What is the Crag?

Interdisciplinary community of interest on creation and/of reality

The general increase in the human belief that reality is, or can be to differing extents, created by us, is apparent in social processes of empowerment or disempowerment. ‘Creation of reality’ is also a growing scheme within the humanities, in the diverse corrugations of social constructivism. It is also vivid in the science-fictional idea of terraforming or planetary engineering, or in New Age beliefs of supra-agency. Contemporary philosophers of mind touch the ‘creation of reality’ theme through discussions on cognitive enhancement, virtual reality, or contemplative reprogramming, and they explore our cognitive capacities to shape our surroundings beyond our organismic apparatus. And last but not least, in the last five decades, growing environmental consciousness and interest for holistic life-on-earth studies seem to call for the development of an interdisciplinary comprehension (a meta-geobiology?) of Nature (more and more artefactual), and Technoculture (more and more perceived as natural).

The Castle Rock in Edinburgh, on which the symbolic head of the city stands, is a crag. Arthur’s seat, its wild and natural counterpart, is also a crag. Crags are formed when a glacier passes over an area that contains a very resistant granitic formation. Could we compare the slow yet persistent work of ice sheets to the process of creation and the reluctant rocks to the resistance that any society opposes to the New? Or should that image be inverted, in an invocation of Deleuze’s stance: “To create is to resist”?

creation of reality culturomics

In the last decades, we can observe a strong increase in the belief that our reality is or can be created, whether it is phenomenological, subjective or collectively shared. It is visible in popular culture, often via New Age formulations; it is present in the sciences, for example in the discourse of brain studies. It is also active in the humanities, within the diverse offspring of social constructivism, but also in politics, as a variation on democratic empowerment and community activism.

Our take on the matter wishes to avoid ideology, but we do believe that there is, may be since the Enlightenment, a wider collective aspiration to play an active role in the creation of our human world and knowledge. We start by observing that ‘creation of reality’ is a lexical compound that is becoming more and more frequent in printed texts since the beginning of the 20th century (see graph). We firstly want to understand that trend. Secondly, we would like to become an interdisciplinary community of interest and of practice, in order to create a kaleidoscopic esprit de corps, a collective body that could be a porous shield, immune to contemporary disasters

The Crag is a think-plateau on the diverse modalities of reality creation. We will try to entwine all the research disciplines around the constitution of a ‘crealist’ science, a human science of the creation of realities. The group is also conceived as a laboratory for a multidisciplinary and public ongoing seminar and an annual conference.

We will not only ask ourselves what creation is (whether it is human-made and/or the result of a vital earthly process). We will be concerned by what creation does to the world and how it contributes to the shaping of the structures of our society. We will also question the often-fantasized possibility of a more creative way of living together, of exchanging knowledge and allowing new ways of existence.