Pop Culture
Aug 07, 2015, 10:57AM

Like a Parallel World, Not a Bridge

A 2010 The Wire interview with musician Henry Threadgill vs a 2015 DIS magazine interview with philosopher Timothy Morton.

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Timothy Morton: Everything is just plastic waiting for me to manipulate.

Henry Threadgill: But you start to get weary, and all of your habits start to form like a big mirror in front of you. [Points to a nearby table, where a man is talking loudly on his cell phone] I lost a whole record collection like that.

Morton: Nevertheless, it’s real, and it has some kind of downward causality on bunnies and Hans Ulrich.

Threadgill: What are you doing, just manipulating notes?

Morton: Sure. [Laughter] Number one in the charts, Nihilism.


Threadgill: Are you experiencing anything after you get out of yourself in the tree?

Morton: Like you start the engine of your car, and I personally, I have no motivation there to destroy Earth, nor am I doing so because statistically me starting that engine is meaningless, but when you scale it up to mean billions of car ignitions billions of times in billions of cars across the whole earth, that’s exactly what’s happening, it’s kind of like being in one of those movies when you realize, ‘Oh my God, I’m an android,’ you know, like, ‘I’m a zombie.

Threadgill: You have to kind of take a Zen, Eastern approach.

Morton: So there’s no centre, there’s no edge, and there’s no one dominant top level, or there’s no one fundamental bottom level, and there’s no middle level.

Threadgill: It’s too elusive. Like a parallel world, not a bridge.


Morton: And ultimately that’s funny, it’s like it’s a comedy, it’s not a tragedy, it’s not horrific.

Threadgill: As soon as I can recognize the fact that I'm trapped in my own maze of thinking, my way of thinking, my regular way of thinking, then I can generally get out the situation, then I can generally unlock the traffic jam that I'm in. I can talk all over you; I can bump into you.

Morton: Because it’s not just a human problem about population. To me that’s not totally Deleuze.

Threadgill: You look at painting and frescoes and you see where perspective came in and where infinity came in. Like I said, the dessert is not the entrée.

Morton: So let’s have lots and lots of toys.


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