February 6, 2012

Prince of Networks: reality as resistance.

I was struck by this perfect example.

“For Latour, two atoms in collision are immanent even if no human ever sees them, since both expend themselves fully in the labour of creating networks with other actants. ‘Since whatever resists is real, there can be no “symbolic” to add to the “real” […]. I am prepared to accept that fish may be gods, stars, or food, that fish may make me ill and play different roles in origin myths […]. Those who wish to separate the “symbolic” fish from its “real” counterpart should themselves be separated and confined’ (The Pasteurization of France, p. 188). What is shared in common by marine biologists, the fishing industry, and tribal elders telling myths about icthyian deities is this: none of them really knows what a fish is. All must negotiate with the fish’s reality, remaining alert to its hideouts, migrational patterns, and sacral or nutritional properties.”

– Graham Harman, Prince of Networks p26