Monday, January 2, 2017

Materialist spirituality and spiritualized material

Balder started a thread on this at FB IPS and asked: "Spiritual materialism. Materialistic spirituality. Materialist spirituality. What would these distinctions mean to you?" After some discussion he asked: "If we agree basically on our understanding of the three terms opening this thread, where do they lean into or tend to become one another?" I said:  

We might say spiritual materialism and materialistic spirituality are based on strict dichotomies and the excluded middle, where materialist spirituality (or spiritualized material) includes the middle. Spirit and matter lean into one another, or share partial space, at their borders in what Varela calls structural coupling while each still retains its structural identity. So not one, not two. 

Some of the resources I cited:

Between Deleuze and Derrida (2003):

"The Baroque is defined, above all, by both a separation and interactiveness of the material and the spiritual.... It expressed the transformation of (the Neo-Platonist) cosmos into into a 'mundus.' This architecture enacts a complex reciprocal interplay--interfold--of materiality and conceptuality.... It differentiates between, and yet also relates, 'folds' together" (103-4).

From "Piaget, DeLanda and Deleuze":

"Returning to DeLanda’s example, in terms of genetic structuralism neoteny is a fine example of the way structure grows out of structure in a process that at bottom yields increased complexity by generating a new de
velopmental level. The problem that makes discussions of evolution difficult is that Deleuze rejects the notion of epistemological and developmental ‘levels’, which is essential to Piaget. Instead, Deleuze introduces the concept of ‘strata’, which are intermingled or folded into one another and shot through by escape routes or ‘lines of flight’. At one point Deleuze says that among strata there is no fixed order, and one stratum can serve directly as a substratum for another without the intermediaries that one would expect from the standpoint of stages or degrees. Or the apparent order can be reversed."

"Practical mysticism and Deleuze's ontology of the virtual":

Abstract: Deleuze’s philosophical method is analyzed and positioned against the background of the intellectual/religious tradition of practical mysticism that has been traveling the globe ac
ross times, places, languages, and cultural barriers. The paper argues that Deleuze’s unorthodox ontology of the virtual enables a naturalistic interpretation of the functioning of mysticism when the triad of concepts, percepts and affects is formed in accordance with the logic of the included middle.

And let's not forget Bryant's recent work on the fold:

"The point is merely that bodies are always within the world. There are no transcendent beings that are out of field. If God exists even God is attached to a world without which God could
not be. Every body has its geography; both its internal geography consisting of its composition and its location within a field of liaisons, of relations, to other bodies."

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