“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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Object-Oriented Ontology and the Other

An object is already dreaming about itself, even when it is “sleeping” (to use Harman’s term), unaffected by another object. This is because of the profound Rift between essence and appearance. This Rift provides the impetus for movement and continuity. Just persisting, just remaining the same, is a strange phenomenon in this regard. The real problem with non-OOO theories of objects—default lumps sprinkled with accidents or cooler flows—is that, as we’ve seen, they are unable to think movement or time without recourse to some non-examined concept that is brought in as a kind of patch. One way this works is that the interobjective space is taken as the actual reality of objects, when it functions more like the Lacanian concept of the Big Other: just as I am a person called Tim by others  (in the Big Other in Lacanian terms), so objects are defined by their relations in interobejctivity. This gives rise to the illusion we call relationism. One reason OOO is hard to accept for some people is also the reason why psychoanalysis or ecological awareness is hard to accept: what is found is a profound lack in the Other, the realization that “the Other does not exist”: there is no Nature, no deep background of meaning—what we took as real is really a projection.What we assumed to be real is just a manifestation of the as-structure.
--Realist Magic (PDF proof reading now) 

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