In my research today I came upon this interesting article, “Here comes everything: the promise of object-oriented ontology” by Timothy Morton. (New link, old one broken.) It is of interest not only to speculative realism but also to some recent discussions on Caputo's ontology, modes of apprehension of such, and quantum theory. The article is 27 pages of text so I've culled some excerpts, lengthy in themselves.




Speculative realism...asserts the deep mystery of a Non-Nature....object-oriented ontology (OOO)...goes further than this, rejecting essentialist Matter.... OOO is a form of realism that asserts that real things exist--these things are objects, not just amorphous “Matter”.... OOO extends Husserl's and Heidegger's arguments that things have an irreducible dark side: no matter how many times we turn over a coin, we never see the other side as the other side--it will have to flip onto “this” side for us to see it, immediately producing another underside. Harman simply extends this irreducible darkness from subject–object relationships to object–object relationships.... Causation is thus vicarious in some sense, never direct. An object is profoundly “withdrawn”--we can never see the whole of it, and nothing else can either.... We've become so used to hearing “object” in relation to “subject” that it takes some time to acclimatize to a view in which there are only objects, one of which is ourselves.


The notion of the “withdrawal” of objects extends my term strange stranger to non-living entities. Strange stranger names an uncanny, radically unpredictable quality of life forms. Life forms recede into strangeness the more we think about them, and whenever they encounter one another--the strangeness is irreducible....the uncanny essence of humans that Heidegger contemplates extends to nonhumans.... The more we know about a strange stranger, the more she (he, it) withdraws. Objects withdraw such that other objects never adequately capture but only (inadequately) “translate” them....This is what “irreducible” means.


Rhetoric is not simply ear candy for humans: indeed, a thorough reading of Plato, Aristotle and Longinus suggests that rhetoric is a technique for contacting the strange stranger....[it] amplifies imagination rather than trying to upstage it, and it revels in dislocation, not location.... Harman's imagery differs from ecophenomenological ecomimesis that confirms the localized position of a subject with privileged access to phenomena.... Harman's rhetoric produces an object-oriented sublime that breaks decisively with the Kantian taboo on noncorrelationist scientific speculation....ekphrasis is not about the reaction of the (human) subject, but about rhetorical modes as affective-contemplative techniques for summoning the alien.


The aesthetic, as we shall see, is the secret door through which OOO discovers a theory of what is called “subject”.... Melancholia is precisely a mode of intimacy with strange objects that can't be digested by the subject.... To lapse into Californian, OOO is so about the subject. There is no good reason to be squeamish about this. The more the ekphrasis zaps us, the more we fall back into the gravity well of melancholy. Sentience is out of phase with objects, at least if you have a nervous system. So melancholia is the default mode of subjectivity: an object-like coexistence with other objects and the otherness of objects--touching them, touching the untouchable, dwelling on the dark side one can never know, living in endless twilight shadows. If the reader has experienced grief she or he will recognize this state as an object-like entity that resides somewhere within the body, with an amortization schedule totally separated from other temporalities (in particular, the strict digital clock time of contemporary life). Through the heart of subjectivity rolls an object-like coexistence, none other than ecological coexistence--the ecological thought fully-fledged as dark ecology . The inward, withdrawn, operationally closed mood called melancholy is something we shake off at our peril in these dark ecological times.


Melancholy starts to tell us the truth about the withdrawn qualities of objects. OOO thus differs from theistic ecophilosophy that asserts, “There is a Nature.” It maintains no absolute distance between subject and object; it limits “subject” to no entity in particular. Žižek's suspicion of SR to do with the “feminine” self-absorption of objects: precisely what he doesn't like about Buddhism. Changing “self-absorption” to “withdrawal” or “operational closure” discloses what's threatening about Buddhism: an object-like entity at the core of what is called subjectivity. Like ecomimesis, Harman's passage affirms a real world beyond mentation. Unlike ecomimesis, this world doesn't surround a subject--it's a world without reference to a subject.


