Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls "hyperobjects" - entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. 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.
Insisting that we have to reinvent how we think to even begin to comprehend the world we now live in, Hyperobjects takes the first steps, outlining a genuinely postmodern ecological approach to thought and action.
©2013 Timothy Morton (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
This work has changed my thinking and everyday experience -- my highest praise. It's not that I swallow whole every assertion made there about a narrative flow of the "end of the world," though a credible if very non-rigorous model is sketched. This is not a formal work trying to bring a microscope to the exact problems we face as a species. What uniquely grabbed me was the radical approach to meaning and experience that peels off every comforting and supposedly "safe" surface or refuge and instills an amazing vertigo and bracing penetrating discomfort about -- pretty much whatever one clings to. I admire someone with the courage to rip into my stodgy mental structures and at least shake them up. And aside from its content, its form is arresting too. I think this a great performance in the audiobook genre specifically. The narrator's intonations coupled with the writing style make it a work and experience of -- philosophizing art -- an incisive commentary and a prose poem in the same moment. The least appealing parts to my mind were perfectly fine (and occasionally brilliant) descriptions of modern art works and their rhetorics -- I preferred when the author put his mental scalpel right into the stuff of everyday experience and thought, and turned the same in effect inside out. If one wants to open doors of perception, there's no need to make recourse to drugs. Just strap this sucker on and take a walk, anywhere. It is like walking inside a vast many-faceted work of art.
People more versed in such schools as poststructuralism may not have this beginners' delight in the arresting clashes with the comfortable I find here. That's my next stop.
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