Object Oriented Ontology - Graham Harman

"OOO avoids the left/right polarization of political discourse since the French Revolution, focusing instead on the difference between truth politics and power politics, both of them in need of replacement."

"Nor is it even necessary to invoke celebrity fictional characters such as those who inhabit novels and films, since we are surrounded at all times by fictions. For example, any real orange or lemon, as I perceive it, is a vast oversimplification of the real citrus- objects in the world that are submitted to rough translation by the human senses and human brain. The real orange or lemon is no more accessible to my human perception than it is to a mosquito or dog, whose organs translate the fruits differently into their own types of experience. In this respect, all of the objects we experience are merely fictions: simplified models of the far more complex objects that continue to exist when I turn my head away from them, not to mention when I sleep or die."

"The undermined thing is not the thing itself, and neither is the overmined thing. Nor is the thing both what it is made of and what it does in combination, a common strategy that I have called ‘duomining’."

For example, a hammer isn't the atoms that make it, and it isn't the fact that you can use it to nail something, nor a combination of both.

"We may never know for sure whether there was really such a thing as ‘the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy’ or ‘the Yucatan asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs’ or ‘the first baby with one Neanderthal parent and one Homo sapiens parent’. There is no direct access to the world that could permanently establish the existence of these objects, or even much simpler variants of them, for the simple reason that there is no direct knowledge of anything."

"But perhaps the clearest example of a non-literal form of cognition is metaphor. It has been known for some time that there is no way to make a perfect translation of a metaphor into prose meaning, just as there is no way to depict our three- dimensional planet perfectly on a two- dimensional map."

For example, website cookies are called "cookies" instead of being described by what they are exacly (complex code and scripts) or what they do (track what a user does in clicks on).

Looking at the "I" perspective of a thing, or the noumenon, is impossible, but art (and maybe design can help)

" ‘Notice I am not saying that a work of art reveals the secret of life and being to us; what I do say is that a work of art affords the peculiar pleasure we call esthetic by making it seem that the inwardness of things, their executant reality, is opened to us.’ " (Ortega)

"According to Ortega, this necessary grain of likeness in the heart of metaphor has led many theorists to wrongly see metaphor as an assimilation of real qualities between two things. He sees correctly that this is untrue: ‘metaphor satisfies us precisely because in it we find a coincidence between two things that is more profound and decisive than any mere resemblance.’ (Ortega) "

In order for the metaphor to work, the literal basis of comparison between the two terms cannot be very important, or we will merely have a literal statement: ‘Amsterdam is like Venice’, ‘a plantain is like a banana’, or ‘a hare is like a rabbit’.

"First, metaphor does not try to give us thoughts or perceptions about an object, since these would merely give us an external view of the thing in question. What metaphor gives us, instead, is something like the thing in its own right: the infamous thing- in- itself.
Fourth, given that the cypress is absent and unavailable for metaphorical purpose (despite surface appearances to the contrary), the only object prepared for duty is the real object that each of us is him- or herself. If I do not step in and attempt the electrifying work of becoming the cypresssubstance for the flame-qualities, then no metaphor occurs. That might happen for any number of reasons, including the poor quality of the metaphor, the obtuseness of the reader, or even the boredom or distractedness of the reader. The successful metaphor, much like the successful joke, will occur only when the reader or auditor is sincerely deployed in living it. The metaphor is not histrionic, a word we can reserve for theatrical behaviour in the narrowly showboating or attention-getting sense. Instead, the metaphor is theatrical in the same sense in which living one’s role on stage is theatrical. When reading the poem by López Pico, we are method actors playing a cypress playing a flame."

"But if literalism is inherently flawed, as OOO suggests, then knowledge production cannot be the sole or even primary purpose of education. It will be crucial to educate students for taste more than currently happens: not just in order to detect ‘flamboyant and velvety Pinots’, but so as to become connoisseurs of the subtle background rather than the literal foreground of any situation."

"We concluded that the true dose of reality in art comes from the spectator’s own replacement of the metaphorical object (cypress), and consequent alliance with the metaphorical qualities (flame-qualities). This led us directly to the notion of art as primarily theatrical in nature, since the spectator in art necessarily becomes a sort of ‘method actor’. But the key to Ortega’s account of metaphor is its realism. It seeks the reality of the thing apart from its relation to the one who perceives or speaks it. The literal meaning of a thing is its meaning as exhaustively unfolded for the hearer or viewer, without surplus or residue beyond what they explicitly see of it."

Object Oriented Ontology - Graham Harma