Monday, April 26, 2010

Flat Ontologies

Peter Gratton has a funny and interesting post on his hesitation surrounding the concept of flat ontologies. In it Peter explains that the term always reminded him of Thomas Friedman's terrible book The World is Flat. If that had been my association, I don't think I would have ever gotten over it. Luckily for me, I came across the term in its original articulation in Delanda's excellent Intensive Science & Virtual Philosophy. I know Levi has never obscured the roots of this concept, and I want to encourage anyone interested in this concept to make sure they read Delanda's book (likewise, if you like Delanda, make sure you follow Levi's work). Also, while I am here, does anyone (including you, Levi, if you are reading this) know if/where Levi distinguishes his work from Delanda's?

The other point I wanted to make concerned this line of thought from Peter, namely:
[W]hich in turn made me think of how our common ideology uses the idea of equality and flatness to hide grave inequalities[.]

I completely understand what Peter is saying here, but I think this is a case where I find myself closest to the position of Ranciere, namely that there is an important political fact on insisting upon this equality. Inequality is never an ontological fact, and that is a politically powerful and useful idea. No matter how evil Friedman's mustache is (and it is pretty evil).