Text as Teeter-Totter

by rsbakker

Neuropath will always occupy a special, yet prickly place in my psyche. The book is special to me because of its genesis, first and foremost, arising as it did out of what (I can now see) was a truly exceptional experience teaching Popular Culture and a bet with my incredulous wife. But it’s also special because of the kind of critical reception it’s since received: I’ve actually come across reviews warning people to take Thomas Metzinger’s blurb, “You should think twice before reading this!” seriously. I was aiming for something that balanced the visceral on a philosophical edge, so I was overjoyed by these kinds of visceral responses. But I was troubled that no one seemed to be grasping the philosophical beyond the visceral, seeing the implications considered in the book beyond what was merely personal. Then, several years back someone sent me this link to Steven Shaviro’s penetrating and erudite review of Neuropath. And I can remember feeling as though some kind of essential circuit between author, book, and critic, had been closed.

That the book had truly been completed.

Now I’m genuinely honoured to have the opportunity to once again complete that circuit in the flesh at Western University in a couple weeks time. Steven Shaviro has spent his career jamming cutting edge speculative fiction and speculative theory together in his skull, a semantic Large Hadron Collider, and publishing the resulting Feynman diagrams on the ground-breaking The Pinnochio Theory as well as in his numerous scholarly works. He will be presenting on Neuropath, and I will be responding, at a public lecture on Thursday, February 13th, at 4:30 PM, the North Campus Building, Rm 117. All are welcome.