students and enthusiasts (permaculturists: yes, it is an ideology), and projected onto a vast array of discrete beings that don't actually "fit" into anything without a lot of work.

My favorite iteration of the permaculture mode so far is Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture. Shepard is a brilliant guy. Probably without fully realizing it, he has incorporated Speculative Realist philosophy into his approach. "Is it agriculture, or is it eco-restoration?" asks the bewildered USDA. "Look," Shepard replies, "the cosmos is not either/or: it's a sloshing back and forth of different things."

Tim Morton says "flickering" instead of "sloshing", but it's the same idea! This acceptance of the liminal, this enlightened violation of the Law of Noncontradiction, this sympathy for the excluded middle, is precisely Dark Ecology and the Object Oriented Ontology that is its deep philosophical informant.

Unfortunately Shepard's teacher was Bill Mollison, and so he also gets mired in the metaphysics of presence in a way that contradicts his own enlightenment when he insists that "You have to know the difference between a concept and an observation!" Oh, really? How do you do that, now? This idea that some "Nature"-people (who only ask for a small couple grand to teach you their secrets) can somehow do what nobody else can––determine where an object's appearance ends and its true being begins––is a leftover from Mollisonian junk-vitalism and 1980s ecomimeis ("I am part of 'Nature'"), the effect of which is mainly to divide needs from resources in a manner fully on board with the agrilogistics that have been destroying living beings on Earth for twelve thousand years. But that's how permaculture designers make their money.

Although I would generally avoid Mollison as anything but a caricature (and some of his students are worse: check out online talks by Larry Santoyo if you want a derisive laugh some time), I'll be the first to tell you that he's also brilliant. The last chapter of Permaculture: A Designers' Manual, chapter 14, is called "Strategies for an Alternative Nation". In this, Mollison reveals himself as the shrewd anthro-economist on whose work much of my own "sustainable economics" work was based; it was also the part permaculturists were least interested in, and I actually got very little work. 

If I do try to set up my Ecosynthesis project as something to teach, I will be telling permaculturists that politics, economics, race, class, literature, quantum mechanics, skyscrapers, banks, universities and plutonium have to be included among what they call your "design elements", for the simple reason that there they are. You can't destroy them by pretending they have no place in your design. They are your design, whether you "did" or "made" them or not, because their existence puts them in absolute proximity to your design project. 

Stay tuned...

The Martial Art School I Used to Attend Damaged Me For Life

And four and a half years later, I'm only just beginning to realize how badly.

The one I'm in now is actually a kind of offshoot of it, started by a guy whose experiences were similar to mine. He will probably never heal fully either. We talked just the other night about having to constantly watch ourselves to make sure we're not acting out the pathology those people implanted in us.

Look, if your approach to fitness, empowerment and collectivity is paranoia and divisive sectarian politics (which admittedly is great for marketing)––to say nothing of obsession with rank and privilege––you are going to cause damage to yourself and others, every day. It is deliberate, tragic (or comical if you have the good fortune not to get sucked into it), and unnecessary.

My ex-teammates: if you read this, you know who you are. Think about what you're doing, go through the cult-withdrawal I had to, and stop.

You are NOT doing compassionate, balanced action.

It's not the mirror that's broken: it's YOU.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Modalities 2015, Tim Morton, Rice University, Houston...and me; You Should Present Papers Too

Upon becoming aware of this terrific symposium put on by Tim's grad students at Rice, I did the following:

1. Developed an idea I'd been working with into a paper.
2. Sent Annie, Laura & Mallory an abstract. They organized the thing, and are three of the most wonderful people I've ever met.
3. Got accepted.
4. Freaked out because I couldn't fantasize about it anymore, but really had to do it.
5. On the best academic advice ever (I raise my glass to Tim), edited the paper (he said "trust the audience to ask questions to fill in stuff you don't include").
6. Flew to Houston.
7. Met dozens of incredibly intelligent and wonderful people with whom it turns out I have much in common & got to have fun conversations with them on high crystalline-level subjects I never get to discuss with anyone, ever.
8. Met Tim Morton, an experience too excellent to describe that makes me ponder on the possibility of contemporaneous reincarnation: everything we had to say to each other resulted in a "Dude, no way, me too!" type of synchrony.
9. Listened to two days of jaw-droppingly fascinating presentations.
10. Experienced Houston...well, really just the area around Rice and Rice Village, which is utterly my kinda weather, swirlingly diverse and a bit like walking around the forest set from the movie The Dark Crystal in terms of wildlife, with all sorts of mysterious critters scuttling and chirping to each other in the green shade (are they mammals, birds, reptiles...what?), incredibly cheap and good food, etc.
11. Presented my paper, and these brilliant people liked it. The keynote speaker, Dr. Marjorie Levinson, Huetwell Professor of English at U. Michigan, told me she loved my writing.
12. Decided to pursue a PhD in English.

If anyone reads this, please pass this on. If you have ever wanted to do anything like this but thought you just couldn't, you should, because you can. Find stuff that interests you, start talking about it with people online, keep an eye out for calls for papers, and write stuff. It will change your life. The internet has opened up potential doors for everyone to unlock dreams, and one's simply a fool if one doesn't take advantage of it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Goodbye Facebook; Litreralism, thou hast slain thy friend...

I have ceased to use all blurb-length social media. My Facebook app is deleted. I left my page up in case someone wants to send me an individual message, but I'm not posting to it anymore. This blog post will be the last thing I ever post to Facebook.

"Social media" is a frighteningly stark example of the performative contradiction. Its form disallows almost all but the least social of communication (the direct, literal, propositional statement), unless what you're posting is a photo or video (and even then, the expectation of the medium is that the visual will be very low on theatricality and high on literalism). While it reduces almost all phrasing to paraphrasing in this way, for some reason we call it a "medium" (the singular of "media"), which is what you call a means of indirect communication, as when a ghost or a spirit or demon or god speaks through a person, or when the genius loci or "muse" enters an artist and inspires him/her to create a masterpiece. Is it really us communicating through the structure of Facebook/Twitter, or is the structure of Facebook/Twitter communicating itself (virally) through us?

So I don't think Facebook/Twitter are "social media". I think they are antisocial demons, and that they have possessed us, and are using us at least as much as vice versa, and I doubt the relationship is equivalent.

