Dust Specks

By | March 10, 2016

Guest post by Michael Marder

Note: The small fragments on dust gathered here are based on my nearly daily tweets on the subject @michael_marder. Besides their belatedness, there is no reason why they could not have been a part of my book Dust (Object Lessons).


Twitter generates and spreads the dust of thought: dispersed, inessential, fine shreds covering everything.

The book

I love the cover of DUST. In it, on it, my name seems buried under dust, the word and the thing.

DUST is now a material thing in the world! That is: It can gather and release dust.

…the dust of thought and that of matter… My DUST is the point where their vectors intersect…

In my book, I show how dust itself urges us to think, what it gives to thought, and what thought can dispense back to it.

One substance

Spinoza was right about the one substance. Its name is dust. The body and the mind are its two, not-so-different, modes.

In dust, the difference between ‘who’ and ‘what’ is abolished.

Dust is both verb and noun—a perfect, complete word for the imperfection and incompletion of existence.


Dust is the insignificant almost-not-a-thing reminding us of our own insignificance. 

Try to see the world from the perspective of dust, and all your problems will reveal their relative triviality. 

Paraphrasing Freud: Where there was world, there will be dust.

From dust to dust, our lives are a circle of the elements’ relation to themselves.


Dust is a lesson in unlearning the rules of identity.

“Dust is” says in equal measure “Dust is not.”

In dust, the gruesomeness of death has been already neutralized—the products of decay desiccated, made subtle…

Dust is the indifference of difference.


Dust is posthumous dissemination, its origin (including immediate life) erased.

Till dust do us part? (and, in parting, bring us together anew).

Dust flies, settles, gathers, spreads in the finest parody of Aristotle's unmoved mover I know of.

Dust is the event of the thing.


DustMichael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His most recent monographs include The Philosopher’s Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium (2014), Pyropolitics: When the World Is Ablaze (2015), and Dust, recently released in Bloomsbury's Object Lessons series. He is now completing a book, co-authored with Luce Irigaray and titled Through Vegetal Being.

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