Kudzu House Quarterly

Kudzu Scholar (Fall Equinox, 2015)


Volume 5, Issue 3.

Author Biographies

ecoLove in an Age of Already

Nathan D. Frank

Independent Scholar, United States of America


Following “Arthur Kroker’s ‘Beautifully Tangled Knot’ of Contingency, Complexity, and Hybridy” (Kudzu 4.2), ecoLove seeks to update what I previously called Kroker’s “drifting worldknot” by pursuing Kroker’s extension of drift theory into Exits to the Posthuman Future (2014). In this pursuit – and in keeping with the contingency, complexity, and hybridity that drives drift theory – something unexpectedly complex and contingent emerged in hybrid conversation with Kroker: Timothy Morton’s The Ecological Thought (2010). Kroker’s chosen exit – interconnectedness and its implications for sustainability – is precisely Morton’s point of departure, and it is worth contemplating that for Kroker and Morton, ecological interconnectedness is directly linked with political forms and their ethics. For Kroker, it is Obama’s “guardian liberalism”; for Morton, it is a return to democratic possibility. Using Morton’s own logic and typographical cues to theoretical engagement, I bring this ecological interconnectedness into our Age of Already through the neologistic concept of ecoLove as a way to restore Love as a thing apart, a background against which ecology can happen and be thought, and – in light of the catastrophes that have already occurred – for our posthuman future to have a chance of making sense.

Keywords: Interconnection, sustainability, modes of resistance, love

“In the immeasurableness of the world, innovation and the eternal are expressed by love.” –Antonio Negri, Time for Revolution

…He wanted to believe / In the hands of love / His head it felt heavy / as he cut across the land / A dog started crying / like a broken-hearted man / at the howling wind, at the howling wind / He went deeper into black… –U2, “Exit”

Theorizing love is not for the faint of heart. Contemporary critical theory struggles to gain traction in its attempts to articulate coherent ethico-political programs of love as modes of resistance,1 and love has yet to convincingly emerge as suitably capable of coping with contemporary biopolitical and neoliberal power arrangements, even as prominent thinkers want this to happen. Consider Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s vague sketches of love in Empire as a “project of rebellion”2 from which “no effective blueprint will ever arise”3 and for which “they do not have any models to offer,”4 or Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips’ intimations of virtuality and anonymity as the conditions in which love and intimacy might flourish, so long as one doesn’t “speak of it as if it were an affective and moral failure” in Intimacies.5 Sounding a lot more like neoliberal conveniences than sustainable forms of resistance (or resistant forms of sustainability), these attributes are not exactly ringing theoretical endorsements for the praxis of love. What is love, why does it matter, and what can it do at a point in time when we are accelerating, drifting, and crashing through Exits to the Posthuman Future and facing The Ecological Thought? What will it do to rethink love at a time when we “awaken to the ecological catastrophe that has already occurred”6 and when we witness global politics already operating in “the fully realized digital universe”?7 This is a time of “already,” an age when some enigmatic thing that Kroker calls “guardian liberalism” has already “triumphed as the ideological capstone of hegemonic power,” when we are “already in the midst of that day when power fully abjected itself,”8 and when “the meaning of sustainability” has already “been reversed.”9

Speaking of sustainability, Morton describes “an already existing totality for which we are directly responsible.”10 In this responsibility lies my own neologistic will to ecoLove. The lower-case e and capital L in ecoLove are typographical adjustments made for similar reasons that Morton insists upon capitalizing the N in Nature (and for similar reasons that we’ll see him using when he crosses out “animism”: “animism“): precisely to “denature” it,11 or to “highlight its ‘unnatural’ qualities, namely (but not limited to), hierarchy, authority, harmony, purity, neutrality, and mystery.”12 Following suit, a typographically-offset ecoLove sets it historically in an age of already, highlighting its unloving qualities such as softness, brightness, comfort, safety, unawareness, and bliss. ecoLove is better than Love without a prefix because ecological ethics cannot be divorced from an upgraded concept of love that could coherently resist guardian liberalism. The upshot is that ecoLove emerges as a viable and inherently conscientious expression of a traversal posthuman consciousness darkening the horizon of biopolitics. Pivoting on fulcrums of consciousness, affect, nonhuman intelligence, ethics, and spirituality – and leveraging radical connectivity in a bid for sustainability – Kroker and Morton show us how ecoLove works.