At any rate, SM (sadomasochistic forced literalism) also happens to be very anti-OOO, by virtue of its very form. As Graham Harman says, very little of the communication that happens between beings takes a literal form. Most of it is theatrical. Poetry uses form to communicate what content is insufficient to express. Metaphor evokes whole worlds of experience unavailable in a literal description of something. Jokes can't be explained: you have to "get" them. Magic tricks are entertaining only if you don't know how they're done. And permaculturist diagrams to the contrary, a chicken is not trying to tell you what it's made of or what you can get out of it, nor what it does or what it can do for you: it's - not - there - for - you! It's there for being there. It's the same for any object, including (but not limited to) a human being or the human species, and that's what OOO is trying to say.

I think that subjecting yourself constantly to literalism (and bombarding others with it all the time) induces depression in the clinical sense. Part of what constitutes depression is the sense that you can reduce everything in your life to its literal meaning and that that's all it is. Since literal meaning is actually only a very small part of what anything is, this reduces your view of your own experience and potential to a very tiny window: you have never known (and will never know) any time of your life different from this time, you have never known (and will never know) any place different from this place. Getting rid of theatricality, finally, is getting rid of the self, which is what depression sufferers often resort to: suicide.

They also tend to be very fragile. I have tried to bring some hesitancy––some Socratic ignorance, in Harman's parlance––into the Facebook realm by asking questions about the conditions inherent in the statements made by my "friends", and the result has always been that I am handed the cup of hemlock. They scream to the gallery about my mental instability, slather on the derision in a way that would horrify them if they bothered to read what they were blabbing, and generally act as if I'm not worthy of criticizing while never ceasing, themselves, to critically drone on in a most uninformed mode, using words that don't mean what they're being used for (so much for the only thing literalism is good for: definite explanations), and accusing me of saying things I clearly have not said.

The demons have also solidified literalism sociopolitically. If you are a heterosexual white male, you must represent yourself as privileged and never as even slightly disadvantaged compared to anyone. If you are a feminist, you must always represent exactly the third-wave feminist definition of what that means. Never mind that forcing anyone––even a total monster––into definitive boxes like that is a form of violence perfectly on board with the most rampant colonialism; all literal propositions about what one is are violent! Even if you're just talking about yourself!

For instance, analyze the following sentence: "I am a pacifist." Very direct, very literal, and eminently appropriate for the four-line window of limitation on Facebook. It is also an identification with a very laudable political position. It is also a proposition. All propositions are made for the purposes of advocacy. They are also very limiting, allowing for no unspecified deviations from what they establish. The sentence, if left unmodified, is really saying, "I am never anything other than a pacifist, not even one little bit, and that's better than you: now applaud me!" Because who can be unflinchingly pacifist all the time? Being a martial artist, I actually know something about violence, and I see much less of it in the training hall than I do in left political society.

The great thing about real pacifism is that it gets stronger the more you think about it in relation to your own ability to do harm. I am less likely to commit violence now than I was before I started training eleven years ago. This is partly because I am more capable of it than I was then. Learning how/when to fight or flee is inseparable from learning how/when to be calm, because the flight-or-fight response is an inherent animal quality. If you don't use it, it will use you.

"I am a pacifist" is therefore a PERFORMATIVE CONTRADICTION. Got it? Be more specific, please, and don't do quite so much comparing what you are with what you imply others are not.

Nothing represents anything with literal accuracy––not even itself, let alone any group. For instance, being heterosexual doesn't have to mean you've never, ever had any homosexual tendencies. It just means they're probably not a significant aspect of your sexual inclination. Heterosexuality isn't something I "be"; it's something I do: a performance: theatrical. It only seems natural because I'm used to it. It's a role I've had ample opportunity to rehearse.

Hopefully my forswearing of SM means I'll have more time for the performance of being a blogger. We'll see. Till then, take care of yourself, stick your face in real books, and write more books I can be interested in sticking my face in. Maybe I'll try to do the same.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fury Road

Spoilers aplenty here, so be warned.

I expected to hate it. I thought it was going to be just another male-dominated post-apocalyptic statement of raw and uncomplicated indictment of our present course towards ecological collapse. I couldn't have been more wrong.

When the dying (of cancer: he names his tumors "Larry" and "Barry", or something like that, and calls them his "mates", drawing little faces on them) warrior kid tells his buddy he intends to die in the glory of battle and enter Valhalla, his buddy punches the air in exultation and roars "Organic!!!" It was then I realized that this would be a script worth reading no matter how few words it contained. I was right. It's brilliant all the way through.

The empire of "Pa" or "Dad" as he's variously called is indeed based on a sort of organicism-without-Nature.

Of even more subtle ironic value is the role of Max himself. He isn't even a main character, despite being initially the narrator. His VO at the incredibly non-aperture-like beginning says he has absolutely no intentions other than survival, and after that he becomes more of a sidekick to the driven and capable (but deep and nevertheless flawed) Fury, whose strength and moral fortitude proves insufficient to lead her followers to a home that has already been destroyed...not by bandits or war, but by the slow creeping erosion of ecological collapse. What she decides to do then, on the powerfully tentative, philosophical advice of the trauma-ridden Max, is return to the evil citadel, defeat the regime, and share out the hoarded resources among the sufferers...implicitly until there's none left. After which Max nods in approval and walks away, as usual, with neither Fury nor us having learned a single thing about him.

It's one of my favorite movies ever.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pope Francis on Global Warming

This is a very significant development, without a doubt. Preliminary analyses of the encyclical can be found here, on Democracy Now!.

But I have to disagree with Nathan Schneider when he says "Catholics don't divide our faith between the private and the public", which anyone can see, by the Catholic Republicans in the US bending over backwards to marginalize Francis, is complete bull honkey. The whole point of humbling yourself to an imaginary God is that you can partition it off from the rest of your life. Humbling yourself before a huge, dangerous thing for which some evidence exists is a tad more complicated and scary, and I have to give props to Francis for at least the lip service.

