Thing-power?

October 10, 2012

Jane Bennetts text “The force of things” seeks to clarify, what vibrant matter is. She looks into the active role of nonhuman materials in public life. I will through my post try to get an understanding of, what is meant by vibrant matter. I found it a bit confusing and fluent.

The term “thing-power” seems to be important to understand;
It appeared to me that even when you think about a certain thing, it can provoke your thoughts, words, feelings and images in your mind that makes the thing alive. When using the term “thing-power” instead of object, the nonhuman world gets vital and “responsible” in a way.

The philosopher Spizona says that all things are animate in different degrees. The falling stone is vibrant or alive. He believes that everything is made of the same material, because everything is God’s work, everything is alive.

The texts tells small short stories about the dead rat, a plastic cap, a spool of thread that appears to be alive. For example he talks about trash – how you never can through something out, because its activity always will continue forever.  The story looks at where human being and thing hood overlap, and concludes that human beings also are nonhuman and that things in our surroundings somehow also are “vital players”.

The political moral might be that we can do more to sort of activate our surroundings, the nonhuman world. Laws can make people act different, and take more care of the world. One should think of the relationship between humans and materialities,the nonhuman, our surrounding as a relationship between people. Both will get affected by what “the other” does.

My image is soap bobbles. Soap bobbles are in a way vital, and gets easily affected by its surroundings. They float around in routes that are difficult to define.You might break it if you touch it. You can look through it, and it has no color. Suddenly it breaks and disappears.

– Anne Mette

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