If OOO construes everything as objects, some may believe that it would have a hard time talking about subjects--indeed, Slavoj Žižek has already criticized SR in general along these lines. This subjectivity is profoundly ecological and it departs from normative Western ideas of the subject as transcendence. Thus we see off Nature and its correlate, the (human) subject. I argue that OOO enjoins us to drop Matter just as we must drop Nature, and that this means that it can save the appearance of the most coherent and testable physical theory we have, namely quantum theory.


Let's turn our attention to... far “down things” does OOO really go? Are these things made of some kind of substrate, some kind of unformed matter? Does “withdrawal” mean that objects are impenetrable in some non-figurative, nonhuman sense? Do objects have a spatial “inside”? Surely they might. But the principle of irreducibility must mean that this inside is radically unavailable. It's not simply a case of the right equipment passing through it, like a knife through butter. Even a knife through butter would not access the butter in all its essential butteriness. The proliferation of things that ecology talks about--from trees to nuclear power--do not compromise a holistic Nature. Nor yet are they comprised of some intrinsic, essential stuff. To dispatch Matter, we must explore the most rigorous and testable theory of physical Matter we know: quantum theory.


Unlike some thinkers who discovered OOO in spite of deconstruction, I backed into OOO through deconstruction. SR tends to mistake deconstruction for nominalism, subjectivism and Meillassoux's correlationism.... Contemporary physics concurs with a principle tenet of Lacan and Derrida: there's no “big Other,” no device, for instance, that could measure quantum phenomena without participating in these phenomena. All observations are inside the system, or as Derrida puts it, “There is nothing outside the text” (or, in Gayatri Spivak's alternative, which I prefer, “There is no outside-text”). Arkady Plotnitsky has traced the affinities between deconstruction and quantum physics. People commonly misconstrue “there is no-outside-text” as nominalism: we can only know things by their names. Far more drastically, the axiom means: (1) Any attempt to establish rigid boundaries between reality and information results in unsustainable paradoxes; (2) Language is radically nonhuman--even when humans use it. It would be a mistake to hold that (1) is correlationism. “There is no outsidetext” occurs in a passage in which Derrida is analyzing Rousseau's position on Nature, so it's worth pausing here since this issue is directly relevant to ecocriticism. Derrida tacks close to the text he’s analyzing, which is why he appeals to close readers in the first place. He is not making a sweeping generalization about reality. Derrida is only saying, “Given the kind of closed system textuality that Rousseau prescribes, there is no outside-text.” That is, Rousseau can’t go around making claims about nature, not because there is nothing out there, but because the way he models thinking sets textuality up as a black hole....[but] Derrida abstained from ontology: he considered it tainted by the generalization-disease. Unfortunately this defaults to various forms of antirealism. Derrida's is a sin of omission.... OOO shares one thing at least with deconstruction--refraining from assertions about some general essence or substance at the back of things that guarantees their existence.


OOO is troubling for materialisms that rely on any kind of substrate, whether it consists of discrete atoms or of a continuum.... Certain uncontroversial facts, demonstrable in highly repeatable experiments, shatter essentialist prejudices concerning Matter.... Quantum phenomena are not simply hard to access or only partially “translated” by minds and other objects. They are irreducibly withdrawn.


OOO is form of realism, not materialism. In this it shares affinities with quantum theory. Antirealism pits quantum theory against its opponents, since quantum theory supposedly shows reality is fuzzy or deeply correlated with perception and so forth. In fact, quantum theory is the only existing theory to establish firmly that things really do exist beyond our mind (or any mind). Quantum theory positively guarantees that real objects exist! Not only that--these objects exist beyond one another. Quantum theory does this by viewing phenomena as quanta, as discrete “units” as described in Unit Operations by OOO philosopher Ian Bogost. “Units” strongly resemble OOO “objects.” Thinking in terms of units counteracts problematic features of thinking in terms of systems. A kind of systems thinking posed significant problems for nineteenth-century physicists. Only consider the so-called black body radiation problem. Classical thermodynamics is essentially a systems approach that combines the energy of different waves to figure out the total energy of a system. The black box in question is a kind of oven. As the temperature in the oven increases, results given by summing the wave states according to classical theory become absurd, tending to infinity.


