Donna Haraway Diffracted: Interpellation, the Philosophy of Science and Modest Witnessing

Donna Haraway Diffracted: Interpellation, the Philosophy of Science and Modest Witnessing

This paper is of hybrid nature – like its author it seeks to integrate worlds and unsettle convention.  In our postmodern moment this is an unoriginal confession, especially among post-secular feminist thinkers.  Donna Haraway’s voice is already speaking, re-affirming: “Cross-overs, mixing, and boundary transgressions are a favorite theme of late-twentieth-century commentators in the United States, and I can’t pretend to be an exception.”[1]

I practice writing that is inseparably, inescapably personal.  I hope the reader will enter ‘my-world.’  I purposefully promote my-self.  If I am serious about ‘unsettling convention’ then I must make strategic claims – my ally-ship sails toward some worlds and not others.

It is no secrete that the academy builds worlds based on its ability to interpret, to render knowledge stable so that it can be wielded for use-value.  We hope the academy practices its power justly, with democratic ends and with a special attention to healing or at least ‘happiness.’  But, the power of objectivity is abused by academics.  So I stand with Donna Haraway again when I claim to be a ‘modest witness’.  I take seriously that all my claims to knowledge are mediated through a participatory world – bound by radical relationality, I practice a hermeneutic of grace.  I write myself because I believe it is more powerful to acknowledge participation than assume objectivity – especially within the humanities; and though the worlds of science are an exception, it is not an exception purified from error.

In short, I recognize that there is a politic to writing; and though my epistemology is gracious, I still struggle with authority – even as it manifests in ‘acceptable academic discourse.’  I seek to commend the strength it took to build that authority and to offer new understandings, new examples of how authority can become differently abled in the world.

On Haraway

In constructing hyper-personal, hybrid expressions of knowledge and experience I am always already conjuring and confessing my allegiance to feminist thinkers whose notions of hybridity have captured my imagination:

Donna Haraway, (1944 – ) is a fellow Virgo, and is currently a Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Bringing her voice to the forefront of my paper is intentional.  Donna Haraway’s ability to think and write is substantial.  I hesitate to be so postured in my praise of her work.  (!) Exclamations are more extraordinary and so is Haraway.  Her writing is creative and rigorous; her wit is quirky and sharp; her knowledge is transformative; her work relieves the sedimentation of dominant culture – the culture she is redefining becomes something other than U.S. centric, other than fiat feminism and other than the saturated misogyny of technoscience and media.  Further, Haraway is interesting!  She is loose with language and dogs; she embodies hybidity: defying academic boundaries she is both scientist and anthropologist, object and subject, lover of both simian and machine.  Donna Haraway is my brand of feminism – a brand less for sale and more implicated in the construction of libratory discourse.

Still, Haraway is not quite implicated enough.  This writing drifts from Haraway’s shores into the open sea of storm and reliance.  My ship is prepared with her tools and leaves toward other localities – the white safe shores of Santa Cruz are not for me.  I am bound to specific worlds, specific institutions, specific identities.  I will spend the rest of this essay moving towards dreams despite contested knowledge, naming my allegiance, expending my agency and attempting to make it work – make it make sense.  Three sections of direction will guide my compass: thinking my subjectivity through the concept of interpellation, encountering buffers that can displace the myth of certainty and embracing responsibility through institutional figuration: if one insists on a thesis, it exists amongst these rhizomaic signifiers.

Subjectivity & Interpellation

Interpellation is an incredibly provocative concept.  A theory flowing from Althusser through Haraway to me, it considers how, “ideology constitutes its subjects out of concrete individuals by hailing them…interpellation occurs when a subject, constituted in the very act, recognizes or misrecognizes itself in the address of a discourse.”[2] I claim I am experiencing interpellation all the time.  I am constituted by my subject positions: white, male, heterosexual, middle class, Christian, able-bodied – even beautiful, from the US – even powerful, and thoroughly educated.  Some of my subject positions speak louder than the others; some speak before I’ve spoken; I am bound by all them – called out, hailed: interpellated.  And even those subject positions are marginal when compared to what they equal in mass – I am more than the sum of my parts, more than those fragmented subjectivities.