“The future that has now curved back on itself”

Consciousness, affect, nonhuman intelligence, ethics, spirituality, interconnection, sustainability – for Kroker, technology and its relationship with humanity, at a particular moment of already, precedes this theoretically-aggressive and transdisciplinary list. This moment is “when technology slams into the human condition,”13 resulting not in a “hopeful sign of another world” but in “a strange psychological landscape mediated by excess boredom and hyper-anxiety.”14 Kroker accounts for the human-technology relationship as psychological terraformation that establishes coordinates for “the biological terrain of wetware,”15 a terrain upon which is staged “the delirious spectacle of virtuality.”16 Using the familiar coordinates of the human as a base camp from which to explore the highest peaks of technology’s drive to nonhuman intelligence, Kroker does not deny post*human* sensibilities (to rif on Benny Liew’s “post*modern* sensibilities”), or betray anthropocentric sympathies, as “any periphery can quickly become the center,”17 but he does explain these potential decenterings as gently as possible.

Kroker’s methodology is tripartite: accelerate, drift, and crash. Acceleration is fast. It covers the blurring of wetware and dryware by close-reading the synchronization of your heart to your smartphone, and it surveys the last vestiges of essentialism by giving neuro-diversity a fair shake. Drift is multiple. After Body Drift: Butler, Hayles, Haraway come the drifts of code, history, archive, screen, and media (one chapter each). Crash (getting two chapters) is spectacularly violent and is viewed somewhat indulgently and in slow motion as human subjectivity finds itself embodied in a “drone flesh” that “is prepared to be its own condition of possibility.”18 In turn, drone flesh allows voyeurs to experience a “trans-subjective” ecstasy that occurs when Barack Obama unveils a cogent defense for “guardian liberalism.” “Foucault’s ironic fate” is then ineluctably linked to Marshall McLuhan’s “ethical dissent” – the two things that are simultaneously vindicated and undermined by Obama’s rhetoric.

Things do get bleak, as McLuhan prophesied. Kroker’s epilogue makes clear that what is emerging in this age of already are technologies of disappearance and abandonment. Yet, having already seen “the slow suicide of technological apocalypse” unfold, Kroker’s text is neither apocalyptic nor utopian. His ending remains open-ended and unresolved: “Seemingly everything, today, is environment to the will to technology, not only the natural environment but human nature as well with all that entails for the future of human subjectivity.”19 Morton-esque implications of radical connectivity notwithstanding, Kroker’s optimism ultimately finds purchase in “figural aesthetics” and it is here that ecoLove is within striking distance, especially in terms of “ethical probity” and as a “navigator of uncertainty.”20 Kroker’s figural aesthetics are sketches of a fearless intimacy with the environment and all that entails for the future of human subjectivity. They are accelerated crashes; Kroker spends most of his time concerned with the processes that bring these “navigators of uncertainty” crashing through various exits, and these processes are drift: code drift, for example, describes a paralysis by mobility, the beginnings of how humans are actually the prosthetics of technology, and not the other way around – how “media” are actually “amputations of the senses, not ‘extensions,’” as McLuhan had it.21 This is not a refutation of McLuhan so much as the beginning of a digital dialectic in which “the more mobile the speed of communication, the more immobile the system of human reflexes.”22 We are now “tethered to mobility”23 in a way that renders us the small object on the big sphere of technology; we might be an arm or a leg to the body of a totalizing “digital cosmology.” We are now, already, analog planets orbiting the digital sun. We are no longer the center of the universe or even of our own solar system.

If this is the case – if there is a reversal in the relationship between what extends from what – then media drift presents a suitable microcosm of the digital dialectic: “that point when the sudden activation of even the most minimal element of reversibility contained in all systems of communication brings about the collapse of the normative order of communication into its opposite – the transversal universe of affect which, moving across the electric skin of the mediascape, literally extremizes all information into a contagious and collective nervous breakthrough.”24 Already: we are not only technology’s extended limb, but also its subaltern; not a planet but a colony.

