“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 Impermanence

The Rift between essence and appearance is why an object has an outside. The Rift is why an object exists. The Rift is also how an object can die: its inner, irreducible fragility. Every object has some feature labeled “I am not part of this object.” A hamartia (Greek, “wound”). An inner silver bullet, like a physical version of a Gödel sentence. The inner fragility of an object allows it to be destroyed by another object. Much more importantly, however, inner fragility means that an object can “die” all by itself.

Every object is wounded. A hamartia constitutes the object as such in its determinacy. Impermanence is an intrinsic feature of why an object is an object. When an object comes into phase with its own fragility, it is destroyed. Consider the Hawking radiation emanating from a black hole. Not everything remains caught within a black hole: even a black hole, the densest object in the physical Universe, is internally inconsistent. At some point, the black hole will expend itself. Its hamartia, its inner fragility, causes it to cease to exist. Hamartia is what Aristotle calls a tragic flaw. 
--Realist Magic

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