On the Poverty of Objectology (OOO)

Philosophy aims to achieve a place where difference, love and wisdom coincide: an enacted struggle where fight and dance become one. As in West Side Story or Querelle: a street fight with ethics – an open challenge – come out and show yourself – fight like a man – instead of catty inuendo. The dialectical-athleticism of the Greeks and Tibetan Buddhists: harmony of pen and sword which Mishima adapted from the Japanese samurai.

To me this is to engage in the act of becoming – to immerse oneself in the truth of the void which Bataille, Lacan, Deleuze, Badiou, Sade, and Trungpa – in their different ways – embrace. Discourse does not serve the object of truth. “Object Oriented Ontology” (OOO) is guilty of exactly what Badiou lays out in Being and Event: saying that all there are are bodies (dead bodies, or objects) and languages (significations or representations). It is another form of correlationism and even a worse one than before with matter in the place of noumena (hence the perverted celebration of Aristotle).

The real is the void is the infinite is the act is the becoming – all of which are names for (or pointing to) Being. We could call it “Subject Oriented Ontology” to be fun but it is not. It is a nondualist non-correlationist understanding of the subject-object continuum. There are no subjects and no objects, only degrees of subjectivity and objectivity in each “thing.” What is a thing, an object? A multiple, multiplicity, or set as Deleuze and Badiou unfold is the best way to point to it in my opinion: that which ex-ists, artificially extracted from the infinite-real of Being. That which is being-there, is not a material object. That is one of the mistakes of OOO: that it models the object after a material object in empty space even if it claims it does not. It is a discrete way of thinking. To understand Deleuze’s conception requires a leap in thinking to the continuum. And even further we must simultaneously grasp the break. This is what Badiou does: reconcile Deleuze and Lacan – reconcile the continuous and the discrete. But as I have said certain others have achieved this: in Neoplatonism, Gnositicism, Alchemy, Tantra, Zen – but only in certain moments because we always risk turning it back into an object.

Why set theory: it helps us understand how we can have an ontology (phenomenology and epistemology as well) that is at once generic, free, and sovereign –  and hierarchical. Ways of organizing existents, things, or “objects” are also infinite and infinitely political: we have the opposite of a flat ontology – rather a highly potent ontology in the sense of both potential and power. In fact you can look through this lense that all is political – all that is are the acts or events or differences that make a difference in the infinite real continuum of process: the existential act of Kierkegaard, the analytic act of Lacan, the event of Badiou are the local proof of the Act of Being in the ontological perspective of St Thomas, Suhrawardi or other pre-correlational thinkers. The complement then to an ontology of Being (better than phenomenology or epistemology) would be a topology: a science of being-there or existence. We can continue to grasp Being through relatively a-signifying practices like set-theory (and poetics but that is another story) while topology (and narrative) allow us to map being-there or existence.

Why is this not another corelationsim: because we are not relating existents to being – we are showing how the void in existents – right down to the quantum emptiness of matter – is another perspective on Being which is not one or universal either but unfinished and untotalizable in its “totality”: void with pure potency and potential – infinitely infinite in the sense demonstrated by Cantor’s failure and Cohen’s success – even if we can still pin it down “pragmatically” or functionally. Absolute contingency does not take away relative stability, but the relational micropolitics of the act refer to the degrees of speed between the event and its conservation: undecidable by anything but its absolute sovereign immersion in its happening.

The multiverse of the real then becomes based on an “ethical-aesthetic” paradigm. Aesthetic in that it is based on the act of desire, drive, or will each thing has in its local universe. Ethical in that it recognizes nothing other than the desire of itself and the sacrifice of that desire in the face of the desire of the other. In other words Bataille’s concept of absolute sovereignty. But the absolute act of pure “evil” in the Sadian sense eventually inverts inside out to become the act of absolute sacrifice or love and together they demonstrate the topology of nondualism in ethical and political relations. This is the true experience of mahayana (greater vehicle) Buddhism: not delaying one’s enlightenment in order to help the other get there but the practice as realization and realization as practice that they are also one and the same, we are one another: same yet different. I call this ethics as opposed to morality which is based on an abstract demand from the imaginary and/or symbolic other. This is why true giving only comes after an experience of pure taking, desire, or drive: absolute sovereign selfishness implodes into sacrifice. Which is why true communism (rather than socialism or democratic communism) can only emerge after captialism in the purity of its accelerated form as mapped out in Deleuze and Guattari. It is also the true meaning of karma in Eastern philosophy. Karma means action and it is only in the pure act of free will that one receives information back – like a psychic radar – from the other in order to gauge ones future action. Any action predetermined by a preconceived morality – religious, legal, familial, or otherwise – only delays the beginning of the process.

( An inspired unleashing…planned to write it up but just got started…one of many ways to encourage the impetus to speak…a true listener…facilitated by a little machine…but the machine is extra…not the point….even usually gets in the way… how to use it without being used by it…this is what those objectologists are in danger of losing sight of…becoming profane as Bataille would say…so what…but let’s keep it honest, sacred, joyous…by shaking it up…no we won’t settle down into the comfortable academic discourse of the university of shopkeepers…ah but it’s always a matter of degree…yes that’s why we have to keep throwing down the gauntlet…out of love…reminded of Bataille at the end of Madame Edwarda…something like: “Go on. I meant to. But I have lost interest. I put down what oppressed me at the moment. The rest of the story….long weary waiting for death.” …oh but it just as easily can be joyous…time to go have some food and drink now…a little sex or friendship or enjoying the beauty of my jacket…something trite that is redeemed by/as spirit…this is why Bataille, Guattari, Miller, and Dick for example grasped that their position, their experience, their project had something in common with the Gnostics…base materialism and gnosticism…not the Gnostics who sought to leave this world in its fallen state – though that’s what we would have to do if OOO and its ilk got hold of it – but to redeem the local universe of quite dense matter and a diversity of objects of difference through spirit – by which I means the joyous void in all of its fullness – a pure plenum of the in-finite, the no-thing – a tantric continuum of play (which is ethics/ethics/politics).