“Ablation” is the word most frequently used by Kroker to describe this inside-out dynamic; he likes it because of its bio-digital resonance. Riffing on cardiac language, Kroker discerns a liminal zone somewhere between humanity and technology that blurs the distinction between separation and connectivity, and it is within this blurred terrain of wetware and dryware that the digital dialectic fully traverses; a deep groove further entrenches the logic of the digital dialectic, accelerating media drift. An ablated heart: at once fully organic, analog, and digital, it penetrates the inside of the organ and reverses course. And, “since all hearts move to their own rhythm with their own electronic signature, what could be a better way of securing identity than the beat-beat of an often unruly heart?”[^25]

More technically, that which is ablated is biologically silenced. This is an important tie-in for discussing Exits alongside Thought: neuro-diversity is the outlier, “the final prohibition that must be brought into the realm of ethical intelligibility.”25 Essentialism has been successfully contested on many fronts, but the digitization of consciousness presents a problem to combating essentialism on the neurological front: what happens when you can code neuro-normativity – when autism, for example, can be identified within, and therefore potentially eradicated from, the human genome? Here ablation becomes much more than a rich bio-digital metaphor; it becomes the “literally extremized contagion of information“that translates the “digital echo” of bodily realities into “misprinted organs.”26

Now – already – with guardian liberalism, politics are ablated. Kroker demonstrates the many reversals of Obama’s rhetoric of a “just war,” his defense of peace in front of a West Point audience, his defense of war in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, and his move toward “reaper drones and remote ethics” as a way of combating absolute evil. Obama’s ablated heart might well be on his sleeve, silenced and silencing by way of a “sacrificial violence,”27 and Kroker, in a brilliant interlocution of Foucault, points out that “this time, our historical time, is yet a time of emergence, suspended between power speaking in the name of death and life,”28 and that “Foucault’s theorization of power was always fully alert to the possibility that that which was excluded by power – denigrated, prohibited, disavowed – would come to constitute the very basis of that power.”29 If this is the case, then capitalism, having interpenetrated and spoken on behalf of all life and death on the planet (and beyond), has already spun quite the web – and “absorbed” sustainability “into its overall logic”: “the meaning of sustainability has already been reversed. Today, sustainability is increasingly the name given to that which is necessary for extending the self-preservation of a predatory system of value extraction that leaves in its wake the abandoned, the remainder, the habitually unrecognized.”30

Is there an exit for sustainability from this overall logic? Or will this overall capitalist logic prove to be the ultimate “glitch that reveals the darkness within”?31 Or, is it that we must go “deeper into black,” to quote U2, to touch the “hands of love”? Kroker describes “broken codes”32 that must be confronted head-on in order to think Morton’s ecological thought. Kroker would like to know whether we can “really speak of a sustainable future in the context of a present historical circumstance that is definitely not sustainable in terms of clashes of religions, atavistic politics, and economic immiseration,” or whether it is “precisely the fact that the present is not sustainable in its current form that should provide a global spring of human hope?”33 In the end, Kroker accelerates, drifts, and crashes through an exit of the posthuman future known as Timothy Morton and The Ecological Thought insofar as he, Kroker, intimates that “everything today is interconnected, intermediated, intergenerational, in effect, a ‘global village’ with all its utopian potential yet dystopian realities.”34 However, whereas Kroker treads lightly by speaking of human hope and utopian potential, and by lamenting futures laced with glitches and darkness, Morton brings the tough love by becoming intimate with darkness, and by showing humanity to be only one of many things that can harbor hope and utopian potential.


Kroker’s chosen exit – interconnectedness and its implications for sustainability – is precisely Morton’s point of departure, and it is worth contemplating that for Kroker and Morton, ecological interconnectedness is directly linked with political forms and their ethics. For Kroker, it is Obama’s guardian liberalism; for Morton, it is a return to democratic possibility: “Ecology shows us that all beings are connected. …Ultimately, this includes thinking about democracy. What would a truly democratic encounter between truly equal beings look like, what would it be – can we even imagine it?”35 Such a passage expresses Morton’s attempt “to stay as long as possible in an open, questioning mode,”36 and it adumbrates the update for which he is gunning, since he clearly has imagined “a truly democratic encounter” and conceives of it as verging on a sort of spirituality more akin to meditation than to religion, more prone to an ethical stance toward coexistence than toward a belief system privileging some beings at the expense of others. In this regard, “a truly democratic encounter” eschews any and all zero-sum, self-interest ideologies, even while recognizing that “encounters” of any kind carry potentially damaging effects. The main thing for Morton is to resist the current environmentalist thinking – damaging in its own right37 – that the damage from such encounters is damage to something called Nature, or the Environment, or even the World, when damage can always be identified as an intimate piece of what he calls “the mesh.”