I’ll return to the demographics of self in a moment because they do not suffice to explain the full creativity of Althusser’s theory.  Interpellation isn’t only about excavating the subject for the subject’s sake but more so about understanding how ideology lives and functions for some worlds and not others.  Contained within Haraway’s book, Modest_Witness, is Althusser’s example of interpellation which is worth quoting in its entirety:

Althusser used the example of the policemen calling out, “Hey, you!” If I turned my head, I am a subject in that discourse of law and order; and so I am subject to a powerful formation.  How I mis/recognize myself – will I be harassed by a dangerous armed individual with the legal power to invade my person and my community; will I be reassured that the established disorder is in well-armed hands; will I be arrested for a crime I too acknowledge as a violation; or will I see an alert member of a democratic community doing rotating police work? – speaks volumes both about the unequal positioning of subjects in discourse and about different worlds that might have a chance to exist.

Althusser’s example provides that unfamiliar orientation, where I discover I am not alone – the foundation of ethical relationality and of politics.  I am shaped by the ‘other’ both historical forces and the multitude of bodies with whom I share space.  Attentiveness to ideology as it functions through interpellation becomes a work of responsibility.  It requires attentiveness to structures of history that constitute the present in order to change it – to push it towards compassion.  Becoming ‘aware’ is only marginally about fulfilling the liberal white dream of self-actualization, where everyone is ‘human’ and accepted; where the individual subject becomes the object of value worthy of investment and ‘integration’.  Becoming ‘aware’ practices empathizing with the multiple positions both the subject and the context can inhabit, growing familiar with the unequal knowledge/power configurations that allow some worlds to live and force others to convert or parish and the discovery that few voices count, few histories are written, indeed, even the objects to study are always already – interpellated.

Interpellation functions powerfully within the discourses of demographics.  Returning again to the example of my body: my body signifies utter privilege – a body of global secular dominance, I fit the ‘universal’ subject.  My body is an ‘object’ which shows up to count, research, map, organize and market – I am/become use-value.  Within the second Christian millennium becoming the sum of my parts means fulfilling the liberal political order without remainder or retribution, counter-memory or critical discourse.  Plug me in with out remorse because I have no memory.  I am the fulfillment of both genetics and human reason pursuing perfection – never-mind legacies of violence, grief and mourning… we have better medicine, mobile labor, global capital and DuPont: “Building Better Worlds through Science.”

The political power of interpellation goes much deeper now.  Wielding responsible action out of theoretical concepts such as interpellation has occupied a central position in post-colonial and subaltern theory for some time.  The relationship between theory and practice is still birthing new forms of consciousness.  For example, I am interpellated in more than the dominant demographics that social science has developed over the last few hundred years – becoming the sum of my parts is always, already more than the quantified and qualified demographics I fulfill.  This body, this subject, is also interpellated out of deep history, deep time – one that spans not only the formations of life on Earth but also the composition of the cosmos.  A subject of stars, my DNA binds me to a history of organic evolution and constitutes living consciousness.  Much more recently in the course of biotic time an envelope of human powers developed to unify productivity and purpose across semiotic-material landscapes.  The possibilities of using a creative concept such as ‘interpellation’ expand beyond enlightenment reason to include intuitive leaps that birth different realities. Thinking the play of erstwhile superstitious concepts such as magic and myth and cutting the edge of biological determinism with theories like morphic resonance,[3] new contributions are often added to the possibility of understanding links between theory and practice, freedom and responsibility, the human and the divine.  It is vital to sail our imagination toward post-enlightenment reason, counter-narratives and contested knowledge.