By seeing the energy in the black box as discrete quanta (“units”), the correct result is obtained. Max Planck's discovery of this approach gave birth to quantum theory. Now consider perception, for the sake of which antirealism usually cites quantum theory. What does quantum theory show about our mental interactions with things? Perceptual, sensual phenomena such as hardness and brilliance are at bottom quantum mechanical effects. I can't put my hand through this table because it is statistically beyond unlikely that the quanta at the tip of my finger could bust through the resistance wells in the quanta on the table's surface. That's what solidity is. It's an averagely correct experience of an aggregate of discrete quanta. This statistical quality, far from being a problem, is the first time humans have been able to formalize supposedly experiential phenomena such as solidity. What some people find disturbing about quantum theory (once in a gajillion times I can put my finger through the table) is precisely evidence for the reality of things. (This is a version of an argument in Meillassoux, AF 82–5).


Quantum theory specifies that quanta withdraw from one another, including the quanta with which we measure them. In other words quanta really are discrete, and one mark of this discreteness is the constant (mis)translation of one quantum by another. Thus when you set up quanta to measure the position of a quantum, its momentum withdraws, and vice versa. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that when an “observer”--not a subject per se, but a measuring device involving photons or electrons (or whatever)--makes an observation, at least one aspect of the observed is occluded (QT 99–115). Observation is as much part of the Universe of objects as the observable, not some ontologically different state (say of a subject). More generally, what Niels Bohr called complementarity ensures that no quantum has total access to any other quantum. Just as a focusing lens makes one object appear sharper while others appear blurrier, one quantum variable comes into sharp definition at the expense of others (QT 158–61). This isn't about how a human knows an object, but how a photon interacts with a photosensitive molecule. Some phenomena are irreducibly undecidable, both wavelike and particle-like. The way an electron encounters the nucleus of an atom involves a dark side. Objects withdraw from each other at a profound physical level. OOO is deeply congruent with the most profound, accurate and testable theory of physical reality available. Again, it would be better to say it the other way around: quantum theory works because it's object-oriented.


Probing the quantum world, then, is a form of auto-affection. Bohr argued that quantum phenomena don't simply concatenate themselves with their measuring devices. They're identical to it: the equipment and the phenomena form an indivisible whole (QT 139–40, 177). This “quantum coherence” applies close to absolute zero, where particles become the “same” thing.


Implication and explication suggest Matter being enfolded and unfolded from something deeper. Even if it were the case that OOO should defer to physics, in the terms set by physics itself objects aren't made “of” any one thing in particular. Just as there is no top level, there may be no bottom level that is not an (substantial, formed) object.


To this extent, “object” (as a totally positive entity) is a false immediacy. Positive assertions about objects fail because objects have a shadowy dark side, a mysterious interiority like the je ne sais quoi of Kantian beauty. Is this nothing at all? Is there a path from the carnival of things to a bleak nothingness? Nihilism, believing that you have no beliefs, maintains that things emerge from an impenetrable mystery. Nihilism, the cool kids' religion, shuns the inconveniences of intimacy. We have objects--they have us--under our skin. They are our skin. OOO can't be a form of nihilism. It's the opposite view (relationism) that tends towards nihilism. Relationism holds that objects are nothing more than the sum of their relations with other objects. This begs the question of what an object is, since the definition implies a potential infinite regress: what are the “other objects”? Why, nothing more than the sum of their relations with other objects--and so on ad obscurum. At least OOO takes a shot at saying what objects are: they withdraw. This doesn't mean that they don't relate at all. It simply means that how they appear has a shadowy, illusory, magical, “strangely strange” quality. It also means they can't be reduced to one another. OOO holds that strangeness is impossible if objects are reducible to their relations. Since relationism is hamstrung by its reluctance to posit anything, it tends towards obscurantism. Relationism is stuck in a Euthyphronic dilemma: objects consist of relations between other objects—and what are those objects? An object as such is never defined. So while ecological criticism appears to celebrate interconnectedness, it must in the end pay attention to what precisely is interconnected with what.