I'm in the midst of writing a paper, so I don't have time to go into this at any length, but I also have to point out that a criticism of capitalism from the Vatican is about as convincing as a criticism of meat farming from a Monsanto soybean grower. Still, if he can put his hands to the work of his words, then all is good.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Close Look at the Vegan Fallacy; Another Reason Why You Should Never Believe Easy Answers

OK, now I'm going to talk about why a consumer of anything is just as bad as a consumer of anything else, and why the problem is consumerism itself, and never that which is being consumed. 

When many people try to imagine the global effects of a vegan diet, they are usually thinking of healthy green plants everywhere, with never a captive animal to be seen. This image is a fantasy. Without complex interdependencies of diverse animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms including human beings, real soil vitality can not be maintained, and no system of mass production can operate on such small scales. Vegan or not, no one can sustainably provide enough nutritious food to support a population of consumers who take no active part in the production of the food for their own communities, which include other life besides human life. Any vegan agriculture that tries to support a population of dependent consumers would have to be based on the use of some form of ammonium nitrate and superphosphate fertilizers, the discovery of which happened in the first half of the 20th Century and the misuse of which has continued to this day, with results that amount to the worst disaster imaginable. 

As someone who is not necessarily a tee-total organicist, I'm not saying we can never, ever use superphosphate: we can, and get away with it in limited cases, but there are two reasons why, in the end, we can’t keep on doing it. The first is that all of that stuff carries its own pollutants. The two very common ones are cadmium and uranium. 

As you add superphosphate annually, cadmium uptake increases in your plants to the point where, in many market vegetable farms, the cadmium levels are way beyond health levels, and that goes for most of the vegetables you are buying. Cadmium is a deadly poison. Death from cadmium is extraordinarily painful. Constant application of superphosphate to food systems will kill you in the long run. 

As for uranium, it is radioactive. It builds up annually and remains in your soil. 

So whereas the benefits of phosphate are high in phosphate-lacking soils, the benefits of annual application are zero and the practice becomes extremely detrimental. Most of modern agriculture has reached these levels of pollution, because there are no clean phosphate sources. No sources of phosphate are just phosphate; they are always accompanied by other molecules which are often toxic. 

But the other thing that happens is that phosphate blocks zinc uptake in plants and animals. Zinc, at first, may sound pretty slight to you, but looked at closely zinc is the most important coenzyme for nearly all your food processing systems. You can eat your head off, but you can’t absorb your food without zinc. Wounds may heal slowly, and sexual development doesn’t happen. Zinc is vital to sexuality, the digestion of food and the absorption of amino acids. It’s a coenzyme with most of our enzymatic bodily processes. You need 25 milligrams a day, and you’re lucky to get 8 from crops grown on superphosphate. At the same time as the superphosphate is adding cadmium, it’s decreasing zinc. The other thing it will do, eventually, is cause elevated copper levels in your blood, because you’re taking up the 2+ ion in the absence of zinc. Much of the world’s population now has high blood copper levels because of this. The other place you expect to find copper levels high, at sub-lethal levels, is in desert populations, where zinc uptake is blocked by the high alkalinity. 

The fact that a lot of our vegetables are poisoned with cadmium is on the secret list. It’s totally suppressed by government policies. Effectively, there is very little food left that is safe to eat, and nothing to be done about it at the government level. If people die quietly of something, the status quo remains unthreatened; if everyone starts to reject the food because of cadmium poison, that’s a disaster. We pay tens of billions of dollars a year towards the cost of these things in direct and indirect subsidies to agriculture, particularly artificial, that are worldwide through governments. 

This is logical, because who pays for governments to get elected? It’s costs tens of millions to get someone elected now, and those you pay work for you! You are not going to see any decrease in the subsidies to agricultural colleges or to agriculture, or any real freedom of information. The only way to know is to go to NutriClean, which is an independent testing authority, send your vegetables there and see if you can eat them or not—and mostly, you can’t. Last information I had from them was that they had found two (2) organic carrots for sale in America. It took them a week or two to track them to a back yard up in Colorado. No organic carrots are grown in North America on broad scale farms. 

It is very important to understand that absolutely no one ever intended for this to happen, but we have built up problems that are now insuperable at the scale on which we live. We have about 200 years of superphosphate built up in the soils, and very heavy cadmium loads. This is through no evil intent. There is no evil; there is only rigorously applied stupidity. 

This in addition to the fact that biocides—our herbicides, germicides, pesticides, etc.—are all suicides in the end, because they all effect us as much as anything else. 

Organic agriculture is therefore very smart. It is sustainable for the very reason that it doesn’t hurt anybody. Unfortunately, it is not doable on the scale necessary to feed the existing population from exclusively plant-centered farms with no use of material contributions from animals. In the absence of small-scale agricultural systems that are a hybrid of animal and vegetable, you must plow yearly, you must apply some form of nitrate fertilizer to the soil, and this is killing people faster than the cadmium is. In the US, cancer has become an epidemic. Very little water in the country is free of nitrosamine pollution, and when you’re drinking nitrosamines, you are drinking cancer. Add chlorine to that, and you’ve got the cancer map. 

The mainstream agricultural system that a vast majority of our population depend on for their sustenance has already collapsed. You can go to Ames, Iowa and ask the agricultural faculty, and they’ll say “Yes, we’re guilty. We’re sorry. It’s collapsed.” They had a nice day from 1940 up until now, but the destructiveness of what they did is incredible, and they never measured it. In collapsing, it has collapsed everything else with it. There are now no longer enough of these hybrid biological systems, with interdependent relationships between diverse plants, animals, fungi and many different organisms existing anywhere on the continent to facilitate healthy soil sufficient to feed a healthy human population. Lack of diversity in the agricultural ecosystem means no disease control, and every apple must now be soaked in poison of one kind or another (many labeled “organic” for convenience) to control the red spider mite epidemic. 

Soya beans, mainstay of Western vegan diets, require dozens of different sprays to get a crop through, each one different. Every week they have to change the spray, because pests are resistant to 25 or so of them, so you have to hit those with something different. All our soybeans are grown in Mexico, and every chemical company in the world has large warehouses there, so the soya bean has become a deadly crop. Many of those sprays are systemic, meaning that they are embedded in the bean. The main reason we are growing the soybeans is to paint cars: they are mostly not grown for food. Maybe 1% of the crop is eaten by people, but it’s the same crop, and the rest is simply pressed for the oil that is the only basis for car paint. Try to imagine how many soya beans you need for that! Soya beans, in fact, are subject to a tremendous amount of investigation as to their product: you can make almost anything you like out of them. Sure, you can easily make it so that people can feel just like they’re eating meat or eggs when in fact they’re eating soybeans, but this implies that there is something wrong with meat and eggs that isn’t wrong with soybeans. And there isn’t. 

