DE-NOUMENISING THE DEBATE (2): noetic passion and one-sided dialogue

I have not been engaged in a critical relation to OOO as long as Pete Wolfendale, but I have already seen the same philosophy at work, in the form of Althusserianism. At the level of theory, Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology is a de-marxised, de-scientised and de-materialised version of Althusser’s epistemology. At the level of practice, they both make use of the same techniques of psychic manipulation and of cultic propagation in order to favourise the acceptance and diffusion of a radically flawed philosophy, and to discourage and invalidate not just objections but the objectors themselves.

In such a pathological context, Wolfendale feels the need to explain why he wrote his book, and why he spent so much time writing so intelligently about something that was itself not intelligent. He lived this effort as an incomprehensible passion. He felt embarrased by his own obstination and persistence. Yet I think that this sort of noetic “passion” is a source of much that is good in the life of the mind. Even when lived in the form of what Feyerabend calls a “one-sided dialogue”, it constitutes a key moment in many a philosophical life.

One often talks about the essential role that dialogue plays in philosophy, but the one-sided dialogue is a far more widespread phenomenon than these discussions of the nature of philosophy would suggest. The experience is close to the psychoanalytic one of suspending the mundane conversation in order to produce a truth, the fruit of our own philosophical singularity.

I think that the OOO crowd do not realise the service that they have done to a thinker such as Wolfendale in applying to him their tried-and-true mind-games and punitive brain-washing techniques. Such behaviour generates a cloud of stupidity around an already stupid disindividuating ontology. Individuation requires a confrontation with the forces of disindividuation, which propagate not only in the outside world but also inside our own soul.

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