Ecology and Reverie: About A New Name

In his happy solitudes, the dreaming child knows the cosmic reverie which unites us to the world.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie

I felt it was time for a new name for my blog.  When I first started blogging here, over a year and a half ago, I had yet to stumble upon a personal sensibility as a thinker, a writer, and then, an academic (whatever the latter is supposed to mean).  I had taken my original blog title as a makeshift inspiration from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who, like so many others can attest, was the figure who most drew me into the profession of scholarship.  Now, in the process of dissertating and, perhaps for that reason, though perhaps for many others, I find myself coming upon the kind of singular sense of what it is I “do,” somewhat independent of its particular objects of meditation.  For that reason, though my dissertation goes by the title “Queer Theory is Kid Stuff,” this blog will not, though the theme of the child-figure always looms over what I compose.

Gaston Bachelard’s remarkable final book, The Poetics of Reverie, was the stimulus for my renaming.  He makes a fine object of thought out of reverie, that capacity of imagination, daydream, and the meanderings of body, mind, spirit–whatever it is, finally, that escapes the rigorous attempts at self-enclosure that imprison the rational subject of Western culture–which fascinates us so, but seems to recede from our grasp as we grow up from children to adults.  Indeed, the price of adulthood is the forgetting of childhood, since children are only ever little unfinished adults.  The pure interval of unknowability between children and adults is manifest little better anywhere than in adults’ haughty dismissals of children’s imaginary friends, hallucinatory quotidian play-adventures, and the vivacious qualities of their dreams.  The dismissal is a result of the literally illogical qualities these activities of reverie express: they possess no communicatable knowledge to the world of adult but rather belong to the always forgotten world of children.  Although Bachelard seems to believe, finally, in the recuperability of this childhood within the adult in a way that I would not from a suspicion of retrospective temporalities of adultomorphism, I nevertheless find that much of what animates my thinking and writing is a sensibility, a reverie before life, things, concepts, ideas, affects, bodies, technology, objects, matter…

Such arrangements of thought are ultimately, to me, ecologies.  An ecology collapses the distinction between an individual and its milieu, taking as axiomatic their profound irreducibility in a complex, or metastable, system.  Ecologies are notoriously difficult to think since they are not objects, they are never arrested in their motion to be seen, instead always in a state of flux indicated only by intensive gradients like speed or heat.  For an ocularocentric culture such as the West’s in which truth is predicated upon sight, an ecology is frustrating for its visual elusiveness.  Nevertheless, or perhaps for that reason, ecologies offer to thought a method of matching the complexity of the real.  For a tiny derivative of a set of ecologies such as an individual, a unit such as myself, then, only reverie before the ecology could ever dare to do it justice.  Only a happy solitude.

To that end, I offer: Ecology and Reverie.


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