Graham Harman has written a post about me in which he says that I was trying to “refute” OOO in my “2 cheers” post, and that I “claim[ed] quite frankly that OOO is wrong.” I thought it worth pointing out that nowhere in that post did I mention OOO, or Graham’s philosophy under any other name. Those three magical letters appear in a quote from Tim, but I don’t take that part of the quote up in my comments afterward, which are about music. My entire post was a reply to Tim Morton’s 11-paragraph rejoinder to four short sentences I wrote in a comment on Tim’s blog. Those sentences concerned stability and instability, stability being an achievement, and the role of his “lava-lampism” notion in OOO.
I’m surprised that Graham took those comments as being a critique of him or his philosophy, since I’m aware that his ontology acknowledges the importance of change (as does Levi Bryant’s). Since I haven’t read enough of Tim’s work after his OOO “conversion,” I was dismayed that he seemed to be going so far over to the “other side,” i.e. dismissing change, fluidity, achievement, and process in favor of what appeared to be a singular focus on the stability of objects; ergo my brief comment on his blog followed by my post responding to his. Had my post been about OOO, I would have tagged it “object-oriented philosophy,” “OOO,” or something like that. Instead I tagged it “lava lamps, minimalism, music, ontology.” I enjoy talking to Tim about music — he’s one of the two or three most musically astute ecocritics I know (and I know a lot of them) — and I hope those particular tags might see further dialogue between our different styles of thinking on music and aesthetics. But I hate getting into unnecessary arguments.
Moral of the story: Write carefully, but be prepared for reactions you didn’t expect. Moral #2: The more personally you take things other people write about you, and all the more so when they’re not writing about you, the more frustrated you will get with them. I can never be sure where the boundaries are between the various object-oriented ontologists, and so I get taken aback when something I say to one of them is taken so personally by another. But maybe that’s the nature of the beast (the beast being the philosophical blogosphere, with the particular kinds of group dynamics that form in and around new and emerging schools of thought, like OOO). Live and learn.
Note also the conversations between Michael (of Archive Fire) and Tim here and between Michael and Joseph Goodson here. Goodson raises an interesting question to me (on Tim’s blog) about Whitehead, which I’ll try to answer when I have a chance. My next little while will be occupied with some rather pressing off-line life events.