Understanding Morton’s mesh is to follow his premise of interconnection among everything to an unsettling degree. There is no doubt that Morton relishes in disturbing readers who “badly need to read this book,”38 and ultimately the mesh performs this disturbance by recalibrating our notions of scale. Set in a chapter called “Thinking Big,” the goal is to get one’s head around interconnection on a cosmic level, to realize that the more we extend the interconnection of all things beyond any normative frame or container, the less that ecology can be considered earthbound, that the “things” within ecology can be considered “separate.” The more we understand the extent of the mesh, “we’re slightly surer of one thing. Yes, everything is interconnected. And it sucks.”39

Bracketing the Darwinian foundations of the mesh between a section called “Tibetans in Space” and a comparison between the mesh and Indra’s net (from Buddhist scripture), the biological and evolutionary aspects involving such things as symbiosis and Dawkin’s hypothesis of the extended phenotype are ensconced in a borderline mystical language that flirts with spirituality, and which helps Morton to imagine his truly democratic encounter. While some readers might be tempted to describe Morton’s methodology as primarily Darwinian, chalking The Ecological Thought up to an entirely Darwinian project would leave many questions unanswered – questions not only about the ecological thought, but questions about The Ecological Thought. Why does Morton include readings of Renaissance poetry (Milton, Coleridge, Shelley) along with film (Wall · E, Twelve Monkeys, Blade Runner, Solaris) and music (Pink Floyd, David Byrne, AMM) among many other instances of art and literature as part of his argument and analysis? Why are there such careful and tentative references to spirituality and ancient beliefs? Morton calls for a “radicalism that is almost religious in its passionate intensity” but in the next breath warns that “a religious vocabulary is risky” as “it might set up ecology as another kind of superbeing outside the mesh, outside the obvious impermanence and evanescence of reality.”40 These are not minor parts of The Ecological Thought even if Darwin subsumes much of the interdisciplinary evidence marshaled on behalf of interconnection.

There is a reason for including that “religion cries aloud in a green voice,”41 which is that, in a humanities-based exercise that makes transdisciplinary overtures toward the hard sciences, the spiritual is the next thing in thing theory, as love might well be the next thing in contemporary critical theory. Morton does not overtly argue this, but his form and contents demand an interpretation. I suggest that Morton intimates that immaterial -isms are also parts of the mesh as much as, or more than, they are ways of apprehending it. Morton claims that it was capitalism, for instance, that gave us a world (“There was no world before capitalism”42), but that the running of the capitalist course is also what takes our world away (“Global warming is the symptom that global capitalism can’t handle”43), so it cannot be considered apart from the mesh any more than wind turbines44 or hyperobjects,45 and capitalism in this sense may actually be largely responsible for revealing the mesh – which is to say, for catalyzing the ecological thought. Indeed, the ecological thought itself has tangible material impact, its own affective incursion into the mesh: “Like a virus, the ecological thought infects other systems of thinking and alters them from within, gradually disabling the incompatible ones. The infection has only just begun.”46

