In studying object-oriented theory over the course of the semester, I feel like I have undergone a fundamental transformation in how I relate to the world around me. I pay attention to things more than I ever have before. Putting things or objects into separate categories has become something I question on a daily basis, which is remarkable considering how normalized a practice it was before these ideas were introduced to me.
In reference to an example from the beginning of class: a window is not simply a window, an opaque object which one looks through in order to view something on the other side. Now, I look at a window and I notice it for what it is, not what it is (or how it is supposed to function) in relation to me. As a human being, there will always be limitations to how I am going to perceive the world, especially in relation to myself, but this class has shown me how all things, human and nonhuman, actually work together.
No longer can I consciously and/or casually dismiss an object as insignificant, knowing that it has its place in a larger network or assemblage that might also, potentially, count me as one of its participants. Humans are neither the lowest nor the highest, nor can we consider ourselves in terms of inferiority or superiority. In this way, the “natural” order of things might not be so natural after all.
As much as I have struggled to wrap my brain around these concepts, I have also gradually integrated them into the most mundane corners of my life. For instance, simply walking down the street is a completely new experience. The street I’m walking on, the small animals in the trees, the grass that covers the ground, the door I eventually open—all of these are actants with equal agency and, perhaps even, equal vibrancy. Ultimately, the sights, sounds, and smells of everyday life take on new meaning when viewed through the lens of an object-oriented ontology.