The soybean is possibly the only crop in the world for which 100% of the genome patents are owned. There is no free soya seed anymore. Other crops are also heavily patent-owned: 90% of wheat, 100% of soybeans and about 80% of barleys and such are owned by probably less than five chemical companies. The soya bean is the first crop to go out of the possibility of consideration as a human food. The others are going fast, with the 46 main crops being patented. They will all be produced, under contract, with heavy biocides. If you continue to buy them, you can really kiss your ass goodbye. 

If you want to see how bad soya beans are, take a trip to Mexico. Head for Obregon, which is all soybeans from north to south, and have a good look. There’s no living thing there: not a bird, lizard or insect. It’s salted for miles, the soil is in total collapse in a textbook example of the problem. Soy is a sick crop fed to sick people covering hundreds of miles, and it’s destroying Mexico. You won’t notice it, but after you get past Homacio, Mexico is already destroyed: that was soya bean, five years ago. As you go down south, there are still some living soya bean fields, but very little, and the salt has eaten everywhere it was. Soya beans remove more forest than all other woodchopping combined. Any consumers of soya-based vegan foods really should go down and see the results. Their anger would be much better directed where it’s due than at their meat-eating fellow consumers, whose offense is absolutely no worse. At present, they are willing (if ignorant) participants in the same catastrophe that we fail to understand insofar as we are excused from dealing with it. Ask the civil engineers in Mexico, and they will tell you they can’t lay sewer or water pipes anymore: where there was salt 60 meters below the surface, now it’s 1 meter below, and they can do nothing: not foundations for buildings, nada. When the soil has turned to salcrete, it eats all the pipes, including the plastic ones. When you build on it, it tips your buildings over. Salt is rather like ice: it flows in big uplift systems. When you’ve got 60 meters of solid salt, building is futile. The salt has also eaten all the Yaqui and Mayo Indians. It swept down slope with the water table and wiped them out, all the way to the coast. There is one little clump of Mayo left in a tiny chunk of jungle in a vast, white, salted wasteland. Don’t just dismiss me when I tell you that the food system you choose is a disaster: go and have a look for yourself, and learn to be aware of what you are doing. Do not, under any circumstances, imagine that you are not part of it. Either your car, the bus you ride or your bike is getting painted, and if you are relying on soy protein in any form for a vegan diet, you are elevating this destructive, disastrously parasitic crop to a sick fetish, just as bad as the mining of crystals for sale in American rock and wacky-tacky shops, which is a total disaster of endless unreconstructed diggings miles wide in the affected regions. 

Nothing can satisfy the appetite of the American consumer sustainably. No broad scale system is capable of unilaterally supporting the American population, no matter what specific substances are being consumed. The only option is for concerned Americans to creatively design and participate in recombinant ecological interdependencies that are small-scale and diverse enough to support themselves with minimal inputs. Such a mosaic of small-scale cultural productivity, however, would mean divestment from the tit of the agrilogistical system we currently seem eager to pay for the privilege of being enslaved to. That would be hard, even if it might turn out to be tremendously fun, which I actually think it would. Therefore, we do the easy thing and troll each other for being a dirty eater of whatever forbidden substance. Not all toys are harmless, and children really do hate letting go of their toys. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Citizen Radio is a Bad Influence on the Young Left

Well, I hate politics, but the candidates are signing up and the great American horse-race has begun, for good or ill. Long story short, I don't like Clinton (surprise surprise) and the government was easier  to oppose from the left under Bush than it has been under Obama, so I don't care about who's likely to win. It makes all the difference of a 0.5-second methane gas emission in a category 5 hurricane. The only people I really like for the seat that I know of right now are Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson (the latter of which may not even be running). People argue about whether Clinton or Paul would be better, but neither of them has much of a chance anyway, in my estimation: the right hates Paul, and Clinton is a woman who lost the race to a black man last time around. That's realpolitik, love it or hate it. It looks like Bush at this point. Sigh.

What I AM excited about is how sick I am of young radio personalities on the left who give Rush Limbaugh a run for his money in terms of substituting emotional memes for coherent political arguments. The assholes I will be making an example of today are Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny, much-told heroes of Citizen Radio.

The tragic thing is, I would agree with almost everything these kids said (but not quite) if they supported their political positions with actual arguments based on clear data and refined by challenge from people with whom they share a great deal of ideas. The way in which K & K simply pathologize  anyone who challenges their positions as being one brand or another of politically wrong (not progressive enough, therefore insupportable), as well was the cowardly, slovenly way they shrug off criticism with phrases like "Get your own podcast" or "What have YOU done for these causes lately?" renders me incapable of finding (or wanting) any common ground with them at all. Since the only good argument is a well-made argument, I disagree on almost every level with everything they say. How you say things that are true is as important as the truth itself. Your ability to hear others say what they think of your arguments is also important.

True, Citizen Radio is able to parade an impressive array of talk show guests, Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky being my favorites. However, this is more a testament to the inclusive, open characters of Zinn & Chomsky than the credibility of Citizen Radio as a source of political knowledge. Chomsky also did an interview with Ali G. Enough said about that.

Kilkenny at least tries to write well, I have to give her that. But where there should be insight, there is instead simple rage and ridicule. These are not equivalent. One badge she has proudly displayed is that G. Gordon Liddy once told her that her writing made him want to vomit. The fact that Liddy is an asshole (and he is) doesn't make her a good writer. It just makes him an easy target for other assholes.