In this way, Morton’s bracketing of biological and evolutionary analysis with “Tibetans in Space” and an ablated animism, which he insists is neither “another belief system”47 nor “mystification,”48 allows him to demonstrate that multiple and disparate perspectives converge compatibly on ecological thinking, and that his proposed ethics will have the broadest possible appeal in a very literal sense precisely because they exclude no being, no perspective. After all, “seeing yourself from another point of view is the beginning of ethics and politics.”49 This goes for seeing others, as well, and encounters with other beings that Morton describes as “strange strangers.” If the premise of the mesh is interconnectedness, the premise of the strange stranger is that “the more you know about something, the stranger it grows”;50 if other perspectives are the beginnings of ethics and politics, then strange strangers are the beginnings of infinity and intimacy, and, since “infinity implies intimacy,” then “the ecological thought concerns itself with personhood,”51 and everything within the mesh that might encounter anything else within the mesh is by definition made up of “negative difference, which means it doesn’t contain positive, really existing (independent, solid) things.”52 The difficulty in imagining an encounter with negative difference notwithstanding, Morton’s insight really is strangely strange, since identifying another being replete with another mind opens oneself to peering into an infinite abyss, tantamount to understanding your own putative consciousness as meaningless – true intimacy should therefore be truly terrifying. But such intimacy, in addition to being terrifying, also provides the vision of a truly democratic encounter: “Democracy is based on reciprocity – mutual recognition. But since, at bottom, there is no way of knowing for sure – since the strange stranger confronts me with a terrifying darkness – the encounter at its zero level is a pure, absolute openness and is thus assymetrical, not equal… So before we get to mutual recognition, we must have radical openness.”53 What Morton imagines is not a truly democratic encounter so much as its precondition. This is the appeal of animism: Morton’s way of thinking that fulfills the precondition without bringing the risks associated with religious language into play. Animism “treats beings as people, without a concept of Nature.”[^55]

With this concept in place, two things remain. First, the Future must be given the Nature treatment: capital F, because a concept of “the future” isn’t helping ecology: “The future is one of those things like Nature, set up as a thing ‘over yonder’: something else that the ecological thought dissolves.”54 Moreover, capitalism, in curving back on itself to remove the world along with the future, restarts history: “We have not reached the end of history, as Francis Fukuyama would have it, but only the beginning. We have barely become conscious that we have been terraforming the Earth all along. Now we have the chance to face up to this fact and to our coexistence with all beings.”55 This is remarkably resonant with Kroker’s observation that “the future” “has curved back on itself” and that “in its most realistic sense, futurism is finished as an intellectual project because we are now living out the future of technology that was so long prophesied and feared by so many thinkers.”56

The next thing that remains is to take Kroker and Morton at their words. For Kroker, this is to seriously entertain the offer to gaze into “increasingly algorithmic minds with the intention of capturing the dominant mood of these posthuman times – drift culture – in a form of thought that dwells in complicated intersections and borderlands”57 – again, Kroker sounds remarkably like Morton, especially in light of how he arrives at this “form of thought” and the fact that it includes contemplating an essentially unknowable mind as a democratic way forward. And as for Morton, his precondition of radical openness must be extended to account for his truly democratic encounter, which is the same as theorizing love.

Update to an Encomium

“… love is fusion in the sun’s core. Love is a blurring of pronouns. Love is subject and object. The difference between its presence and its absence is the difference between life and death.” —David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks

Love is patient; love is kind; ecoLove does not boast, nor does it text and drive or stand carelessly in doorways. ecoLove rejects an ignorant bliss in favor of thinking thoughtfully about its own sewage, where it goes, and what it impacts. ecoLove is depression, when depression means understanding its own damaging role in the mesh. ecoLove is loneliness, when loneliness is “a sign of deep connection.”58 ecoLove, thoughtfully, never smokes around children or removes its mufflers from its engines. ecoLove always greets strangers as strange friends, and, therefore, friends as friendly strangers. It would never occur to ecoLove to think of itself as a better candidate for something – anything – than any other thing.

ecoLove is frighteningly intimate. Intimacy implies infinity, to reverse Morton. ecoLove is imaginable in the sense that Morton routinely reminds us that “very large finitude is harder to deal with than abstract, ideal infinity.”59 The trick with infinity is to imagine it without abstraction and ideals, simply as presence; intimacy and the uncanny ensue. I offer ecoLove as a way of following Morton’s Nature and animism, but there is another layer under the ecologizing and deloving of love, which is that an ecologized, deloved love restores Love in an unironic way: whereas for Morton, ecology must ironically do away with Nature, for me, it must bring back Love as a thing apart, a background against which ecology can happen and be thought. Whereas for Kroker, faith traditions are atavistic injunctions to sacrificial violence, for me, Love provides a new pretext for politics, if by new pretext we mean an updated circuitry to plug into, and by politics we no longer mean systematic dealings with fear and mistrust and instead we mean the systematic dealings with frightening intimacy as a basis for ecologically and lovingly recognizing rights and rations, also known as resource allocation.

