Since OOO is a philosophy that posits aesthetics as the root of all philosophy, it does not give primacy to human knowledge as a way to get at reality of things. This also means that science too does not have the primacy on the matters of reality of things. In such a case, Harman would not seem like the philosopher of energy. For instance, in his book A New Theory of everything the word energy is used not more than seven times. Someone like Manuel deLanda (or perhaps Jane Bennet) would fit in perfectly when he claims that for him energy, particularly an electro-magnetic energy field, is crucial for his ontology. What OOO does by contrast is it puts individual objects at the center of its philosophy and the stuff that universe is made of. As Harman puts it, to the extent that, there are objects all the way down, but perhaps not all the way up.
If this is the case, then it should be possible to speculate from here the question of energy and objects. We can begin by speculating that it is not energy that produce objects, but objects emit energy. When certain salts form crystals under certain conditions, it is not that there is a mysterious energy that is changing the state of the salt into larger crystals. There are very specific objects that are transforming one another. Take for example, when Borax is mixed in hot water and if we insert a solid object in that mixture, then the borax begins to crystalize along the inserted object as the water cools down. Whatever is the science behind the crystallization of borax along the object, at least this much is clear: this assemblage contains water which gets heated either by a burning gas or by electric water heater or burning wood (whatever is your choice of fuel) – objects heat other objects (or as OOO would have it, objects heat certain aspects of objects); it contains borax salt; mixed with hot water in a container; it contains the inserted object. It seems at the moment, that even energy appears to be emitting from within objects themselves, even if the objects are those that are momentarily formed by the collision, coming together or splitting up of objects. Speaking of energy internal to objects it seems clear that when we speak of energy we also seem to speak of specific kinds of energies -solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, nuclear energy, warm hug of a loved one and so on.
One can also see something similar in the working of the aesthetic experience as discussed in OOO. One of the things to keep in mind is that Graham’s project is to open up various possible forms of causation, beyond the physical causation. Seen this way the idea of energy itself could be reimagined to some extent. For instance, in an aesthetic experience while viewing an artwork or listening to poetry, or a charged speech, or the presence of a loved one, we often say that we were “moved”. Clearly, there is no physical moving or pushing that is involved here, but only a sensual movement, a sensual nudge. Harman proposes that this “moved” feeling is neither on the side of the work of art or the beholder but within an emergent object that is formed in the coming together the artwork and the beholder. In that sense one can say, that when we say we are moved, we could be experiencing a retroactive effect (akin to pressure) of the emergent object. Here too, it must be a case where objects are emitting this other kind of energy which is difficult to measure in units. In the spirit of object oriented-ness of OOO, like space, energy too must be internal to objects.
Two questions follow from here: is energy pre-installed in objects? Is energy a quality or an object?