“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 18, 2011

OOO Buddhism

Two people in the last few days have asked, separately, about connections between Buddhism and OOO, having intuited that they might exist. Happily my essay “Object-Oriented Buddhism” is due for a little bit of a retread so I'm going to send it to them and see what they think. Here is the first paragraph:

“How on Earth could you possibly imagine reality without a subject or a sense of self? How can I even imagine brushing my teeth on such a view?” One knee-jerk reaction to OOO proceeds along lines like this. Yet there exist millions of people who go about their business thinking precisely this, every day—and they brush their teeth. They are called Buddhists. Now it may sound strange to both parties that Buddhism and OOO are closely aligned. An OOO philosopher might suppose, for instance, that the way Buddhism talks about “mind” makes it a form of idealism. But by the time you have finished reading this you will see that it is indeed the case that there are deep and fruitful affinities between OOO and Buddhism. I am not asking you to believe this. I am simply asking you to recognize that Buddhism is a kind of OOO. It may not be your kind of OOO.

1 comment:

noel said...

As I read The Ecological Thought I kept thinking it could be a Buddhist treatise particularly in respect of the conclusions you draw. In my understanding of Buddhism it's not that you don't have a sense of self, it's that you have an awareness that the sensing self is, to put it one way, an object.