Becoming the ‘modest witness’ of my own subject position requires provocative theories like Althusser’s “interpellation.”  In order to wield the creative power of such concepts they must be loosed from the confines of modern convention.  The concept helps the thinker think ideology but even the concept itself is ‘interpellated’ out of a world where ideology is another interconnected signifier – unissued and passing.  I am moving towards thinking institutional figures and body politics – its semiotic-material relationality amidst cities and subjectivies.  But first, in pursuit of free space to play with the politics of interpellation – of figuration and modest witnessing – thinking must critique bounded ideas, explore zones that will buffer the resistance against thinking new thoughts.  I hope other life formations have a chance to live.  In the next section the myth of certainty will be exposed to marginal praise and necessary critique.

A Buffer to the Tyranny of Certainty

Knowledge is better when it is wise and humble – call me a philosopher!  Entertaining the buffers and bumpers that provide zones where wisdom might stand at the side of technoscience might be the most important work of the century.  The purpose is to expose the tyranny of certainty to scrutiny, to suggest ‘other’ readings are possible that might satisfy more dimensions of the inter-experience we share and to extend the survival of our planetary era.

The science of certainty, like every other human phenomenon, underwent a process of unfolding – at first its historical links can be readily traced, but its history eventually refracts back into an endless spectrum of events that make it like all other entities – traceless.[4] Despite the evolution of empiricism, mathematics, experimentation, and the secular liberal rationality, the Western culture of the past 500 years has been preoccupied by the most powerfully functioning myth ever formulated.[5] It colors interpretation while at the same time functions to suppress critical reflection.  Indeed, Thomas Kuhn, goes to great lengths in demonstrating how scientific paradigms develop and shift.  The whole of his work on the subject: The Structures of Scientific Revolutions, makes clear the point that,

…historians (of science) confront growing difficulties in distinguishing the ‘scientific’ component of past observation and belief from what their predecessors had readily labeled ‘error’ and ‘superstition.’  The more carefully they study, say, Aristotelian dynamics, phlogistic chemistry, or caloric thermodynamics, the more certain they feel that those once current views of nature were, as a whole, neither less scientific nor more the product of human idiosyncrasy than those current today.  If these out-of-date beliefs are to be called myths, then myths can be produced by the same sorts of methods and held for the same sorts of reasons that now lead to scientific knowledge.[6]

Spirits do speak.  It is important to recognize that the ‘authority’ given to ‘scientific rigor’ participates in the same mythical consciousness as did the ‘authority’ of 13th century theologians in Medieval Europe or the ‘authority’ of the primordial mythological sensibility captured in the epic Homeric poems the Iliad and Odyssey.[7] The technoscience mode of consciousness has become the most powerful mythos in our planetary era.  Presently, technoscience is producing knowledge and machinery whose authority is practically non-negotiable.  The confidence of technoscience culture to reach the heavens, secure labor and resources, improve health and speed, even fulfill moral imperatives provides this age with radical optimism in the future.  Myths are both magnetic and magnificent; they occupy a space of religification and evangelization, where to be in critical relationship to scientific principles constitutes a position close to blasphemy.

It is an understatement to remind the reader that the age of enlightenment was finished with modesty.  Still, it is important, if not to worship, to make sure praise is given where praise is due.  The Enlightenment – its power and success – is impressive.  It was true that through rigor, experimentation, and the willingness to refine knowledge through mutual confirmation that our species could build foundations – knowledge/power would grow and yield great fruit through hard work.  The heights of human engineering still climb and inspire.

In an era that has brought a global awareness to humanity for the first time, when the planet Earth with all its inhabitants can be seen in its entirety in cosmic space as the single celestial body that it is, and when the universe has been revealed as a creative vastness expanding through millions of galaxies and billions of years of cosmic evolution from the big bang to the present, the collective consciousness now emerging recognizes as was never before possible that all participate in a single enormous history.  At the same time, that history, for humanity and the Earth community, has reached a stage of rapidly deepening crisis and peril.[8]

The blatant reification of mathematics, statistics, reductionism, and quantitative measurement has lead to the abstraction of a particular world torn away from the full presentational expression of concrete reality – of daily experience.  “Such an abstraction arises from the growth of selective emphasis.  It endows human life with three gifts, namely, an approach to accuracy, a sense of the qualitative differentiation of external activities, a neglect of essential connections.”[9] As technoscience increases its power, it looses sight of the results of its actions in a world of relationality.  This mode of relation facilitates action that insists upon a ‘progress’ without ever considering that which is sacrificed for the progress; in the obsession with growth/addition/development a whole culture has lost the critical ability to subtract the difference that is annihilated in pursuit of ‘additive’ change.

