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

Friday, January 15, 2016

What It Says on the Back of Dark Ecology

Timothy Morton argues that ecological awareness in the present Anthropocene era takes the form of a strange loop or Möbius strip, twisted to have only one side. Deckard travels this Oedipal path in Blade Runner (1982) when he learns that he might be the enemy he has been ordered to pursue. Ecological awareness has this form because ecological phenomena have a loop form that is also fundamental to the structure of how things are.

The logistics of agricultural society resulted in global warming and hardwired dangerous ideas about life-forms into the human mind. Dark ecology puts us in an uncanny position of radical self-knowledge, illuminating our place in the biosphere and our belonging to a species in a sense that is far less obvious than we like to think. Morton explores the logical foundations of the ecological crisis, which is suffused with the melancholy and negativity of coexistence yet evolving, as we explore its loop form, into something playful, anarchic, and comedic. His work is a skilled fusion of humanities and scientific scholarship, incorporating the findings and theories of philosophy, anthropology, literature, ecology, biology, and physics. Morton hopes to reestablish our ties to nonhuman beings and to help us rediscover the playfulness and joy that can brighten the dark, strange loop we traverse.

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. His books include Ecology Without Nature (2007); The Ecological Thought (2010); Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World (2013); and Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (2013); and he has published more than 150 essays on ecology, philosophy, art, literature, music, architecture, and food. He has collaborated with several artists, including Björk, Olafur Eliasson, and Haim Steinbach, and blogs regularly at

Praise for Dark Ecology

“In often witty and humorous language, Timothy Morton provides a kind of affective atlas for the human era. The book calls for scholars to recognize the structures of entwinement between (the human) species and ecological phenomena and to develop modes of thought for accommodating them.”—Kate Marshall, University of Notre Dame

“Dark Ecology is a brave, brilliant interrogation of the presumptions that have driven our approach to the ecological and environmental challenges of our era. Anyone who is willing to ride the rollercoaster ride of ideas on which Morton takes us will reach the end brimming with new conceptual and intellectual energies with which to face up to our present limits and failures, and to shape an alive and joyful future.”—Imre Szeman, University of Alberta

“Morton is a master of philosophical enigma. In Dark Ecology, he treats us to an obscure ecognosis, the essentially unsolvable riddle of ecological being. Prepare to be endarkened!”—Michael Marder, author of The Philosopher's Plant  and Pyropolitic

The Wellek Library Lectures
978-0-231-17752-8 cloth

1 comment:

Tavis Lea said...

Unfortunately my thesis defence is around the same time this comes out so I won't get to read it for that. I've been drawing a lot on 'Dark Ecology' in developing my own aesthetic for my visual arts practice that I call 'Petropunk', a darkly ironic variation of the steampunk sub-genre of science fiction.

Here's a link to a video project I've recently done for your amusement