Here’s a loose idea provoked by the “Towards a new materialism” seminar in Lund last Thursday. When God gradually disappeared from the Western world-view in the 17th through 20th centuries, the idea of an outside moving agency was gradually substituted with the idea of a human interpreting and constructing agency. Human intentionality increasingly shared the place with God’s almighty power and eventually took over. Now, if you give up the idea of human intentionality (e.g., by decentering the subject far enough), as much thinking in the social sciences and humanities have done over the last decades — and if you don’t want to make a retrograde movement to the notion of God — then what could possibly fill the void? Is the recent intellectual interest in materiality an attempt to fill the cultural void after giving up on both God and human intentionality?

Share →