Let my critique not hinder the potential of future discovery, but be a modest witness that calls forth memories of compassion, injections of wisdom, and insists that it was only a recent discovery that all endeavors toward knowledge were and still are bound to the pursuit of wealth and the access to material and markets – thank you Karl Marx!  In an implicated and globally dependent world the (contested) innocence science once operated within has eroded.  Capitalism and its military-industrial growth complex do produce some worlds and not others.  The growth of any significant power adheres toward arcs of increase and decrease – the science and certainty of our age is no exception.  I am suggesting that only a serious relationship with humility and wisdom – calling forth the divine Sophia – will offer cause for hope against an increasingly mounting systemic crisis.

Falling just short of claiming divine feminine status in this essay, Donna Haraway’s voice is a comforting, correcting presence that joins forces with another feminist philosopher’s of science, Sandra Harding, to rethink potential trajectories of technoscience.  Harding, via Haraway’s book Modest_Witness, insists on arguing for what she calls “strong objectivity” to replace and refine the standards that show up legitimating some facts and not others in the domain of scientific knowledge.  By “strong objectivity” Harding is insisting that science admit that culture (ideology) plays as large a roll in shaping scientific research as determining ‘fact’ and methods; That “a stronger, more adequate notion of objectivity would require methods for systematically examining all of the social values shaping a particular research process…”[10] Haraway supports Harding’s claims that critical reflexivity must be a part of the continuing practice of science.

Building buffer zones, where science meets its limits and Lady Wisdom has the opportunity to have a voice is a difficult matter.  ‘Objectivity’ must finally admit that its existence is bound to relationality.  As Bruno Latour goes to great lengths to remind us in his work, Science in Action – that the construction of facts is a collective process; that all knowledge must be witnessed or it passes into the void; infused with Haraway’s rigor we go further to insist that issues of race, class, gender, sex, nationality, religion – in short – culture – that culture shapes technoscience.  Attempting to fuse practices of democracy and relationship to situated knowledges – cultures of value – redefines the possibilities of technoscience while at the same time admitting that, “Nothing comes without its world…”[11]

Worlding and Institutional Figures

The point is to cast one’s sail toward a direction, to chose one world and not another.  It is an endless sea of choice and the winds will leave the indecisive ship wrecked upon vacant shores or crushed in the onslaught of torrent and wave.  Insisting that Wisdom have a voice among technoscience worlds – the worlds of advanced global capitalism and military-industrial growth complexes – radical shifts in the academy, politics, and the myriad of institutions that constitute statist identity must awaken to difference… and surrender.  The logic of certainty that once formed, managed, and marketed life-systems has become myth in an age of mega-wonder.  Foucault’s notion of biopower is apt.  There is a double bind.  On the one hand the discernable matrix of control – methods of therapeutics, surveillance and administration – and on the other magnitudes of freedom, decentralized power, the realization that there is so much knowledge, so much material, so much meaning that no one has a clue whose sailing the ship.  It does seem clear that our ship is able to traverse many miles, it is fast and strong, but I swear the contemporary global order is deluding itself.  Our best research assures us that our speed and descent have everything to do with the whirl poor swallowing us and not of our ‘bright’ future.

It is clear we need the help of sea creatures or at least companion species as Haraway insists.  There is a great world of trained swimmers but as a whole our Western secular, Christian culture seems to be afraid of getting wet!  It takes being baptized to truly emerge victorious in ministry – maybe Christianity got that right (?)  A global multitude needs bold new understandings – spiritual awakening is needed.  Teaching large sections of society is a huge, impossible task.  Calling whole cities to enter the work of ideological and structural deconstruction is crazy!  Demanding that whole institutions address the potential of their power, to practice mighty deeds in local arenas is really possible – indeed these forms of action are happening all around us.

