Dealing with Graham Harman and the True Object oriented.
I got a copy of the book series called “Xplained” on Martin Heidegger written by Graham Harman. I thought it was something different, but when I got the book and started reading it I saw that it is more an actual kind of primer of Heidegger. It is very good; it places everything in a nice historical perspective with Heidegger’s personal history and influences, with Husserl and Phenomenology, and brings in the contextual philosophical problems he had and indeed philosophy in general faces, the significance of his proposals and such. One can tell Harman is quite informed, and I am sure one does not place very much weight on a layman such as myself, my opinion, to say that it evidences quite a scholarly understanding of the subject — as if Harman or the institution of philosophy really values, cares or needs my stamp of approval.
Yet is this very ignorance that evidences the exhaustion of institutional philosophy. The vastness of the human world populace as well as our internet availability for exchange of information of all sorts and types marks a coincidence whereby (institutional, academic, conventional) philosophy must now 1) be resolute in denial by closing its blinders to narrow its view, while 2) asserting its relevance for a larger totality, by 3) redoubling its effort to deceive, and 2) be oriented toward reconciliation upon politics and ideology. But, as I’ve said, there is plenty of drama in reality that needs a grand discourse to negotiate; reality demands its big negotiators. I am more concerned that such discourses assume to be talking about what is true outside the grand narrative. We have to ask what such grand narratives are based upon and how it might be possible to actually believe that such narratives are indeed accounting for all of reality. indeed; could they really hear what I’m saying here? I doubt it. It is more that such individuals are involved in a division of labor.
This, what could be called a philosophical ‘turn’ is more like a ‘shift’ but is really a motion of denial based in offense, or an outright deception.
It is true; philosophy, as the discourse that indeed addresses the One reality in its oneness, ends with Heidegger. Whereas prior to and including Heidegger, in one way of viewing, one orientation, philosophers were attempting to inscribe, or otherwise suture the subject and object, the subject into reality, to reconcile the individual and reality, Heidegger does away with the need for suturing. The philosophers since and in the interim until Laruelle and Badiou begin on one hand to describe how this ending manifests for the subject — a phenominalist step for sure but one that, one one hand, enfolds upon the object, involves with it, without reducing the object to subjectivity (Sartre), but on the other, turns the subject out upon the object and removes its more ‘artistic’ interpretations for the sake of ideological and social contingencies, such as gender and race and social justice (sufficient cultural critique). But despite such delineations, philosophy continues upon the same course of attempting to reconcile reality and the subject of conventional power. Heidegger’s meaning is thus set aside as a True historical Object, so what seems should be philosophical effort has not been undertaken but rather has changed its course upon an assertion, as Miellassoux might suggest that the motivating base of previous philosophy was mistaken. The question should be upon how philosophers see themselves enacting anything different than any other period authors.
Laruelle and Badiou thus can be seen to represent an historical ‘fulcrum’. Laruelle transcribes the Heideggarian tool-work into its discursive actuality, such that philosophy can no longer stand on its own for its own, but must unknowingly assert its primacy and importance against the ignorance revealed of it by non-philosophical means. But this is not to say that philosophy becomes useless, but rather a different type of mechanism for dealing in reality has taken place. We propose that this ‘new’ mechanism is denial, for if ever there was a One reality, discourses needed not to deny anything because the assumption of power was de facto the omniscient and effective power (colonialism). Badiou, on the other hand, models the ‘Philosophical scenario’ (called: the Romance; but again, by one orientation) in mathematical schemata, his book “Being and Event” a model and description of said Romantic Event (the Significant Event). Again, another historical marking; here though, one that evidences at once a total understanding and acknowledgment that indeed such Heideggarian Event is not an (small ‘r’) romantic personal experience of caprice and individual interpretation (as conventional philosophy would have it, as it continues to argue for its Object), but rather a specific mapping of the routine transcendental (clausal) consciousness under certain conditions. It is this mapping that the individual invested of the State of reality does not wish to see, such a description that is utterly offensive to the faith in the transcendental clause of conventional discourse that allows for the exploitative capitalistic fetishism.
