Coming soon. 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. Environment , Environment , Ecology , Bioethics , Phenomenology , Posthumanism , Modernism , bluesale , coronavirus crisis.
|Published (Last):||16 June 2007|
|PDF File Size:||20.33 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||8.30 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
For the next step, you'll be taken to a website to complete the donation and enter your billing information. You'll then be redirected back to LARB. To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining The Los Angeles Review of Books is a c 3 nonprofit.
Donate to support new essays, interviews, reviews, literary curation, our groundbreaking publishing workshop, free events series, newly anointed publishing wing, and the dedicated team that makes it possible. It begins with someone asserting that global warming really exists. In the end the skeptic has the last laugh with her example of the delicious irony of climate scientists being stuck on a ship frozen in Antarctic ice. This is the conundrum that Morton hits upon in this book.
Hyperobjects, of which global warming is his prime example, are vast objects. They exceed human apprehension, but we constantly notice their local manifestations.
They challenge our assumptions of human mastery over things; we can philosophize more simply, it seems, about the existence of ordinary things like oranges, but hyperobjects are scary game-changers, and they have a touch of the sublime. With extraordinary verve and audacity, Morton makes his hyperobjects into harbingers for a new epoch, on a planetary scale, a task in which he is assisted by the general consensus about the Anthropocene, the current era of human-induced planetary change.
So how did Morton get to write a book like this? An Englishman who studied at Oxford, he was imbued in the Romantics, writing a dissertation that became Shelley and the Revolution in Taste It comprises difficult material made a little more accessible, and even enjoyable, via rhetorical flourishes, brilliant and breathtaking connections Marx, God, Wordsworth, and cornflakes might appear in the same sentence , and sometimes it includes combat sports, as rival critical theories are pummelled into the ground.
Theory is not an academic discipline. Likewise with the most recent advances in theoretical physics, appearing in this book in spades, along with some writing about avant-garde arts and music.
And it is good that it should. The destiny of the planet is his topic, after all. Morton first established it in The Ecological Thought His new book explains why everyone is affected by hyperobjects, even if they strive to deny their existence. No, but what you experience every day are groping attempts to make meaning with words. And the rest of you should shut up. But no amount of science or human willpower can make that happen, because it is already there , says Morton, infiltrating every aspect of existence.
Nor can any amount of science provide absolute, percent proof of causal connections. The right-wing ideologues might argue, but their corporations also assess the risks. Hyperobjects are there for them too, pushing different buttons:. The panic and denial and right-wing absurdity about global warming are understandable.
Hyperobjects pose numerous threats to individualism, nationalism, anti-intellectualism, racism, speciesism, anthropocentrism, you name it. Possibly even capitalism itself. The pervasiveness of hyperobjects is what Morton calls their viscosity , and in Part 1 of the book he outlines this and the other strange properties of hyperobjects: non-locality , phasing , and interobjectivity.
But at the other levels that Morton explores, things are indeed not quite what they seem, and he needs non-locality to explain how a hyperobject can act simultaneously at more than one place. This works to an arbitrary distance — that is, whether two yards, two miles or two light years apart. The other theory is that there is a level of reality that is superposed over, or subtends, those discrete particles — the hyperobject, in other words.
Phasing , another property of hyperobjects, is like non-locality, but with a rhythm section added. This adds further to the effect of diminishing human agency.
We could call it the self-centeredness of humanity — when we are increasingly aware that in the Anthropocene, the forces that threaten to wash, blow, or irradiate us into oblivion have become more palpable.
A paper clip is also a SIM card remover. An apple is also a baseball in a high-spirited backyard game that will get the kids into trouble with Mom. The apple-for-baseball is an object always getting into the rhythm for that kind of event.
Yet humans, in this object-oriented philosophy, are not elevated to special subject status, but are a subset of objects. And I guess even automobiles, to the extent that they become smart enough to drive humans, are becoming hyperobjects.