As for Kilstein...ugh. Where to begin? He actually reminds me a little bit of Hitler. One of his more recent antisocial-media comments conflated marijuana-smoking "4:20" celebrants with racism. The quote was something like "I hope you guys are figuring out how to help people in prison for weed while you're smoking it," or some heinous pathologizing crap of that kind. Really? You're going to associate harmless, laid-back herb-smoking specifically with racist mandatory minimum sentencing? The laziness of this witch-hunty political smear borders on genius. Of course, ANY structure of law, society or even architecture in the USA can be associated with racism. The USA is a racist country, always was, and shall be for a very long time, I regret to say. But you might as well call organic gardening racist. Seriously, you could make that argument if you wanted to invest enough time and imagination, and you'd maybe have a point. My own point is, who cares if you have a point? Do you have a GOOD point or a crappy, lazy one that plays on emotional reaction to unavoidable incorrect politics...unavoidable because, in the end, we are all culpable for the political injustices that plague the world we inhabit, and there is no perfect political ideology. Not one.

Kilstein is also an example of why you really, really should reconsider being vegan. The wish to do no harm is laudable, but not realizable. (Who weeps for the scallions? Should I? How do you know plants are different from animals? How do you know there is a difference? How do you know of a difference between plants and people?) The wish to be healthy is more realistic, but the 100% fat-free Kilstein almost constantly discusses his likewise constant consumption of energy bars and other such processed fake-foods, as well as his frequent fainting spells and thin blood. As a fellow martial artist (Kilstein practices jujitsu, I practice pukulan), I know that high-endurance fighting arts require higher-than-average protein in the diets of their students. While in many Asian countries grain and vegetables are fermented in such a way as to provide sufficient protein and fixed minerals and vitamins, this is generally not the case in New York City. The grains we eat in the USA ("gluten free" or otherwise) are basically pure starch with no fixed minerals or protein, and the metabolism of vegetable nutrients in the digestive system requires fat in the mix. Absent unsustainable western agrilogistics, the ONLY way to supply the fat sustainably in most regions is through grazing animals. Plant-based oils are simply too costly to produce. I'm not a nutritionist, but I know from experience that Kilstein exhibits the "burning the candle at both ends" impression (anger, breathlessness, emotional instability) of someone whose diet is inadequate to their energy expenditure.

But really, what is the main point I want to make? I don't pretend anyone should care a lot about what I say, but on the off chance that you do, I will suggest that if you are a young person (a generation behind my 45 years), you may want to consider NOT using these assholes (asshole: noun; something that produces nothing but poop) as examples of how to engage in political discourse. They are basically products of the antisocial-media generation..."trolls" is the overly-scary common parlance these days. "Bullies" is more accurate. The fact that they use bullying to fight bullying is pretty scary in itself, as it reduces the standards of political discourse to a simple measurement of who is the ugliest. If that's the best the young left has to offer, screw them. And these kids literally make their money by being trolls. "Troll" is an appropriate job description: their community of listeners sends them money because they love to hear the trolling.

Such hype is no substitute for actual discourse that engages with political, social, economic and ecological realities.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mandatory Voting

This is being considered by the Obama administration, and a petition that I know of (and signed) is circulating. Has anyone else heard about this?

I'm very much in favor of it, and have been for a very long time. In the first place, I think that calling voting a "right" or a "choice" is misleading, because 1) failing to cast a ballot is actually a kind of vote for whichever candidate ends up winning, and 2) because it's actually a civic duty that affects not just you, but others in your country, and 3) because people in countries that already have mandatory voting are more politically knowledgeable and engaged than Americans.

I think a $100 fine (as in Australia) for failing to vote is a great idea, provided that adequate attention is paid to everyone being able to get to the polls...for example, if a boss threatens to fire you if you leave work, they get thrown in jail & lose their business license, that kind of thing; or if racist thugs in government positions try to stop you, they go to PRISON. That would be cool.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Brain Hears More than the Ear; Why Digital Audio Really Does Suck and You Should Not Listen to (or Produce) Factory-Made Music

Some of my friends lately have been recommending a lot of contemporary music to me that they’ll think I’ll like, and are astonished when I tell them it’s terrible.

“Why?” they ask. “Just because it’s digitally produced?”

Yes, precisely because of that.

“Aren’t you just arbitrarily assigning a value to analog vs. digital and deciding to like one and not the other? Doesn’t that go against your own object-oriented philosophy, you essentialist organicist hippie?”

It certainly would go against my philosophy if that were what I was doing, but it’s not. Actually, the only reason you think you like anything that’s digital audio is because you persuade yourself into some kind of hype based on the idea that since the musicians are playing well (assuming it is, for example, a drummer, not a drum machine of some kind) and since the music is “about” something you like (ecology, left social politics, etc.), then it must be good.

Well, that idea is wrong…not simply a different opinion, but wrong. As a musician and amateur sound-nerd, I thought I should write a post to explain why that is. When you’ve read it, I hope you will understand that digital audio is the biggest artistic cul-de-sac the human species has ever gotten itself stuck in, and how enormous a waste of time and resources it has been, and why people doing it should make no money at all, and that they should stop. Now. 

Let’s begin with some basics. The most important thing that no one realizes about sound is that music, as such, is a non-repetitive waveform. If you’re going to hear something your central nervous system can identify as music, it can’t repeat!

Yes, of course I know that when you look at a waveform diagram, you’ll get the idea that it’s repetitive, but it’s not. Music is not a repetitive waveform! Once the brain hears a repetitive waveform, like a doorbell or a drum machine pattern, it immediately categorizes that as not being music: it’s a mechanical pattern, and you are wired to recognize it. You can sit on a train and hear its rhythm: no one has to tell you that this rhythm is mechanical: you already know. When you listen to a dance record, for example, you immediately figure out what’s done by a machine and what isn’t. You will categorize a repetitive, mechanical pattern as non-musical, whether you want to or not.

“But Nick, why don’t all electronically produced sounds register as non-musical? If you’re against digital technology, why not just be an acoustic-Nazi and throw away your electric guitar, your amp and your effects pedals?”

I’m actually not against digital technology in general, and I’m not an organicist. I love amplified and effect-laden electric music (I build effects pedals both as a hobby and a job), and as a musician, it’s the instantaneous dynamic response of the amplifier or effect that I’m interested in. Everything a musician does changes in real time: how hard or how soft you play or sing, and all the subtleties and nuances, are constantly changing. It’s impossible for someone to analyze all that enough to technologically reproduce it, because they would have to know what you’re doing before you do it in order to even begin to decipher it, and you can’t do that.

