“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Object-Oriented Buddhism 2


In my essay "Object-Oriented Buddhism" (for Bryant, Harman and Bogost's OOO volume) I shall argue that Buddhism develops not only arguments but techniques for studying the mind as an object.

At first this mind object appears to be an object in the subject-object sense. Basic meditation slows you down enough to see that mind is at least an object in this sense.

Later on, however, mind is experienced as an object in the Harmanian sense--as a "sparkling" presence (his word) that is also totally withdrawn from access.

"But don't you need a subject to experience this object? Isn't this an infinite regress?"

If you have this worry you are simply confused by the traditional presentation of objects as "for" some subject. Buddhism argues that this is not simply a philosophical issue but is endemic to existing as such (samsara).

Simple yes?

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