Calling on Haraway again I submit that institutions are ‘figures’ in these semiotic-material manifestations of change.  Where notions of capital implode the market driving/diving toward concrete and ballooning debt, company-statist configurations seem to leave no choice out of the madness of either/or.  I find the figure of institutions to be a viable third party, post-statist solution – wading between the hybrid worlds of state responsibility and organizational sustainability.  Haraway is using figuration to refer to the multiple figures in the soap opera of technoscience, but I love playing with her concept in terms of the institution.  Where figuration has deep roots in the semiotics of Western Christian realism, the figure of the institution is still making promises that salvation stories make.  “To figure” as an institution would mean to count or calculate and to be in a story, to have a role; for Haraway the ‘figure’ also captures graphic representations and visual forms – for our purpose the institution has a place, looks a certain way, allies with specific constructed worlds of labor, resource and value.  It may also involve displacements that can trouble identification and certainties – multiple locations and a fluid network of occupations; they are “performative images that can be inhabited, that are condensed maps of whole worlds.”[12]

Sailing away from safe shores toward situated realities, local concerns and embedded practice I submit that institutions like Glide and CIIS become ‘figures’ in worlding.  They both trouble identities that insist a place be normative and docile, capitalistic or statist – they are hybrid entities whose expression in concrete, local SF worlds that defy boundaries of conformity, relationality and the difference between the actual and the potential.  Another one of Haraway’s provocative terms becomes useful to aid this thinking: diffraction.  These special institutions capture diffracted patterns of history and give place to heterogeneous worlds seeking to live.  When Haraway is using Sandra Hardings notion of strong objectivity, diffraction becomes a key insight in how knowledge might be accessed to understand and build just worlds.  She uses diffraction to discuss the patterned, recorded histories of interaction, interference and reinforcement between heterogeneous history and differentiated consciousness.  This is a great word to apply to these hybrid institutions seeking to harbor diverse worlds.  Both Glide and CIIS diffractively build life at once critical, narrative, graphic, psychological, spiritual and political – they become a ‘technology’ for making consequential meanings – an anatomy of meanings.  Diffraction is, “An optical metaphor for the effort to make a difference in the world…Reflexivity has been much recommended as a critical practice, but my suspicion is that reflexivity, like reflection, only displaces the same elsewhere, setting up the worries about copy and original, the search for authentic and the really real.  Reflexivity is a bad trope for escaping the false choice between realism and relativism in thinking about strong objectivity and situated knowledges in technoscientific knowledges.”[13]

The identity of being a ‘modest witness’ has its difficulties.  It is the unmarked category of identity – the identity that comes from no-where, from no culture but still seems to have a voice.  The stronger the objectivity the more potent the voice and at the same time the more significant he bares witness to the subjectivity of his objectivity – as Haraway says, “His subjectivity is his objectivity.”[14] Performing as a modest witness to the institutes of CIIS and Glide subjects me to a powerful formation – that of becoming what toward the beginning of my paper I excavated: my body, this subjectivity, this identity of dominant demographics.  I am intimate with types of subjectivity whose identities are stable, whose salvation is secured, whose ‘figure’ is sustained through the structure of establishment, access to markets, technology and knowledge, even through history itself, and especially in cities like San Francisco, USA.