This radical finitude includes a strange irreducible openness.

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I had mentioned earlier, Dial, that I would post a link to Esbjorn-Hargen's paper.  Here it is.  (Something to add to your looming, and leaning, (virtual) reading pile!).

In Sean's paper: "See Harman (2009) for a valuable presentation of Latour’s process metaphysics of enactment. Suffice it to say there is much in Latour’s work that is relevant to an integral post-metaphysics."

Latour is a key figure in SR and OOO, and Harman and others use Latour liberally. In The Speculative Turn there are at least 140 references to him. He also writes chapter 20 in TST. Perhaps Sean's use of Latour is one bridge between integral and SR?

Latour quoting Souriau in TST:

“Let us therefore reject any temptation to structure or hierarchize the [multiple] modes by explaining them dialectically. You will always fail to know existence in itself if you deprive it of the arbitrariness that is one of its absolutes” (316).

It seems it is here where we might find divergence with Sean's kennilingus pluralism?

Smore Latour:

“In the last section of the work, Souriau in fact applies himself to the problem of how the modes are enchained…. In order to avoid this continual exaggeration, to allow the modes to ‘keep their distance’, to mutually respect their different types of verification, we have to define yet another mode (one of the ‘second degree’ as he says) and which is defined this time by the movement and the variation or modulation of one mode into another: this is what he calls the plurimodal. Only they can make the superimposition of the ‘traces’ finally ‘compossible’, and give metaphysics the amplitude that it should have…. But now it is variation itself that has to be considered equivalent to true beings. Alterity alters yet another degree. Difference differs even more differently.

“Heidegger is a typical case of a melody played on just one note, but the danger would be no less if one moved too quickly to define the unity of the melody by some collectivity greater or higher than the modes. This is why Souriau devotes the whole of his last chapter to guarding against the danger of returning too quickly to unity…. In the same way that each mode  has the same dignity as all the others, one can say that each composition has the same dignity as all the others, without harmony or totality being able to predominate” 330 – 32.

I've explored holons in a number of threads, that is, the relation of parts to wholes. The “real and false reason” and “TOE and TFA” are 2 such examples. Here are some similar, yet delightfully 'twisted,' lemniscations from Bryant on mereology that distinguish it from AQAL holonics and sounds more like Latour above. From section 5.2 of TDOO:


“What we encounter here is what I call the 'strange mereology' of onticology and object-oriented philosophy. Mereology is that branch of mathematics, ontology, and logic that studies the relationship between parts and wholes. The study of mereology is highly complex and formalized, however onticology and object-oriented philosophy are concerned with a particular mereological relation; namely, that relation between objects where one object is simultaneously a part of another object and an independent object in its own right. To understand why this mereology is such a strange mereology, we must recall that all objects are independent or autonomous from one another. Objects can enter into exo-relations with one another, but they are not constituted by their relations. Put differently, their being does not consist of their relations. Consequently, the strangeness of this mereology lies in the fact that the subsets of a set, the smaller objects composing larger objects, are simultaneously necessary conditions for that larger object while being independent of that object. Likewise, the larger object composed of these smaller objects is itself independent of these smaller objects.


“Another way of putting this would be to say that there is no harmony or identity of parts and wholes. Parts aren't parts for a whole and the whole isn't a whole for parts. Rather, what we have are relations of dependency where nonetheless parts and wholes are distinct and autonomous from one another. In this respect, we must reject the thesis of holism.”