Even a simple analog circuit, if well designed, becomes a very complex thing analytically. It really becomes like a living thing, so the actual sound itself begins to take on a human quality, because you are taking information from the musician’s technique or from the input, and that in itself controls and determines the output. It hasn’t had an algorithm or a set of parameters placed on it to predetermine the sound, and that’s where your dynamics and “touch sensitivity” come from, and those are the sounds people really like, even if they don’t know exactly why.

The reason is, once again, that these sounds are not repetitive, but constantly changing, and so they take on a lifelike, very human type of sound, even if it’s very distorted. Old Jimi Hendrix records were very human sounding, and even people who think they don’t like electric music will admit that.

Now we can get to why I’m against digital sound.

Number one, there are several major differences between analog and digital. The sampling rate is one. The actual sampling rate will never be high enough to capture the analog sound, period. No matter how you advance the technology, it will never work. Another major difference is that the resolution of a digital signal gets worse and worse as the sound gets softer (the “decay” at the end of the note, where it fades into quiet). It might start off at 24 bits, but you can’t use all 24 bits because then you get digital distortion. So you take it down to 20, and as the signal decays you might get down to 10, and it sounds crappy. This is why I hate digital echoes, delays and reverb. They are an absolute waste of money, time and materials. My tube amps can’t stand them either. The decay at the end of a digital reverb pedal going into a tube amp is horribly grating on the ears. 

Now, you can get good digital echo and/or reverb using Pro Tools or something similar, but that’s using a very fast processor, and it’s not in real time. When it comes to playing with digital equipment in real time, you simply can’t put enough processing into it for the money. The manufacturers would all like you to believe you can, but you can’t. The amount of processing you need to do the job properly is enormous. The difference with Pro Tools, etc., is that you’re not doing it in real time: you can put in a half-second buffer wherever you want, for example, because you’ve got this latency in the processing which makes these hard disk systems work. But when you’re playing live, you can’t play with 30 or 40 milliseconds of latency: it’s just not quick enough.

“But Nick, why don’t you also hate digital video?”

Because video is totally different. The reason digital works with video is because you’re surrounded by other information from the pixels around it. You can make an educated guess as to what the picture should be. You can’t do that with audio, because it’s changed. Again, music is non-repetitive!

An even worse problem is that the artifacts in digital sound, once it becomes quieter at a certain point in the decay, become very grainy, and this annoys your ears. People call it “coldness”, “hardness”, “brittle”, “glassy”, “listening fatigue”, and other tactile, haptic names. This is precisely because the brain is having to do too much processing. If you are listening to a telephone conversation (or even someone right next to you talking) in a dance club, and it’s very loud, and you have to keep straining to hear what they’re saying, after a couple of minutes you’re going to hang up and wait until you can hear one another before you start talking again. This is because the brain is using so much processing power to try and screen out the background noise to isolate the meaningful information. You don’t realize it’s happening, but it is, and it’s very tiring on your brain, and after a while it goes “Oh, fuck it!” It can’t be bothered to deal with it…and shouldn’t be.

I used to have a Fender Mustang digital modeling guitar amp. I think it had about 24 amp models and 30 effects on it, and you’d think a guitarist would want to play with that all day. Yeah? Try it some time! Your ears get tired, you feel like you’re getting a headache, and you’re just not enjoying playing, and you won’t even be able to practice a full hour. But plug into a cheap little 5W tube amp, and you’ll play it till your fingers fall off. This is because your brain is totally dissatisfied with the work it has to do in listening to the digital amp.

So this is not some socially inspired prejudice of mind. Not at all! Your actual brain is worn out by it.

Imagine walking in a forest. You are conditioned, through millions of years of evolution, to detect a stick breaking, in amongst all the other noises, as a danger signal. Say you’re washing the dishes in your kitchen and a piece of glass breaks behind you: you turn around. This is an inbuilt danger signal, and that’s what is happening, without you realizing it. When you hear sounds that are artificial, they stand out to you. When you hear a synthesizer rendition of an actual instrument trying to sound like something, your brain rejects it. Even if you say it’s real, your brain says “No it’s not.” I’m not saying it’s right; I’m saying you can’t fool it.

And I am by no means against synths either, but no matter how I want to like Björk’s new album (the music and what she’s singing about are great, or should be), I just can’t listen to it. When I listen to Stratosfear by Tangerine Dream, however, something very different happens. This is because in 1976, TD were using analog synths that were not trying to sound like something, but generating an original sound in their own right. The most important part of that is that the actual sound source was analog. If experimental electronica and prog-rock aren’t your thing, then think about Stevie Wonder’s Music of My Mind or Innervisions. Sounds great, right? Those types of analog sounds, even though they’re synthetic, sit in the mix. You can mix them in. When they first came out with digital synthesizers such as the DX7, on the other hand, you could identify it immediately, no matter what instrument they were set to emulate. You’d go, “That’s a DX7. That’s an M1.” Amazing but true, the brain can identify the algorithm the fucking thing was based on and categorize it, just like that! The brain has a huge processing ability, but it doesn’t need to work very hard to know what it likes.
The best sounds are the ones that sound “human” or “living”, and by those words I simply mean whatever you mean when you say you hear or feel those things. Reverb should sound like “space”; it should not sound like a glass marble breaking against a marble pillar and showering the marble floor with pixilated bits of microscopic glass in a room that’s pretending to be the size of the Sistine Chapel but you know (because you can hear it) that it’s about 4 cubic inches (roughly the size of your “reverb” pedal). Reflection of sound frequencies against each other is much like that against the walls and objects in a room. True reverb (even using metal plates or a spring unit) can make it sound louder even if it’s not. When you mix two signals together, you’ve got two mathematical variables together: one is the sum of the signal, the other is the difference. That’s a pretty big number of sonic variations…virtually infinite, in fact.

To fully enjoy such possibilities, you need a huge bandwidth, one you will never be able to get with digital tech. If you’re making an analog mixing console, the actual mixing amplifier needs to have a frequency response of up to 300 kilocycles, because it’s mixing together all the tracks, and it couldn’t mix them together properly unless it had that kind of bandwidth. You would lose all the “air” (another spatial, tactile phrase) and the definition between the signals.

“But Nick, everyone knows you can’t hear anything higher than 20kHz!”

