Just for the kids who follow this shit – I was against objectology before it was cool…
Tim Morton’s new book is out – surely it will be as awesomely nonsensical as his blog writings = here. First thing to draw my troll attention? Lack of Levi Bryant, one of the other founders of OOO, in the Acknowledgement section – scandalous!
First and foremost, Graham Harman [check] brought this book into being in almost every sense. He compelled me to become an object-oriented ontologist, through the ingenious device of brilliant, seductive prose. And as series editor he has been a most helpful, generous partner in putting this book together.
Ian Bogost [check], one of the founders of object-oriented ontology (OOO), gave me the title at a highly spiced brainstorming session in Los Angeles in December 2010, and since then has shared his thinking in the most generous ways possible.
There many people whose more than inspiring ideas and kind words have helped me on this project, including but not limited to: Jamie Allen, Jane Bennett, Bill Benzon, Paul Boshears, Rick Elmore, Paul Ennis, Rita Felski, Dirk Felleman, Nathan Gale, Bobby George, Thomas Gokey, Joseph Goodson, Peter Gratton, Liam Heneghan, Eileen Joy, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Douglas Kahn, Ken Reinhard, Tom Sparrow, MacKenzie Wark, Cary Wolfe, and Ben Woodard.
This book is dedicated to my son Simon. Anyone who has trouble imagining causality as magical and uncanny need only consider the existence of children.
Sure, there are parenthetical references to the great onticologist here and there in the book, but nothing really interesting. I propose to move the periodization of the fake philosophical history of OOO to the next stage: “…and then it split into two sub-movements: pro-Harman (Morton and Bogost) and pro-Bryant (Bryant).”
Note to sympathetic commenters – sure, this is a waste of my time, but it’s hilarious and I mention it because I like to poke holes at self-important morons. Give me this one thing, please. No egos were hurt in the preparation and publication of this blog post.
All around object-oriented philosopher Graham Harman exhibits suspiciously human-oriented interpretation of his lost bag tragedy. For those not following this epic human ordeal (start now), the very human philosopher lost his bag in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is now publicly chiding American Airlines for refusing to send his lost bag to him in Cairo.
However, he is looking at it all wrong: the real tragedy is not that a human person in Cairo is now without its bag, it is that a bag is now in Cedar Rapids without its human person!
What about the bag? Who will think about how the bag must feel now? Perhaps it got tired of its human person and simply used this opportunity to escape?
No commentary is required here, just quotes:
The very people who most fervently endorse Hegel are quite tone deaf when it comes to issues of “subject position” (in Althusserian) or “style” (in phenomenologese). They are deaf to their guy’s big discovery. I find this irony not accidental. If you are not a Hegelian, this is how they sound, sometimes. It is as if someone has hidden a little ball under one of three cups, and is asking you to guess which one. They already know where the ball is: “Is it under here? Noooo….Is it under here? Noooo…aha! Here it is!” Tin ear, you see? Because he (the policeman, emphasis on man) has admitted that it is a game with a pre-programmed outcome. A journey with a known destination: like a Romantic piano sonata, in two ways. Equal temperament is the way to tune piano strings (and hence, in piano-centric modernity, all other instruments), slightly fudging the harmonic ratios between them to enable maximum journey possibilities. A=A is the nadir of “not getting it,” of “falling at the first hurdle”—or of not even trying to jump over the hurdle. This is the quintessence of the OOO move. To return to A=A, to occupy that position, as it were, is to have exposed Hegelianism for what it is: a pre-programmed ruse that knows in advance that A=A must be disavowed/sublated, and the exact procedures of that disavowal/sublation. It goes without saying that this is caught up in a certain resistance to anarchism, which is why I use the term occupy.
A night in which all cows are black still has cows.
Sure, I put these all together and out of context, but trust me this is much better than the original.
Tim Morton’s right on the money with this one:
A gun, not a person, killed a 7-year-old boy outside a gun store yesterday near to Pittsburgh. The father’s gun.
“Guns don’t kill people,” right?
I’m not just making a point. OOO has political implications. Nonhumans are already on the inside of social space.
So these nonhumans that are already on the inside of social space, why can’t they just control themselves and stop shooting children?
Strangely enough, Morton’s most recent post is not addressed to nonhumans like guns, but to humans (politicians) who control them – that is way too anthropocentric!
Repeat after me – gun control means guns control themselves! Down with humans! More nonhuman agency please!
This month began with a series of long and slightly irritating posts in which generous and charitable readers of others like Levi Bryant were forever whining about how they are mistreated by others. This month is ending with a beautiful display of what was really at stake: “be generous to me, love and appreciate me, because if you do not, I will spend my every waking hour attacking you and everything you stand for!”
Too many exhibits to link to, but just look at this one. I am sure that if anyone pointed out how stupid and unfair that representation of the opponent’s argument is, Bryant would have his response ready: But he started it!
Merry Christmas everyone!
