Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
On the OOO thread, I recently posted a link to a new book exploring a Latourian / object-oriented approach to the topic of "grace." It turns out the author, Adam Miller, first posted his thoughts in a series of blogs. I'll post links to them here and will come back to discuss them once I've had the chance to read them. Just from a brief glance at them, it looks like you could skip to parts 4 and 5 if you want to get directly to the Latourian / OOO formulation of a nontheistic, object-oriented theory of grace and sin. Part 3 presents an ontology of multiplicity.
Two Latour-inspired theological arguments from this book:
1. The proper province of science is the transcendent; and of religion, the immanent. Science seeks to uncover what is too distant, difficult, or alien to ordinarily perceive; religion explicates the near, the obvious, the always-already intimate domains of our lives. Both science and religion, in other words, seek after hidden realms and objects, but confusion (and conflict) follows when we engage in what might be called a trans-/im- fallacy: mistaking one realm for the other because both are invisible to us.
2. Science and religion often clash over the religion, not because their views are so different, but because they are so close: common proponents of both tend to indulge in "conspiracy theories" which conceive of evolution, not as the real work of individual entities, but as some separate hidden "force" which directs or calls or pulls individual entities from beyond or from underneath. Both locate creativity, not in the multitude, but in a singular directing Power.
What do you think?
Seems the use of the words transcendent and immanent are being used differently than say how we've used them in the OOO thread. These definitions seems confused to me in #1, especially in light of the multitude in #2, which is akin to Deleuze's immanent, and of which there is no transcendent per se.
There's a chapter in the book dedicated to the topic of transcendence. He is arguing for an 'emulsified transcendence,' a transcendence without a contrary, which is proper to all objects and entities in and as their resistance or withdrawal. Latour's transcendence is not a "big vertical leap" over and above things, but rather the play of difference and withdrawal among things. His way of discussing the "withdrawn" and the "sensuous" is with the phrase, resistant availability (which is basically another way of talking about irreduction: things are both irreducible to other things, and always potentially reducible or relatable to other things). Transcendence (as resistance/withdrawal), he suggests, is both conditioned and irreducible.
So then how does he define immanence?
He associates the "availability" of objects with their immanence -- though, as the passage that follows makes clear, he is really after something in which transcendence and immanence lose their pure distinction.
"In general, 'resistant availability' names that watershed where the relative, multiple, and mobile lines of resistant transcendence and immanent availability constitutive of an object both meet and part ways. In one sense, Latour's transcendence without a contrary resembles 'a completely ad hoc sort of activity that is neither transcendent nor immanent but more closely resembles a fermentation' where each object or network of objects is 'never exactly in accordance with itself, and never led or commanded or directed from above'. In an experimental metaphysics, the objects are always brewing, always fomenting, always bubbling over. Here, the model for a diffuse, localized transcendence is fermentation. In an experimental theology, 'fermentation' might well be taken as a technical, theological term of central importance" (Miller, 2013, pp. 57-58).
P.S. If you've downloaded the Nook software, I'll see if I can send you a copy of the book through the loan function.
I'm guessing that not only Latour but other OOOers are included? I see Bryant did the Foreward. The above sounds similar to Bryant's virtual (resistance) and actual (availability), eh?
Miller doesn't reference other OOO thinkers, but there are definitely similarities to Bryant, especially. Not being familiar enough yet with Latour, I can't say for sure, but reading it I have wondered if Miller is interpreting and presenting Latour through a Bryant-ish lens.
This from part 4B is how I see the Buddhist emptiness of emptiness doctrine:
"The principle of irreduction renders co-conditioned multiplicity unconditional and absolute. In order to avoid the unconditioned exception of a founding One, it unconditionally imposes conditioning. In this sense, the principle simply describes the parameters of a non-supernatural or immanent 'transcendence.' Such transcendences must be neither entirely reducible nor entirely exempt from reduction."
Yes, agreed: this is a good way to describe pratitya-samutpada, in my view.
And it is not a performative contradiction, since it accepts this transcendental absolute. Or in the words of one of my favorite western Buddhist interpreters, Graham and Priest: "The only absolute is that there are no absolutes."