Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Friday, February 3, 2012

Theory, Culture and Society Essay

Finally I'm writing this:

Inside the Hyperobject We Are Always in the Wrong
Timothy Morton

In this essay I shall be examining what I call hyperobjects, entities that are massively distributed in time and space. Many of them are human-made, such as Styrofoam, global warming and nuclear materials. I shall be adapting a suggestive concept of Kierkegaard's: the idea, which he finds “edifying,” that “against God we are always in the wrong.” I too find this idea edifying—what it means is that once we realize that we are radically “within” a series of hyperobjects (global warming, biosphere) we find ourselves in a truly post-modern historical moment. This moment is not a return to Nature or a violent purge of irony and difference, but rather the multiplication of irony far beyond the now traditional (and now antiquated) “postmodern” sense. Since my physical existence inside the hyperobject prevents me from acting or thinking perfectly “right,” the cynicism that sustains ideological comportment is now at an end, since cynicism becomes a form of hypocrisy, as I shall argue—hypocritical hypocrisy. Ecological thought and action has a necessarily uncanny dimension that prevents me from assuming a metalinguistic stance towards my world at the same time as compelling me to a far greater political and ethical urgency than has yet been known by humans.

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