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Sunday, April 12, 1987

deLanda 2007: 20 years into the Future, the Other that we can't Be in but can experience as Being

notes to artists.... "crystals express themselves"

atoms in their humble being express their identity...leaving a fingerprint of its identity in that radiation......fingerprints     /    signatures /   gradients of nutrients /  capable of sensing the world and this just in today

Notes Towards an OOO Politics

Zachary Price has been prompting me to talk about it so here goes. For a kick off, there's no inherent politics to OOO and I for one think that's a good thing. One of us (Levi Bryant) is an avowed Marxist, and another is an avowed non-Marxist (Ian Bogost). Graham has argued in several places that one of the tests of a robust ontology is whether it can serve a number of different political masters. I agree with that. And hey we're talking about fundamental ontology here, not why the Tea Party should be resisted by any means necessary.

And I think there is a bigger picture here, in all seriousness. Hegelianism, in which ideas inevitably come bundled with attitudes, is a hugely dominant view when it comes to politics in scholarly circles, like it or not (and whether it's consciously held or not). I very much like the basic Hegelian idea that ideas come bundled with attitudes. (As long as you pare away the teleology.)

But if you're not careful this mode of thinking (“Spot the subject position,” like “Spot the ball” in pre-internet entertainment days) lands in you correlationism land. There's a kind of "attitude about attitudes" that defines correlationism, namely that the goal in life is to get exactly the right attitude about everything. “If we all just think really hard maybe the rain will stop” (MC at Woodstock). Left cynicism. You name it. This is what OOO has come to replace. So I'm not too keen to marry OOO to a politics right now thanks very much.

The 30-year-old me can't believe that I just said that and wants to take me outside for a slap. Too bad, 30-year-old me! You are a mere passing memory.

Okay. Let's just start with the notion that objects withdraw. This means that everything is unique, I think. It's my idea of the strange stranger applied to all entities. All entities are uncanny, even to themselves.

Unique doesn't mean individual. Think of a front lawn. It's an expression of individualism, but not uniqueness. As a matter of fact there are some very strict rules as to what counts as a proper front lawn, just as there are rules about proper individualism. In Colorado you can be arrested in certain towns for not trimming your lawn just right.

Since objects withdraw, there is no top object and no bottom object. No “matter,” no lava, no holistic web. Just a plenum of unique objects.

I don't know about you but that strikes me as an anarchy. So I'm going to put my foot in my mouth and live to regret this, and I can't believe I'm actually thinking this. But I might be an anarchist object-oriented ontologist. Now the 30-year-old me is becoming apoplectic and is about to have a cardiac arrest or murder me. I thought I had it all figured out and one thing I'd figured out was, anarchy was not cool.