Let's see how Sean 'unifies' the various methodologies. On p. 152 he quotes Law as saying that not only do the various methodologies differ from one another but also that they "overlap and interact with one another." There is yet something in common with various enactments and Sean sees this as the "in-betweeness of its multiplicity." His method for coordinating them is the kosmic addressing system. He does note this though in footnote 24:

“Mark Edwards pointed out to me—and I completely agree—that it is important to keep in mind that an approach to Kosmic addresses is enacting those addresses in a particular way. Integral Theory needs to spend more time developing and justifying how it has arrived at its own Kosmic address mailing system and how this system establishes its own system of addresses.”

That is, kennilingus kosmic addresses are themselves not givens but enacted from a particular perspective, one which has much more to do with metaphysics* than with a given altitude. The concept of altitude itself is taken as a given, 'proven' by a certain mathematics of complexity inherent to nested sets, which again provides a perspective (address) inconsistent with the likes of Latour or Bryant above. It serves no purpose to 'address' or pigeonhole the latter as merely green or pluralist because they do not accept the 'unifying' kennillingus addressing system. That is, other than to curtail their invaluable insights. We see Sean at least trying to do so but to date he has not explored the inherent biases of nested 'holism' in the kennilingus kosmos.

* For example see the IPN thread in general and this post in particular, which sums up the metaphysical foundation of kosmic addressing.
Yes, much of OOO and SP almost seems to develop out of the critique of the philosophy of the subject, radicalizing it in a way.

theurj said:


Some of Morton's language reminds me of Kennilingam's interpretation of Habermas in his critique of the philosophy of the subject. For example from Integral Spirituality, Chapter 8:

“So consciousness itself is deficient—whether personal or transpersonal, whether pure or not pure, essential or relative, high or low, big mind or small mind, vipassana, bare attention, centering prayer, contemplative awareness—none of them can see these other truths, and that is why Habermas and the postmodernists extensively criticize 'the philosophy of consciousness.'”

This is part of Morton's point about the withdrawn nature of ontological objects, in that they are inaccessible to a subjective consciousness “with privileged access to phenomena.” For this is “a world without reference to a subject.” No, it doesn't eliminate the subject, just the philosophy of a subject with such accessibility. Recall the subject is included but “departs from normative Western ideas of the subject as transcendence.” This includes the subjective capacity of 'implication,' which suggests “being enfolded and unfolded from something deeper,” something like matter, energy or consciousness.

He sees QM as denying any fundamental: “Just as there is no top level, there may be no bottom level.” There is not “any kind of substrate, whether it consists of discrete atoms or of a continuum.” Not even a universal continuum. In that regard it is interesting that he criticizes systems thinking, often thought of in 'developmental' circles as a higher cognitive stage. Morton suggests that such thinking is missing the quantum view, i.e, that quanta are the objective reality, not systems. And “positive assertions about [quantum] objects fail” specifically because they are in part (shadowy pun intended) inaccessible. Here we have a legitimation debate as to what is a better interpretation of the quantum view, accepting that it generally might be a higher mode of cognitive functioning (in some partial respects, in some of its parts).


As this Kennilingam satire states: "Resistance is partial!"

Lemniscations makes me think of art nouveau fretwork curling, twisting, doubling back, and around itself, in tendril/vine-like fashion.  And pulsating, too, perhaps.


Infinititude - To infinitize is to open out into emptiness, aka to open to possibility - yes? I've been introduced to the concept of the infinite as necessary on this site and I like it very much.


Here's some fretwork for you by the way:

theurj said:

'infinitive lemniscations' ??

As usual I play with language, make up words or use them in a different way in an attempt, much like one of my mentors, to "both make an argument...and perform and enact the argument it is making." Here is a dictionary definition of infinitive:

"A verb form found in many languages that functions as a noun or is used with auxiliary verbs, and that names the action or state without specifying the subject.... Origin: 1425–75; late Middle English  /span> Late Latin infīnītīvus  indefinite, equivalent to in- in-  + fīnītīvus  definite; see finite, -ive"

I like the connotations of an action without specifying a subject, akin to the OOO sensibility and my own sense of the suobject. I also like its indefiniteness, also indicative of the withdrawn nature of objects and my sense of a way to speculate on the absolute.

