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A Moriarty Reader

Preparing for Early Spring
Brendan O'Donoghue (ed)


We believe in a God who consciously creates, consciously sustains, consciously choreographs towards a final tableau because of our dread of unconsciousness, our dread of wu-hsin, wu wei, mo wei, our dread of miraculousness.15

For Moriarty, to think of the universe or pluriverse as something created or made, or as mere handiwork, is entirely offensive and inappropriate, given the stupendousness of what is: 'It is defamation of the universe to say of it that it was made. Chairs are made, not furze bushes, not stars."6 Moriarty maintains that the notion of a created universe betrays an anthropocentric bias, a preju­dice originating from humans being endowed with cerebro-manual dexterity and opposable thumbs, which enable humans to be tool users and make possible the art of craftsmanship.17 Physiologically conditioned, this way tends to promote an understanding of the universe as something created or crafted. If a dolphin could imagine how the universe came into existence, Moriarty supposes it would diverge radically from something created or made.18

Dread of unconsciousness; wu-hsin, 'no-mind' or 'no-thought'; wu wei, 'non-action'; mo wei, 'nothing does it' or the 'causeless'; and miraculousness, arises because these ideas threaten to undermine our deep-seated attachments to egocentric and anthropocentric perspectives. According to Moriarty, our biblical choreographing God is required as protection against these intru­sive and disruptive notions, providing a 'bulwark against miraculousness'. Furthermore, he declares: 'In the yu-wei works and days which we ascribe to him, our biblical God is our sin against the Divine.' This diminished sense of God, as some type of demiurge or master craftsman, is something Moriarty seeks to 'desuperimpose' from the Divine Ungrund.19

Maintaining the West is beset by a corrupted lust for explanation, Mori­arty confronts reductive philosophical and scientific estimations. He strongly resists the 'ghostly Platonic' understanding of things, as mere imperfect repre­sentations or copies of immutable and perfect Forms, and Descartes' grasp of things, as elaborated in Discourse on Method and Principles of Philosophy. In these particular texts, Descartes' interpretation of corporeal matter is confined to quantitive descriptions of arithmetic and geometry, involving nothing more than 'divisions, shapes and movements'.20 Additionally, he thinks of the material world as an indefinite series of variations in the shape, size and motions of the homogeneous matter he calls res extensa (extended matter or substance), a concept Moriarty vehemently rejects, for whom 'matter' is 'mind……