I’m posting this as a new blog entry rather than attaching it to my last post. I’m hoping to draw together the last couple of entries I’ve written, in an effort to explain, really explain, what the point is that I’ve been trying to make. I was contacted and asked fairly explicitly, what the point of such pop-culture references, and also why I would essentially tie my wagon to a dead horse like vitalism.
What I like about vitalism, my reading of vitalism, which I don’t think has been adequately stated in any single work, or maybe even any single thinker (Deleuze is probably the closest on this front), is the possibility of de-centering the human being in philosophy. Even Bergson goes in the direction of mysticism (although I am poorly read on Bergson, I’m basing this almost exclusively off of secondary sources; also, it should be said that I am generally pro-mysticism, and don’t see it as inherently anthro-centric, but from what I’ve read on Bergson, that is the direction he goes [PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG HERE!]). I think the age of the human subject is due for an overhaul, and the vitalism gives us an interesting, and I think accurate, view of the cosmos. My posts on Swamp Thing(s) and Batcats are attempts to show the metaphysical contingency of the human subject. The subject is not the center of the cosmos, only Nature is! (Nature of course being taken as the totality of metaphysical processes and products, of which we are but tiny instances.)
The example of Swamp Thing is especially helpful here: it shows the possibility of Nature making a humanoid (a vegeman) that in it’s mere delusion of being human, becomes more than human, actually becomes more powerful than the human being it dreams of being. The Swamp Thing as Nature embodied, in an attempt at mimicking the human, surpasses the human. Both the Batcat and the Swamp Thing (along with Lovecraftian Old Ones) show clearly that the human being, while imagining itself as lord and master of Nature, of the whole cosmos, is really insignificant, and easily snuffed out.
We need not even go into (science)fiction to see this, although the examples are more vivid. Parasites, bacteria, fungi, and viruses all trounce humans on a regular basis, while weather and geology can ruin our greatest cultural achievements. We depend wholly on Nature and yet often forget that we are its product, and not its master. The human subject, rationality as a whole, cannot conquer the drive of infinite Nature. You can’t reason with a parasite, and for this reason, Nature always wins. That is, human reason is finite, and easily extinguishable. We should never forget this, least of all in our speculative philosophy.