Focus on the part that Graham excerpts in his rebuttal:
“[Tim Morton's] lava lamps are achievements, as are Graham Harman‘s Lego blocks. They don’t fall from the sky; they are made into objects that withstand a fairly high degree of turbulence in their environments.”
Couldn't agree more. Ivakhiv's post is a perfect description of process relational materialism. On this view, entities, objects, whatever unfold in time. That's why Ivakhiv uses the term “achievement”—it's a verb (well, a gerundive really—a noun based on a verb), and as we all know, verbs are better than nouns, because they tell us more explicitly about the underlying process-stuff of which things are made. Bad, bad nouns! So a mat is matting, and a cat is catting, and entities are achievements.
Now let's get lavalamping.
With the help of my 6-year-old daughter I've plotted the evolution of an achievement:
The T axis is time. The A axis is achievement.
Who knows how this achievement happens: other entities, one entity melting into different shapes, evolution, God, novelty, vitalism, vibrant matter, who knows? It makes no difference. Let's just assume it happens. A blob begins to sorta kinda resemble an apple. At the bottom of the lava lamp (time T1) the blob is just a blob. By the time it's reached the top, the blob has morphed into an apple-like achievement (time T2). At some future date it will melt into something else, perhaps. There may be other blobs that interfere with its apple-esque beauty. Whatever.
Let's leave aside any worries about the A axis. Ignore the fact that the apple-blob is more blob than apple (some more fundamental goo underwrites its apple-ity). Ignore the possibility that the apple-blob only resembles an apple-blob in the eyes of apple-blob users (you, me, some worms, whatever). On this score its intrinsic appliness is simply a function of how it is “perceived.” Let's leave that aside, however, damning as it is for a materialist account of things.
Simply focus on the fact that at T1 the proto-apple is a mere blob, while at T2 it's an apple-oid.
Fantastic. This explains everything we need to know about how apples come to be: EXCEPT FOR THE TEMPORAL FRAME IN WHICH THE BECOMING OCCURS. We need T and A (pardon the pun) to account for the entities that manifest in the lava lamp. A major fact of our reality—time—can't be explained ontologically, it can only be assumed. OOO drivers will be able to put a time-fish eating a process-fish on the backs of their cars.
Relativity will not help you here, if you feel like defending lava lamp materialism. Relativity simply means that the frame is also blobby (Gaussian) rather than rigid (Galilean). It's still a frame, still ONTOLOGICALLY OUTSIDE the entity, achievement, thing. Imagine wrapping the graph around an orange. Congratulations. You now have the exact same problem, wrapped around an orange. A non-Euclidean failure to account for time ontologically.
Nor will quantum theory. Make time's arrow reversible so that the apple-oid can speak to the blob faster than light and cause itself to achieve itself. Heck, invent a totally new dimension and let the blob jump out of the frame (into a different or larger frame) like in string theory. Same problem.
In fact, NO SCIENTISTIC FACT-CANDY WHATSOEVER will make lava lamp materialism hold up against this refutation. Which by the way is roughly how Aristotle did it. What are we doing, regressing back to a pre-Aristotelian age? Sure you can think Aristotle has problems. But let's not fix them by regressing.