Anyway. That was step 1.

Actually, there’s a problem here. The rock on the boat doesn’t move backward—it’s carried with the boat because it has forward momentum. And if you shoot a cannon, the cannonball does move sideways because the earth is rotating underneath it.

This postulated inheritance doesn’t exist. What Newtonian mechanics did, our step two, was propose two things:

• Objects don’t have a default state of “at rest.” Objects have a history. Based on what’s happened to them before, objects continue moving. Yes, objects affect other objects—but without anything affecting them, objects continue as they last were, they don’t somehow “die” and revert to being at rest. Okay, that’s the concept of “time.” Objects have got time-binding.
• Objects affect each other not because they’re big or small, but because they exist in a mediating space. They influence each other through this space. Before this concept, there was no space. Now the environment is conceived of as a single space. Each object can affect each other object based on their positions in this space, the environment. Gravity is the invisible thing which affects objects, and it’s based on space.

This is a completely abstracted world. Objects look after their own properties. They are self contained. They respond not to other objects directly, but via these same properties as they manifest through the space that they’re all in.

It’s a lonely world. From the outside, every object is the same as every other object. They don’t touch each other. They relate in terms of mass and distance, and have properties like momentum. Space is the most important thing, and position in that space.

It’s Newtonian. There are machines. It’s clockwork, abstract. We still live in that world to an extent: Fordism is the same, and our metaphors of information as a thing which can be transferred. This is the object oriented world: self-contained objects that relate in a space that isn’t differentiated from one point to another.

That’s step two.

Matt Webb, posted 2005-09-02 (talk on 2005-06-11)