a thousand years of nonlinear history


Temporary Coagulations: a quick look at A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History

Finished this today. I started it a few years back and put it down; the introduction seemed a bit impenetrable. Then, last year, as I was driving through Yosemite park, I thought of the trees as temporary spikes in the surface of the earth. I felt my environment as process. I blamed this book. I started it up again about two weeks ago. It’s a beautiful synthesis of thought; philosophical in the sense that this book is a unique engagement with the world that is often contagious, often revealing. Manuel De Landa presents the last thousand years through three lenses: biological history, geological history, and linguistic history. I found the first two the most interesting. The interplay of gene flows, biomass, disease, and the changing infrastructural landscape of civilization is fun to watch. These are complex processes, and this book makes you feel as if you can suss out the true influences in major movement. To me, this is the most honest, wide-eyed & ecologically sensitive concept of history that I’ve read. Humans aren’t the heroes: self-organizing flows of energy are. We are just mineralizations, temporary coagulations. From one clot to another: read this.

February 18th, 2011 / 12:09 am