Undisciplinary is the personal wiki of Martin Zemlicka.

Graham Harman


Even as the philosophy of language and its supposedly reactionary opponents both declare victory, the arena of the world is jam-packed with diverse objects, their forces unleashed and mostly unloved. Red billiard ball smacks green billiard ball. Snowflakes glitter in the light that cruelly annihilates them; damaged submarines rust along the ocean floor. As flour emerges from mills and blocks of limestone are compressed by earthquakes, gigantic mushrooms spread in the Michigan forest. While human philosophers bludgeon each other over the very possibility of “access” to the world, sharks bludgeon tuna fish, and icebergs smash into coastlines.

All of these entities roam across the cosmos, inflicting blessings and punishments on everything they touch, perishing without a trace or spreading their powers further–as if a million animals had broken free from a zoo in some Tibetan cosmology. Will philosophy remain satisfied with not addressing any of these objects by name, so as to confine itself to a “more general” discussion of the condition of the condition of the condition of possibility of ever referring to them? Will philosophy continue to lump together monkeys, tornadoes, diamonds, and oil under the single heading of that-which-lies-outside? Or is there some possibility of an object-oriented philosophy, a sort of alchemy for describing the transformations of one entity into another, for outlining the ways in which they seduce or destroy humans and non-humans alike? This paper endorses the latter option.

Graham Harman, Object Oriented Ontology

A traditional Zen story speaks of a temple novice who hoped to attain enlightenment by chopping a cat in half with a sword. Witnessing the preparations for this atrocity, the head monk cried out and asked the newcomer to explain himself.

“I am cutting the cat in two with one sword,” was the young man’s reply.

Outdoing this supposed paradox of duality and unity, the monk countered with the following remark: “It is easy to cut the cat in two with one sword. What is difficult is to cut the cat in one with one sword.”

“But what is ‘cutting the cat in one’?”

“The cat itself”

Hearing this reply from his master, the novice attained enlightenment.

Graham Harman, Tool Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects, page 87-88.

philosophy absolutely must no try to be an instruction manual or architecture or for anything else. If someone does work in any field that literally embodies a given philosophy, then there’s no reason to do that work, we can just read philosophy.

Graham Harman, The Object Turn: in Conversation, in: Log 33

The object must not be replaced by knowledge! The object cannot be paraphrased, just as a metaphor cannot be paraphrased. What I love so much about architecture and the arts, and what I think some practitioners in these fields like about my work, is that in architecture and the arts you are most likely a failure if your productions can be adequately paraphrased in therms of some sort of knowledge.

Graham Harman, The Object Turn: in Conversation, in: Log 33