Blogosphere Kinships: Activity at Massthink


I’ve been visiting the massthink blog (populated by Ryan and Aless) for a couple of months now, but, as a bad reader, I failed to leave comments. I was thrilled not only with the content, but more so with the way in which these two have organized their site. I was inspired to see their text page (which encouraged me to put up the bibliography, still under construction) and by the way in which they described their project.

They way that they describe themselves and their differing styles and personalities reminds me of the different forces at play between Joe’s writing and my own. He studies math, computer science, and philosophy, while I come from a training in comparative literature, literary theory and philosophy. Though that is one of the more obvious contrasts.

I first found their site looking at material on Nietzsche. Their post on Nietzsche focused on Danto’s reading, though at the same time it was evident that the authors were widely read beyond this one reading. I think it was here that I could tell that massthink had a great deal in common with the work Joe and I have been doing here at fractal.

I didn’t know at the time that our friendly exchange would be more than a coincidence. In a show of friendship and brotherhood, these two have extended a gesture of respect to the work that has been done here. The posts that they have discussed are important not only for their content, but also as a difference in tone: the posts they discuss are Joe’s from before he and I began collaborating together, and I think that it’s important to see the changes that his writing has undergone over the two years he’s had this blog.

In any case, one usually keeps reading because of an inspiration to think, an ‘affect’ to start. Reading through their site earlier this week, I found two extremely enlightening posts: one on Deleuze, DeLanda, and Darwninism; the other on the hylomorph and the monster (identity). I could not tell the author of the texts, but I can note a different style and orientation of writing. The first text is expository, and follows a line of thought that traces through different understandings of theories of evolution (I love the emphasis on a change in relation among parts and not of the parts themselves as primary for evolution). This text is clearer, more concise and and at least as important as anything I’ve read on the topic (but don’t trust me, see for yourself). On the other hand, their text on the hylomorph and the monster had a different approach to the reader, a different call, almost an assurance to the reader to allow difference to play itself out, to dissolve the images of thought that plague us through psychic/social repression.

Of course, this is only a small selection of their posts. These two know their stuff–none of the rhetorical foreplay, none of the abstract regurgitation of concepts. This is real philosophy, not diluted but distilled so as to capture its essence. It’s stronger that way, and definitely has a better kick!

This entry was written by Taylor Adkins and published on Friday, November 2, 2007 at 11:08 pm. It’s filed under Arthur Danto, Darwinism, Deleuze, Deleuze and Guattari, evolution, hylomorph, identity, Manuel DeLanda, massthink, Nietzsche, philosophy blog, Theory / Philosophy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Blogosphere Kinships: Activity at Massthink

  1. This is much too kind, Taylor: thank you. Yes, I do think we have a certain kinship (but alliance, not filiation, no?): our research interests, and perhaps more strikingly (as you also mention): our styles of expression, the way we (as Deleuze would say) dramatize Philosophy.

    I’d like to make a minor clarification, however (and this is no fault of your own; it is due more perhaps to the vagueness of my exposition, the nature of dramatization, or perhaps communication itself . . .): Ryan/Aless inhabit one body. So in a way, s/he can say (much like Deleuze and Guattari at the beginning of ATP): I am one–but that is already many.

    But you were completely right to notice the stark difference in styles. If in the case of Joe and you, it is manifested in two different “persons,” in my/our case, (unfortunately!) it is manifest in my/our very own “person.” Perhaps brought about by history, those passive syntheses of time: I/we started out as a Business major, doing a lot of Math, then got an undergraduate degree in Economics, am/are now a student of Comparative Lit, but doing work mostly on Continental Philosophy . . .

    We definitely (all of us: you and Joe and Ryan and Aless) should meet someday. Let me know if any of you are traveling sometime to Europe, and I’ll keep you posted as to when I’ll get back to the US.

  2. That actually makes a lot of sense! hahaha! I feel quite stupid for not understanding that with your latest post! I apologize for taking you literally. I must say I’m even more impressed and intrigued with your multiplicity! And yes, definitely an alliance. Both Joe and I took a bit of pride in your post, especially because both of us had already gained a respect for your work. Since I already had reason to discuss your blog, when I saw your post I was greatly motivated to write in response. I definitely feel that we share a readership in some way, and to be included among your calibre is something that delights me.

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