You don’t know what you’re talking about. They say that, yeah, but what they’re talking about is a sine wave. Music is not a sine wave! Music is non-repetitive! What I’m talking about are the subtle variations in the music, and you can hear those at frequencies far higher and lower than you even know you can. And that’s an important point that doesn’t get looked at much: things happening in a sonic realm beyond the capabilities of our hearing can still affect the reproduction of the parts of the sound we do hear. I can’t say it enough: it’s amazing what you perceive. One of the most frequent comments that you get from engineers when they use digital on a microphone is that they lose what they call the “air” around a recording. You hear the actual sound, but you don’t hear the ambience (even in so called “ambient” music, too ironically), and one of the basic tricks of good engineering is capturing the ambience. Once you’ve lost detail in an audio signal, it’s gone forever. The detail is lost. And maintaining that definition is the whole point of electronic engineering. Digital kills the whole ballgame.

Since our brains have so much ability to process music, and yet are so easy to figure out in terms of what works for them, we should respect them and not feed them crap. All you experimental sound artists out there who are using digital, please do us all a favor and throw that rubbish away. Or sell it, if you must (I certainly can’t afford not to sell things I can’t use anymore) and invest the proceeds in stuff that makes real sound. No sound produced by digital processing is “music”. It’s noise. If that’s what you want to do, fine, but call it what it is, and also be aware that that noise is not good for the central nervous systems of yourself or the people you’re inflicting it on. If you want noise that’s actually musical, try listening to the Grateful Dead making “Feedback” in 1968, or the aforementioned Hendrix.

As musicians, we all got sucked in by the promise of awesome technology that turned out to be not that cool. We spent a lot of money, invested a lot of time and energy, and it can be hard to let go. It doesn’t get easier the longer you hold on. Let go NOW. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't Bring the Language Unless You Know What the Words Mean; What Would John Maynard Keynes Do?

Nobody ever reads this blog. I'm not complaining: I hardly ever post. I'm nowhere near as eager to talk about my ideas as I was when I started it way back when. I have nowhere near the following that Tim Morton, who I generally hold in very high esteem, does...and since many of the things I say here tend to be slightly if not totally derivative of his ideas these days--for a good reason: I think he talks a lot of sense--some of my stuff is really only good for different takes on what he or other OOO thinkers are already saying.


There are occasions when I have very developed ideas of my own: ideas that are backed up with a good deal of serious research. Occasionally, this means I get revolted at some of the sophomoric blather I hear quoted about certain theories and historic figures. Very rarely, this brings me into the position of having to refute things said by people I otherwise like. This is one of those times.

John Maynard Keynes was never a particularly influential or well-known economist, even in his heyday, when a beleaguered and otherwise quite pro-Fascist President Franklin Delano Roosevelt reluctantly but desperately adopted an actually rather anaemic, watered-down, cherry-picked selection of the remorselessly bold and iconoclastic economist's policies to stave off the economic cataclysm of the Great Depression in about 1937.

That cherry-picked and watered down list of economic policies almost got us out of the Great Depression. If things had carried on the way they were, the Roosevelt administration might have had to apply Keynes' policies more rigorously. Had that happened, the mainstream money-grabbing, quasi-Fascist theories and mystical mumbo-jumbo about the Invisible Hand of the Free Market put about by the Chicago School and other illustrious hives of American scum and villainy would perhaps be given a lot less credence than they are in administrative political circles today. Why? Because, I claim, such a robust adaptation of the Keynes formula, while it would not have necessarily eliminated poverty, would certainly have all but caused unemployment to vanish and resulted in much higher standards of economic welfare and industrial production than currently exist. We will never know for sure, GODDAMN IT, because before that could happen, a short, ugly little Austrian mysticism hobbyist in Germany with no talent for anything but romantic nationalistic pontification and his cadré of National Socialist (Nazi) gunsels were threatening to get their military ass kicked badly by Russia under Stalin...which was bad news for poor old FDR, who then had to pretend to join the Alliance against Hitler, whose economic policies the President favored highly, so that we could grab as much control over the planet's resources as possible before the Soviets got a hold of it.

It's questionable whether or not the administration knew about the concentration camps. It is easily available knowledge that the USA refused to allow the immigration of (I can't remember if it was three or four) huge shiploads of Jews attempting to escape from countries directly and clearly threatened by Nazi Judenrein (ethnic cleansing of Jews from communities). We sent them back to Europe.

That's not what this post is about. The reason I mention it is this: Anyone who thinks that FDR was any kind of "liberal" president, on any level, should try to imagine what that boat ride back across the Atlantic must have been like for those Jews. I think you will agree it had to be a pretty long trip. Their life expectancy on arrival? I wouldn't give much, though I don't know for sure.

But this is about economics. I'm not saying FDR hated Jews. There are politics, and there are economics, and sometimes they're not the same. One thing FDR liked--a lot--was right-wing economics of a particular kind. If I had walked up to him in 1935 and said, "Mr. President, with all due respect, sir, can't you see what dangerous people Hitler and Mussolini are, and the threat they pose to liberty in their own countries and around the world?!" his response would probably have been, "No, sir, as a matter of fact, I cannot, sir! Just what our own country needs, for that matter: big business running the country, and plenty of it! What's your fuckin' problem?"

But after a few years of trying to prop up his big buddies in business, totally convinced that it would rescue the disastrous national economy, the President grudgingly invited John Keynes to the Oval Office and allowed himself to be reprimanded as if the eagle on the carpet at his feet were a badly-cooked crow on his dinner plate.

"I told ye before, Mr. President," the already curmudgeonly 54-year old economist might have said, possibly shaking his cane at the former Rough Rider helpless in his presidential wheelchair, "ye been listening to the wrong people. Tax breaks only help the wealthy; they do about as much for industry as a dog turd in a can o' Shinola does for yer damned shoes. Ye can't keep on with this blah blah blah..."

The President, desperate to halt the economic miasma that not even the very wealthy could any longer ignore, and to get the irritating Keynes out of his office, was able to stop banging his head on the presidential desk long enough to listen to some of what the man was saying.

