HARMAN’S “DARK” ANTIHUMANISM: OOO’s doublespeak and the ontologisation of misanthropy

Harman’s OOO is not just anti-humanist, in its de-centering of ontology away from the primacy of the human, but misanthropic. Human beings, instances of the only concept of humanity that we know, belong, according to this system, to the sensual (or unreal) realm, as does our concept of humanity. “Anthropic” is a sensual predicate, refering to the realm of “utter sham”, of simulacra. Real objects “withdraw” from the human, and Harman explicitly accuses the “humanities” of missing the real table and falling into reductionism. For the same reason, Harman’s OOO is dark. Real objects withdraw, and we cannot know them, only allude to them darkly, after a dark ascesis.

Any “worth” that can be granted to human beings is necessarily sensual worth, and thus must be understood under erasure, as illusory. Harman deftly deploys familiar terms, but each predicate invoked is to be understood in terms of the double language of OOO: the esoteric (real) and exoteric (sensual) sense. The real object is an abstract monster, it is invisible, untouchable, unknowable. The sensual abundance of our experience and the conceptual abundance of our knowledge (whether scientific, humanistic, or common sense) is illusion.

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