At this point, a very real tension pervades my attempt to converse with Kroker and particularly Morton: I am not so subtly verging on that kind of religious language that “might set up ecology as another kind of superbeing outside the mesh, outside the obvious impermanence and evanescence of reality,” and it is true that Love as a thing apart transgresses the entanglement per se. Is there an outside? Morton says no.60 Does his answer betray a tendency to let science bleed into scientism? Does an expanding universe not imply a finite universe with an outer edge, and what is the single most obvious word that is conjured by any attempts to think past this boundary? The mesh is a very powerful concept, and I believe that Morton points a very forward direction with it, but it cannot be said to be infinite unless one is prepared to call an expanding universe “infinite.” Even allowing for the all universes within the universe, it is generally agreed that the universe is expanding outward, into a void. Why invoke religious language only to combat religious language? “One Buddhist system says that our Universe, along with one billion universes like it, floats within a single pollen grain inside another on a lotus flower growing out of a begging bowl in the hands of a Buddha called Immense Ocean Vairochana.”61 As this clearly implies an infinite universe, then Morton would have us accept the idea of a contained infinity.

Rather than accede to a contained infinity, I would rather take Morton outwardly past himself, which brings with it the double benefit of peering into the infinity of his mind, compassionately, to do so. By this I mean that for all of his rhetoric about taking “the ecological thought” all the way, I see that there is still room to go. At the level of interconnection, the mesh does the trick, but at the level of totality, it amounts to a contained infinity. Here is what Morton has to say about totality: “‘Totality’” doesn’t mean something closed, single, and independent, nor does it mean something predetermined and fixed; it has no goal.”62 Very true, insofar as the mesh goes. And the mesh goes a long way. But unless it curves back on itself and disappears down the rabbit-hole of consciousness, or reflects itself ad infinitum through another, similarly eerie mind, it will eventually hit a void.

Remarkably, Morton agrees with this, too, as we have already established that these return curvatures are shortcuts to the void more than they are escapes from it. It is crucial to recall that “the more we know about strange strangers, the more we sense the void.”63 Here’s where we agree: the void gives us pause. The void is scary. We sense it with intimacy, and we intuit that it therefore demands serious thought – not action, but contemplation – because as connected and entangled as we might be with and in the mesh, there is an even bigger, stronger, darker, more forward connection, and that is a connection with the void. Regarding an ethical contemplation of the magnitude of this connection with the void, Morton and I again agree, again become more intimate and probably more terrified of each other. Where he sees infinite contingency, I see Love personified, but the outcome is remarkably the same for each of us: actions must be thoughtful. Morton recounts the flack he took when Katrina devastated New Orleans: before rushing to an action that he wasn’t sure of, he thought about it: “Don’t just do something – sit there. But in the meantime, sitting there will upgrade your version of doing and of sitting.”64 ecoLove sits there, upgrading. ecoLove thinks big, thinks dark, and thinks forward; it also thinks with figural aesthetics and turns them always toward personhood, always toward advocacy, always toward an abjected power that develops its own inner logic, its own mind into which we must fearlessly peer. ecoLove performs radical openness by treating this very –ism with the respect of a person and neutralizing it from within. Call it a dark love, a poisoned love, a homeopathic love that genuinely wants to know the mind of the Other, even when that mind harbors “the intelligence of evil” (to borrow from Baudrillard), and even when that knowledge is suicide. ecoLove loves, dances, and struggles,65 knowing that sustainable forms of resistance and resistant forms of sustainability are “networked affect” (to indulge Hillis, Paasonen, and Petit), and that environments coevolve with their inhabitants (to build on Hayles’ recent work in technogenesis, ). ecoLove does not passively wait for a future because it actively is the Future, so ecoLove cannot cop out, deferring its respect for persons and personhood for a rainy day. ecoLove cannot wait for the right moment to evolve itself with its entanglements because ecoLove is that upgraded, updated moment.