The return to the self as institution is the figurative solution I have hoped to develop.  I can explain why I do not care about environment justice, why I need the poor to be poor, why I need arenas like CIIS and Glide to facilitate the subjectivity of disassociation I’m always only verbally assaulting.  I am a product of privilege; indeed I am a product of both CIIS and Glide, of San Francisco, CA, of the United States of America.  In this way the broadest context of this life, its action, and its production must be figured to include perspectives that view the defective/deficient/destructive material effects of its own social and cultural being.[15] This renders an extremely humbling picture – an identity that takes seriously its most insidious practice as integrally-symbiotically linked to its survival.  It points to the limit of present ecological conditions to remedy the problem; it illustrates the center of impending implosion born from silenced pain, poverty, and ruin.  In at least this circumstance, this subject is centered in secular-salvific ideology whose life cannot be dislocated from the markets, law, policy, institutions, learning, and the power it calls forth.  In the case of the liberal, white, privileged, active, individual the Tenderloin functions as a local, available source of cathartic, altruistic, ceremonial, ‘giving-back’.  For CIIS, I am a poster child of possibility – an embodiment of its own latent potential, but always, only that – potential – for in actuality it is what it is.

San Francisco’s (Glide & CIIS?) implicit action of production and ignorance culminating in this poverty of self does not see the challenge that it itself is throwing down and which might one day be taken up: an interruption in the continuum of poverty; a revolution against bio-political orders of surveillance, management and punishment, a weakening exploitive capitalism, and a deconstruction of the mass social and cultural paralysis griping our citizenry. [16]

Eventually, communities experiencing injustice, especially within urban ecologies, must engage collective, local political efforts to protest and refuse the policy and practice that allows injustice and mediocrity to occur.  David Camacho, in his book, Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles, argues that once a big enough voice is raised, then a decisive effort at ‘incorporation’ in liberal coalitions in city governments can function to bring the representation needed to actually change policies/practices in favor of underprivileged, under-represented communities.

This is the democratic ideal: the greater participation of a people the greater representation and the greater power to affect policy in their favor.  But, as Camacho points out, “…movement emergence requires a transformation of consciousness (feelings of efficacy) within a large segment of the aggrieved community.  Before the protest stage can begin, individuals must collectively define their situation as unjust and vulnerable…”[17] At this juncture it is education that is the problem, and one recognizes a systemic contradiction to grassroots political movement for underprivileged peoples. Democracy calls people to unite for political power, but forms of education must be available to build communal awareness in order for unification to begin.  These methods of education are systematically unavailable to underprivileged peoples because the education is build to empower those already of privileged access to knowledge, markets, jobs, and healthy environments – subjects like myself!  How might communities unite whose greatest concern is paying the rent, staying sober, feeding itself and staying off the streets?  Basic needs must be met before the time and resources can prioritize education that would enable political action to support common grievances.

“Sustaining a coalition based on racial, gender, and class differences is a formidable task; limited resources impede organizing; lack of information can block mobilization efforts; determining accountability and responsibility for environmental hazards can be impossible…”[18] These public deficiencies combine to mount a continuing disadvantage to communities of race difference and underprivileged peoples.  But I’m confident that none of these barriers are as significant as the continued operation of privilege within affluent cities.  San Francisco does not lack the resources to accomplish spiritual and material healing for all people.  The problem is that ‘I’ refuse it.  And ‘I’ – this body that ‘I’ signify – stands up and says, “Fuck that…” – “I’m going to see a movie…”  And, “I have shit that I rather do than intervene on my privilege and serve the poor.”  Make no mistake, this is another ridiculous instance of the white man’s burden complex, and it does have huge effects!

The knowledge of this modest witness over himself, subverts himself, makes his mainstream bourgeois liberal comfort problematic and challenges his contemporary anti-political action to intervene on his own privilege and take responsibility for those ‘communities of difference’ – as an ally and scholar-activist.  Responsibility is the key antidote for this subject and the lack thereof the greatest barrier to learning how to effect change.  Responsibility is a key issue for Jacques Derrida and for Gayatri Spivak – two thinkers I take very seriously for their work in deconstruction, subaltern and post-colonial theory.  Taking into consideration an operating Secular-Christian discourse in the contemporary subject, I find Derrida’s link between irresponsibility and the demonic to be considerably provocative:  “The demonic is originally defined as irresponsibility, or, if one wishes, as nonresponsibility.  It belongs to a space in which there has not yet resounded the injunction to respond; a space in which one does not yet hear the call to explain oneself, one’s actions or one’s thoughts, to respond to the other and answer for oneself before the other.”[19]

