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

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Planet Tyche as Hyperobject

We can't see it directly but we can detect evidence of its possible existence. Planets are hyperobjects in most senses. They for real have Gaussian geometry and measurable spacetime distortion because they are so massive. They affect everything that exists on and in them. They're “everywhere and nowhere” up close (viscosity). (Point to Earth right now—you have a number of options, right?) They are really old and really huge compared with humans. And there's something disturbing about the existence of a planet that far away, perhaps not even of “our“ Solar System originally, yet close enough to be uncanny (my very large finitude). And it's unseen except for its hypothetical influence on objects such as comets, “The awful shadow of some unseen power” (Shelley).

Tyche (the new planet that might be far, far out there)—what a good name. It means contingency in Greek, pretty much, so it's the speculative realism planet par excellence. (“Luck” and “chance” are rather tame alternatives. Tyche is what happens to you in a tragedy if your name is Oedipus.) And for now, what could be more obviously withdrawn? No wonder Graham just posted on it.

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