Becoming Feces

New Materialism and the Deep Solidarity in Feeling Like Shit
  • Karen Bray
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


“Pure energy is being itself, which is an absolute materialism, materialism degree zero. But energy plus one, plus two, and so on is material complexity, a folding of being on itself. It is becoming thought, becoming time-image, becoming a brain.”1 These words help to conclude the chapter “Being (a brain)” in the recent work by Clayton Crockett and Jeffrey Robbins, Religion, Politics and the Earth: The New Materialism. In this, their ontology chapter, Crockett and Robbins draw on Catherine Malabou’s concept of neuro-plasticity. As Crockett and Robbins note, for Malabou, “plasticity indicates a form that possesses three characteristics: the ability to give form, the capacity to receive form, and most importantly, an explosive plasticity, the charge of an auto destructive aspect of form itself.”2 Since the brain is an always in-process, plastic entity, Crockett and Robbins’s “Being a Brain” is unlike Hegel’s assertion that “Being is Thought,” in that it attempts to break open the dualisms between matter and thought and conscious and nonconscious. The metaphor of brain, then, for Crockett and Robbins, disentangles determinism, stasis, and immateriality from a sense of being that is tied to thought. “Becoming brain” marks an eventive being—a being capable of creativity and destruction.


Middle Class Public Body Social Body Payday Lender Slow Death 
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© Karen Bray 2016

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  • Karen Bray

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