Damascus and Conversions . . . and Marxism


So. After a recent series of posts in which I explained why I’ve dropped my objections to OOO (which were commented upon in fact but not in detail, understandable after a crazy busy set of two conferences), followed by some followup in which I explained what I thought were some similarities between OOO and networkological realtionalism (crickets . . . ), I had to return to doing what I do for a living, which is teaching, grading, and all that. Its been a crazy week, and I just had to stop reading blogs, so I wouldn’t be tempted to post. But how much happens in a week?! I’ve spent a lot of today so far catching up on blogs, and I have no idea how you folks all do this, don’t y’all have to grade a ton and teach a lot at this time of year? I dunno, but I’m lucky if I can remember my name this time of year, and keeping up with ye olde blogs is nearly a full time job.

Anyway, much of the stuff that’s gone on the last week has been about OOO vs. process, objects vs. relations, yet again. And I must say, just because I no longer think that OOO has ontological holes in its worldview doesn’t mean that I buy the terms of this debate. Because the reasons for my decision to dropping my concerns about OOO as a viable fundamental philosophy doesn’t mean that I don’t still take issue with some of the way this debate is being argued, particularly on the OOO side.

And despite a growing fondness for the virtual Graham I’ve come to know via the interwebs, I must say I’m not sure what to make of the metaphor of being on the road to damascus! Is agreeing that OOO is one viable way of looking at the world like joining a cult? I certainly do not feel it’s the only way of looking at the world, but simply a coherent and viable one. A HUGE difference! I mean, much of what I like about being a philosopher, and much of what that means, is that I feel you can hold many even incompossible worldviews, not as your sole way of looking at the world, but as lenses, each of which shows you some aspect of the world, because the world is capacious enough for them. They all come from the world. The question is whether or not they cohere as philosophy, or are more akin to poetry. But the poetry of the world is large enough for them all. The question is what they do for you, how you can use them. And a rigorous and coherent philosophical lens is a very useful thing.

I think OOO coheres, though I didn’t before. Whenever I tried on that lens before, it had a crack in it, but like working a kink out of your back, my relation to OOO has readjusted, and now the crack is gone. How the crack got there in the first place is more complex, but ultimately, perhaps only important in what symptoms such an enactment has yet to show.

But none of this means I see it as more than a lens! And a pretty one at that. And of course, I like my primary lens, networkological relationalism, the best. But I still see it as a set of lenses. Not that we choose our lenses at will. We must negotiate the construction and intertwining of our lensing apparatus with the world around us . . .

But I think there’s a bit more at stake here. I think that in some important respect, I really am a Marxist, and with that, I mean Groucho Marxist. To quote Groucho Marx, ‘I’d never belong to a club that would have me for a member.’ I like anti-clubs. Clubs always weird me out, and I’m not sure if philosophers should want to be in them. I hope OOO’s not a club! Or a cult . . .

So, I don’t plan to convert to anything. But I do like new lenses, new toys, new tools. And I’m happy to discover that, to use a suggestive metaphor, OOO isn’t a broken tool that I can’t use. Woohoo!

Of course, the best tools are those which keep breaking down in interesting and novel ways . . .

And I do appreciate how Graham I think semi-ironically plays the religious zealot. We need people who, to quote Deleuze, teach us to believe in the world again! I do hope, though, they don’t also want you to join a club . . .

~ by chris on December 11, 2010.

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