Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why Object-Oriented Ontology is Beautiful in the First Place

The Real and Reality are not the same. Re-ality is only the environmental experience one has because of our tendency to experience the things around us as background, merely existing, just there. But nothing is just there, and therefore Reality is like an illusion. It is like an illusion because, although what you encounter may be correlated to a real object that is there, the encounter itself is not with that object, but its sensual representation to your perception. It follows that although your reception of the object may be a very good index of it, you can never be quite sure that this is the case. Nevertheless, we hold that there must be something there in the Real, beyond Reality, because the correlation is the best evidence we will ever find of our own existence—not as subjects, but as Real, existing objects ourselves. Real objects—including ourselves—elude our direct contact or understanding, but provide endless opportunity for aligning ourselves in search of better understanding, and this is the motivational impetus of Object-Oriented Ontology: simply the love for, and wish to gain a better understanding of, the Other...of which oneself, ironically, is an example. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Zappan Conceptual DisContinuity

I've been listening to a lot of Frank Zappa lately, and it's helped a lot––particularly with dispelling the normative illusions of the Great Society. (Anybody remember the late 60s? I don't, maybe because I was there.) But...

I disagree that everything in the cosmos is a single note, and that everything in the universe is just a derivative vibration. As the girl's voice states, "that one note makes everything else seem so insignificant."

Precisely! If you say that it's all one note and every thing is just an echo of that, then you've made the Note more important than you or I, or that suffering being over there. It's ironic that Zappa hated the idea of Populist mediocracy, because that kind of holistic view––that we're all derivative of one essential meta-note––is precisely the same kind of holistic dis of individuation. The left-wing snake bites the right-wing tail.

I don't pretend to know the crux of the biscuit myself, because realistically I can't do that. But I suspect this paradox comes from Materialism: the big M tends to lead people in circles like that. You get to thinking that everything is made out of one thing (Matter, or a Note or a Tree or something). And you can't even think that without first thinking that there is someone capable of knowing what everything is.

It's really not easy being Real.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nature Vs. Locality

This is coming up as a serious dichotomy in eco-ontological studies lately, as Morton (Dark Ecology) I think rightly points out that localistic eco-movements have nothing to say about how we're supposed to deal with things like Fukushima, macroeconomics, international relations and global warming. But...

I was just noticing how even though "natural" and "local" aren't supposed to mean literally the same thing, yet they do mean the same thing in terms of the images and the warm, fuzzy feeling of reliance and belonging they conjure. Even though knowledge of a local area can include knowledge of things like ecosystems, herbalism, fishing, etc., what "local knowledge" is usually said to mean are things like directions to places, which people to talk to about what, local customs, etc...

When did we get to be a society where it's required to assume that knowledge of "nature" is so different from "local" knowledge? Was it 200 years ago with Kant? Was it 12,500 years ago with Mesopotamia? Just yesterday? Hasn't even happened yet?

I think the answer to that may be up to us.