Bored with my previous series (that only went to two posts on Hegel and Spinoza), I am returning to my blogosphere roots – making fun of OOO and its “arguments” online. But first, some fundamental principles.
One principle that is easily discernible in any interactions with objectologists is The Irreversibility of Implication Principle. Stated simply, the principle is easy to understand (and to follow): Whatever conclusion an objectologist makes about an opponent’s implicit motivations for her position cannot be reversed and directed back at the said objectologist.
Let’s take a simple example from the freshly pressed text: Bryant’s “fighting words” of this morning. The overall conclusion of this semi-nonsensical post is clear: “Your thought is a reaction formation to the narcissistic wound of the fact that your existence is contingent and that you are only the third of the three great apes.” Here “your” stands for all the failed “Continental philosophers” who, unlike the cool kids, still cling to their outdated non-naturalist and non-materialist approaches. They do so because of some fundamental psychological and professional insecurity. Their thought is the direct consequence of their threatened status and their unwillingness to dispense with their privileges.
Makes perfect sense, you say. It does. There is nothing new about making such generalized implications. However, the freedom to do so is limited by the “irreversibility principle” – accusations directed at others cannot be reserved and redirected at the accusers. So if I said, for example, that Bryant’s entire project is motivated by his sense of profound insecurity and mediocrity, that everything he says and writes is aimed at proving to everyone (but mostly his father) that he is in fact a somebody, then objectologists would cry foul and would be absolutely correct. My statement would be a direct violation of the “irreversibility principle”: remember, kids, hot coffee in the blue mug warms cold air, cold air does not warm hot coffee…
Another example: every critic of object-oriented ontology/philosophy is a jealous loser, unable to reach a desired position of academic power and thus taking his/her angry frustration on poor naive original-to-the-bone philosophers of the future. Well, all of these things are certainly true in my case, but were I to try a reversal – perhaps the motivation behind all of this mindless speculation is some psychological need for praise and approval, some grotesque ambition to find glory and universal approval for originality – and I would be dead wrong.
I hear you grumble something about the “doctor heal thyself” principle and hypocrisy. Here is why you are all wrong:
1) To your witty “Doctor heal thyself” quote I give you my wittier “Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi” quote – what do you say to that? Mine is in Latin. You lose.
2) Hypocrisy argument, like critique, is the weapon of the weak and the powerless. They always want to hold great men accountable to their worthless little moralities. Let me ask you this question: How many books did you publish? You are only allowed to talk back if it is the amount equal to that of the most productive objectologist. The rest of you rest your objections and start getting some books published. This game is for big boys with long lists.
3) Can’t we all just move past the accusations and engage in some love and compassion? I am tired of all the fights and all the controversy that inevitably follows all the posts on OOO. All of your witty and thought-provoking comments exhaust me. Sure, maybe it is not a perfect system of philosophy, but it is trying its best, so let it be.
I know you kids out there like to read all these gossipy posts about OOO, but I have a serious lesson for you today – for all of its obvious (and hilarious) faults, there one very good technique that you all need to learn and practice: playing dumb when confronted with questions. Rather than explain to you how this work, let me give you some examples from our favorite objectologist:
Exhibit A: “Similarly, no one would dream of suggesting that because the doctor wants to know what causes the bird flu, the doctor is somehow justifying the bird flu or claiming that it is a good thing. No, the doctor wants to understand the bird flu precisely so he can prevent it. I’ve thus been shocked to hear some say that if you claim that nuclear bombs are, you’re somehow claiming that nuclear bombs should be.”
Shocked, I tell ya, shocked! It’s important to feign genuine feelings when playing dumb.
Exhibit B: What I find perplexing about this is that all of you asking these questions seem to think that my claim that ontology and politics are distinct means I reject politics and ethics.
I am perplexed, I tell ya, baffled, befuddled, bewildered, puzzled, dumbfounded and confounded as to why “you lot” are just not able to get it. Blame the readers for your inability to understand a simple question. It’s their fault that they are not proficient enough to get it. By being perplexed, you are basically making a philosophical equivalent of this jab: “I find it perplexing that you are still wetting your bed.”
At the end, go for the kill:
Sure, I care about ontology for political reasons because I believe this world sucks and is profoundly unjust. But rather than waving my hands and cursing because of how unjust and horrible it is so as to feel superior to all those about me who don’t agree, rather than playing the part of the beautiful soul who refuses to get his hands dirty, I think we need good maps so we can blow up the right bridges, power lines, and communications networks, and so we can engage in effective terraformation.
Opening with “Sure” is awesome (consider “Look” or “You see” as well). Then follows an amazingly brazen plagiarism from Kim Stanley Robinson who invents the term “terraforming” in his Mars Trilogy – slightly change it to “terraformation” and you’re golden! And, of course, the “kill” – my opponents are idiots who ask silly incomprehensible questions while standing around with their clean hands and retarded minds hoping for a better tomorrow to come on its own. Speechless!
What then follows is an exchange of comments (both on the blog and FB) from which I only select a few juicy ones to illustrate my point: Continue reading