Interacting Object / uddīpana vibhāva

Component of rasadhvani

The counter-part to the intentional object.

uddīpana vibhāva - stimulative determinant, what enflames, lighting up, exciting, animating, stimulating, stimulus, aggravating…circumstance (188) [1]


Even an amoeba must have some continuity in time in its activity and some adaptation to its environment in space. Its life and experience cannot possibly consist in momentary, atomic, and self-enclosed sensations. Its activity has reference to its surroundings and to what goes before and what comes after. This organization intrinsic to life renders unnecessary a super-natural and super-empirical synthesis. It affords the basis and material for a positive evolution of intelligence as an organizing factor within experience (91) [3]


The version of ‘object-oriented ontology’ proposed by Latour is governed by the “principle of irreducibility” (158) [2].

This is a cosmos malleable within the constraints of “resistant-availability” (49) [4].

No object can be fully reduced to another. It resists. But no object can fully and indefinitely avoid being at least partially reduced or concatenated to another object. It is available. “Nothing is, by itself, either reducible or irreducible to anything else” (158) [2].

In Latour’s terminology, an object is what opposes the old ‘subject-object’ split and its “associations between humans and nonhumans” (246) [2].

Latour breaks this distinction of ‘human’ and ‘nonhuman’ as fixed or ‘common sense’ categories. Do the professor’s spectacles count as a nonhuman addition or appendix? Why not see them as a new network? For the professor would not be able to work without this ‘addition’.

These entities form a dance of resistance and availability in order to form and reform their networks.

In order to get away from the usual distinction of human and nonhuman, Latour call all things actants.

“Actant is a term from semiotics covering both humans and nonhumans” (237) [2].

These actants are subjected to actions and are called to perform within a network.

“[A]n actor is any entity that modifies another entity in a trial; of actors it can only be said that they act” (237) [2].

Actors are also things that resist action. Actors are not simply added to a network, but provide their own, specific resistance which requires work to overcome.

“Actors are defined above all as obstacles, scandals, as what suspends mastery, as what gets in the way of domination, as what interrupts the closure and the composition of the collective” (Latour 2004:81). In summary, what defines actors and thus objects is that they are “troublemakers” (237) [2].

Thus objects can be considered actors in that associations of actants require work since actors provide resistance. In the same way as the object of Physics has inertia, the resistance to change in its state of motion, objects require work in order to be displaced and concatenated. Objects are ‘real’ precisely because they resist frictionless association (cf. 158) [2].

In a rephrasing of Descartes’ famous line, we might say: resisto ergo sum.

It is in this context of the availability and resistance of both human and nonhuman actants that I will use the term object.

Book of Mormon

Lamanites and Zoramites at fortified Ammoniah (Alma 49:3-12)

And now it came to pass, in the eleventh month of the nineteenth year, on the tenth day of the month, the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah.
And behold, the city had been re-built, and Moroni had stationed an army by the borders of the city, and they had cast up dirt round about, to shield them from the arrows and the stones of the Lamanites;

for behold , they fought with stones, and with arrows.

Behold, I said that the city of Ammonihah had been re-built. I say unto you, yea, that it was in part re-built, and because the Lamanites had destroyed it once because of the iniquity of the people,

they supposed that it would again become an easy prey for them.

But behold, how great was their disappointment;

for behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them, that they might take effect;

neither could they come upon them, save it was by their place of entrance.

Now at this time, the Chief Captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security.

Now the leaders of the Lamanites had supposed, because of the greatness of their numbers; yea, they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done;

yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breast-plates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins; yea, very thick garments, to cover their nakedness. And being thus prepared, they supposed that

they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure.

But behold, to their uttermost astonishment,

they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among all the children of Lehi.

Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle, after the manner of the instructions of Moroni.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites, or the Amalickiahites, were exceedingly astonished at their manner of preparation for war.

Now if king Amalickiah had come down out of the land of Nephi, at the head of his army, perhaps he would have caused the Lamanites to have attacked the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah; for behold, he did care not for the blood of his people. But behold, Amalickiah did not come down himself, to battle.

And behold, his Chief Captains durst not attack the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah, for Moroni had altered the management of affairs among the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat, and they could not come upon them;

therefore they retreated into the wilderness, and took their camp, and marched towards the land of Noah,

1. Monier-Williams, Monier. 1899. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
2. Latour, Bruno. 1988. The Pasteurization of France. Trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law. Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press.
3. Dewey, John. 1920. Reconstruction in Philosophy. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
4. Miller, Adam. 2013. Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology, First edition. New York: Fordham University Press.
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