Levi Bryant, it is clear, was never really an OOOxian, nor has he been influenced by Deleuze, except very superficially. He is an orthodox Lacanian and accepts blindly such Lacanian dogmas as the tripartite division of the real, the imaginary and the symbolic. No doubt he thought he saw in Harman’s ontology a way to specify the nature of the Real, which is left mysteriously vague by Lacan, but is invoked as an unattainable Numen, protecting its faithful from idealism.
Bryant attempted to annex object-oriented ontology, turning it into just one part of his all-encompassing lacanian paradigm. But this annexation proved impossible, as Harman’s objects showed Bryant’s naturalistic, scientistic, and machinic specifications of the real to be utter shams incompatible with the austere rigour of the objectual vision. Bryant’s response to this impasse is manic denial as he goes through hypothesis after hypothesis concerning the nature of these objects, in order to cover over the fundamental contradiction with a plausible seeming synthesis. Levi Bryant’s new “onto-cartography” is but the latest in this series of attempted reconciliations.
Such denial leads regularly to exhaustion and to the depressive, and for us spectators depressing, falling back onto an outdated Lacanianism, bravely described as “post-mastery” because it dares to introduce some refinements unbeknownst to the master, perhaps even mimicking a scientific style by presenting and commenting a new “matheme” or two. The future compatibility of Lacanism with naturalistic science is thus suggested, despite the patent idealism of the whole research-programme.
Such ridiculous appeal to a scientistic life-support system for a dying Lacanianism is so absurd that it should be called a “batheme”. Here again Bryant turns his back on the less credulous and so more perspicacious theses of Harman’s OOO. Whatever the demerits of his ontology, Harman alone has been willing to discard the scientistic prejudice that vitiates the work of Bryant and related thinkers.