Wilding Consciousness: Towards a speculatively Tentacular Thinking-With

Andrew Goodman


For Donna Haraway, a tentacular life is relational and sticky, a moving-creating-living-with that is at heart sympoietic and entangled. Wilding, as a speculative pragmatic and tentacular practice, involves thinking about the world in ecological terms – that is, neither a world of objects or one of fixed and separated subjects with a distanced perspective of the world. Instead, wilding involves a tactic of embracing an entangled and multi-storied approach to thinking. In this article the question of the possibility of ecological rather than individualized consciousness is speculated upon through the tentacular. Drawing on William James’ impersonal conception of consciousness and contemporary biology’s insights into the relationality of life and thinking, this paper asks: what would a sympoietic concept of consciousness mean? How would this shift the valuing of intelligences towards activism and allow us to learn from those, human and nonhuman, traditionally denied intellectual value?


Article received: April 28, 2020; Article accepted: May 30, 2020; Published online: October 15, 2020; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Goodman, Andrew. "Wilding Consciousness: Towards a speculatively Tentacular Thinking-With." AM  Journal of Art and Media Studies 23 (2020): 103-119. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i23.400


Consciousness, tentacularity, ecology, speculative pragmatism, self-organization, sympioesis.

Full Text:



Arnold, James. “Quantum Spontaneity and the Development of Consciousness.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 26, 1–2 (2019): 216–34.

Beiler, Kevin J., Daniel M. Durall, Suzanne W. Simard, Sheri A. Maxwell, and Annette M. Kretzer. “Architecture of the Wood-Wide Web: Rhizopogon Spp. Genets Link Multiple Douglas-Fir Cohorts.” New Phytologist 185 (2010): 543–53.

Beiler, Kevin J., Suzanne W. Simard, and Daniel M. Durall. “Topology of Tree-Mycorrhizal Fungus Interaction Networks in Xeric and Mesic Douglas-Fir Forests.” Journal of Ecology 103 (2015): 616–28.

Bergson, Henri. Creative Evolution. Translated by Arthur Mitchell. New York: Dover Publications, 1998.

Bunyard, Peter, ed. Gaia in Action: Science of the Living Earth. Wiltshire: Floris Books, 1996.

Coccia, Emanuele. The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mixture. Translated by Dylan J Montanari. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2019.

Deleuze, Gilles. Pure Immanence: Essays on a Life. New York: Urzone Inc, 2001.

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. Translated by Brian Massumi. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. What Is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Flusser, Vilém and Louis Bec. Vampyroteuthis Infernalis. Translated by Valentine A. Pakis. Posthumanities Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Franks, Nigel R. “Army Ants: A Collective Intelligence.” American Scientist 77, 2 (1989): 138–45.

Gagliano, Monica, Michael Rento, Nili Duvdevani, Matthew Timmins, and Stefano Mancuso. “Acoustic and Magnetic Communication in Plants.” Plant Signaling and Behavior 7, 10 (2012): 1346–48.

Gagliano, Monica. Thus Spoke the Plant: A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants. Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2018.

Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. USA: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2016.

Goodwin, Brian. How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity. London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1994.

Goodwin, Brian. “Organisms and Minds: The Dialectics of the Animal-Human Interface in Biology.” In What Is an Animal, edited by Tim Ingold, 100–9. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

Goodwin, Brian. Nature's Due: Healing Our Fragmented Culture. Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2016.

Guattari, Félix. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Haraway, Donna. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2016.

Ho, Mae-Wan. The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 1993.

James, William. Essays in Radical Empiricism. Memphis: Longmans, Green and Co., 2010.

James, William. Pragmatism: A New Name for some Old Ways of Thinking. Project Gutenburg, 2013.

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Project Gutenburg, 2014.

Jantsch, Eric. The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1980.

Lowenhaupt Tsing, Anna. “Strathern Beyond the Human: Testimony of a Spore.” Theory, Culture and Society 31, 2/3 (2013): 221–41.

Massumi, Brian, and Erin Manning. Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Massumi, Brian. Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and Occurrent Arts. Cambridge & London: MIT press, 2011.

Massumi, Brian. What Animals Teach Us About Politics. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2014.

Massumi, Brian. 99 Theses on the Revaluation of Value. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018.

Montgomery, Si. The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. New York: Atria Paperback, 2015.

Morris, Simon Conway. Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Noe, Alva. Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009.

Nunez, Paul L. Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Nunez, Paul L. The New Science of Consciousness: Exploring the Complexity of Brain, Mind and Self. New York: Prometheus Books, 2016.

Rawson, Jane. From the Wreck. Melbourne: Transit Lounge Publishing, 2017.

Romijn, Herms. “Are Virtual Photons the Elementary Carriers of Consciousness?” Journal of Consciousness Studies 9, 1 (2002): 61–81.

Ruyer, Raymond. Neofinalism. Translated by Alyosha Edlebi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Sagan, Dorian & Lynn Margulis. What Is Sex? London: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

Shaviro, Steven. Discognition. London: Repeater Books, 2016.

Simard, Suzanne. “The Mother Tree.” In The Word for World is Still Forest, edited by Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin, 66–72. Berlin: K Verlag, 2017.

Thomas, Lewis. The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher. New York: Viking Press, 1979.

Varela, Francisco. “We’re Naïve About Consciousness, Like People before Galileo Looking in the Sky.” In Conversations on Consciousness, edited by Susan Blackmore, 222–32. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Wicken, Jeffrey S. Evolution, Thermodynamics, and Information: Extending the Darwinian Program. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Winter, Sylvia. “Proud Flesh Inter/Views: Sylvia Winter.” Proud Flesh: A New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness, 4 (2006).

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i23.400


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 AM Journal of Art and Media Studies

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

AM Journal of Art and Media Studies ISSN 2217-9666 - printed, ISSN 2406-1654 - online, UDK 7.01:316.774

Contact: amjournal@outlook.com

Publisher: Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia

Indexed in: ERIH PLUSEBSCODOAJ, and in The List of Scientific Journals Categorization of Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic of Serbia (M24-2021). Beginning with No. 12 2017, AM is indexed, abstracted and covered in Clarivate Analytics service ESCI.