As for lemniscations, the  lemniscate is a symbol of the infinite so again I change the noun into a verb (to lemniscate) back into a noun to suggest the interplay of noun/verb/object as a way of ruminating (lemniscating) on infinity in a postmetaphysical way. In other words, 'integral postmetaphysical enaction' (not yet but someday trademarked).

 Yes, very asute Lol. Bryant, as you will know from your reading has a four-fold division of objects. bright, dim, dark, and rogue. Elsewhere he has written extensively about socks as a good example of local manifestation/exo-relations/ regimes of attraction as found in 'rogue objects'. There is some speculation that the very stuff of ‘virtual proper being’  - Bryant's name for the withdrawn powers of action/reception all objects possess - may in fact be comprised of 'lost sock-like matter'. (losolima - as Bryant terms it) While so far this argument is a purely transcendental one - similar to Kant's argument for the noumenal - the evident capacity of socks to withdraw, then - via poorly understood ‘powers’ to structure local regimes of attraction so as to reappear as mismatched pairs -  is nothing short of uncanny.  

 The human 'subject', of course, figures as a mere dim object in this overall regime of attraction. It's worth emphasizing Bryant's comments - following Luhmann - on how objects necessarily structure their environment. Rest assured,  those unheimlich mis-matched socks are playing with us.  As Latour glumly conceded after yet another futile attempt to find two matching socks in this Rue Oberkamf apartment, it may well be a 'flat ontology', but some objects are flatter than others.

And needless, to say, your agonized cry that the reappearing sock will not be a dark one is a thoroughly retrograde step towards monological thinking. Socks are not for us, that much can be said.


 All quotes below from Dr Bryant:


 "objects in their actualized state, still harbor volcanic powers within them, yet these powers are clothed or disguised until the substance is perturbed by new sets of exo-relations' Some entities – men’s socks, for example, show a capacity  to actively structure exo-relations. The term ‘dark ecology’ originated from observation of the behavior of socks".


 "Active affects refer to the various capacities of an entity to act or initiate action.  Passive affects, by contrast, refer to the various ways in which an entity is open to other entities or substances."


"Based on the foregoing analysis of the split between the virtual proper being and local manifestation of objects, it is now possible to distinguish between four different types of objects:  dark objects, dim objects, bright objects, and rogue objects.  Insofar as objects are not identical to their local manifestations, insofar as the substantiality of substance consists not in its qualities but its powers or affects, we can conceive of an object so thoroughly withdrawn that it does not manifest itself at all. Aka ‘the lost sock’." :)

Lol said:

"[Dark] objects can come to produce local manifestations under appropriate exo-relations or circumstances, yet for the time being, qua dark object, they are entirely dormant.  Here it must be emphasized that dark objects are an ontological possibility that cannot be proven.  Onticology entails that dark objects might exist, but there is no way to demonstrate that they do exist insofar as they are thoroughly withdrawn without a trace at the level of the actual."

So that's what happened to my other sock! ...though I hope that when it reappears it won't be a dark sock otherwise it'll no longer match.

Furthermore, conceiving of CC as a multiple object makes it more real. More real because more of its third- person dimensionality is acknowledged. In other words, the complexity of the phenomenon is not reduced to a single object. Recognizing CC as such might actually help climate leadership facilitate the kind of mobi- lization needed to respond to such a multilayered, borderless issue. As I will argue, we do not have a simple case of many perspectives looking differently at a single object (e.g., a circle of people looking at a red ball in the middle) but rather have multiple perspectives using a variety of techniques, practices, and injunctions to enact multiple objects that overlap with and diverge from each other in numerous ways to generate an object that goes under the signifier of CC.6


I've pulled this excerpt out of the Zimmerman and Esbjorn article, Balder, but many/any other would have done. I like this notion of multiple ontologies, but I'd see it as on the way to the more radical re-configuration that 000 offers ontology.  And, also somewhat more fiddly in its articulation. That said, my impression on first sight is positive - I think they might complement each other - integral multiple ontology providing a  working out in detail of certain aspects, and more significantly, perhaps an understanding of  mystic traditions to draw on? And OOO re-working IMO to make it more the flat/object-object ontology which Bryant et al champion - and which resonates very much for me.