ecoLove participates only begrudgingly, preferring the thoughtfulness that an outside affords, but knowing that even if an outside exists, that the mesh is the inside, and that changes come from within precisely because, for those enmeshed, there is no shelter from the drones. So ecoLove reprograms the drones. This is real: ecoLove reprograms the drones and remote ethics, from within, by looking out. It does this by taking the time to understand and to know, intimately, the drones and the ethics of already that program them – its loving presence, as David Mitchell tells us, is precisely the difference between life and death. Thinking otherwise is not wrong, but it instantly vitiates ecology and Love; thinking otherwise instantly ablates any transversal consciousness such that when we try to know it, it backfires on us, amputating us and tethering us to light-speed, fiber-optic mobility. Thinking otherwise, in this age of already, reverses and silences an ecological understanding of the praxis of love. The great thing about ecoLove is that it can be set up as a thing apart, as a frame or background, within which or against which we can ethically operate – an actual thing in an age of no things. It can be made tangible at the bargain price of being just out of reach, not just as something “over yonder” but also “off in the future,” as something to strive toward. In this way, “a Love in the future” is much more desirable than “a love in the Future,” especially knowing that, just as we know that the past can work on futures, futures also have a tendency to go to work on their pasts, that they curve back on themselves, and that, in the same way that “the ecological thought sneaks up on you from the future, a picture of what will have had to be there, already, for ‘ecology without nature’ to make sense,”66 so too should ecoLove sneak up on this age of already, a picture of what catastrophes have already occurred, for the future to have a chance of making sense, too.


Bersani, Leo and Adam Phillips, Intimacies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008): 24.

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001): 413.

Kroker, Arthur, Exits to the Posthuman Future (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014): 5.

Morton, Timothy, The Ecological Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010): 50.

—. “Here Comes Everything: The Promise of Object-Oriented Ontology,” Qui Parle, 19.2 (2011): 163-190.


  1. As opposed to things like style, transgression, anarchy, and everyday life, all of which have been documented across the humanities and social sciences as active forms of resistance to hegemonic power structures (C.f. Dick Hebdidge, Christina Foust, and Michele de Certeau. There is also Ranciere’s Dissensus, which, though it cannot be called an “active form,” nevertheless presents a coherent philosophical alternative that love has yet to approach).
  2. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001): 413.
  3. Empire, 206.
  4. Empire, 411.
  5. Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips, Intimacies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008): 24.
  6. Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010): 50.
  7. Arthur Kroker, Exits to the Posthuman Future (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014): 5.
  8. Exits, 155.
  9. Exits, 186.
  10. Thought, 130.
  11. Timothy Morton, “Here Comes Everything: The Promise of Object-Oriented Ontology,” Qui Parle, 19.2 (2011): 163-190.
  12. Thought, 3.
  13. Exits, 19.
  14. Exits, 21.
  15. Exits, 13.
  16. Exits, 67.
  17. Exits, 185.
  18. Exits, 119.
  19. Exits, 185.
  20. Exits, 198.
  21. Exits, 188.
  22. Exits, 54.
  23. Exits, 53.
  24. Exits, 99. Emphasis in original.
  25. Exits, 7-8.
  26. Exits, 41.
  27. Exits, 8-9. Original emphasis reversed and ablated.
  28. Exits, 123-124.
  29. Exits, 156.
  30. Exits, 159.
  31. Exits, 186.
  32. Exits, 197.
  33. Exits, 197.
  34. Exits, 187-188.
  35. Exits, 188.
  36. Thought, 7.
  37. Thought, 8.
  38. C.f. Thought, “The Scope of the Damage,” 4-8.
  39. Thought, 13.
  40. Thought, 33.
  41. Thought, 104.
  42. Thought, 1.
  43. Thought, 132.
  44. Thought, 122.
  45. Thought, 9.
  46. Thought, 130-135.
  47. Thought, 19.
  48. Thought, 110.
  49. Thought, 15.
  50. Thought, 14.
  51. Thought, 17.
  52. Thought, 77.
  53. Thought, 39.
  54. Thought, 80-81.
  55. Thought, 110.
  56. Thought, 199.
  57. Thought, 133.
  58. Exits, 193.
  59. Exits, 195.
  60. Thought, 16.
  61. Thought, 40.
  62. Elizabeth Grosz says yes; c.f. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001).
  63. Thought, 26-27.
  64. Thought, 40.
  65. Thought, 80.
  66. Thought, 125.
  67. In Democracies to Come: Rhetorical Action, Neoliberalism, and Communities of Resistance (New York: Lexington Books, 2008), Rachel Reidner and Kevin Mahoney write that “love, dance, and struggle are about modes of life that are sustainable, that are about relations among equals, and that are intertwined with affective difference” (100).
  68. Thought, 3.

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