We are now witnessing the entry of OOO into a new phase, that of established paradigm for a wide ranging series of comparisons that presuppose the conceptual coherence of its basic theses. Harman’s particular ideas can even be safely contested on the basis of the object-orientation that they express without exhausting. An object-attitude is now more important than any particular thesis, as articles like Cogburn and Ohm’s, and books like Peter Gratton’s, present OOO as an array of options within the wider array of Speculative Realism.
Graham Harman’s theses are absurd: this is an open secret, and none of his major acolytes contests the fact of this absurdity. Invisible, untouchable, inaccessible phantomatic “real” objects, in the name of which OOO can declare that the common sense table, the scientific table, and the sociological table are unreal, mere shams. Time itself declared to be unreal by means of a method of objectal intuition that cannot be specified, yet alone justified. A pseudo-concept of absolute “withdrawal” whose definition cannot be clearly stated without its self-refuting nature being apparent to all. One of the most simplistic abstract and static ontologies imaginable packaged as its opposite. Nobody believes this pseudo-philosophical abracadabra, and noone makes any attempt to defend it.
Hence the almost complete absence of any critical discussion of fundamental concepts and theses. Does Levi Bryant reject every major thesis of Harman’s ontology? So be it – as long as he keeps to the object-attitude, OOO has been not contested but supplemented, not refuted but enriched, not weakened but reinforced and protected by the addition of a further variant. Yet variation inside the disciplinary matrix of a pre-validated framework is not individuation, it is merely a supplement of normalisation.
When one begins to see the mimetic resonances between an array made up of a seemingly dispersed ensemble of blogs that are content to refer to each other only sporadically, one is properly horrified by the pretence of scholarly objectivity and the affectation of academic reference and argument. Let an unknowing enquirer enter into this charmed collegial circle and he must either admire the beautiful clothes of the emperor or suffer the mimetic defence strategy of sneer, snob, and silent squeeze.
How does one choose one day to become OOO? How can it seem that one’s unrecompensed fidelity to Lacan or to Derrida or to Turing can be seamlessly transformed into a more narcissistically lucrative investment in a ridiculous ontology that relies on systematic ambiguity and intellectual equivocation to entice people into the adoption of a toxic lexic of empty passwords and pseudo-arguments? Do they not see how tame and domesticated and possessive they have become? Let someone come along who is not impressed by their tutelary vocabulary and references, and they quickly lose their much vaunted bonhomie and generosity, their collegial politeness.
“If you don’t like these ideas do not criticise them, do not try to discuss them, go elsewhere, or be damned as the incarnation of the negative thinker when real thought is positive. Only favorable interpretations allowed: keep off the hermeneutical grass!” But such admonitions only show how far their proferers have wandered from the well-springs of philosophy. My individuation as a human being and as a philosopher requires that I fight back against the forces of disindividuation that I encounter.
This very “psychic” defence that is employed in the place of argument only confirms the diagnostic of OOO as a pathological formation, one that requires curative attention.