View Citation summary Having set global warming in irreversible motion, we are facing the possibility of ecological catastrophe. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and their impact on how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how we experience our politics, ethics, and art. Moving fluidly between philosophy, science, literature, visual and conceptual art, and popular culture, the book argues that hyperobjects show that the end of the world has already occurred in the sense that concepts such as world, nature, and even environment are no longer a meaningful horizon against which human events take place. Instead of inhabiting a world, we find ourselves inside a number of hyperobjects, such as climate, nuclear weapons, evolution, or relativity. Such objects put unbearable strains on our normal ways of reasoning.
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I thank Mark, and Karolina and Anya giving us our time in Poland for bringing it to my attention… Climate change is the hyperobject under discussion massively distributed in time and space relative to humans 1. It is out there impacting in multiple different ways across the world and yet it is also the heat wave and the hurricane we experience directly against our skin. It started long ago yet it defines our future and thus squeezes upon our present. As Morton writes, The very feeling of wondering whether the catastrophe will begin soon is a symptom of its already having begun.
Capitalism is another hyperobject, and to me this opens up so many avenues of thought. I think ultimately Trump rode to power on the fear of the immensity and unknowability of climate change and these crisis days of capitalism. The fear this inspires, even when not acknowledged or outright denied. Even among, especially among, the climate change deniers there is a bunkering down without any sense of irony. A kind of insanity that is based on the philosophy of getting mine, and fuck everyone else.
I sit here, sick with worry. Even more helpless given my distance. But I shall give you a large taste — the opacity of the language may or may not hide something deeper that I am missing. I apologise in advance. They involve profoundly different temporalities than the human-scale ones we are used to. And they exhibit their effects interobjectively; that is, they can be detected in a space that consists of interrelationships between aesthetic properties of objects.
The first time in April when James Watt patented the steam engine. The second in Trinity, NM in , the first atom bomb test. I feel like it has ended a third time in a way. But I mostly hate this rhetoric because while Morton argues this liberates us, I think it does the opposite.
Things like tiny forks vibrating and not vibrating simultaneously — visible to the human eye. I wish my own eye could see such a thing. Nonlocality Hyperobjects are touching us, making our hair fall out, our skin blister, yet they are nonlocal — we are not the centre of the universe nor are we privileged actors. Now try pointing to the unconscious. Did you catch it? Hyperobjects compel us to think ecologically, and not the other way round. But global warming is as real as this sentence.
In a sense, we can expect human egos to be pockmarked with the traces of hyperobjects. We are all burnt by ultraviolet rays… We are poems about the hyperobject Earth. When I think nonlocality in this way, I am not negating the specificity of things, evaporating them into the abstract mist of the general, the larger or the less local. Nonlocality is far weirder than that.
When it comes to hyperobjects, nonloocality means that the general itself is compromised by the particular. Oil just is droplets, flows, rivers, and slicks of oil. It is rather weird and wonderful. Forever makes you feel important.
One hundred thousand years makes you wonder whether you can imagine one hundred thousand anything. Nothing in the universe apprehends the pencil like that, really. Not even the pencil apprehends itself like that. In these fields geometry is not Euclidean. So Morton writes To understand hyperobjects, however, is to think the abyss in front of things. We can only see pieces of hyperobjects at a time. The brief patch I call a hurricane destroys the infrastructure of New Orleans… 71 Also with how this is not quite another argument for networks, for connection the way permaculturists would see things, or Capra — but Morton is fairly dismissive of emergence.
They are real objects that affect other objects. Whenever I put my hand into the toaster oven I am thrusting part of my body into an abyss. Hyperobjects disclose interobjectivity. The phenomenon we call intersubjectivity is just a local, anthropocentric instance of a much more widespread phenomenon… 81 Stop privileging the human, the anthropocentric. There are many indigenous systems that do this, to all my relations is this same idea, no?
Easier to understand, easier to incorporate into a better way of life. But I continue the struggle with these words, where everything is connected interobjectively through what he calls the mesh, and goes on to write things I am not entirely sure I find useful or not: Hyperobjects simply enable us to see what is generally the case: Protagoras notwithstanding, objects are not made-to-measure for humans.
Causality does not churn underneath objects like a machine in the basement, but rather floats in front of them. The causal dimension, in which things like explosions are taken to happen, is also the aesthetic dimension, in which things like Nude Descending a Staircase are taken to happen. We experience a crisscrossing set of force fields, the aesthetic-causal fields emanated by a host of objects. In an age of global warming, there is no background, and thus there is no foreground.
It is the end of the world, since worlds depend on background and foregrounds. This too: Lifeworld was just a story we were telling ourselves on the inside of a vast, massively distributed hyperobject called climate… On sustainability — a major development engine and fundraising mechanism these days, making perfect sense of this: The common name for managing and regulating flows is sustainability.
But what exactly is being sustained? I rather like this sentence, what does it mean? Marx was partly wrong, then, when in The Communist Manifesto he claimed that in capitalism all that is solid melts into air. That is rather fascinating. Morton writes: The streets beneath the streets, the Roman Wall, the boarded-up houses, the unexploded bombs, are records of everything that happened to London. Form is memory. Essence is the future.
Cities and hyperobjects are full of strange streets, abandoned entrances, cul-de-sacs, and hidden interstitial regions. Hyperobjects force us into an intimacy with out own death because they are toxic , with others because everyone is affected by them , and with the future because they are massively distributed in time.
Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
Longilonge — Solange Pessoa
I am not sure Morton understands quantum physics. Or, um, science. Ignore those rambling bits of his, and focus on the broader idea. Yes, this book reads kind of like the ravings of someone having a fever dream. Yes, this book is focused on the arcane as examples. Yes, this book is full of its own hypocrasies and contradictions.
Morton explains what hyperobjects are and their impact on how we think, how we coexist, and how we experience our politics, ethics, and art. In Hyperobjects, Timothy Morton brings to bear his deep knowledge of a wide array of subjects to propose a new way of looking at our situation, which might allow us to take action toward the future health of the biosphere. Crucially, the relations between Buddhism and science, nature and culture, are examined in the fusion of a single vision. The result is a great work of cognitive mapping, both exciting and useful. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding.
Introducing the idea of ‘hyperobjects’
Personal[ edit ] Morton received a B. His subjects include the poetry and literature of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, the cultural significance and context of food, ecology and environmentalism, and object-oriented ontology OOO. Shelley scholarship[ edit ] In , Morton published Shelley and the Revolution in Taste: The Body and the Natural World, an extension of the ideas presented in his doctoral dissertation. In turn, Shelleyan prose regarding forms of consumption, particularly vegetarianism, is read as a call for social reform and figurative discussions of intemperance and intoxication as warnings against tyranny. Diet studies[ edit ] From to , Morton published three works dealing with the intersection of food and cultural studies. In the first of these to be published, The Poetics of Spice: Romantic Consumerism and the Exotic , Morton unpacked the evolution of European consumer culture through an analysis of the figurative use of spice in Romantic literature. Spice is not a balm, but an object of trade, a trope to be carried across boundaries, standing in for money: a metaphor about metaphor.