Real Fictions

09Mar11

One of the things I’ve blogged about on here is the reality of fictions…the idea that fictional entities, symbolic entities, religious entities and so forth are entirely real…I have done that mainly with reference to Baudrillard but over at Larval Subjects Levi Bryant makes the case, as usual, far more convincingly than I could.

Read his entry The Power of the False, here.

Incidentally, on religion…some time ago the debates around the new atheists etc. made me question my own atheism, not wanting to associate myself with Dawkins et al. I realised that due to my commitment to the reality of fictions that God, whether existent as theists would believe or not, had to be a reality. For this reason, I’ve since held true to the idea that ‘God and the death of God are identical’. It was this that first led me to investigate gnosticism in which God is represented as completely withdrawn from creation (except via the scintilla). Now, I’m no gnostic believer (or knower) but the idea of God as utterly withdrawn…as a dormant object has appealed to me ever since. In this respect, I’ve begun calling myself a nontheist.

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4 Responses to “Real Fictions”

  1. A poignant post.

  2. 2 Drew

    Hi,

    I was transported here from your link on Larval Subjects. Your point on God (and all other Gods too!) provokes a series of questions in the context of Bryant’s post. I too am an atheist and am likewise committed to a disbelief in ghosts and other supernatural beings. However, given an adherence to OOO, it would indeed be necessary to re-work and re-clarify what it means to say that ‘God is not real’ or does not ‘exist’. Clearly, from OOO perspective, God is both real AND fictional (as would all other divine beings in their contradictory mythos). To add further nuance, by definition everyone would be an atheist, since atheism merely means disbelief in a diety. Christians would be atheists because they don’t believe in Thor, for instance. However, you bring into doubt the significance of the word atheist and I have to agree in this context. To also add to your comment on Gnosticism, the flat ontology of OOO would seem to imply that Gnosticism hits closest to the target. God is portrayed not so much as the supreme commander of the entire universe, but a sort of natural entity among entities, a Demiurge as the pre-Christian Greeks would say. Hmmmm, I sense a possible investigation into Object Oriented Theology.

  3. 3 dronemodule

    Hey Drew,

    thanks for the comment and sorry for taking a while to reply. I really only see limited value in the gnostic conception of God. There are a lot of problems with it given that it proposes a radical dualism between a corrupt material realm and a pure world above. Most of it’s formulations are also highly elitist, given that only a select type of humanity is considered capable of coming to know this withdrawn God and thereby gain liberation from the physical form. There is also the idea of emanation…I’m not sure emanation would sit too well with Levi’s variety of OOO. That said, it might accord with Graham Harman’s distinction between real and sensual objects, where gnosticism would be a kind of mythology wherein God plays a role of the real and the emanations are cast as sensual.

    That said, I think an object oriented theology would be a brilliant thing to look into and one strength that gnosticism might have in that regard is its nested layers of cosmology and it’s weird pantheon composed of those same Emanations.

    Where you mention God as a natural object among other’s I think this is probably better dealt with through pantheism. God might simply be the name of some kind of limit-hyperobject, if Morton’s concept allows such a limiting.

    • 4 Drew

      Drone,

      No worries about response times. I think pantheism is probably the more approrpriate term as I often confuse variants of theology (Harman and Morton have expressed comparisons to Hinduist and Buddhist cosmology in some of their speech and writing). Your mention of emanations, and especially the centuries of fighting over the nature of the holy trinity, gives me considerable thought to the issue of translation (as Levi Bryant calls it) and how a God-object can translate other objects and produce new God-objects that differ in their own respects. I’m only somewhat familiar with Morton’s hyper-object concept but if his indication is that weather patterns or climate change constitute hyper-objects, than I can see how a Godhead might fit into some kind of mega-hyper-object scenario. Very strange notions to sort out here and I think it is worth a paper or so.

      Respectfully,
      Drew


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