Quick Response to Tim Morton: On Lava-Lamps and Goo
I must confess, I like the fluidy metaphors. The speak to me and make me feel warm and fuzzy, just as I think Legos and such make the OOO folks feel warm and fuzzy (I must admit to loving legos, tho!).
That is, I’m not sure that relationism are all about goo. Certainly for me, rather, it’s about context. Or my approach, be it relationalism or otherwise, is about context.
That is, I think that objects and relations are two sides of the same. Both, in their way, can be seen as withdrawing, to use OOO lingo. And I think if you eliminate the way either objects or relations withdraw, you miss something essential.
Because ultimately, what it comes down to, is that I think the object/relation distinction is kinda silly. I mean, there are entities, some are objects, some are relations, but all of them are related to contexts which exceed them. It is because of the manner in which context exceeds any aspect of what is, and any attempt to grasp/prehend/apprehend such aspects, that those aspects withdraw. Likewise, we could say that it is because of the manner in which aspects exceed their contexts that the whole, in a sense, withdraws.
Objects and relations are both aspects of the whole, as well as refractions thereof.
Why the fluids then? I think fluids metaphorize this nicely, because they sometimes solidify into solids, and sometimes don’t. Are they more fundamental than solids? Well, in the universe, fluids outnumber solids, mostly because solids are rather exceptional states. But as Tim points out, the fluid/solid distinction is one of level of scale anyway.
It seems Tim is annoyed that fluids reduce the multiplicity of what is to one-in-many goo of Spinozist substance. Then again, I’m fine with the notion that there are infinite substances, or one substance that differs potentially infinitely with itself. I don’t see these as mutually exclusive.
I guess I fail to see the problem with the object/relations dispute. Given the choice, I go with relation, but perhaps that’s a matter of style more than anything else. Maybe I’m a contextuationist. Give me context, please, whether it be fluid or solid!
No matter how you cut it, tho, lava lamps remain cheezy, but fun.