“In short, all things equally exist, yet they do not exist equally”
“That things are is not a matter of debate. What it means that something in particular is for another thing that is: this is the question that interests me.
The above quotes are from Ian Bogost’s Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing, which I’m about halfway through. Fantastic, fascinating book. In addition to being a charming wordsmith, Bogost is offering here a posthuman metaphysics in which object-oriented ontology (OOO) flattens the realm of existence by ontologically equating humans, animals, things, systems, processes, ideas–well, everything.
Bogost’s articulation of meanwhiles is particularly powerful, and not unlike (human-centered) thoughts that have crossed my own mind (I’ll be thinking over/writing about this more). In the meantime, though, one thought strikes me: where’s the love? Or hate, for that matter? Or frustration? So far (and maybe this is coming soon in the book; I’ll see), Bogost covers things, from chile peppers to microprocessors, animals, the imaginary (unicorns), and complex systems like global logistic systems. What I have not seen (or noticed) accounted for, per se, are abstract concepts like love, hate, happiness, frustration, justice, fairness, compassion, etc. I could imagine Bogost saying that such emotional or conceptual phenomena are a part of complex human-centered systems that might be defined/described in a multitude of ways, much like he does by describing the example of the ill-fated E.T the Extra-Terrestrial video game (which I fondly remember being confounded by in my youth). Besides, moving away from human/world correlationism is what this book seems to be all about. But I’m trying to wrap my head around how such abstract concepts as fear, wonder, grief, or joy might be accounted for as things that exist equally with iron ore, an international conference for peace in the Middle East, or mayonnaise.