Latour’s 4th lecture

A couple of thoughtful commentaries on Latour’s lecture yesterday over at Rain on Arrakis and Agent Swarm.

My favorite part of the talk was actually the question period. One questioner granted virtually every point Latour made but then repositioned it all as an outworking of Christian Theology (Latour keeps pitching his arguments as ‘political theology’ so the line of reasoning isn’t a total appropriation). He suggested we have entered the Christo-scene.

What made the question interesting is that the questioner worked from passages in the Pauline book of Romans, which often mixes ideas of creation, an expanded notion of a Christ-centric self and time. So it provides a non-secular counterpart to Latour’s ideas of a universe, a distributed notion of agency and accelerated time (the Anthropocene). And this is where Latour has tripped up – the acceleration of time – because that is exactly what a secular theory cannot hold in its back pocket. Time must be bound to things, but its rate mustn’t be cordoned to us unless it is also the case that there is something unique about our agency, which is something Latour keeps on denying – or at least trying to work without.

These claims about temporal acceleration are something that most theories of the Anthropocene have yet to deal with carefully enough. Latour gestured towards his response yesterday by referencing Sloterdijk’s work on space. The idea being that you can think in “Earth time” (i.e. through cycles and loops that crescendo and relax in relation to multiple agents acting amidst each other) once you have a secular understanding of the space of the world. It will be interesting to see whether, or if, he follows through on this.

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Post-2015 water development goals: live webcast tomorrow

 

I received this message today, with suggestions to share it around. It does look interesting. Although you will have to look closely at times, I assume those listed are local to Geneva.

“On the occasion of the “Meeting on the Post-2015 Development Agenda Consultation on Water: Water Resources Management and Wastewater Management & Water Quality” on 27-28 February in Geneva, the organizers would like to announce that you will be able to view the meeting by live-stream video at http://www.worldwewant2015.org/water.  The plenary sessions from 10:00 to 13:00 on 27 February and 15:00-17:30 on 28 February will be available live online.  

The meeting aims to prepare for the High level Meeting in The Hague which concludes the Thematic Consultation on Water. It will facilitate the development of a short document for each stream that reflects the discussions that have taken place both online and during this meeting, thereby providing a basis, both technically sound and politically strong, for the future discussions in the Open Working Group as well as an input for the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Please feel free to share with interested colleagues.

Please find attached an agenda of the meeting.  For further information on the meeting, please refer to: http://www.unece.org/post_2015_water_consultation_meeting.html