This is the order of the same – the desert of the real.  It is a desert of theory where I often wonder… especially when I need to escape the reality that I am on a ship headed toward imploding disaster.  Like the diffracted institution that figures in the reimagining social order, I am also a figure whose modest witness is part of that diffracted light, casting shadows and encountering spectral mirrors.  The power of my body is the disillusionment produced by US privilege, managed by cities like San Francisco and incorporated through institutions like Glide and CIIS.  The good new is also that power.  The living awareness that not all things are certain, that spirit is alive in the world and that located within massive privilege lies plenty of diffracted margins of hope, grace, and love.

Bibliography

 

Camacho, David.  Ed.  Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles: Race, Class, and             the Environment.  Duke University.  Durham & London.  1998.

Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de.  The Human Phenomenon.  Sussex Academic Press,             Brighton & Oregon.  1999.

Derrida, Jacques.  The Gift of Death.  University of Chicago.  Chicago, IL.  1992.

Foucault, Michel.  Discipline & Punish and The Birth of the Prison.  Vintage. New York.              1975.

 

Haraway, Donna J. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™. Routledge.  New York, NY.  1997.

Harris, Marvin.  Cutlural Materialism. New York, NY.  1980.

 

Kuhn, Thomas S.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Chicago, IL.  1962.

 

Latour, Bruno.  Science in Action.  Harvard University.  Cambridge, MA.  1987.

 

Sheldrake, Rupert.  A New Science of Life: Morphic Resonance.  Park Street.  Rochester,             Vermont.  1995.

Tarnas, Richard. Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View.  Viking.  New             York,             NY.  2006.

Watts, Allen.  The Culture of Counter-Culture.  Charles E. Tuttle.  Boston, MA. 1997.

Whitehead, A. N.  Modes of Thought.  Free Press, New York, NY. 1968.


[1] Haraway, Donna. The title of Donna Haraway’s book is ridiculous and perfect.  And it is long.  So I will refer to her book: Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™ in the abrivated form “Modest_Witness.”  52.

[2] Haraway, Donna.  Modest_Witness.  50.

[3] Rupert Sheldrake in his work as a biologist has pointed out the great importance of the “shifting aspects of our relations to nature” in his examination of morphic resonance and the problems of morphogenesis – “the ‘coming-into-being’ of characteristic and specific form in living organisms.”[3] Sheldrake.  A New Science of Life, 19.

[4] Ode to Teilhard de Chardin: “Refracted back in evolution, consciousness spreads out qualitatively behind us in a spectrum of variable shades whose lower terms are lost in darkness.”  The Human Phenomenon. 27.

[5] It is important to note that the function of myth cannot be read as monolithic.  The functioning of efficient forms of myth is essential to an integrated perspective about the self and the world. According to Jean Gebser, contemporary science operates on a deficiently mythical as well as magical level as it characterizes mentally deficient mode of consciousness.

[6] Kuhn, Thomas.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2.

[7] This idea is extremely important for it provides example not only of the persuasiveness of particular modes of consciousness, but it pays testament to the humility that is necessary in relation to knowledge-as-perspective.  Many different authors make this important link including Jean Gebser and Michel Foucault.  Here I am specifically drawing from Alan Watts in his book the Culture of Counter Culture 20,21.

[8] Tarnas, Richard.  Psyche and Cosmos.  451.

[9] Whitehead, Modes of Thought,  73.

[10] Haraway, Donna. Modest_Witness.  36.

[11] Ibid. 37.

[12] Haraway, Donna.  Modest_Witness. 8-11, 179.

[13] Haraway, Donna.  Modest_Witness.  16, 34, 273.

[14] Ibid. 23-24.

[15] Harris, Marvin.  Cutlural Materialism. 55.

[16] Foucault, Michel.  Discipline and Punish. 73.

[17] Camacho, David E.  ed.  Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles.  28.

[18] Ibid. 13.

[19] Derrida, Jacques.  The Gift of Death.  3.


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