May 9, 2013
"Ideas once but no longer liberating. Ideas like fruits have moments of peak ripeness when they are best consumed and later moments when their taste is less fresh and wholesome"
The idea that everything is interconnected has become a staple of intellectual life. As a related phenomenon, “contextualisation” is now the method of first resort throughout the humanities. This lecture opposes the general trend of emphasising systems and wholes over autonomous individuals. Among the greatest drawbacks of holistic ontology is its inability to explain disruptions and surprises in any system it studies. At best, one posits some sort of “materiality” lying outside all formatted systems that serves as their underground source of change, a theory that fails for a variety of reasons. The only alternative is to adopt an object-oriented model of fully formatted entities lying beyond the grasp of the human mind and even of each other. After providing some theoretical background for this claim, I will consider several recent political phenomena that are better understood by an object-oriented approach than a holistic one.