The government, among several other things too wordy to go into here, finally levied a 97% tax on the upper income bracket, using the resulting revenue to kickstart industry (literally paying work force straight out of the government coffers, and also footing the bill for product research and development) and fuel public works to build bridges, roads, schools, libraries...and prisons, unfortunately, but that's what we do in the USA. The next bracket down was taxed scarcely less than that, though I can't remember the exact number. The pump was primed. Things started to improve immediately. When the rich complained, threatening their former buddy in the White House politically, Roosevelt told them very politely and publicly to go fuck themselves. "How many votes can you get?" he smirked to the Wall Street tycoons, as a teary-eyed woman at the front of a cheering crowd recently saved from abject poverty held out her baby for the great man to kiss. The tycoons, besides knowing they were defeated, were human beings, and the Depression was so horrible for everyone that they didn't put up much of a fight. They just cried a bit. Can't blame them. Their mansions were being turned into hospitals.

Again, I say that we can't know what the country would be like today if things had continued that way. Enter the Second World War, and huge swaths of private industry were essentially drafted into the war effort. Our Alliance won, and the recent movie about Alan Turing deservedly credits the ill-fated mathematician with the immensely important cracking of the German Enigma code that cripplingly compromised Nazi military strategy...which sucked, Enigma aside. Whether or not the barbaric bombing of German civilian targets by America and Britain (much worse than anything similar the Germans had done to their foes in the earlier part of the war) made more of a difference than mathematics and the invention of the computer is a matter for argument.

Which is to say: FDR was no saint, and he certainly was no liberal. He did have courage, and the intestinal fortitude to admit when he was wrong and to finally do the right thing for the working class, no matter how Wall Street screamed and howled. For that, he deserves a lot of respect: I'd like to see the West Wing occupied by a President with half his guts today. But in my opinion, he is given way too much credit for helping the USA out of the Depression. How much credit does Keynes get for it?

None. Have you even heard of him? When people simplistically throw his name around in connection with President Obama's "liberal" (or according to some Republicans, "socialist") economic policies, or the Syriza party of Greece, or the quantitative easement proposed tepidly by the European Central Bank, do you even know what they're talking about? If not, I'm here to say that such ignorance is easily forgiven: these people don't know what they're talking about either. Keynes is little known, almost untaught in schools of economics, and when American economists do talk about him, he is usually reviled...for obvious reasons. Just look at who runs the country. Even Paul Krugman, canny left economist who writes for the New York Times, seems to mention him only once in a blue moon, and is very spare in his descriptions of Keynes' formula. Teachers at the Chicago School often sound like they'd love to bring him back from the dead just so they could hang him from a tree and set fire to him.

While QE (quantitative easement, essentially light national debt relief) is one component of the Keynesian formula (and kind of an obvious one if you just think about it for a minute), that's kind of like saying that paint is a component of a car. You can't just go around calling any piddly little debt relief "Keynesianism": it puts you in the same camp with reactionary right-wingers you probably wouldn't waste spit on if you passed them on the street. It's also a gift to the rampant anti-intellectualism virally infecting this country, where I have to essentially write comedic historical fiction to even have a chance of sneaking any economic knowledge into people's minds.

When we start taxing the shit out of the rich (and for the new rich of today, the top 0.01%, 97% income tax is way too light) and using the money to change our schools from a tragic joke to sleek, shining and well-equipped institutions with empowered teachers and brilliant, physically fit, artistically gifted and well-fed students, then say the name of Keynes. When an engineer wants to develop a machine that can make life better for people (say a renewable and safe energy generator of some kind) and a government office buys his stock in advance of production and gives him research and development money to boot, then say the name of Keynes. When the infrastructure that is now falling apart is updated to cutting-edge industry standards and gleams in the sun...in Detroit fucking Michigan, where not a soul goes without a job that pays them at least $15 an hour, then say the name of Keynes. When a cancer patient's medical bills are handled by taxes, the hospital is a former Vegas luxury hotel seized by the government, and the brilliant and peak-skilled oncologist drives home in a Beemer to tell his/her family that once again American medical technology--with more money than the Pentagon--has reached a point he/she can be proud of, then...

I'm not saying that JM Keynes himself would have gone that far. I'm just talking about the kind of modern policies that his formula might have influenced, if the country hadn't gone so crazy the way it has...and maybe went a little crazy the other way, for a change. But when you consider the amount of money that exists in this country--albeit in very few hands--the above visions are by no means far-fetched. You don't want Socialism? Fine. It's not even necessary! We have all the money we need, and taking it won't even hurt the very rich...except maybe their feelings. Their kids will still go to the best schools...and those schools will be better, because all of them will be. They'll still eat in the best restaurants, and the food will be better, because agriculture...

Sigh. I can't stand to talk about it anymore. I've been grinding my teeth for sixteen years, ever since I first grasped the implications of the possibility of Keynesianism applied according to present need and existing money. What I really can't stand is to hear suggestions that Obama's center-right, tepid little wimpy easements and blatantly unnecessary gifts to the rich are even anywhere on Keynes's radar screen.

And if you're someone who says they are, I hope he comes back from the dead and whacks you a good one upside the head with his cane.

Please read about John Maynard Keynes. Everyone should know about his ideas. Read also the ideas put forward by economists who have carried his ideas further, into the 21st Century...if you can find them. If you can't, become one of them, and run for office, and travel to Spain, and Greece, and Iceland, and everywhere else the working class cries for relief, and don't be afraid to suggest what you think may be impossible. It's not. The money's already there. The government just has to take it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Approaches to the Anthropocene -- a Conversation with Philippe Descola a...

Descola & Latour on Object-Oriented Anthropology in the Anthropocene

The Nature/Culture split is utterly useless as a concept for understanding reality or how to deal with the ecological problems of our age. I've been saying this for decades, long before I ever heard of Tim Morton or Object Oriented Ontology, long before the word "blog" was even invented...but not before I gave up my studies in anthropology in favor of ecology. I felt that it was more important at the time to try to usher in a new, more ecological way of thinking.

I needn't have bothered. OOO and ecological thought are happening in ALL fields, with or without my help. I'm about to post a video that demonstrates this. By the way, I found this on Graham Harman's blog, "Object Oriented Philosophy". He's great: I've been reading his books on HP Lovecraft and Harman's early formulations of Speculative Realism, and I highly recommend these.