The latest philosophical (realist) ‘turn’ is founded upon nothing more than an assumption and assertion that discourse presides over what the human being is in its essence; such a position must be asserted as it is denied because of the overwhelming presence of elements that would not inherently conform to the grand narrative except that they must due to the ‘magic’ of capitalistic fetishism demanded upon the human beings as an enforced imperative of divinely inspired progress, denied as such based upon the True Objects of historical discourse. Hence conventional real discourse. For what Heidegger is showing us is that discourse is merely a vehicle.
The problem arises in so much as the precipitate of his ideas shows that Heidegger (at least) was dealing with ‘two sided’ objects; where one side is the Event in its most full meaning, as ‘environment’ but also revealed of the Romantic scenario, and the other side still sees discourse as inherently involved and associated with actual True Objects. To distinguish how we might answer, and the results of answering, the question of side, we have to ask (as Heidegger did of thinking) if philosophy really has any integrity, or if philosophy is now merely another means to an end for various capitalist literary venturers? Is the act of being creative and imagining into logical writing automatically philosophy? How can we discern what is philosophy from creative writing? And if we have to consider such a question ‘philosophically speaking’ then I’m afraid we’ve already found our answer. For it is the ‘two sided’ object that establishes a partition that offers no quarter and no types; a boundary that evidences the move of conventional discursive power.
Therefore it is a strange twist that Harman puts upon the reading of Hiedegger, and indeed upon his readers. For if one is not keen on the reading of this book, Harman’s explanation of Heidegger, it would be easy to see that Harman is merely giving us an easy version of what Martin was saying; but he is not. Harman is giving us a loaded explanation of Heidegger. It is not difficult to feel a strangeness in this reading; the explanation is interspersed with interpretation in the guise of explanation that lends itself to give itself to Harman’s argument and project, which is Object Oriented Ontology, so by the end of the book it appears the ‘first and second’ objections come naturally of course, but it is after all the course that Harman has laid for its outcome. When we begin to see what is occurring, it is not His OOO that then seems weird; it is weird that his deception would be taken as honesty.
His first objection: Dasein is not only human. That is; it is not the human ‘being there’ that causes things to come into play. Rather, Dasein may be other things too; ‘being there’ rocks; ‘being there’ podiums; etcetera.
Harman’s second objection. Change is not accounted for; and, “how can there be multiple simultaneous perspectives on the same entity” (pg. 163).
I’ll just come right out and say it: Harman’s objections are non sequitur to Heidegger’s proposal. And I do not need to go and site argument by argument. This is to say that Harman’s objections are derived, or maybe better said, contrived, through a misdirection implemented by Harman. For, if Harman does indeed understand Heidegger as he seems to, then he should see that his objections to Heidegger are non sequitur to Heidegger’s meaning, that the meaning Harman is using to formulate his objections do not correlate with the Event by which Heidegger brings philosophy to its end. Therefore, Harman derives an argument based upon a structure of argument that is assumed to be able to be made of Heidegger, and thereby appears to ignore the meaning of the argument in its place as the Event.
In other words, one can say that if indeed Harman has understood Heidegger, then Harman should have been allowed to be able to come upon the Significant Event. But ironically, two contingencies yield for us the same result for Harman’s proposals. For if Harman was come upon by the Significant Event, then it is in so much that he gained inspiration from this encounter that he may move to say something new of reality; but most probably, due to his orientation upon Heidegger and his ideas as True Objects, as indicative within the term-object identity, Harmans’ reading was an occasion by which to deny the said Event as some True Object (term-object identity) for the purpose of establishing his real identity. Either way, Harman thereby can be said to have enacted a pocket veto; a veto that has held in the pocket until such a time when it was needed to retain real identity.
Hence it is highly ironic but unfortunately conventional that Harman is involved in an act of deception by presenting ‘Object Oriented Ontology’, as we will describe more thoroughly in the next segments.