Interobjectivity is a meshing and crisscrossing that we inhabit and which inhabits us. The interobjective is not neatly sorted into classified strata, because existence is necessarily ontologically plural. Our existence is tied up with plants, animals, tools, ticking clocks. This jolly thought takes us to Part 2 of the book, where the angle of attack is different. Here Morton asks how humans will react to the end of the modern world and to the new hyperobjective cosmos.
Innocent conversations about it seem to be no longer possible. Worries about the weather are a mere symptom of something huge, foreboding, and ungraspable in its entirety: climate is a hyperobject, and global warming is its apocalyptic avatar. You are right to get a sense of the ridiculous when you see on TV a skeptical captain of industry debating a greenie minister of religion, as if their opinions really mattered. It is not the absent scientist on the panel that is the real concern, it is that the conceptual architecture of the world they share is the same as it was at the time of the Industrial Revolution, that they still share the same language of human mastery, hope, and redemptive adjustment.
Morton urges a replacement aesthetic that is attuned to hyperobjects via the concepts of hypocrisy , weakness , lameness , and asymmetry. If we own up to hypocrisy, rather than imagining that cynicism and critique will bring about change, we acknowledge that we inhabit chronic failure, not a world where we once achieved mastery or one day will. But hyperobjects also demonstrate ontological hypocrisy, for they can never reveal the full force of their reality, short of an unknowable apocalypse.
Letting go of pretensions to mastery is an aspect of the concept of weakness , which would also have an origin in the political philosopher Antonio Gramsci. Humans, from the start, have to make ethical compromises in their interobjectivity, as we swing from one relationship to another, without the certainty of any metalanguage: no beyond, no essence within.
Morton takes his cue from speculative realist Graham Harman, of the object-oriented ontology movement in philosophy, in claiming that since objects always have an obverse, a side that is not in play, they are never complete in themselves.
I am not convinced. I am uneasy about the generalization of withdrawnness, despite its philosophical heritage going back to Kant. It is more pedestrian. You might end up describing how mobile telephony came about.
As a concept, withdrawnness skates on the dangerously thin ice of the almost transcendent, even as Morton, bless him, is resolute in his refusal of any kind of beyond. And even though humankind has given its name to this age because of its part in creating the Anthropocene, the concomitant philosophies emerging are effectively decentering that agency.
My political economist friends, who would scoff at Morton and quote David Harvey to the effect that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, would miss the point. He would applaud what political economists do to analyze the workings of modern capitalism. They believe strongly in advancing their arts and disciplines, they believe they should be interesting a poet can get away with being politically incorrect, but never with being boring ; philosophers know, whatever they do, they must never be dogmatic, and historians must compare sources.
What they collectively do is a pedagogical and civilizing thing, as they reflect back on and reinforce these core values within a culture. They keep the barbarians at bay, which is only a figure of speech, I hasten to add. The barbarians are those who put their faith in transcendent comforts like Science, God, Gaia, Individual Self-Interest, and the Market. This is what I see Morton doing with this hyperintelligent book. It is bold, stimulating, and provocative. In Robert Oppenheimer exploded the atom bomb, inventing a hyperobject without knowing it.
Dare I say it, but the writing that has made a case for hyperobjects has created an offshoot, the hypersubject. Close this module. Your email johnsmith example.
'A reckoning for our species': the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene
By Alex Blasdel. Thu 15 Jun The acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson has been flying Morton around the world to speak at his major exhibition openings. Last year, he was included in a much-discussed list of the 50 most influential living philosophers.
Introducing the idea of ‘hyperobjects’
For the next step, you'll be taken to a website to complete the donation and enter your billing information. You'll then be redirected back to LARB. To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining The Los Angeles Review of Books is a c 3 nonprofit. Donate to support new essays, interviews, reviews, literary curation, our groundbreaking publishing workshop, free events series, newly anointed publishing wing, and the dedicated team that makes it possible. It begins with someone asserting that global warming really exists.