I will read more.


And, yes, that pile is looming and leaning, but no more, I’m sure, than anyone else here. (grin)

Balder said:
I had mentioned earlier, Dial, that I would post a link to Esbjorn-Hargen's paper.  Here it is.  (Something to add to your looming, and leaning, (virtual) reading pile!).

Hi Balder,


I'll see you on that leaning, looming tower of reading material and raise you one, -or rather 8, - weeks of review and reading of Zimmerman and E-Hargan's Integral Ecology by a group of OOO friendly thinkers.  I may have recommended it/you may have come across it, previously, nonetheless, just in case you haven't, I'll refer you to this page on host blog Knowledge Economy. It contains links to each weeks post, along with some excellent reflection and comments from others.


I've read through a few of the posts and the overall response seems a mix of sympathetic and dismissive.  The readers seem to have sympathy for, or outright like, methadological pluralism, but find the AQUAL model heavy on classification over description, and the book overall, uncritically reliant on Wilber. Moreover, there seems to be some dismay at the treatment of postmodern/post-structuralist theory in general by integral theorists. The consensus seems to be that Wilber doesn't really get it, and because Wilber is 'overly and uncritically relied on’ by Zimmerman and Esbjorn-Hargens....


Here's Adam Robert of host blog Knowledge Ecology from week 2:


In this sense I respect a good deal of what the Integral Theorists are doing with regards to engaging in “post-metaphysical thinking” (i.e. post-Kantian philosophy) whilst still attempting a rigorous account of ontology or metaphysics. I share the desire to accomplish this task with the Integral Theorists, even as I differ with them on many important issues.  Antonio, I found your comments regarding the “AQ” in “AQAL” to be almost identical to criticisms I have made in the past. I really do find the quadrants helpful, but beyond that the AQAL system feels very heavy to me- almost like an OS that takes up so much space on a computer that it can’t actually perform any of the functions it is designed to run.

If am overly critical here, let me say this: I am on the whole sympathetic to the aim and trajectory of Integral Ecology but this chapter in particular is difficult for me as I feel mired down in the complexities of the system. In this sense I agree with Whitehead and feel that we could perhaps put more emphasis on description, rather than so much on classification. On this last point I am very favorable to Bruno Latour’s work (another Whiteheadian), and his call to “follow the actors,” which to me sounds more like Whiteheads emphasis on description over classification. At the end of the day, I really enjoy methodological pluralism and the usefulness of the quadrants, but find myself skeptical of the lines, waves, and states. As always, there is more to be said here, but that’s all for now.


And here’s Tim Morton, who we began this thread with, mounting a rather scathing attack on the book. 




And below part of Robert’s response to Morton:


Thanks for your response, I was hoping you would pick up on that part of the thread. I am eager to respond and take the discussion further. I think the problems you raise with the Esbjorn-Hargens/Zimmerman account of Romanticism are going to crop up again, particularly, as I said previous, with postmodernism and post-structuralism. I’ve never really understood Wilber’s perspective on the latter two, and I suspect his approach may be the result of self-study, as oppose to being informed by a regular engagement with other academics and professionals. I suspect this has changed as more people have begun to engage the material than when Wilber started out, as is especially the case with the Integral Ecology book, and yet it seems their assessments are still lacking...


I'd like to add, that, although, these criticisms resonate with me, I also intend to read more of Esbjorn-Hargens and Zimmerman. I also wonder at their response to these critiques - I assume they're not unaware of them.



"And needless, to say, your agonized cry that the reappearing sock will not be a dark one is a thoroughly retrograde step towards monological thinking. Socks are not for us, that much can be said."

T - ouch - e  ; ) 

I recognise the error in my thinking.

In with deferance.

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